The jury’s still out whether USC is “back” under Lincoln Riley, but 11-3 in Year 1 is certainly a step in the right direction. Who are the top USC prospects eligible for the 2023 NFL Draft, and what do their scouting reports reveal about their skill set?
USC 2023 NFL Draft Scouting Reports
Andrew Vorhees, OL
Strengths: Strong, tough, small-area lineman who is best as a power-gap blocker. Explosive at the point, blocks with a nasty attitude, and works to bury defenders into the turf. Turns defenders from the line and gets movement run blocking. Keeps his head on a swivel and always looks for someone to hit. Displays outstanding awareness and works well with teammates. Generally does a solid job bending his knees.
Weaknesses: Lacks quick, fluid footwork in space. Occasionally late with his hands. Not a great athlete who can be used in a zone system. Tore a ligament in his knee during Combine workouts.
Overall: Vorhees was a dependable five-year starter at USC who was used at multiple positions on the offensive line. He projects as a power-gap guard, yet won’t be ready to play for almost a year due to the knee injury he sustained during Combine workouts.
Want more information on Vorhees? Here’s our expanded scouting report and draft profile: Andrew Vorhees, OL, USC | NFL Draft Scouting Report
Bobby Haskins, OT
Strengths: Virginia transfer who did a terrific job at left tackle for USC last season. Quickly gets off the edge in pass protection, blocks with proper lean, and anchors at the point. Sets with a wide base, bends his knees, and fights throughout the action. Explosive, keeps his feet moving, and stays square. Makes outstanding use of angles and plays smart football.
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Weaknesses: Could do a better job sinking his butt at the line of scrimmage. Must improve his consistency in pass protection. Needs to add weight to his frame to improve his run blocking. Lacks desired arm length.
Overall: Haskins did a terrific job protecting the blind side of his Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback last season and really elevated his draft stock. Arm length may push him into guard, but Haskins comes with an upside and should get practice-squad consideration this fall.
Brandon Pili, DT
Strengths: Quick, explosive interior defender who made a successful return from an Achilles injury he suffered in 2021. Bends his knees, plays with leverage, and is tough to move off the point.
Displays good change-of-direction ability, moves relatively well in pursuit, and chases the action hard. Occupies blockers and effectively works his hands throughout the action. Fires off the snap with a nice first step and quickly closes to the action
Weaknesses: Marginal pass rusher. Short-area lineman who doesn’t get outside the box in pursuit of plays.
Overall: Pili possesses nice size, a next-level temperament, and the toughness to get looks as a nose tackle/zero-technique lineman.
Brett Neilon, C
Strengths: Feisty, explosive center coming off a terrific season. Sets with a wide base and sinks his butt at the line of scrimmage. Quickly gets off the line into blocks, keeps his feet moving, and is effective on the second level. Shows great awareness and fights throughout the action. Stays square and displays himself as a solid position blocker. Effective with the shotgun snap.
Weaknesses: Lacks bulk and needs assistance on the inside. Possesses short arms. Average athlete.
Overall: Neilon was an afterthought in the scouting community coming into the season, then he really elevated his game in 2022. He’ll get practice-squad consideration based off his play last season.
Jordan Addison, WR
Strengths: Sure-handed receiver who runs exceptional routes and separates from defenders. Fluid releasing off the line of scrimmage, runs scissor-sharp routes, and seamlessly fires into breaks without losing momentum, then stays low on exit. Tracks the pass in the air, extends his hands, and easily adjusts to the errant throw.
Possesses soft, strong hands as well as tremendous eye/hand coordination. Smooth, fluid, and comes back to the ball to make himself an available target. Plays faster than his 40 time, gets downfield, and uses his frame to shield away defenders or protect the pass. Displays tremendous focus as well as a sense of timing and makes some insanely difficult receptions on occasion. Follows blocks and shows ability after the catch.
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Weaknesses: Possesses a thin build and doesn’t consistently come away with the catch in a battle. Lacks deep speed and isn’t a vertical wideout. Easily brought down at the point of attack.
Overall: Addison is a natural pass catcher with solid speed but poor size. His route running and pass-catching ability separates him from just about all the receivers in this draft. Addison should be an exceptional starter in a timing or West Coast offense.
Want more information on Addison? Here’s our expanded scouting report and draft profile: Jordan Addison, WR, USC | NFL Draft Scouting Report
Mekhi Blackmon, CB
Strengths: Feisty corner with average size and speed. Fluid pedaling in reverse, quick flipping his hips, and battles opponents throughout the route. Works to get his head back around to track the ball in the air, displays a nice move to the throw, and gets vertical to knock away passes.
Displays good hands for the interception. Shows good route recognition facing the action and works well with safeties. Willing run defender who fights to get off blocks.
Weaknesses: Off balance in his transition. Possesses an average burst to the ball. Gets a little grabby, which results in penalties.
Overall: Blackmon gives effort in his all-around game and consistently fights to make positive plays. He has a thin build and lacks elite speed, yet has enough ability to make a roster as a dime back and special-teams player.
Want more information on Blackmon? Here’s our expanded scouting report and draft profile: Mekhi Blackmon, CB, USC | NFL Draft Scouting Report
Terrell Bynum, WR
Strengths: Nice-sized wideout who flashes next-level ability. Fluid releasing off the line of scrimmage, quickly gets to top speed, and plays to his 40 time. Sticks his foot in the ground and separates from defenders with crisp routes. Adjusts to the errant throw or gets down to scoop up low passes. Extends his hands and makes the reception away from his frame. Consistent hands catcher. Gives effort after the catch.
Weaknesses: Lazily exits breaks. Possesses a thin build and struggles in battles. Marginally productive at USC as well as Washington, where he started his college career. Struggled with injuries last season.
Overall: Bynum flashed ability since his sophomore season at Washington, yet never elevated his game. He’s an athletic prospect who comes with upside and will have a place at the next level if he stays on the field, develops his game, and consistently produces.
Travis Dye, RB
Strengths: Complete running back with an underrated game. Patient, displays tremendous vision as well as instincts, and consistently finds the running lanes. Runs with good lean, consistently runs north/south, and uses blocks everywhere on the field. Quick-footed, displays a short burst, and sidesteps defenders or makes them miss.
Shows a lot of toughness, grinds it out on the inside, and lowers his shoulders into defenders then falls forward when tackled. Terrific pass catcher who adjusts to the errant throw and makes the reception with his hands. Sees the blitz and works to get a pad on defenders as a blocker.
MORE: 2023 NFL Draft Big Board
Weaknesses: Plays to one speed and cannot run to daylight. Must improve his ball security. Not a big-bodied ball carrier.
Overall: Dye had a tremendous career at Oregon before transferring to USC last year, then he watched his season prematurely end due to injury. He comes with decent size as well as speed and stands out in every aspect of the RB position. Dye will be an asset to an NFL roster as a fourth running back.
Tuli Tuipulotu, EDGE
Strengths: Explosive, intense defensive lineman who causes a lot of disruption. Quick off the snap, plays with terrific pad level, and slices between blocks to penetrate the line of scrimmage. Consistently gets leverage on blockers, is impossible to move off the point, and shows good change-of-direction ability.
Rushes the passer out of a three-point stance or standing over tackle. Fast up the field and overruns blockers to make plays behind the line of scrimmage. Collapses down the line and gives effort against the run. Fluid getting down the line of scrimmage, effective dropped off the line, and flies around the action. Strong for his size, effectively uses his hands, and plays off blocks.
Weaknesses: Doesn’t display sustained speed, nor does he make plays in backside pursuit. Lacks bulk and gets out-positioned from the action. Must get stronger.
Overall: Tuipulotu displayed consistent development in his game and had a tremendous junior season, totaling 22 TFLs and 13.5 sacks. He must get bigger as well as stronger, but he has a lot of upside as well as the versatility to be used in a variety of schemes.
Want more information on Tuipulotu? Here’s our expanded scouting report and draft profile: Tuli Tuipulotu, EDGE, USC | NFL Draft Scouting Report
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