Local looks at USC's 6 draftees

Here's how the media and fans in New York, Philly, Baltimore, Cincinnati and Cleveland see newest NFL Trojans.

So now they're off, off to their new teams, off to mini-camps around the country. But for the six Trojans taken in the NFL Draft last weekend, what are the folks in their new towns saying about them?

Well, here's a little sample:

Leonard Williams -- New York Jets


*** To get one thing out of the way right away, Forbes estimates Williams, a player that one Jets site -- Gang Green -- is comparing to Hall of Famer Reggie White, will get a four-year deal worth around $16.5 million with a first-year cap hit of just under $3.4 million with the Jets having a team option for a fifth. No more "monumental rookie contracts," they say, with the rookie wage scale.

*** "Jets steal USC pass-rushing stud Leonard Williams at No. 6," the New York Daily News headline said. "Despite defensive line being the furthest thing from an area of need, the Jets picked him. 'He was the best player on our board and we were kind of surprised he actually fell to us and felt it was basically too good of a value to pass on at that point in time,” Jets new GM Mike Maccagnan said about his first draft choice as general manager. 'Williams is a 6-foot-5, 302-pound athletic freak. He gives Jets coach Todd Bowles another piece on what might be the best defensive line in football.

" 'The Jets just got a very, very good football player,' one scout from another team said. 'You can never have enough D linemen,' Bowles said of the Jets taking one in the first round for the fourth time in five years. 'I had a bunch of D linemen in Dallas when I was there, too. Having a lot of good football players doesn’t matter. I think everyone on the D line has to learn how to play across the board in our scheme anyway. Having him added to the mix just makes us better.'

“ 'To me, you’re looking at a guy that is scratching the surface of the player he could potentially be,' Maccagnan said."

Here's the final word from CBSSports.com: "By most accounts, Williams is the best player in this draft class. He's not a quarterback, which is why we heard little about him (relatively speaking, anyway) in the months and weeks leading up to Thursday night, but five years from now, we could be talking about how the fates of those teams that passed on Williams might be different had they taken him."

Nelson Agholor -- Philadelphia Eagles


*** The Philly.com Web site asked Eagles fans what grade would they give the draft of Nelson at No. 1, the 20th pick overall. Here's how the 2,088 voters graded it: A: 1178 (56.4%); B. 731 (35.0%); C: 132 (6.3%); D: 20 (1.0%) F: 27 (1.3%). Knowing from personal experience how tough a town Philly can be, this is an overwhelmingly positive endorsement for Nelson.

*** Phil Sheridan of ESPN Philadelphia told the story of how this wasn't the first time Coach Chip Kelly tried to get Nelson to play for him: "When Agholor was going to high school in Tampa, Florida, Kelly recruited him. After Agholor selected USC, he played against Oregon during his freshman year. The kid Kelly remembered from Tampa turned out to be a pretty good college player. 'He had six catches for 162 yards right in front of my face,' Kelly said after selecting Agholor. 'I knew he was a productive player when he walked in as a freshman. And he just kept getting better and better. "

*** One neat thing that happened with Agholor in Philly was in a tribute to Nelson's dad, an immigrant from Nigeria who worked a number of jobs to support his four children including as a janitor for the University of South Florida, that for his jersey signing photo, Kelly invited popular Eagles janitor Troy Robinson to be a part of Agholor's introductory picture as a tribute to Nelson's father.

*** With Jeremy Maclin headed off to Kansas City, Eagles observers expect Nelson to step in immediately and be very productive in Kelly's offense: "Agholor should be slotted to play an outside receiver role in Kelly's system, taking over a spot that produced mega-seasons from DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin the past two years," ESPN Philly said of Nelson, who is "already generating some offseason buzz. In an appearance on ESPN, draft analyst Todd McShay predicted that the former USC wide receiver will be the 2015 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year although Las Vegas odds have him at 14-1 to win that honor, eighth-best and No. 3 wide receiver on that list.

Josh Shaw -- Cincinnati Bengals



An "excellent" and "intriguing" pick the stories from Cincy said about getting Josh on Day 3 as the 120th overall pick but the headlines often were like this one: "Bengals draft USC's Josh Shaw, who once lied about jumping off a balcony." For USC fans, it's an old story now but for the NFL teams who talked to him, it played out again and again. But not so much for the Bengals, apparently.

*** "They desired a long, fast corner who can excel in press coverage," the NFLSpinZone.com said "and at 6-foot, 201 pounds and running a 4.4 40-yard dash, he fits the Bengals system. Defensive backs coach Vance Joseph said special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons viewed him as the best gunner in the draft, but Joseph can't wait to utilize him. Shaw likely slots into the fifth corner spot behind Adam Jones, Dre Kirkpatrick, Leon Hall and Darqueze Dennard. What makes Shaw an especially intriguing pick-up for the Bengals is the fact that he can also play safety for them down the road, should the team find that they are unable to keep their standout duo of Reggie Nelson and George Iloka intact."

*** DB coach Joseph came away without any concern. "As coach you are more concerned about alcohol and drugs," he told reporters. "To me this is less concerning, he's not a drug guy or alcohol guy. He made one mistake and it was a stupid mistake. If he would've played last season not sure where he would've been drafted. That's a steal for us in my opinion."

Buck Allen -- Baltimore Ravens


*** Even though "Allen isn't expected to make the same immediate impact as running backs Melvin Gordon or Todd Gurley, who were selected in the first round," ESPN Ravens reporter Jamison Hensley reports the 125th overall pick, "has the potential to develop into an every-down back. He was the only player in the country to record 13 games of at least 100 yards from scrimmage.

*** "He has deceptive speed," director of college scouting Joe Hortiz said. "When you watch him, you don’t realize he’s gaining so much ground because he’s kind of a smooth runner. He’s a guy we really liked as a collective group, and he’s going to come in and battle for reps and some time with the guys that are already here." Buck said he does see himself "as a backup 'for a while' before taking more of the workload. With his ability to catch the ball, Allen could carve out a niche as a third-down back right away."

*** New Ravens offensive coordinator Marc Trestman, whose Bears' running backs caught 190 passes in two seasons, sees that for sure: "Buck was our top guy coming into [Day 3 of the draft]," Trestman said. "We really like Buck. We like his athleticism. We like his size. He’s very good inside and outside. He can catch the football. He’s a good blocker. We were very excited to have the opportunity to get Buck when we did."

*** The Baltimore Beatdown Ravens site calls Buck "a perfect fit" for the Ravens and a good candidate to take over for starter Justin Forsett since Buck "not only has a faster 40-yard dash than starter Forsett, but is bigger at 6-foot and 221-pounds. That type of size and speed should give Allen the ability to lower the shoulder and fight for yards inside the tackles as well as be a good quick back both as a pass catcher and on stretch plays."

Randall Telfer -- Cleveland Browns


*** "Telfer doesn't have the greatest resume in terms of production and injury history, but he'll try to compete for a roster spot with three players who are similar tight ends in career productivity after the departure of USC alum Jordan Cameron this offseason, says CBS Sports' Dane Bruglar.

*** Scouts say when it comes to being the perfect teammate, very few college players were better than the 198th overall pick, Telfer, about whom one report notes correctly. "You can't find someone to say a negative word about him in the USC offices. Plays hurt, tough, leader and a good teammate," according to an AFC South area scout. But there's also this: "Don't see him being able to hold up physically as an in-line blocker in our league," said an NFL tight ends coach.

*** The Northeast Ohio Media Group checked social media for fans' reaction. Here was one from Cody Rose™ @TheRedRose_33 on Telfer: "Nice to see the Browns draft good character guys with plenty of talent, hopefully it all works out good."

Hayes Pullard -- Cleveland Browns


*** "The Browns got their money’s worth," the ESPN Cleveland notes, "from their West Coast scouts. They drafted one player from Washington (DT Danny Shelton, first round), two from Washington State (DT Xavier Cooper, third round) and WR Vince Mayle, fourth round) and two from USC (Randall Telfer, sixth round, and Pullard, seventh round) -- and that was before adding Oregon's rehabbing Ifo Ekpre Olomu." It's a reglar Pac-12 Midwest on Lake Erie now.

*** One of the first reactions to Hayes' selection came from this tweet from USC AD Pat Haden: "Congrats to my friend Hayes Pullard on being drafted. One heck of a person !" Indeed, another character, locker room guy. But not so well known hereabouts. The Browns beat writer for the Cleveland Plain Dealer had him at 220 pounds, not the 240 he is.

*** The ESPN Cleveland take: "Players taken in these spots have to earn their keep, and probably do so through special teams. That being said, Pullard was a two-year captain at USC and he finished with 25½ tackles for loss in his career and had a team-high 95 tackles in his final season. He started all four years for the Trojans."

You can follow me on Twitter at @dweber3440 or email me at weber@uscfootball.com.


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