USC has manufactured a ton of NFL-ready prospects under Pete Carroll in recent years. In general, the Trojans' heavy emphasis on speed and athleticism translates to the pro game much better than powerhouses in the slower Big Ten and Big East.
This year is no different.
At USC's pro day, four five-star prospects worked out for scouts. What does it mean for Buffalo? The Bills got another good look at defensive tackle Fili Moala.
The 6-foot-4, 303-pound DT visited with the Bills already. Projected as a high second-round talent, Moala could form a formidable tandem with Marcus Stroud in the interior. Kyle Williams was underwhelming after signing an extension and John McCargo is quickly heading down Erik Flowers' path to busthood.
Yes, the Bills' defense is improving. But it still needs a young threat up front.
He sure has the pedigree. Moala is the cousin of mammoth Baltimore Ravens' defensive tackle Haloti Ngata. Last year he was a key cog on USC's defense that held eight teams to one touchdown or less. He had 10 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks and an overall imposing presence in the middle last year for USC.
Scouts see him in the Chris Canty mold. He could play end in a 3-4 or be a penetration threat as a tackle in a 4-3. Considering the Bills failed miserably to apply pressure across the defensive line, Moala may be worth a second round pick.
There's genuine interest here too.
The Bills entertained Moala on an early visit, Scout.com's Ed Thompson reported. He also had formal meetings with the Chiefs, Chargers, Steelers, Cardinals, Broncos, Saints, Giants, Cowboys, Browns and Colts at the Combine.
At the Combine, Moala did enough to buffer his draft status. He bench-pressed 225 pounds 25 times and ran a 5.07 in the 40-yard dash. With Stroud aging and the other defensive tackle spot leaking with inconsistency, don't discount Buffalo taking Moala if he falls to them in the second round. Teams value athletic defensive linemen now more than ever.
Outside of Moala, USC's pro day has other implications to Buffalo.
The main event, Mark Sanchez, may have solidified a top 10 selection. If he is drafted early with Matthew Stafford, some other top-tier prospects are bound to trickle down to the Bills at No. 11. Maybe even Everette Brown.
The Seattle Seahawks – with half of their front office in town for USC's pro day – became a surprise player. Sanchez has also visited San Francisco, Detroit and St. Louis. He also had dinner with Jacksonville.
Sanchez estimated that he threw 80 balls at the pro day – a high amount – and all indications say that he looked sharp.
For highlights of Moala click here.
And watch video of USC's pro day here.