USC's crazy streak is over, as no defensive player drafted for first time in common draft era

There was a USC flavor to the 2020 NFL draft. Offensive tackle Austin Jackson went to the Miami Dolphins in the first round. Receiver Michael Pittman Jr. was selected by the Indianapolis Colts early in the second round.

But there was something missing. A defensive player.

One of the craziest NFL draft streaks is over. Since the common draft started in 1967, at least one USC defensive player had been drafted in every one. There were some close calls, but one always got in. In 1991 the first USC defender was defensive tackle Don Gibson in the ninth round. The draft doesn’t even have nine rounds anymore. But the streak stayed alive.

From Junior Seau, Troy Polamalu, Willie McGinest, even Al Cowlings, every draft since the first common AFL-NFL draft in 1967 had a USC defensive player. Until 2020.

The Trojans’ best hopes were defensive end Christian Rector and outside linebacker John Houston Jr. Neither one was considered a lock to get into the draft, and the seventh round went by without either hearing his name called.

It was a light draft for USC with only two players picked. That’s the fewest picks for USC since 2002.

USC also was passed for most first-round picks in history. Ohio State had two on Thursday, giving them 83 all-time. That’s one more than USC’s 82. In addition, Notre Dame celebrated tying USC for most NFL draft picks in history.

One Trojans record stayed intact. With the pick of Jackson, it gave USC a draft pick every year since 1939. USC and Michigan are the only teams with picks in 82 straight drafts.

USC didn't have a defensive player drafted for the first time since the first common draft. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)

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