UCLA at the NFL combine

UCLA has five players participating in this week’s NFL combine, which starts Tuesday and ends March 6. Linebacker Jayon Brown, defensive linemen Eddie Vanderdoes and Takkarist McKinley, offensive lineman Conor McDermott and defensive back Fabian Moreau will go through the biggest job interviews of their football careers so far in Indianapolis.

The group of former Bruins, along with more than 300 other prospects, will go through formal interviews with teams as well as on-field workouts prior to April’s NFL draft.

Combine links:

You can watch their workouts on NFL Network on the following days, starting at 9 a.m. ET each day:

  • March 3: McDermott
  • March 5: Brown, Vanderdoes, McKinley
  • March 6: Moreau
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UCLA football links: Jim Mora talks to Bruin Report Online

UCLA head coach Jim Mora watches over his team during football practice on the campus intramural field Wednesday, August 10, 2016, Westwood, CA. Photo by Steve McCrank/Staff Photographer)

Bruin Report Online’s Tracy Pierson spoke with UCLA head coach Jim Mora in the coach’s office about variety of topics, including the upcoming Under Armour contract, the impact of the new Wasserman Football Center and the revamped coaching staff.

He reaffirmed that given the opportunity, he “never wants to leave” UCLA. He had similar comments in January when he spoke to the media soon after hiring offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch.

Mora also accepted “all the blame” for last year’s offensive failure, saying that he “miscalculated,” especially how the scheme fit the personnel. He added that he did a “poor job” of executing the vision he had for the offense.

Other links:

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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 “UCLA football links: Talent vs. wins” »

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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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