The NFL season is nearly upon us and it will be well represented by former USC Trojans. Here's who you should be watching this season:
Darnold was drafted 3rd overall by the New York Jets in this year's NFL Draft. He inherits a team that went 5-11 and finished last in the AFC East last season. Darnold will be the team's Week 1 starter against the Detroit Lions. In being named the Week 1 starter, Darnold becomes the youngest player to ever start a season opener since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger. At USC, Darnold led the Trojans to a Rose Bowl title as well as a Pac-12 championship across two seasons.
- Juju Smith-Schuster (WR, Pittsburgh Steelers)
Smith-Schuster begins his sophomore season on a Pittsburgh team that went 13-3 overall and made it to the first round of the AFC playoffs. Smith-Schuster will line up next to elite wide receiver Antonio Brown on offense. Last season, Smith-Schuster caught 58 receptions for a total of 917 yards and seven touchdowns. He also became the youngest player in NFL history to have 1,000+ all-purpose yards in a season.
- Everson Griffen (DE, Minnesota Vikings)
Griffen enters his ninth season as a member of the Minnesota Vikings. A captain as nominated by his coaches, Griffen hopes to push the Vikings past the NFC championship this season. The defensive end also hopes to earn his fourth Pro Bowl nomination. The Vikings will be headlined by free agent signee Kirk Cousins and will compete in a loaded NFC North.
- Nelson Agholor (WR, Philadelphia Eagles)
Agholor opens his fourth NFL season as the most recent Super Bowl champion to come out of USC. Agholor's Philadelphia Eagles defeated the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII. His nine receptions in the win were the most by a Trojan in Super Bowl history. He passed Athletic Director Lynn Swann's eight catches in Super Bowl XIII. His 84 receiving yards rank third-most in Super Bowl history by a USC alum. Agholor will aim to build off his career year as the Eagles look to defend their title.
- Robert Woods (WR, Los Angeles Rams)
Drafted in the second round of the 2013 draft by the Buffalo Bills, Woods will open his second season as a member of the Los Angeles Rams. The Rams signed Woods in the previous offseason and in one season he posted career numbers. Woods will start on a loaded Rams team that includes elite playmakers such as Todd Gurley, Aaron Donald, Marcus Peters and Jared Goff.
Other Trojans in the NFL*
Javorius Allen (RB)
Wes Horton (DE), Matt Kalil (T), Ryan Kalil (C), Kevon Seymour (CB)
Matt Barkley (QB)
Marcus Martin (OL), Tyron Smith (T), Antwaun Woods (NT)
Su'a Cravens (S)
Matt Cassel (QB), Devon Kennard (LB)
GREEN BAY PACKERS
Clay Matthews (LB), Nick Perry (LB)
Cody Kessler (QB), Marqise Lee (WR)
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
Leon McQuay III (S)
LOS ANGELES CHARGERS
Uchenna Nwosu (LB), Hayes Pullard (LB)
LOS ANGELES RAMS
Justin Davis (RB), Steven Mitchell Jr. (WR), Nickell Robey-Coleman (CB)
T.J. McDonald (S)
NEW YORK GIANTS
Rhett Ellison (TE), Chad Wheeler (T)
NEW YORK JETS
Leonard Williams (DL)
Frostee Rucker (DT)
Zach Banner (T), Xavier Grimble (TE)
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
Malcolm Smith (LB)
Rasheem Green (DE), Tre Madden (RB)
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
Ronald Jones II (RB), Stevie Tu'ikolovatu (NT)
Jurrell Casey (DT), Adoree' Jackson (CB)
*List per USC Athletics, current as of 9/2/2018