Carter picked by Cardinals in 6th round

The Shriners are known for their charitable acts across the world, their donation of time and money.

In David Carter’s case, they just gave him a chance. And that chance paid off.

Following a monster performance in the East-West Shrine Game following the season, the UCLA senior defensive tackle was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals with the 19th pick of the 6th round of the NFL Draft on Saturday, 184th overall. UCLA senior kicker Kai Forbath, the 2009 Lou Groza Award winner, was not drafted.

After consulting with a new personal coach who helped refine his hand placement, leverage and point of attack in December, Carter drew raves during Shrine Game practices and got on the draft radar.

“I showed my newfound tools,” Carter said. “That’s where everybody saw how I could do it. I was taught how to play the position, I had a good time, and made me some money, as my coach said.”

Carter, who had 41 tackles and 3.5 sacks during his senior year, his lone season as a starter, said the Carter household was lively on Saturday as first his brother, Chris, was selected with the 31st pick of the fifth round, 22 picks ahead of David.

“It was overwhelming to see him go, to see his emotions, and sure enough I went right after,” Carter said. “It was great. Everyone in the house was passing out. My girlfriend passed out, my mom fainted.

“Both her baby boys were drafted today.”

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Partial Moore conference call

Opening statement: “I’m excited to be in Denver, I’m excited to be playing with Brian Dawkins and Champ Bailey, DJ Williams, man I can’t wait.

On being a Bronco:
“This is perfect for me, learning from guys like Brian Dawkins, Champ Bailey, a place I can go easily in and learn and be one of the next Hall of Famers.”

On where he was drafted, and why he went to the draft:
“I knew I was pretty much what range I was going to, I knew it was a possibility yesterday. I never trained to be a 1st rounder, I trained to be in NFL. I’m proud to contribute and be a part of the legacy of the Broncos.”

On his emotions:
“I was emotional because this is going to change my whole life. This is my dream. I’m excited. It’s the favorite part of my life so far. It’s funny how you go from nothing to something.”

On the Broncos:
“They have a legacy with John Elway, Rod Smith, Atwater. I know a lot about Denver. I’m a big fan, I can’t wait to contribute. The first thing John Fox said was, ‘Are you ready to win a Super Bowl? I said yes sir.”

On being at the draft with his mom:
“My mom she’s excited. This is one of the better days of her life. I’m glad she’s hear to experience with me. She’s my no. 1. she’s my pride. She’s happy, I’m happy. I’m going to move her out there. I want her there every step of the way.”

On being drafted in the second round:
“The thing about the rounds, if there was no one interested or money wasn’t an issue, the rounds wouldn’t matter. It’s not about when you get drafted or where, its whats you do when you get there. The main objective is you’re in the NFL. Look how many guys don’t get to come to New York?”

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Partial Ayers conference call

On draft day and not being picked in the first round:
“I knew there was really nothing else I could do much more. All the work put in, all the meetings done, at that moment, it was on teams. I’d put the work in, done everything I could do up to that point.”

On deciding to return from New York this morning and not stay at the Draft:
“I just felt like it was the best at the time. I didn’t really honestly plan on being there an extra day. As far as my family – my flight was already booked. Everything was already set up for the plane to leave. I thought it was best for me to come home and spend the time with my family.”

On being drafted by Tennessee:
“I’m real excited to have the opportunity to play there. I think I fit into the scheme well. I’m happy they took me and excited, ready to get to work.”

On talking to Alterraun Verner, former UCLA DB and current Titan:
“I texted Alterraun, but I haven’t had time to call him. I’ll probably call him after this.”

On having Verner in the pros:
“It helps out a lot. Someone from my same background, grew up in L.A., experienced same things, same college. Adjusting to Tennessee and the coaches, it’ll be great to have someone out there.”

On Jevon Kearse announcing his pick:
“I’ve seen him a lot, just being a monster off the edge. Just making plays and as a pass rusher. I’ve seen him a lot growing up. It was pretty cool. I didn’t get to see it because I was on the car on my way home. Just missed it by about 10 minutes.

On the excitement being dampened by the fact he didn’t go in round 1:
“I was still excited, probably even better because it was a surprise. I didn’t know who was picking. Driving home, random call, didn’t know who it was. It was equal, maybe a greater feeling answering the phone and not knowing who it is.”

On the next few months:
“It’s going to be a lot where I have to really be focused and dedicated to do a lot on my own. I’m not sure how it’s going to work out. Knowing for sure I can control what I can control, which is my effort, i’ll be able to really participate.”

On Rahim Moore:
“We didn’t really get a chance to talk. It was late last night, people had a lot going through their minds. Didn’t get a chance to talk to him.”

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Ayers to Titans at pick 39

UCLA junior linebacker Akeem Ayers has just been selected with the seventh pick in the second round, pick 39 overall. Ayers will be a strong fit for the Titans, who need an outside linebacker or two, after getting just 5.5 sacks from linebacker last year.

Ayers will join former UCLA cornerback Alterraun Verner with the Titans. Junior safety Rahim Moore is projected to be picked up shortly in the draft.

A conference call with Ayers is planned for later today.

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The Rights (And Wrongs) of Spring, Pt. 2

* DL Hugely: Gotta say, I was pretty surprised by the performance of the defensive line, which looks markedly improved from last season, particularly in the middle. After a rocky start to spring camp, Cassius Marsh looked great for most of his reps, and as he continues to put on weight, he’ll be a force. But the veteran trio of Nate Chandler, Justin Edison and Donovan Carter makes it appear that the defensive tackle position can go two-deep with relatively little drop-off, as a guy at 100 percent is usually better than a guy at 70 percent. Joe Tresey talked extensively about using heavy rotation, and I think he has the guys to do it. Look, it’s pretty simple: If there’s any possible way to redshirt Kevin McReynolds or to use Sealii Epenesa and him on the scout team, you do it. Get them the reps against the first team, and you start getting that depth at the position, churning players in and out yearly. Very important.

* From the Outside in: I’m still not sold on the F-back position as a whole, and a bit confused as to what they’re doing with Anthony Barr. So much of Barr’s usage toward the end of spring ball was in the backfield, yet they called mostly outside runs for him. I get using him as a running back, and I definitely get the idea of getting the ball into his hands often, but he’s an upfield runner, and the line – particularly the second unit, or the first unit, when three guys are hurt – is not good enough to get the edge. I cannot remember a single outside run of his that made me raise an eyebrow, but at least four or five times he showed real moxie up the middle. I mean, the first time he ran outside I said to myself, ‘They shouldn’t do that again.” Use Damien Thigpen or Franklin or Jordon James to hit the edge. Makes no sense to me.

* Running on Full: Jim Mastro told me emphatically during spring ball that he needed four running backs to execute the Pistol properly, and he just might have that. Derrick Coleman was a force in his limited reps, and like Franklin, he doesn’t get enough credit for what he did last year. Look, 5.9 yards per carry is good ANYWHERE. He and Franklin will form a very potent 1-2 punch. I expect the rotational enigma to be improved – tell me again, why did he have just one carry in the second half against USC? – and for the carries to be more situational. That being said, James and Jones looked great toward the end of spring, and they should get some meaningful action in every game.

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UCLA gets late 2011 verbal from Downey’s Kyle Lewis

Just got off the phone with Downey running back/safety Kyle Lewis, who confirmed that he is heading to UCLA in the fall after giving a verbal commitment to Rick Neuheisel, who offered Lewis last week.

Lewis was an All-CIF 1st team pick for the Vikings after a 1,200-yard, 11-touchdown performance in 2010 and he
won the SPARQ competition at the Long Beach Nike combine last April. Poor grades, though, put Lewis’ future in doubt, and most Division-1 schools held off on offering him after it took Lewis until after signing day to get the grades up.

“Freshman and sophomore year were really tough for me,” said Lewis, who was clocked at 4.49 at the combine. “I got off-track with school, with football. I really didn’t care at the time. I didn’t think I could play D-1. But after junior year I was No. 1 out of 1000s in the nation at the SPARQ combine, and it turned me back on to football and how great life is. It got me right there.”

Lewis said that UCLA regarded him more for his free safety abilities, but he’s considered a true athlete, and that he will sign after he graduates in June.He said he chose the Bruins primarily because of the academics, as he’s back on track in the classroom and has turned a corner after hitting the books.

“I love UCLA man,” Lewis said. “There isn’t a higher ranked school for me. Academics is going to come first, I’ve been picking up my school work the last two years. I knew if I went to UCLA, I’d have a good future.”

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Ayers, Moore not selected in first round

Former UCLA linebacker Akeem Ayers and junior safety Rahim Moore were not selected tonight in the first round of the NFL Draft at New York City’s Radio Music Hall.

Ayers, who is in New York City for the draft, was projected to go in the first round for much of the draft process, even as he slipped on the boards following a poor NFL combine showing. But in recent days, talk of Ayers falling to the second round started to creep in, and Ayers joined teammate Rahim Moore as one of only a few players left in the green room.

Ayers had 68 tackles, including 10 for loss, four sacks and two interceptions as a junior, after a breakout sophomore season. Saddled by myriad injuries for much of the second half of 2010, Ayers was not able to replicate the production of his sophomore season, when he had 75 tackles, six sacks, 14.5 tackles for loss and four interceptions.

Moore was not projected in the first round but thought he had a chance to sneak in, he said on Tuesday. Moore had 77 tackles but only one interception as a junior in 2010, a year after leading the nation in interceptions with 10.

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