2013 NFL Draft Prospects: USC

These are the school’s prospects for the 2013 NFL Draft by status * – denotes 2014 prospect ** – denotes 2015 prospect.

This page was last updated April 24, 2013. Follow me @walterfootball for updates.

  1. Robert Woods*, WR, USC
    Height: 6-0. Weight: 201. Arm: 31.08. Hand: 9.28.
    40 Time: 4.51.
    Projected Round (2013): 1-2.

    4/24/13: A great pro day and a quality performance at the Combine has helped Woods. He did extremely well in the field drills, displaying good route-running and hands. Woods’ 40 time met expectations as well. He could go late in the first round and looks solid as a second-round pick.

    Woods was less than 100 percent in 2012; his ankle injury robbed him of explosion and top speed. He was not a big-play threat as a result and wasn’t getting as much separation from defensive backs.

    Woods still had a great outing against Syracuse. He caught 10 passes for 94 yards and two touchdowns while running the ball once for 76 yards and returning a punt 31 yards. The junior totaled 76 receptions for 846 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2012. Woods’ only 100-yard receiving game this year was against Colorado.

    8/17/12: Woods caught 65 passes for 792 yards and six touchdowns as a freshman in 2010. To open his sophomore season, he had a record-setting game with 17 receptions for 177 yards and three touchdowns against Minnesota. Woods then broke his own record three weeks later against Arizona, catching 14 passes for 255 yards and two touchdowns. He put up a total 1,292 yards on 111 receptions with 15 touchdowns last year.

    Woods looks NFL-ready with speed to burn. Woods easily gets separation from defensive backs as they struggle to turn and run with him. Furthermore, he is very quick in and out of his breaks, with well-developed route running. Woods also has reliable hands and is a scoring threat on any play. He is fabulous as a run-after-the-catch receiver.

    While Woods has good height, he is not overly physical with cornerbacks. Woods seems to prefer to beat them with his speed and athleticism. It would help if he filled out his frame with another 10-20 pounds of muscle for the NFL. If Woods can do that without diminishing his speed, it should help him to defeat jams at the line of scrimmage, and not allow himself to have the play timing disrupted by rerouting.

  2. Matt Barkley, QB, USC
    Height: 6-3. Weight: 227. Hand: 10.08.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.83.
    Projected Round (2013): 1-3.

    4/24/13: The draft projection for Barkley is all over the place. Some believe he could go high in the first round, while others see him falling well into the second day. Barkley is one of the wild cards of the 2013 NFL Draft.

    At his pro day, Barkley didn’t impress with his lack of arm strength but he didn’t damage his draft stock either. He did interview well at the Combine and many believed he helped himself in Indianapolis.

    Barkley had a rough senior season that has caused his stock to fall from a high first-round pick. He never had an elite physical skill set, but the decision-making problems are the most worrisome. In Barkley’s defense, his offensive line was horrible. He was under heat all season as USC really missed Matt Kalil.

    Barkley completed 64 percent of his passes for 3,273 yards, 36 touchdowns and 15 interceptions in 2012. The senior didn’t play well against Stanford or Washington, and was just average against California. He had underwhelming games versus UCLA and Arizona, too. Barkley injured his shoulder against the Bruins and was unable to play against Notre Dame, Georgia Tech or in the Senior Bowl.

    8/16/12: Barkley proved himself to be a safe prospect during the 2011 season. He laid claim to the Trojans’ starting quarterback position as a freshman and completed 59.9 percent of his passes for 2,735 yards and 15 touchdowns, but also threw 14 interceptions. In 12 games in 2010, the 6-foot-2, 220 pounder improved his production by completing 62.6 percent of his passes for 2,791 yards with 26 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.

    Barkley had many prolific passing games as a junior in 2011, including throwing for six touchdown passes against UCLA and Colorado. He also led USC to a signature road win over Oregon. Barkley completed 69 percent of his passes for 3,528 yards with 39 touchdowns and only seven interceptions.

    The senior’s improved decision making is exactly the kind of progress NFL scouts will be pleased to see, plus he comes from a pro-style offense and has good intangibles. Barkley has mastered the West Coast offense and is well-prepared for the NFL.

  3. T.J. McDonald, S, USC
    Height: 6-3. Weight: 219. Arm: 32 1/4. Hand: 8 7/8.
    40 Time: 4.59.
    Projected Round (2013): 3-5.

    4/24/13: McDonald notched 112 tackles, 6.5 tackles for a loss, three passes broken up and two interceptions in 2012. He was a physical enforcer for the Trojans’ defense. McDonald had impressive days against Stanford and Utah, but struggled versus Oregon. He put on a quality showing at the Senior Bowl. McDonald was okay at the Combine. He looks like a straight-line safety for the NFL.

    9/2/12: T.J. McDonald broke into the lineup in 2010 and had a strong debut. The sophomore led USC in tackles with 89 including three tackles for a loss, four passes broken up, three interceptions and a blocked punt. McDonald was an All-Pac-10 Second-Team selection. The junior had 67 tackles with three picks, two passes broken up and a blocked kick last season.

    McDonald has the flexibility to play strong or free safety. He has good instincts and is a hard hitter, too. If the senior has another good season, he could be a first-round pick. McDonald would immediately fit well in any NFL zone scheme since he been coached up by Monte Kiffin on the scheme he ran in Tampa Bay for many years.

  4. Khaled Holmes, C, USC
    Height: 6-3. Weight: 302.
    Projected 40 Time: 5.58.
    Projected Round (2013): 4-6.

    4/24/13: Overall, Holmes had a disappointing senior season. He was beaten too often in the ground game and in pass protection. Holmes finished the year with a poor showing versus Notre Dame defensive tackle Louis Nix and another rough outing in the Sun Bowl against Georgia Tech.

    Holmes had a bad day against Syracuse as well. He gave up a sack after getting bull rushed into quarterback Matt Barkley on a deep snap. Holmes also fumbled a snap, missed a block on a run blitz to allow a tackle for a loss and was pushed back on a fourth-and-1 to allow a turnover on downs for USC.

    As if that wasn’t bad enough, the senior had players roll into the back of his leg late in the game and was carted off the field with an ankle injury. He missed the Stanford game and re-injured the ankle against California.

    Holmes was dominated early on in the Utah game by defensive tackle Star Lotulelei. Lotulelei forced a fumble after blowing up Holmes and was wreaking havoc on USC. The Utes standout was held to consistent draws after the Trojans started double-teaming him.

    Holmes has to get stronger for the NFL and improve his ability to sustain blocks. He missed the Senior Bowl with an injury and was hurt at the Combine. Durability is becoming a serious problem for Holmes. Teams are also questioning his dedication to football.

    8/22/12: Holmes had an impressive 2011 season and was a Second-Team Pac-12 selection. He was a fabulous pass-protector for Matt Barkley. Holmes also did a good job of opening up holes in the ground game for Curtis McNeal and Marc Tyler.

    Holmes is a good athlete who is quick off the snap. He was a starter at guard as a sophomore in 2010. Holmes is a natural center, but could use more strength for the next level. He has the frame to add weight and that would help him push defensive linemen off the ball.

  5. Wes Horton, DE, USC
    Height: 6-5. Weight: 260.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.73.
    Projected Round (2013): 5-7.

    4/24/13: Horton recorded 33 tackles, 6.5 tackles for a loss, two pass breakups and 5.5 sacks in 2012. He missed the opener versus Hawaii. Horton played better in the second half of the year, but wasn’t the breakout pass-rushing force who many expected. He had a solid week at the East-West Shrine, but didn’t work out at the Combine.

    8/27/12: Horton broke into the starting lineup as a sophomore in 2010. He recorded 29 tackles with four sacks and a forced fumble. The junior was relatively quiet last year, totaling 22 tackles, 4.5 tackles for a loss and four sacks.

    Horton has the size and speed that defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin likes in his defensive ends, so he should be part of the Trojans’ plan to replace the productive Nick Perry.

  6. Nickell Robey*, CB, USC
    Height: 5-7. Weight: 169.
    40 Time: 4.53.
    Projected Round (2013): 6-FA.

    4/24/13: Robey had a bad Combine in that he checked in shorter than expected and didn’t run as fast as he needed to. Robery could go undrafted.

    The junior managed 49 tackles, four passes broken up, a forced fumble and an interception in 2012. He had some coverage issues against Syracuse and in other games. Robey averaged 12.3 yards per punt return, too. With his being extremely undersized, he looks like a nickel corner in a zone scheme – at best.

    9/1/12: Robey is very short, but he is a gritty defender. Robey is entering his third season as a starter and has been a quality cover corner for the Trojans. It was a serious accomplishment on his part that he won a starting position as a true freshman in 2010 and then put up 48 tackles and four interceptions.

    Robey had 63 tackles, two interceptions and nine passes broken up last season. He is an interesting cover corner, but his size is a real concern for the NFL. Because of that, Robey probably projects best as nickel/slot cornerback.

  7. Curtis McNeal, RB, USC
    Height: 5-7. Weight: 190.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.53.
    Projected Round (2013): FA.

    4/24/13: McNeal totaled 701 yards on 116 carries in 2012 as the backup to Silas Redd. He didn’t work out at the Combine.

    8/16/12: McNeal is an interesting back given that he took over the starting position from senior Marc Tyler in 2011 and really played well. McNeal averaged just under seven yards per carry (6.9) with 1,005 yards on only 145 carries. He ran for six touchdowns.

    McNeal had academic problems that made him ineligible for the 2010 season. He saw limited action in 2009 and redshirted in 2008. For the NFL, McNeal needs to show his receiving ability and get more active in the passing game. He is a speed back who runs with underrated power and physicality.

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