Comment with questions, and I’ll post answers on Monday. I’ll have a post-spring look at the football team up tomorrow too. Thinking of scaling this back to bi-weekly as we enter the summer, but let me know if you would prefer the weekly schedule.
– Brett Hundley looked sharp, completing 16 of 23 passes for 179 yards and a touchdown. He did take three sacks, however, which is mildly concerning considering that Jim Mora admitted the team did “basically nothing” in terms of defensive schemes. That said, the offensive line only has seven bodies right now.
Quarterbacks coach Taylor Mazzone said the 52 sacks Hundley took started to affect him late last season, as he got a slight case of “happy feet.” He’s up to 230 pounds and down to 8 percent body fat, which should help.
– Cornerback Marcus Rios is out for the season with a rare fungal infection. He told the LA Times that the infection started in his sinus, but then reached behind his eye and brain in what sounds like something out of “Contagion.” He added that only 12 people have ever had it, and eight died. He didn’t say exactly what the infection was, so I’m not sure how true that is or if his case is as serious. Best wishes to him. Continue reading
Will be updated as news comes in. Most recent: 4/30, 11:52 a.m.
Chicago Bears — safety/linebacker Dalton Hilliard (mini-camp invite)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers — receiver Jerry Johnson
Denver Broncos — cornerback Aaron Hester
Indianapolis Colts — cornerback Sheldon Price
San Francisco 49ers — long snapper Kevin McDermott
Detroit Lions — tight end Joe Fauria
To continue the NFC North’s ongoing love affair with UCLA, the Minnesota Vikings picked offensive lineman Jeff Baca in the sixth round, 196th overall. He joins fellow Bruin Jeff Locke in Minnesota, while former teammates Datone Jones and Johnathan Franklin will chase their pro dreams less than 300 miles east in Green Bay.
Baca can play almost anywhere on the line, but has a bad penalties habit. He is the first UCLA offensive lineman drafted since 1999, when Pittsburgh took Kris Farris in the third round. Baca’s selection also marked the first time more than three Bruins were drafted since 2005.
Johnathan Franklin joined defensive end Datone Jones in Green Bay as a fourth-round draft pick, and could end up being a better back than second-round Packers’ pick Eddie Lacy. Here’s a quick, post-draft Q&A with Franklin, one that caught him while his voice was still shaky with emotion.
Q: How does it feel to finally get drafted?
Words can’t describe how I feel right now. It’s a blessing. I’ve been in tears for the past 15, 20 minutes. It’s been my dream my whole life. My whole life. It’s what I’ve been waking up thinking about every day. Every day! I’m excited to play. I’m excited to go to the NFL. I love football. I didn’t just wanna get there, I wanna stay there. So I can’t wait to go up there and work and be used.
Q: Are you excited to be reunited with Datone Jones? Continue reading
The Minnesota Vikings took Jeff Locke with the 22nd pick of the fifth round, making him the third UCLA player drafted in 2013 and the first punter. Selected 155th overall, Locke will compete with Vikings incumbent Chris Kluwe — a fellow Bruin signed as an undrafted free agent in 2005.
Locke’s punt average of 44.2 yards ranks second in school history.
UPDATE: Kluwe will likely get cut, but told ESPN1500 that he’s eager to compete. He also tweeted the following.
— Chris Kluwe (@ChrisWarcraft) April 27, 2013
Johnathan Franklin’s draft wait finally ended at the 125th overall pick, going to Green Bay as the fourth round’s 28th selection. UCLA’s career-leading rusher was the seventh running back off the board, and joined first-round pick Datone Jones as new Packers. It is the first time an NFL team took two Bruins in the same draft since 2006, when Jacksonville took Marcedes Lewis and Maurice Jones-Drew in the first and second rounds.
Franklin’s slide didn’t attract as much attention as USC quarterback Matt Barkley, who also fell to the fourth round, but — widely rated as a top-three tailback — he will likely to be one of the best values of the draft.
“One of the things I love about Franklin is the way he can pass-protect, which is rare,” said NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah. “When you pay Aaron Rodgers the money you just paid him, you want to protect him.”
On Thursday night, defensive end Datone Jones went to the Green Bay Packers as the 26th overall pick in the NFL draft. Here’s a quick Q&A with him done after the pick was announced.
Q: Did you get nervous waiting to be picked?
I knew I could go anywhere from 25 to 32. Once pick 24 came up, I thought I’d be an Indianapolis Colt. I fit really well into that at UCLA. I was pretty sure that I was going to Indy. It didn’t even cross my mind that I was going to Green Bay. Just wanted to happen, the experience of being a first pick, I’m so honored. I just can’t wait to dominate.
Q: How does it feel to break the first round drought? Did you talk to Marcedes Lewis at all leading up to this process?
I just can’t wait to dominate. All the teams that passed up on me before, I’m not going to use them as my motivation, but I just want them to know they missed out on a great pick. I’m going to do as much as I can. I’m going to work as hard as I can so I can bring a championship to Green Bay.
Q: Have you talked to Marcedes Lewis recently? Continue reading
UCLA’s first-round drought is finally over.
The Green Bay Packers took defensive end Datone Jones with the 26th overall pick of the NFL draft Thursday night, making him the first Bruin to go in the opening round since tight end Marcedes Lewis in 2006.
“If I was still coaching in the NFL, I would want Datone Jones on my team,” UCLA coach Jim Mora said this week.
Jones — a 6-foot-4, 283-pound defensive lineman — was one of several pass rushers taken in the first round. A versatile player who has seen time both as an inside and outside defender, he projects as a versatile lineman who can be useful in various schemes. The Packers were a popular landing spot for Jones in various mock drafts, and offer him an ideal situation as an end in their 3-4 defense.
He was also the fifth Pac-12 player drafted Thursday night.
“He’s my sleeper of the first round,” ESPN analyst Jon Gruden said. “He has NFL skills. … The Packers need a dominant inside defender. Good pick.”
DATONE JONES, DL
Size: 6-4, 283
Expected to go: Late 1st round
You can read more about Jones in today’s story on his draft prospects, but suffice it to say that the talented defensive end will likely become UCLA’s first first-round product since Marcedes Lewis in 2006. He impressed through fantastic post-season performances at the Senior Bowl and NFL Combine, and has even drawn comparisons to seven-time Pro Bowler Richard Seymour. A team like Green Bay at No. 26 or Denver at No. 28 could snatch him up.
JOHNATHAN FRANKLIN, RB
Size: 5-11, 195
Expected to go: 2nd round
Franklin reminds me of Shane Vereen, whom the Patriots took as a second-round pick out of Cal. Vereen rushed for 251 yards and three touchdowns in his first regular season. After running atop the UCLA record books, “The Mayor” could easily eclipse those numbers if he ends up on a team that doesn’t use as deep a backfield rotation as New England.
“You can use him in the passing game,” said Chris Burke, NFL writer for Sports Illustrated. “You don’t have to plan to pair him with someone else who’s a better blocker or a pass-catcher. …
“You’re not gonna give him the ball and expect him to move the pile five yards. If you can get him outside, let him find the hole and make the one cut, he certainly has enough speed and shiftiness.”
JEFF BACA, OL
Size: 6-3, 302
Expected to go: 5th round Continue reading