USC is losing two juniors to the NFL – offensive tackle Tyron Smith and defensive tackle Jurrell Casey.
I’m not at all surprised by Smith’s early entrance. He would have benefited from another year at USC, but this is an incredibly weak class for offensive lineman – the worst since at least 2005 – and his draft stock will be elevated as a result.
Smith is an impressive athlete, and definitely has the raw ability necessary to play left tackle at the next level. He could come off the board as high as the top-20, but more realistically will fall in the 25-40 range.
Considering all the turmoil at USC over the past year, Casey’s decision to leave doesn’t come as much of a surprise either. But his decision certainly wasn’t impacted by a chance to boost his stock. This is a very deep class for defensive linemen, and Casey stands little chance of coming off the board within the top 50 picks.
Casey lacks the size and strength to play nose tackle, and lacks the athleticism to shift to end in a 3-4 scheme. This will limit the number of teams interested in his services, and could cause for him to plummet down draft boards.