NFL draft: Amon-ra St. Brown among four Trojans, one Bruin selected on last day
Steve Galluzo (LA Times) — The first two days of the NFL draft were unusually uneventful for USC. The Trojans had only one player taken in the first three rounds, but Saturday headlined with a Trojan.
Jacksonville kicked off the fourth round by selecting defensive tackle Jay Tufele first (106th overall), and he subsequently tweeted “Always love SC. Excited to represent the Jaguars.”
Tufele opted out of the 2020 campaign because of COVID-19 concerns and the uncertainty of the Pac-12 canceling its season but he earned first-team All-Pac-12 honors in 2019 and second-team honors in 2018. The 6-foot-3, 315-pounder from Salt Lake City was Jacksonville’s fourth defensive lineman added through free agency or the draft.
With the third pick of Round 4, Atlanta took San Diego State cornerback Darren Hall, who grew up in Pasadena and recorded 95 tackles in two seasons at Rancho Cucamonga High.
Four spots later, the second USC player of the day, wide receiver Amon-ra St. Brown (8), was taken 112th overall by Detroit. He had a team-best 41 catches for 478 yards and seven touchdowns in six games last year and ranks 11th on the Trojans’ career receptions list with 178. He was named to the 2020 All-Pac-12 first team.
Having grown up in Anaheim Hills, St. Brown was a standout at Mater Dei High in Santa Ana, where he made The Times’ All-Area team as a senior in 2017 when he caught 72 passes for 1.320 yards to lead the Monarchs to the CIF Southern Section title and state bowl Open Division crown.
California cornerback Camryn Bynum, another player with Southern California roots, was selected 20th in the fourth round (125th overall) by Minnesota. He had 136 tackles and six interceptions as a junior and senior at Corona Centennial, leading the Huskies to the Southern Section Pac-5 crown in 2015.
Taken 28th in the fifth round by San Francisco was Oregon cornerback Deommodore Lenoir, who started all seven games for the Ducks last year and finished his college career with 34 straight starts at cornerback. He was a two-way star at Salesian High in Los Angeles where he was named to The Times’ All-Area team as a senior and was the Angelus League player of the year in 2016.
USC safety Talanoa Hufanga was picked 36th in the fifth round (180th overall) by San Francisco. He had 51 tackles last year and has been training with former Trojan and Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu since January. Hufanga’s cousin, USC defensive tackle Marlon Tuipulotu, went fifth in the sixth round to Philadelphia. Their cousin Fili Moala preceded them as a defensive tackle at USC (2005-08) before going on to play in the NFL for Indianapolis from 2009 to 2014.
Just like its crosstown rival, UCLA had only one player drafted in the first three rounds (defensive tackle Osa Odighizuwa was picked 75th overall by Dallas), but the Bruins got another name on the board late in the final day when wide receiver Demetric Felton was picked 27th in Round 6 by Cleveland.
Felton, who hails from Temecula and starred at Great Oak High, led the Pac-12 and ranked sixth in the nation in all-purpose yards (165.83 per game) as a senior last year.