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USC talents show out through Week 3 of NFL

first_imgFormer USC receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster slated 96 yards on seven receptions last night against the Buccaneers. (Daily Trojan file photo)The NFL season is underway and Week 3 has concluded with the first- and second-year Trojans making an impact on their respective teams. Along with a talented crop of rookies, former five-star recruits and receivers Adoree’ Jackson and JuJu Smith-Schuster have demonstrated the USC football program can develop talented players and take them to NFL stardom. Sam DarnoldBranded the face of the Jets franchise after a resounding 48-17 win in his debut against the Detroit Lions, rookie quarterback Sam Darnold struggled against the Browns in Week 3. The pressure was on Darnold on Thursday night to show the Browns they should not have passed on him in the draft with the No. 1 pick. After coming out hot to a 14-0 lead fueled by a strong ground game and consistent quarterback play, the Darnold-led offense sputtered. Following an injury to Browns quarterback Tyrod Taylor, rookie Baker Mayfield played his first real snaps. The pressure was even higher as the two highly touted rookies duked it out, but Darnold threw two critical interceptions that overshadowed his solid start to the game. These errors resulted in a 21-17 loss for the Jets.JuJu Smith-SchusterAnother Pro Football Focus hero, second year wideout JuJu Smith-Schuster had a 134.0 passer rating on passes targeting him his rookie year, the highest for any rookie receiver in the last 10 years. It’s hard to say that Smith-Schuster is a breakout candidate because it feels like he has already broken out. In his first two games, he’s backed up his fan-favorite personality and eccentric touchdown celebrations with 240 receiving yards and a touchdown. With Le’Veon Bell out for the foreseeable future due to contractual issues, there will be plenty of opportunities for Smith-Schuster to showcase his talent.Adoree’ JacksonAfter posting an 82.3 Pro Football Focus grade and making it onto Pro Football Focus’ list of “Second Year Players Primed to Breakout in 2018,” second year cornerback, Jackson has not disappointed. While it’s hard to evaluate a cornerback’s performance based on statistics alone, Jackson has recorded plenty to justify the hype. In his second game against the divisional rival Texans, he demonstrated his athleticism while recording his first career interception over superstar receiver DeAndre Hopkins. Jackson has come into his own after a rollercoaster rookie year and is positioned to be a stud for the Titans, who hope to return to the playoffs this year.Ronald Jones IIRookie running back Ronald Jones II was taken in the second round of this year’s NFL Draft. Yet, in spite of the Bucs’ bottom ranking ground game, Jones has not played a snap with Peyton Barber and Jacquizz Rodgers ahead of him on the depth chart. In the NFL season’s third week, Jones hoped to have made more of an impact to balance the Bucs’ passing attack. He struggles to fit into the Bucs’ vertical offense as a player who doesn’t catch the ball much; Jones only had 32 catches his entire college career. As the Bucs’ backup quarterback, Ryan Fitzpatrick was thrust into the starting job and is averaging over 400 yards passing and four touchdowns over the first two weeks Jones will continue to find where he fits in.Uchenna NwosuAfter striking fear into the hearts of Pac-12 quarterbacks last year, rookie outside linebacker Uchenna Nwosu began what he hopes will be a reign of terror on quarterbacks at the next level when he recorded his first sack in Week 2 against the Bills. Otherwise, Nwosu has been relatively quiet on the stat sheet, but is seeing an uptick in snaps after only seeing two defensive snaps his first game. In spite of major injuries, the Los Angeles Chargers are eyeing a playoff berth, and Nwosu looks to be a key piece in a dominant defense this season.last_img

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