Summary: Over the past few seasons, almost all of the attention on the USC program was focused on quarterback Sam Darnold. While Darnold earned the right to be a future franchise quarterback, the Trojans have other good talent for the NFL, and Green was tough defender for the defense the past two seasons.
As a sophomore, Green broke out wit a total of 55 tackles, 6.5 sacks, four passes batted and two forced fumbles. He was even better in 2017, totaling 10 sacks, with 12.5 tackles for a loss, 43 tackles, one forced fumble and four passes batted. The junior showed good instincts and play recognition to be an impact-making player for USC. There was no doubt that Green was a quick defender, but at the NFL Scouting Combine, he logged a shockingly fast 40-yard dash time of 4.73 seconds. That is incredible for a defensive lineman and illustrates that Green has a lot of athletic upside for the NFL.
Clearly, Green is at his best when he is using his speed to fire his gap and cause disruption in the backfield. That makes him a dangerous interior pass-rusher. Green has a quick get-off with the speed to close. He has active hands when chasing the quarterback and uses them to work through blocks. He also gives a second effort and rushes with good leverage. A fast interior pass-rusher is a tough commodity to find, and Green has a ton of upside to develop into a quarterback hunter from the inside who has a big-time presence in leading the pass rush for a defensive line.
As a run defender, Green can really struggle to hold his ground at the point of attack when runs come downhill straight at him. He can get pushed back off the line of scrimmage, struggles to disengage from blocks, and can get rolled around the field. Green is the most effective in the ground game when he uses his speed to fire into the backfield and cause havoc there. There is no doubt that he has to get a lot stronger to be a three-down starter in the NFL, with his run-defense limitations making him a limited player entering the next level.
Right now, Green is a bit of a tweener defensive end/tackle entering the NFL. He does not have the strength to hold up on the inside on a every-down basis, but his speed is more of a mismatch going against guards. In a 4-3 defense, Green could play end on run downs and move inside in passing situations. Or, he could gain weight to be a three-technique gap penetrator. In a 3-4 defense, Green could be a five-technique defensive end who rushes from the inside in the sub package.
Green has a ton of upside for the NFL, but he should have returned for his senior year and gotten stronger before coming out. If he would have done that, he could have been a first-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Green has amazing speed for his size, and some time in a pro strength and conditioning program could turn him into a well-rounded player. If he works hard and develops, Green has the potential be a phenomenal pro defensive lineman and a possible Pro Bowler. In the 2018 NFL Draft, Green looks like a second- or third-round pick.
Player Comparison: Kony Ealy. Right now, Green reminds me of a faster version of Ealy. Ealy (6-4, 275) and Green are identical in size. Green could gain weight and become an every-down defensive tackle in the NFL. If Green doesn't, I think he will be an end similar to Ealy. Coming out of Missouri, Ealy was a late second-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, and Green could go in the same region.
NFL Matches: Cleveland, Tampa Bay, Washington, Arizona, Oakland, Los Angeles Chargers, Detroit, Buffalo, Atlanta and New England
There are a lot of teams that could target Green in the early rounds of the 2018 NFL Draft. With his ability to contribute as an interior pass-rusher, Green should have a number of teams hoping to draft him. The Browns have multiple second-round picks and a third-round pick that could be a fit for Green. They could consider an interior pass-rusher to go next Myles Garrett.
Tampa Bay needs to improve its line play on both sides of the ball. Green could form a dangerous tandem next to Gerald McCoy. The Redskins need more talent in their front seven, and Green could give them an interior rusher to go with Jonathan Allen. Arizona missed Calais Campbell last season, and Green could get consideration for the Cardinals.
Oakland badly needs more interior defensive line talent. Green could be a fit for the Raiders to give them an inside pass rush. Staying in the AFC West, Green would make sense for the Chargers, as they could use an upgrade over the declining Corey Luiget. Green would give them a speed-rushing three-technique to play on the inside of Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa. That could form a very dangerous front in obvious passing situations.
The Lions need an interior pass-rusher to go with A'Shawn Robinson, and Green would be a nice fit in Detroit. Atlanta also could use more interior defensive line talent, and Green could be a good value for the Falcons on Day 2 of the 2018 NFL Draft.
New England could use more young talent in its defensive front seven. Green could give the Patriots an interior rusher, and they have two second-round picks to give him consideration. Staying the AFC East, Buffalo could use an interior defender to replace Marcell Dareus, and Green would fit the Bills' defensive scheme well.