Southern California doesn't offer much to the NFL Draft this year, especially considering the steady slide of quarterback Matt Barkley.
Four total players from USC and UCLA found their way into Mocking the Draft's Dan Kadar's Top 100 big board, but not a single one is projected to be selected in the first round -- not even quarterback Matt Barkley.
Of the four players, Barkley is ranked the highest, coming in at No. 36. However, Mocking the Draft's Matthew Fairburn's latest mock draft has Barkley as the third-best quarterback behind West Virginia's Geno Smith and Arkansas' Tyler Wilson, who each find themselves in the top ten. Barkley's plummet down the prospect rankings following his return to USC for his senior season resembles the fall of fellow USC quarterback Matt Leinart. Leinart was projected as the No. 1 overall pick had he declared himself eligible for the Draft. But, he decided to return for his senior year and was eventually drafted 10th. Barkley may not even find himself in the first round.
Behind Barkley is fellow USC Trojan, wide receiver Robert Woods. Woods comes in as the fifth-best wide receiver and the 42nd overall prospect.
For the Bruins of UCLA, defensive end Datone Jones and running back Johnathan Franklin find their way onto the big board. Mocking the Draft has Jones at No. 55 and out of the first round, but CBS Sports' Dane Brugler disagrees. Brugler has Jones going at No. 21 to the Cincinnati Bengals. His strengths are listed as the following:
Well-built athlete with long arms and good strength, throughout. Flashes an explosive initial burst off the snap to penetrate gaps. Uses his hands well at the snap to rip free from blocks, showing a variety of pass rush techniques (swim, rip, club), as well as enough power to simply bull over offensive linemen into the backfield.
Keeps his head up and locates the football quickly, showing good awareness and effort in pursuit. Has the upper-body strength to lock-out opponents and seal the edge. Stout enough to slide inside to defensive tackle, especially on obvious pass rush downs. Enjoyed a breakout senior campaign and may be just scratching the surface of his potential.
If the Bengals do indeed draft Jones, he would enter a stacked Bengals defensive end corps and solidify one of the top D-lines in the NFL.
Franklin is listed at No. 81 by Mocking the Draft. CBS Sports projects the Bruin running back to be drafted in the third round.