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Troy Polamalu

SELECTED BY PHILADELPHIA , ROUND 1, PICK 16, OVERALL PICK 16
DB | (5-10, 206, 4.38) | USC
By Pro Football Weekly

Notes: Played football, baseball and basketball in high school. Saw action at safety, linebacker and on special teams in 1999 as an 18-year-old freshman. Started every game in '00 and '01. Had 12 stops and a blocked punt in 1999; 83 tackles and two interceptions, including one he returned for a score, in '00; and 98 tackles, three interceptions, two of which he returned for scores, and three blocked punts in '01, when he made some major All-America teams, won team-MVP honors and was an All-Pacific-10 choice. Played with a bad ankle for most of the year in '02 and played in the deep half 90 percent of the time. Recorded 68 tackles, including nine for loss, three sacks, one interception, four passes broken up and three forced fumbles. Did not test at the Combine because of injuries to left hamstring and right ankle.

Positives: Strongest player on the team on a pound-for-pound basis. Has a 600-pound squat. Real warrior who is totally dedicated to getting better. Good football intelligence and flexibility. Great motor and competitiveness. Excellent in run support and tackling. Will wrap up. Can backpedal and cover. Gets a good jump and can adjust to the ball. Has good range. Intense, physical and tough with a high motor. Strong. Good planting and driving. Can cover tight ends and backs. Very good punt blocker. Explosive. Big 10¼-inch hands. Can cover man-to-man. Big-time hitter who has receivers hearing footsteps. An extra linebacker vs. the run. Excellent speed and suddenness to close. Showed improvement every year. Special-teams captain as a junior and senior. Can cover most slot receivers. Instinctive and can accelerate.

Negatives: Short for the NFL and is not a real ballhawk. Misses plays because he is out of position. Does not read keys well and diagnose. Struggles covering man deep. Plays out of control and lacks great change of direction. Skills will translate to the NFL, but measurables might not. Gets carried away. Prefers setting up a well-timed hit to break up a play over going for an interception. Does not have great playing speed and range.

Summary: Best safety at USC since 1980, when Ronnie Lott and Dennis Smith were the greatest safety tandem in the college game, and Lott, Smith, Jeff Fisher and Joey Browner were the greatest secondary in school history.

* Player biographies are provided by Pro Football Weekly.