Local players chosen in NFL draft

ESPNLosAngeles.com will track the players from USC, UCLA and other players from the Southland chosen in the 2010 NFL draft:

Round 1. Pick 15. N.Y. GIANTS

Jason Pierre-Paul, Defensive End, South Florida, 6-5, 270 pounds

In college: Pierre-Paul started only seven games at the Division-I level, but those seven games made a big impression on NFL folk. The noted physical freak had six sacks for the Bulls, including a sack and forced fumble in USF's upset over Florida State last September. Pierre-Paul started his college career at College of the Canyons in nearby Valencia before moving on to Fort Scott Community College in Kansas and then USF.

The fit: The explosive Pierre-Paul has been said to resemble NFL defensive ends Jevon Kearse and Osi Umenyiora, and Umenyiora is exactly who the Giants are envisioning for the South Florida prospect. New York has developed a number of ends over the years, and Pierre Paul -- with some on-the-job training over the next year or two -- could be the next big thing coming off the edge in the Big Apple. The Giants, transitioning to a 3-4 defense this offseason under new coordinator Perry Fewell, could also utilize Pierre-Paul at outside linebacker.

Round 1. Pick: 17. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (from Carolina)

Mike Iupati, Offensive Guard, Idaho, 6-5, 330 pounds

In college: Iupati, the top-rated guard available in this draft, was a three-year starter at Idaho and a First-Team All-American his senior year. The 22-year-old moved to the States from American Samoa, where he grew up, and didnt start playing football until he was 14 years old. At Anaheim Western, Iupati earned all-state and all-conference honors his senior year. Known as a fiend in the weight room, Iupati posted 27 reps of 225 pounds at the NFL Combine in March and ran a 5.26 40-yard dash.

The fit: Iupati will be coming back to California and heading to San Francisco to join Rutgers tackle Anthony Davis as newcomers to the 49ers offensive line. Francisco currently offers up the solid but unspectacular tandem of Adam Snyder and Michigan product David Baas at the guard spots. Iupati could come in and beef up the line immediately, with the potential to start right away at either slot.

Draftboard breakdown: McShay's analysis


Brian Price, Defensive Tackle, UCLA, 6-1, 303 pounds

In college: Price put up great numbers throughout his three-year career at UCLA, starting with the Las Vegas Bowl at the end of his freshman season, when he started and posted three tackles for a loss and a big forced fumble. He brought in the awards following the 2009 season, earning third-team All-American and Pac-10 Defensive Play of the Year honors. Price turned 21 earlier this month and has plenty of potential, both as a 4-3 under tackle or as a potential defensive end in the 3-4 defense.

The fit: Price heads to Tampa Bay, where he will join third overall pick Gerald McCoy as newcomers to the Buccaneers defensive line. Interestingly, both Price and McCoy are thought to be three-technique defensive tackles in the same mold as former Tampa great Warren Sapp. But both Buccaneer tackles from a year ago, former first-rounders Chris Hovan and Ryan Sims, were disappointments, and McCoy and Price could form a truly dangerous combination.

Round 2. Pick: 48. CAROLINA PANTHERS

Jimmy Clausen, Quarterback, Notre Dame, 6-3, 222 pounds

In college: Faced with almost unheard-of expectations as the nation's consensus No. 1 high school recruit in the class of 2006 out of Westlake Village Oaks Christian, Clausen had been regarded as somewhat of a disappointment after his first two seasons at Notre Dame, throwing 32 touchdowns to 23 interceptions. But the much-ballyhooed prospect had an ultra-productive junior season throwing for 3,722 yards, with 28 touchdowns and just four interceptions in his final year in South Bend and declared for early entry following the season. His 161.4 quarterback rating ranked third nationally and his 68 percent completion percentage ranked fifth.

The fit: Clausen fell far further than most predicted he could, but he enters into a great situation in Carolina. The Panthers released their long-time quarterback, Jake Delhomme, this offseason; Clausen will now be competing with Newhall Hart High product Matt Moore for the right to start. Luckily, Clausen, the Panthers' first selection as the team was without a first-rounder, played in a pro-style system under Charlie Weis at Notre Dame and could jump right in for the Panthers.

Draftboard breakdown: McShay's analysis

Round 2. Pick: 49. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

Taylor Mays, Safety, USC, 6-3, 235 pounds

In college: Mays is a polarizing figure in this years NFL draft. Some teams look at his top-tier athletic ability and size and see him as a mid-first rounder; others look at his inability to make plays on the ball and see a second-to-third-round prospect. Mays was one of the elusive four-year starters at USC, accumulating 268 tackles and five interceptions. He became known for a peculiar propensity to pick up late-hit penalties in his final season in Troy, but some see his hard-hitting tendencies as a sign he can transition directly to a starting spot in the NFL.

The fit:And the Ronnie Lott comparisons begin with Mays following the former Trojan safety to San Francisco. Similar to Clausen, Mays fell far past the first round he was expected to go in, but the situation he enters into isnt as positive the 49ers have two players entrenched at the safety spots in Michael Lewis and Dashon Goldson. It will be interesting to see how San Francisco utilizes Mays. Itll be even more interesting to see how Mays plays against the Seattle Seahawks and his former coach Pete Carroll twice a year.

Draftboard breakdown: McShay's analysis

Round 2. Pick: 51. MINNESOTA VIKINGS

Toby Gerhart, Running Back, Stanford, 6-1, 235 pounds

In college: Gerhart chose to enter the draft early after a monster junior season at The Farm, where he ran for 1,871 yards and 27 touchdowns. Out of Norco HS, Gerhart had put up great numbers but was not highly recruited as a running back prospect. Instead, many teams thought of him as a linebacker or a fullback. But during his time at Stanford, the strong, bowling ball-esque Gerhart proved his worth as a feature back, leading the Cardinal out of obscurity and into a bowl game last season while carrying the load of the offense on his shoulders.

The fit: In a curious decision, the Vikings with perhaps the best running back in the league in Oklahoma product Adrian Peterson traded up in the second round to acquire Gerhart. Obviously, Gerhart will not come as the starter for Minnesota, but he has a great opportunity to learn behind one of the games best in Peterson. Plus, the Vikings have relied on backup backs like Chester Taylor behind Peterson in the past, and Gerhart could also get some snaps at fullback.

Round 2. Pick: 64. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

Charles Brown, Offensive Tackle, USC, 6-5, 303 pounds

In college: Brown has picked up steam in recent weeks as one of the most NFL-ready tackles available. After playing tight end at Diamond Ranch High in Chino Hills, the 23-year-old started for two seasons at left tackle for the Trojans, guarding the blind sides of both Mark Sanchez and Matt Barkley. Brown isnt an athletic marvel, but his height leaves room for growth in his frame and, despite pulling up lame while running the 40-yard dash at USCs Pro Day, he displayed good game speed during his time at USC.

The fit: Brown became the last selection in the second round of the draft when he was snatched up by the Super Bowl champion Saints. New Orleans has a fair amount of talent at the tackle spots, but two-time Pro Bowl pick Jammal Brown missed all of last year because of a sports hernia, and the Saints have reportedly been tempted to deal him this offseason. Brown was replaced by Jermon Bushrod in 2009; the Saints could toss Charles Brown into the mix there or across the line at right tackle. Brown joins former Trojans Sedrick Ellis and Reggie Bush in New Orleans.

Round 3. Pick: 70. BALTIMORE RAVENS

Ed Dickson, Tight End, Oregon, 6-5, 243 pounds

In college: Dickson was never a super producer during his time at Oregon, but his natural athletic ability showed on numerous occasions. After coming in as a highly recruited prospect out of Bellflower HS, Dickson played the first nine games of his college career at defensive end before switching to tight end, where he was a three-year starter. He had a couple big games over the years, including an 11-catch, 148-yard, three-touchdown performance in the Ducks 42-3 win over Cal in 2009.

The fit: Dickson goes to Baltimore, where he'll be able to learn behind one of the most talented tight ends of the past decade in Todd Heap. Heap, 30, has been a mainstay at the position for the Ravens for eight seasons. Dickson, 22, doesnt have quite the same skill level at tight end and his blocking is subpar, but his ideal frame and great combination of size and speed will help him earn time.

Round 3. Pick: 77. TENNESSEE TITANS

Damian Williams, Wide Receiver, USC, 6-1, 195 pounds

In college:Williams produced consistently during his two years at USC, leading the Trojans in catches and receiving yards both years and also serving as an effective punt returner. Born and raised in Arkansas, he transferred to USC following his freshman year at Arkansas. Williams doesnt have the flashy quickness or agility of other receivers in this draft, but he does the little things teams love and was a coaches favorite with the Trojans.

The fit:The Titans have a ton of talented receivers, but no obvious No. 1s. Kenny Britt had an effective rookie season after being chosen in the first round by Tennessee a year ago, but Williams still has the opportunity to jump right into the offense in Nashville. Former USC cornerback Jeff Fisher is the longtime coach in Tennessee. Other Titans receivers: Cal product Lavelle Hawkins, Justin Gage and Nate Washington.


Kevin Thomas, Cornerback, USC, 6-3, 273 pounds

In college: Thomas wasnt a full-time starter until his senior year, but his final season at USC was a good one. The Oxnard native showed signs of becoming a shutdown corner, as throws to his side of the field were rare. He has dealt with a number of injuries and was forced to redshirt the 2007 season due to a sprained shoulder; he appeared to rise up draft boards quite a bit with his postseason play this season, performing well at both the NFL Combine and USCs Pro Day in March.

The fit: The Colts third round pick a year ago, cornerback Jerraud Powers of Auburn, experienced almost a seamless transition into Indianapolis Tampa-2 defense and started 12 of 16 games in 2009. Thomas could do the same across from Powers, wherell he have to unseat veteran Kelvin Hayden and/or Jacob Lacey. The Colts defense features more blitz packages than the typical Tampa-2, and Thomas proved to be an effective blitzer on occasion at USC.

Round 4. Pick: 100. MINNESOTA VIKINGS

Everson Griffen, Defensive End, USC, 6-3, 273 lbs

In college: Griffen possesses a great combination of size and speed, one that has tempted scouts over the years. But the Arizona native struggled some at USC, facing questions about his work ethic and attitude on the field and failing to break through as a full-time starter until his junior season. In three seasons, he totaled 18 sacks, four forced fumbles and 21 tackles for losses. He earned Second-Team All-Pac-10 honors in 2009, and could play either 4-3 defensive end or 3-4 outside linebacker at the next level.

The fit: Griffen will follow the lead of former USC defensive end Kenechi Udeze and head to Minnesota after the Vikings took him with the second pick in the fourth round. Griffen, the victim of a large freefall in the draft after being projected as a first or second-rounder, will join a Minnesota defensive line that includes All-Pro Jared Allen at end and tackles Kevin Williams and Pat Williams, but should be able to earn time as a situational pass rusher.

Round 4. Pick: 104. TENNESSEE TITANS

Alterraun Verner, Cornerback, UCLA, 5-11, 180 lbs

In college: Verner broke out as a freshman at UCLA with two interception returns for a touchdown and never looked back, serving as a three-year starter. He earned All-Pac-10 and third-team All-America honors following a senior season where he totaled 72 tackles and five interceptions. Verner has also developed a reputation as a big-play corner; he scored five touchdowns during his career off of turnovers.

The fit: Tennessee gave up two players and a pick for the right to move up to select Verner. The Titans have one of the leagues best young corners in Cortland Finnegan and a dependable veteran in Nick Harper, but no established nickel back. Thats where Verner will set his sights during his rookie season in Tennessee.

Round 4. Pick 111. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

Walter Thurmond, Cornerback, Oregon, 6-0, 190 lbs

In college:Coming out of West Covina HS, Thurmond was known to be speedy, but he proved himself as a technique-savvy corner at Oregon. Had he not torn his ACL, MCL and PCL last September, Thurmond couldve been a top talent in this draft. Instead, hes in the position to show NFL teams that hes healthy and show teams that his playmaking ability he had 12 interceptions at Oregon wont subside.

The fit:Thurmond was the pick on the other half of the trade that netted the Titans UCLA corner Alterraun Verner. The Seahawks have three established corners in Marcus Trufant, Josh Wilson and Kelly Jennings, but Thurmond could start in the dime package and work his way up.

Round 4. Pick 112. NEW YORK JETS

Joe McKnight, Running back, USC, 6-0, 190 lbs

In college: McKnight came to USC with very, very high expectations. He didn't come close to meeting them, but he did put together a solid junior season in 2009, running for 1,014 yards and eight touchdowns as the No. 1 back for the Trojans. McKnight struggled some returning punts, showcasing his not-so-solid hands, but certainly has the agility and moves necessary to be a successful third-down back in the NFL.

The fit: Curiously, the Jets -- with three established runners in their backfield -- traded up to get McKnight in the fourth round. New York signed LaDainian Tomlinson this offseason to pair with Shonn Greene and Leon Washington in the backfield after releasing Thomas Jones. McKnight is a similar player to Washington as a speed-first, agile runner, but the USC product will have to really fight for carries during his rookie season in the NFL. Former USC running back Chauncey Washington is also on the roster in New York.

Round 4. Pick 117. ATLANTA FALCONS

Joseph Hawley, Offensive Guard, UNLV, 6-3, 310 lbs

In college: Hawley was a three-year starter at UNLV after three years on the varsity team at Anaheim Esperanza. A versatile mauler, he played both center and guard during his time with the Rebels and could play either position in the pros although most teams see him as a guard.

The fit: The Falcons dont have an established right guard. Texas product Justin Blalock has been the man at the left spot since he was drafted in 2008, but Atlanta has had to rely on a variety of players at right guard in recent years. The Falcons are also in need of depth at either guard spot, so Hawley was a need pick.

Round 5. Pick 148. TENNESSEE TITANS

Robert Johnson, Safety, Utah, 6-2, 200 lbs

In college: Johnson has deep L.A. ties, graduating from L.A. Fremont HS and spending a year at L.A. Southwest. He had success in three years in Utah, starting 31 games and earning first-team All-Mountain West honors following his senior season. Johnson totaled an impressive 13 interceptions and made his name with two picks against Alabama in the Sugar Bowl after the 2008 season.

The fit: The Titans have a lot of talent at safety, with Texas product Michael Griffin and former Steelers player Chris Hope the starters in 2009, so Johnson enters into a spot in Tennessee where he will likely have to fight to make the roster. Hes displayed a lot of ball-hawking ability in past years, and hell need to show that in preseason play.

Round 6. Pick 185. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

Anthony McCoy, Tight end, USC, 6-5, 250 lbs

In college: McCoy never produced to the level his abilities might indicate at the college level, but he still possesses the skills to be a tight end in the NFL. McCoy can block, McCoy can catch short passes as an outlet for the quarterback and McCoy can be a deep threat -- he can. But in two years as the starting tight end for USC, he totaled 713 receiving yards and two touchdowns. He also hurt his stock by missing the Emerald Bowl -- the final game of his college career -- due to academic ineligibility, and testing positive for marijuana at the NFL Combine.

The fit: Seahawks coach Pete Carroll finally dipped into the pool of players he coached at USC with McCoy. McCoy will face a tough challenge to earn a roster spot with Seattle, as the Seahawks already have a starting tight end in John Carlson and just signed backup Chris Baker to a free-agent contract this offseason. McCoy will also have to compete with 2009 seventh-round selection Cameron Morrah for the third-string spot.

Round 6. Pick 198. CAROLINA PANTHERS

David Gettis, Wide receiver, Baylor, 6-3, 217 lbs

In college: A record-setting track star at Dorsey HS, Gettis turned down a track scholarship offer from USC and proved to be a home-run threat on the football field during his time at Baylor. He had 50-yard catches in each of his four seasons and caught seven passes in 2009 that went for 35-plus yards. A certifiable burner, Gettis also returned kicks for the Bears and ran track for a year.

The fit: Carolina struggled with kick returning in 2009 when incumbent returner Mark Jones failed his physical at the beginning of the season, and the Panthers picked up Brian Witherspoon off of waivers this offseason to compete for the job. Gettis will now compete with Witherspoon and former second-round selection Dexter Jackson at that spot and among the Wallace Wright and Charly Martin for a spot on the receiver depth chart.


Terrence Austin, Wide receiver, UCLA, 5-11, 172 lbs

In college:Austin was never a prolific receiver with the Bruins, but his return skills have caught the eyes of a number of pro teams. The speedster accumulated more than 3,000 return yards during his time in Westwood, and, while he never took a kick or punt back for a score, he averaged a healthy 24 yards per kick return last season.

The fit:The Redskins released both kick returner Rock Cartwright and punt returner Antwaan Randle El this offseason, so Austin goes to Washington with a shot at earning both spots. Austin also joins three former Bruins in Washington in kicker Justin Medlock, safety Chris Horton and defensive tackle Ryan Boschetti.

Round 7. Pick 223. CAROLINA PANTHERS

R.J Stanford, Cornerback, Utah, 5-11, 180 lbs

In college: Stanford was a star running back at Chino HS and spent the majority of his freshman season at Utah in the backfield before moving to the defensive backfield. He then started 22 games over the next three years at corner, including all 13 games in 2009. The electrifying Stanford ran a 4.44 40-yard dash at Utahs Pro Day after recording an interception and blocked field goal during his senior season.

The fit: The Panthers have a good amount talent at corner, including 2009 seventh-rounder Captain Munnerlyn and bookend corners Richard Marshall and Chris Gamble. Stanford could play in dime situations in his rookie season assuming he makes the team but would do well to impress the Carolina coaching staff in special teams situations.


Erik Lorig, Defensive end, Stanford, 6-3, 281 lbs

In college: Lorig was a highly recruited tight end at Palos Verdes Peninsula HS and spent his first two seasons at Stanford as a backup tight end, but he earned his first collegiate starts on the other side of the field at defensive end during his junior season. In 2008, Lorig started eight games and had two sacks; in 2009, he registered three sacks and a forced fumble while starting all of the Cardinals 12 games.

The fit: Lorig joins UCLA defensive tackle Brian Price and third overall selection Gerald McCoy as newcomers on the Tampa Bay defensive line. The Buccaneers lost defensive end Jimmy Wilkerson this offseason and got only a combined 10 sacks in 2009 from ends Stylez White and Tim Crowder. Lorig is a bit heavier than the typical Tampa Bay player at his position, but he could earn time as a high-motor end, freeing the way for Price and McCoy to rush the passer.

The Los Angeles-area players drafted in the NFL was compiled by Pedro Moura.