During his junior season at UCLA, Brian Price didn’t so much slip through the cracks of the opposing offensive line as create the cracks himself.
Now, though, he sure is slipping through them.
The Pac-10 defensive player of the year is now labeled as the No. 48 pick by the Carolina Panthers in ESPN’s latest mock draft, while Sporting News’ War Room Mock Draft lists Price at No. 64 to New Orleans, the last pick of the second round. ESPN draft guru Todd McShay called Price one of his “Top Five Late-Falling Prospects.”
Once projected as high as the No. 10 pick to Jacksonville, Price was considered a first-round lock when he chose to forgo his senior season.
“I bring this up because today’s Draft Lab subject, UCLA defensive tackle Brian Price, could end up being on the precipice of that value point for many teams,” ESPN Insider’s K.C. Joyner wrote back on Jan. 19. “He is one of those prospects who is graded quite high in some circles (No. 13 on Mel Kiper’s most recent Big Board) but who is perceived as having less value in others (No. 30 in Todd McShay’s initial mock draft).”
An influx of talent at the defensive tackle position, combined with the position not being a first- or second-round priority for many teams has Price slipping. Nebraska’s Ndamakong Suh is expected to be selected by Detroit with the No. 2 pick, Oklahoma’s Gerald McCoy by Tampa Bay with the third pick, and several other defensive tackles have risen late in mock drafts, including Tennessee’s Dan Williams, Penn State’s Jared Odrick and Texas’ Lamarr Houston.
“The reason he’s dropping is because there has been four months since a game,” said Scout.com west region recruiting manager Brandon Huffman, who is blogging about the draft for Foxsports.com. “He’s never going to wow you in a combine. He’s never going to wow you in spandex and a t-shirt. He’s like the reverse Darius Heyward-Bey. Put him on the football field, and see what he does.”
Price isn’t the only Bruin falling on the charts, though.
Cornerback Alterraun Verner, a two-time All-Pac-10 selection, was once projected as high as the third round, but is now tabbed by ESPN as the 14th pick of the sixth round to Denver. Wide receiver Terrence Austin, linebacker Reggie Carter and Kyle Bosworth, defensive end Korey Bosworth and tight ends Logan Paulsen and Ryan Moya could also be drafted this weekend.