Alma Ata Orange: 2015 Draft Prospect Preview
Nov 9, 2013; Berkeley, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans tailback Javorius Allen (37) conducts the Spirit of Troy marching band after the game against the California Golden Bears at Memorial Stadium. USC defeated California 62-28. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
The Well – Georgia & Southern California
If history is any indicator, the Bengals scouting department will make at least several house calls to these universities. USC looks to have a bumper crop of talent headed to the NFL lead by a monsterous defensive lineman, Leonard Williams. A possible number one overall pick, Cincinnati will not even get a whiff of him, but the current USC grabbing headlines is not exactly coming off as the poster boy they may have anticipated. The enigma surrounding Josh Shaw and his twin high-ankle sprains has yet fully played out, which suggests that his stock will fall come draft day. Nonetheless, prior to that event, Shaw was a model student, elected team captain, and showed incredible versatility as a defensive back. Depending on how the season unfolds both on and off the field, Shaw could be a significant value later in the Draft.
The other Trojan to watch is second-day selection Nelson Agholor. This wide out is of a familiar Southern California mold, similar to Robert Woods or Marquise Lee. With his breakout year now behind him, it will be interesting to see how he adjusts to additional attention from opposing secondaries. Also, running back Javorius Allen has been a standout among a stable of USC halfbacks. Allen averaged 5.8 yards per carry for 785 yards and 14 touchdowns while also catching 22 passes for 252 additional yards during the 2013 season. Expected to improve, Allen would be an immediate upgrade over the dubious Rex Burkhead.
Meanwhile, the Dawgs have a few top prospects of their own. While Jordan Jenkin did not fill Jarvis Jones’ cleats the way that some thought that he would last year as a sophomore outside linebacker, he nonetheless had a productive season, logging 45 tackles, 5 sacks, 12 tackles for a loss, and a forced fumble. He could break out in his junior year with the help of senior interior linebacker Ramik Wilson. Georgia’s replacement for Alec Ogletree, Wilson was an every-down back in 2013 and led the Bulldogs in tackles. After taking seven linebackers to the final roster this year, Wilson may not fill an immediate need for the Bengals, but he’s worth noting regardless. In a similar vein, junior running backs Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall are both top prospects for their position. Gurley has been a steely contributor to the Georgia offense the past two years, and Marshall has provided solid relief until succumbing to an ACL injury last season. Without Aaron Murray, expect Gurley and Marshall to get increased carries, which could vault their numbers as well as their draft stock.