Trio of Trojans Taken in NFL Draft

Three USC players were picked in the 2012 NFL Draft while many others signed with teams in free agency.

At the conclusion of the 2012 NFL Draft Saturday, just three Trojans heard their name called by league commissioner Roger Gooddell. While a dozen entered their name for consideration, only Matt Kalil, Nick Perry and Rhett Ellison walked away with a considerable contract and an immediate future.

Kalil, expected to be taken third overall, fell one spot short, but to the same projected team. The Minnesota Vikings grabbed the tackle at fourth overall, where he will wear No. 67, the same number as his brother Ryan, the Carolina Panthers' starting center. Kalil becomes one of 20 offensive tackles from USC that have been drafted in the first round. His father, Frank, also played in the NFL. Kalil will go head to Minnesota later this week for a few days to take part in organized team activities.

Perry was the second Trojan drafted this year, also in the first round. The Green Bay Packers selected the defensive end 28th overall, where he will transition to outside linebacker at the next level. He became the fifth USC defensive lineman to be selected in the first round since 2004. The Michigan native will join outside linebacker Clay Matthews III in the Pack's 3-4 defense.

The final draftee had to wait a little longer than the Thursday selections. Ellison will join Kalil and former Trojan defensive end Everson Griffen in Minnesota. The tight end/fullback was drafted in the 4th round by the Vikings, 128th overall. Ellison told reporters he was fishing when he got the call, and cried in joy.

As for the rest of the Trojans? While they didn't hear their name called at the podium and missed out on a hug from Gooddell, they didn't have to wait long to receive phone calls from interested franchises. Within minutes after the Colts' 253rd pick, a handful of USC players were in negotiations with teams as rookie free agents.

Marc Tyler was one of the first, who signed with the Green Bay Packers in what he believed will be a three-year deal, if he makes the roster. Tyler, the Trojans' dominant power back the past two seasons, struggled with off-the-field issues but remained fairly consistent on it. He excelled in pass protection, was a great short yardage runner and as a pass-catcher out of the backfield. Plus he has deep knowledge of a pro style offense. He will join teammates Perry and Matthews III as part of the Pack.

Receiver Brandon Carswell will join a slew of Trojans in Oakland. Also wearing black and silver are Carson Palmer and David Ausberry. Another former USC quarterback, Matt Leinart, is expected to sign with the Raiders momentarily.

Workhorse Christian Tupou won't travel far for his new destination as he attempts to make the San Diego Chargers' roster. He will join former Trojan cornerback Shareece Wright down south.

An unexpected pick was longsnapper Chris Pousson, who was selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in free agency.

Linebacker Chris Galippo will meet a few familiar conference faces as an Indianapolis Colt, the destination for Stanford players Andrew Luck and Coby Fleener. But Galippo has some Trojan armor to fuel the Pac-12 rivalry. Former Trojans Kevin Thomas and Fili Moala are also Colts.

Finally, Da'John Harris will find a familiar face next to him as a Titan. Fellow defensive tackle Jurrell Casey was selected by Tennessee last year in the 3rd round. The two will likely play side by side. The only difference this time around is that they will play a day later. Oh, and they are getting paid to do so.


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