Mixed results for USC alumni in NFL as injuries pile up

Ronald Jones takes a carry against Cal.

Ronald jones takes a carry in a game against Cal.
Former Trojan running back Ronald Jones is off to a fast start with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this year. | Daily Trojan file photo

As we head into Week 7 of the NFL season, former Trojans on both sides of the ball are beginning to solidify themselves as impact players. With our last update coming in from Week 2, it’s been four weeks since we last checked in on USC football alumni at the next level. 

While some teams have had their schedules adjusted due to the coronavirus, the season is nearly half complete. Here are the USC alumni having the most notable seasons thus far.

Ronald Jones II

The Trojan who’s had arguably the best time since we last checked in is Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Ronald Jones. In the four games since, he’s run the ball 73 times, accumulating 383 yards and two touchdowns on the ground and an additional 64 yards receiving. 

Jones has asserted himself as the top back in Tampa Bay, racking up three straight games with at least 100 yards rushing. Jones is the first Buccaneer running back to accomplish that feat since Doug Martin in 2015.

Jones sits comfortably at 472 rushing yards through six games, good enough for an average of 78.7 per game compared to just 45.3 a year ago.

Robert Woods

Los Angeles Rams receiver Robert Woods has continued his steady production under head coach Sean McVay in Los Angeles. In three games since our last check-in, Woods has caught 15 passes for 181 yards and two touchdowns. 

Woods’ skillset was on full display as he hauled in a 56-yard touchdown pass in a win over the Washington Football Team in Week 5. Woods sits at 365 all-purpose yards through five games. 

Nelson Agholor

In our Week 2 update, we noted Agholor needed to prove himself on a one-year deal under head coach Jon Gruden this season. He got off to an impressive start, catching a touchdown in his first game, but quickly cooled off with just three catches over the next two games.

Agholor seems to have found his big play ability once again in recent weeks. Agholor caught a touchdown in Las Vegas’ spirited comeback attempt against Buffalo. Then, in the Raiders’ surprise win over defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs, Agholor brought in a 59-yard touchdown pass for his third touchdown reception of the young season, equaling his total with Philadelphia last season.

Chuma Edoga

After missing the first two games of the season, Edoga joined the New York Jets offense in Week 3. Since his return, the former third-round pick appeared in and started three games before leaving a Week 6 contest against the Miami Dolphins with what the team classified as a calf injury. Edoga will undergo further evaluation as Week 7 progresses.

Sam Darnold

Things have not gotten much better for Darnold and the Jets since our update in the second week of the season. Darnold combined for one touchdown and three interceptions in two games before suffering a shoulder injury on a hit. 

Darnold has not suited up for New York since the injury and the team remains bullish on when the signal-caller and former third overall pick will return to action, although signs point to a return in the coming weeks.

Everson Griffen

Defensive end Everson Griffen has had mixed results in his first season with the Dallas Cowboys. While he has not matched the production of his peak years in Minnesota, Griffen has enjoyed a solid role in the Dallas defense. 

While the unit as a whole has struggled, Griffen has racked up 1.5 sacks and 14 total tackles over five games. Although it’s not particularly woeful, Dallas will be looking to get more from a player who combined for 26.5 sacks over the past three seasons.

Injury Update

Since the Week 2 update, the following USC alumni were placed on injured reserve: Tyron Smith (Dallas Cowboys), Jurrell Casey (Denver Broncos), Michael Pittman Jr. (Indianapolis Colts), Austin Jackson (Miami Dolphins), Rasheem Green (Seattle Seahawks) and Zach Banner (Pittsburgh Steelers). 

Tennessee Titans cornerback Adoree Jackson remains on injured reserve after suffering an injury prior to the start of the season. Baltimore Ravens cornerback Iman Marshall and Minnesota Vikings linebacker Cam Smith remain on injured reserve since their designations prior to the season.