Five Bruins invited to NFL Combine

Eddie Vanderdoes (47) talks with Kenny Young (42) at practice. Photo by Steve McCrank/Daily Breeze

Five former UCLA football players received invites to his month’s NFL Combine, the NFL announced Wednesday: linebacker Jayon Brown, offensive lineman Conor McDermott, defensive end Takkarist McKinley, defensive back Fabian Moreau and defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes.

The combine begins Feb. 28 in Indianapolis with 330 total participants.

McKinley is a potential late first-round draft pick by many mock drafts after he led the Bruins in sacks and tackles for loss last year.

Vanderdoes was the only player to declare for the NFL draft early this season after the redshirt junior came back from an ACL injury and started 12 games with 29 tackles against constant double teams. Going into the Senior Bowl, Vanderdoes told Sports Illustrated that he had lost 20 pounds since the end of the UCLA season when he played at 340 pounds.

An impressive showing at the East-West Shrine Game helped Moreau boost his draft stock as NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah said he was “not going to be shocked if Moreau goes in the first round.” He was the No. 47 prospect in Jeremiah’s top-50 list last week.

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UCLA football links: Talent vs. wins

UCLA Bruins’ quarterback Josh Rosen fires a pass during the second half against Stanford Cardinal at Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena on Saturday, September 24, 2016. (Photo by Ed Crisostomo, Orange County Register/SCNG)

The recruits are signed and the next step is development.

Athlon Sports examined the relationship between recruiting class rankings and winning in the Pac-12 over the past five seasons, finding that, predictably, higher-ranked recruiting classes generally perform better on the field.

However, one of the underachievers was UCLA, which, based on 247Sports’ team composite rankings, had the second-best recruiting classes during the past five recruiting cycles (from 2013-17). But UCLA’s overall record in the past five seasons (2012-16) is 41-24 (0.631) and ranks fifth in the conference.

Below is a chart plotting the recruiting rankings in the Pac-12 against each team’s overall record. The rankings, in accordance the Athlon Sports article, are based on the school’s 247Sports team composite ranking average from the past five recruiting cycles. The purple diagonal line indicates the trend. The teams under the line are general underachievers when it comes to turning talent into wins.  Continue reading

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UCLA football links: Latest mock drafts

Defensive end Takkarist McKinley celebrates UCLA’s 38-20 win over USC on Saturday night. (Keith Birmingham/Staff)

With the end of the NFL season officially over, teams are turning their attention to April’s NFL draft.

Defensive end Takkarist McKinley is the most popular first-round pick for the Bruins as he’s projected as a late first-rounder by CBS Sports (No. 30 to the Steelers), Sports Illustrated (No. 29, Packers) and NFL.com (No. 31, Falcons). ESPN’s Todd McShay has McKinley at No. 23 to the Giants, while Rotoworld has the defensive end slotted at No. 16 to the Ravens.

In Sports Illustrated’s three-round mock draft, McKinley is the only UCLA prospect listed, however, cornerback Fabian Moreau gets the Cowboys’ draft pick at No. 60 in Walter Football mock draft with Conor McDermott going at No. 105 overall to the Bengals.

Moreau drew rave reviews after the Shrine Game last month and that helped boost his stock. He jumped into NFL.com’s list of top 50 prospects, checking in at No. 47, following McKinley at No. 23.

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UCLA hires Jimmie Dougherty as WR coach

Jimmie Dougherty was a offensive analyst at Michigan in 2016 and worked with now UCLA offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch (Photo: Rogelio V. Solis, Associated Press)

(Updated Feb. 8, 11:33 a.m. — UCLA announces hire officially)

UCLA hired former Oregon wide receivers coach Jimmie Dougherty for the same position Wednesday, the school announced.

Dougherty, who held his job with the Ducks for about seven weeks, was an offensive analyst at Michigan last year, where he worked with current UCLA offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch. Dougherty will serve also as passing game coordinator for the Bruins.

“Knowing Jimmie since 2009 and having been able to see him in action at practice, during games and in the meeting room, it’s exciting to add a coach of his caliber to our staff,” head coach Jim Mora said in a statement.

Dougherty is the fourth new offensive coach for the Bruins this season, including Fisch, Hank Fraley (offensive line) and DeShaun Foster (running backs). The only remaining offensive coach from the previous year is tight ends coach Rip Scherer.

Dougherty has previous Pac-12 coaching experience at Washington, where he coached receivers from 2009-12 under Steve Sarkisian. He was an assistant head coach, receivers coach and passing game coordinator at San Jose State from 2013-15.

During his short tenure at Oregon, Dougherty helped the Ducks rope in four receivers for their 2017 recruiting class. He is also the second assistant coach to leave within the past week, as co-offensive coordinator and tight ends coach David Reaves resigned last Friday following an arrest for multiple traffic violations, including DUII, on Jan. 22. Dougherty was a passenger in the car at the time, according to the Oregonian, but was not charged with any crimes.

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Matthew Slater, Devin Lucien win Super Bowl with New England Patriots

via GIPHY

Former UCLA Bruins Matthew Slater and Devin Lucien helped the New England Patriots to a thrilling 34-28 Super Bowl victory on Sunday. Slater was a team captain for the coin toss and won the overtime toss for the Patriots, which set up New England’s game-winning drive.

Slater, 31, is a six-time Pro Bowler and a key special teams player for the Patriots. He also won Super Bowl XLIX with the Patriots.

Despite collecting limited stats during his career, Slater is considered an extremely important piece to the Patriots’ success.

“He’s a difference-maker,” running back James White told the New York Post. “I think he’s the glue to the locker room.”

Lucien was drafted by the Patriots in 2016 after finishing his college career at Arizona State. During his three years at UCLA, he had 58 receptions for 752 yards and six touchdowns.

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