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Who are the top five USC prospects in the 2018 NFL Draft?

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California v USC Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

As the USC Trojans begin to load up for what figures to be a tantalizing college football season, NFL fans turn their eyes to the talents they see on the roster. Almost every professional football team carries at least one Trojan starter on their squad. Who are the likeliest to join the ranks of the pros in 2018?

All the attention is on the offense, but it feels like it’ll be defenders who really steal the show in 2017.

Sam Darnold, quarterback. The buzz around Darnold is as strong as it can possibly be after a hot start to finish 2017. The big question is whether Darnold can prove that he can make sure the offense takes off with his main playmakers departing the ranks.

Cameron Smith, linebacker. Smith has been a playmaker since his first year on the field, and has all the makings of a potential Clay Matthews-type in the pros. Darnold is getting the hype right now, but don’t be surprised if linebacker U produces the most sure Trojan to succeed at the next level.

Ronald Jones II, running back. Jones is a spectacular offensive talent and burst out to become the dominant runner in the second half of the season. But he will be challenged this year with a few new offensive linemen blocking in front of him and tons of talent behind him aching for carries.

Iman Marshall, cornerback. Adoree’ Jackson captured all the headlines last season for his ability to play offense, defense and special teams, but Marshall was just as solid when the football came his way. Marshall’s athleticism and height will be very attractive for an NFL team looking to upgrade its secondary.

Porter Gustin, defensive end/linebacker. When offenses tried to gameplan away from Smith, Gustin usually blew things up. With 13 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks last season and his ability to provide his incredible run support and pass rush, Gustin isn’t going to let anything go on his side either.