One thing to note in recent years is how little feedback from the NFL seems to matter to underclassmen. During the Pete Carroll era, it seemed like a big deal when the NFL would send USC its evaluations and perhaps influence a player’s decision.
But this year, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Adoree Jackson seemed to care less about it. And Jackson is not listed in any mock drafts I’ve seen as a first-round pick. Last year, Su’a Cravens pretty much made up his mind well before the evaulation process. I think all of those players believed they were so good that they would become successful NFL players no matter where they got drafted.
But even players like Nickell Robey and Dion Bailey, who went undrafted, turned pro. It just seems like players simply go when they want to these days. And it’s still worth it financially. Cody Kessler wasn’t an underclass but he was a third-round pick and got a $3,4 million, four-year deal from the Browns. Not bad.
Cornerback Adoree Jackson announced he would skip his senior year and enter the NFL draft. Jackson waited until the final day to make his announcement but the decision is not a surprise. Now who will be the dynamic punt/kick returner next season? Who will provide solid-if-not-always spectacular cornerback play? Jack Jones? Jonathan Lockett? There is no quick fix.
Former USC player/assistant coach Kennedy Polamalu has been hired as running backs coach by the Minnesota Vikings, according to the Sporting News. Polamalu was fired as UCLA offensive coordinator after the past season.
Alabama has hired Arizona athletic director Greg Byrne as its new athletic director, according to multiple reports. Byrne was athletic director at Arizona since 2010 and also was the A.D. at Mississippi State. So Alabama hired an athletic director who actually had experience as an athletic director. What a concept!
Byrne’s name got floated during USC’s search for an athletic director last year but school president Max Nikias always wanted Lynn Swann so no one else had much of a chance. The USC way, as some in the athletic dept. tell me.
If Adoree Jackson came back next year, should he play more offense? He might not be able to raise his stock much as a cornerback and his size might be an issue. But as an offensive player/kick returner, would he have more value to NFL teams?
I still find it crazy that Jackson played so much offensively against Penn State but got in for one play against Stanford, which turned out to be a vital game for USC’s season.
Justin Wilcox hired former Oregon assistant Steve Greatwood as offensive line coach at Cal. Greatwood was offensive line coach at USC under Paul Hackett, but don’t hold that against him.
Joe Barry, who left USC after the 2011 season because he was frustrated working with Monte Kiffin, was hired by the Rams as assistant head coach and linebackers coach. He was the Washington Redskins defensive coordinator last season, where there was some controvesy over whether Su’a Cravens should play linebacker or safety. Barry played Cravens at linebacker but Cravens is expected to play safety next year.