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2022 NFL Combine Preview: Five Trojans head to Indianapolis

Mar 2, 2022

Five Trojans are ready to make their mark in Indianapolis this week at the 2022 NFL Combine. Wide receiver Drake London, running back Keaontay Ingram, defensive lineman Drake Jackson, and cornerbacks Chris Steele and Isaac Taylor-Stuart were invited to participate among 324 other draft-eligible prospects.

The combine takes place from March 1-7, but the on-field work begins on March 3 and is separated by position groups. The testing includes seven events: 40-yard dash, three-cone drill, 20-yard shuttle, 60-yard shuttle, bench press, vertical jump, and broad jump.

The testing schedule is as follows:

March 3: Quarterbacks, wide receivers, tight ends

March 4: Offensive linemen, running backs

March 5: Defensive linemen, linebackers

March 6: Defensive backs, place kickers

Here is an overview of the five Trojans in Indianapolis this week:

Drake London

  • Measurables:
    • Height: 6-5
    • Weight: 210
    • Age: 20
  • 2021 Season:
    • London was on his way to a historic season as a Trojan in 2021, but his year was unfortunately cut short due to a broken ankle suffered against the Arizona Wildcats in late October. Though he only competed in eight games, London still finished as USC's leading receiver last year with 1,084 yards on 88 receptions for seven touchdowns.
    • The wide receiver was impressive enough to still be named Offense Pac-12 Player of the Year by both the conference and Pro Football Focus. He also finished as a semifinalist for the Biletnikoff Award.
  • Since the season ended:
    • Though Trojan fans would have loved to see more of the wide receiver at the college ranks, London declared for the 2022 NFL Draft shortly after USC's season ended in December. In a note posted to social media, London wrote, "I will forever be a Trojan and cannot wait to represent the best brotherhood in the NFL."
    • The pass catcher's draft stock has only continued to climb since he declared in December. Many mock drafts predict that London will be the first wide receiver off the board come April. 
    • London will not compete in on-field drills this week in Indianapolis, but is scheduled to perform at USC's Pro Day.
  • Scouting report per NFL Draft Buzz:
    • Strengths: 
      • Has a knack for getting open and is a quarterback's best friend - passers just need to toss the ball in his area and he'll come down with it
      • In the run game, he is a strong and tough blocker and can easily chip a blitzing linebacker on the way to a receiving route
    • Weaknesses:
      • Does not always use his hands to secure deep throws, allowing the ball into his pads and chest
      • Hasn't had much experience out wide - played almost all of his snaps from the slot

Keaontay Ingram

  • Measurables
    • Height: 6-0
    • Weight: 215
    • Age: 23
  • 2021 season:
    • Ingram served as USC's main back last year and was a threat both on the ground and through the air. The Texas native finished the 2021 season with 911 yards on 156 carries with five touchdowns. Ingram fell shy of the thousand-yard mark due to an ankle injury he suffered at the end of the season that held him out of the Trojans' season finale against Cal. He did amass over a thousand total yards in 2021, however, with 154 yards on 22 receptions.
    • Over the span of his four years as a collegiate running back at Texas and USC, Ingram rushed for 2,722 yards on 495 carries (5.5 average) and 16 touchdowns. He also recorded 89 catches for 669 yards and six touchdowns.
  • Since the season ended:
    • Ingram was one of the last draft eligible Trojans on the 2021 roster to announce his plans for the future. In a letter to USC's fans he wrote, "I want to say thank you for the love and support! Playing in the Coliseum was a special moment for me and is something I will be able to tell my kids one day and cherish forever."
    • The running back accepted an invitation to play in the Shrine Bowl in January and impressed scouts in attendance.
  • Scouting report per NFL Draft Buzz:
    • Strengths: 
      • Has the feet and feel running between the tackles and in the open field. He has very good vision and patience to pick through defenses.
      • Difficult to bring down one-on-one in space, regularly sidesteps would-be tacklers and uses offhand to use oncoming defenders' momentum against them without slowing down significantly.
    • Weaknesses:
      • Loses momentum when he gears down to change direction and it takes him a few steps to accelerate back to full speed. 
      • Appears indecisive; will dance too much at the line of scrimmage.

Drake Jackson

  • Measurables:
    • Height: 6-4
    • Weight: 250
    • Age: 20
  • 2021 season:
    • A former four-star prospect, Jackson shined in his three years at USC under two defensive coordinators. He recorded eight tackles for loss, with five sacks, one interception and one fumble recovery in his final year as a Trojan.
    • Jackson finished his collegiate career with 25 tackles for loss, with 12.5 sacks, four pass breakups, two interceptions, and one fumble recovery.
  • Since the season ended:
    • Jackson took to Instagram to announce his decision to USC fans. He wrote, "I am beyond blessed to be able to have had the opportunity to compete as a Trojan! There is nothing like wearing that Cardinal and gold."
  • Scouting report per NFL Draft Buzz:
    • Strengths:
      • Fantastic closing speed timed at 4.5 secs in the forty - with long arms to drag down quarterbacks and running backs.
      • Has enough athleticism to drop in coverage and penetrate the pocket.
    • Weaknesses:
      • Builds to top speed but must take the right line to beat backs to the edge
      • Height leaves him susceptible to cut blocks, he must learn to defeat with his hands

Chris Steele

  • Measurables:
    • Height: 6-1
    • Weight: 190
    • Age: 21
  • 2021 season:
    • Steele earned a starting spot on USC's defense for the third and final time in 2021. He recorded two interceptions, three pass breakups, and one forced fumble.
    • The corner finished his collegiate career with 94 tackles, with three for a loss, three interceptions, 12 pass breakups, one fumble recovery and one forced fumble.
  • Since the season ended:
    • Shortly after USC's season came to an end, Steele declared for the 2022 NFL Draft. In a note to fans, the cornerback wrote, "These past three seasons at USC have been some of the best times of my life. I've made relationships and have memories within this family that will last a lifetime."
  • Scouting report per NFL Draft Buzz:
    • Strengths:
      • Very aggressive attacking receiver blocks and tackles like a safety.
      • Has good foot quickness and short-area burst to work well in tight areas.
    • Weaknesses:
      • Inconsistent getting off of blocks. Can be a step slow to react when a quarterback comes back to his side of the field late in progression.
      • Vulnerable to big plays trying to bait the quarterback.

Isaac Taylor-Stuart

  • Measurables:
    • Height: 6-2
    • Weight: 200
    • Age: 22
  • 2021 season:
    • Taylor-Stuart saw plenty of playing time as a true freshman and continued that trend into his final year as a Trojan in 2021. He started 11 games and recorded a career-high of 39 total tackles, one interception and three pass breakups.
    • The cornerback finished his collegiate career with a total of 80 tackles, with one for a loss, two interceptions, and seven pass breakups.
  • Since the season ended:
    • Taylor-Stuart declared for the 2022 NFL Draft on New Year Day in an announcement on Twitter. He wrote, "It's a true blessing to not only have donned the cardinal and gold, but also to receive my degree from such a prestigious university."
  • Scouting report per NFL Draft Buzz:
    • Strengths:
      • Transitions well from coverage to close on the ball
      • Very aggressive attacking receiver blocks and tackles like a safety
      • Physical downfield and matches up well with bigger receivers
    • Weaknesses:
      • Not fully consistent on making the interception in front of receivers
      • Best lined well off the line of scrimmage due to a high, stiff backpedal