Eddie Vanderdoes drafted 88th overall by Oakland Raiders

Former UCLA defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes is going back to Northern California.

The Auburn, Calif., native was picked by the Oakland Raiders on Friday in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft with the 88th overall selection.

Coming off an ACL tear that ended his 2015 season after only one game, Vanderdoes started all 12 games in 2016, but racked up only 29 tackles going against constant double teams.

He was hampered by small injuries throughout what would be his final season in Westwood, dealing with a sprained knee and ankle. By the time the former five-star recruit resurfaced at the Senior Bowl, Vanderdoes had shed about 20 pounds after he played at 340 pounds during the season. When he participated in UCLA’s Pro Day, he weighed in at 301 pounds.

Vanderdoes’ UCLA teammates shared their congratulations:

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Fabian Moreau drafted 81st overall to Washington Redskins

UCLA defensive back Fabian Moreau runs the 40-yard dash at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Monday, March 6, 2017. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

UCLA cornerback Fabian Moreau was drafted 81st overall in the 2017 NFL Draft on Friday, going to the Washington Redskins in the third round.

After starring at the East-West Shrine Game and running a 4.35 40-yard dash at the NFL scouting combine, Moreau suffered a chest injury at UCLA’s Pro Day that required surgery. The injury may have damaged his draft stock in a deep group of draft-eligible defensive backs as he was considered a possible late first-round prospect. The 19 defensive backs (10 cornerbacks and nine safeties) taken in the first two rounds were the most for a single draft in the common era. Moreau, who was the 12th cornerback taken, is expected to be healthy for training camp.

NFL Network’s Mike Mayock commended the pick, saying Washington “got a starting corner” in Moreau, despite the uncertainty surrounding the injury.

The former running back led the team with 10 passes broken up, with 12 passes defensed. He earned All-Pac-12 honorable mention as a sophomore and followed that up with second-team all-conference honors as a junior. After a Lisfranc injury put a premature end to his senior year, Moreau came back in 2016 to lead the team with 10 passes broken up, with 12 passes defensed. He was named an honorable mention All-Pac-12.

Moreau is the first defensive back to be drafted out of UCLA since free safety Rahim Moore went in the second round (45th overall) to Denver.

UCLA teammates and coaches sent their congratulations on social media:

Continue reading “Fabian Moreau drafted 81st overall to Washington Redskins” »

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Takkarist McKinley goes 26th overall to Atlanta

Takkarist McKinley was drafted 26th overall by the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday. (Photo by Thomas R. Cordova, Press-Telegram/ Daily Breeze/SCNG)

Takkarist McKinley fulfilled his promise.

The former UCLA defensive end carried a framed photograph of his late grandmother Myrtle Collins with him on stage at the NFL Draft in Philadelphia on Thursday night after the Atlanta Falcons traded up to take him 26th overall.

McKinley, known for the undying motor and electric energy that led him to a team-high 18 tackles for loss and 10 sacks last year, couldn’t contain his emotions moments after hearing his name called.

“This is who I’m doing it for,” McKinley exclaimed on NFL Network while holding the photo of Collins, who passed away in 2011. “I made a promise to her and I stuck to it. I told her before she passed away that I was going to live my dream. I was going to go D-I, I was going to get out of Richmond, I was going to get out of Oakland, I was going to go to the NFL. Thirty seconds later, she passed away.

“This means (expletive) everything,” he continued on the live broadcast. Realizing his mistake, McKinley added “fine me later.”

With a deep breath, still clutching the photo of Collins, McKinley collected his emotions and finished: “We did it. I love you, Grandma. It’s only the beginning.”

McKinley is UCLA’s fourth first-round draft pick in the past five years.

More on McKinley’s big night

His teammates and coaches at UCLA posted their congratulations on Twitter:

Continue reading “Takkarist McKinley goes 26th overall to Atlanta” »

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UCLA basketball 2017 report card: Steve Alford

Steve Alford bounced back from a losing season in a big way, but fell short of realizing his 2016-17 team’s potential. (Mark J. Terrill/The Associated Press)

Strengths: It’s not as gratifying as wizardry with Xs and Os, but there is no shame in a college basketball coach’s greatest strength being recruiting. Steve Alford landed three five-star prospects in 2016, but that doesn’t begin to do justice to their talent. All three UCLA freshman last season are expected to be first-round draft picks in June and Lonzo Ball could be the No. 1 overall selection. No matter how good the coach, he can’t succeed without good players. Alford is clearly gaining momentum on the recruiting front, following his best class at UCLA with a 2017 haul ranked No. 2 in the country.

Weaknesses: Alford was consistently slow to make in-game adjustments this season, showing reluctance to take risks when things were going in the wrong direction. USC flummoxed Alford with a simple zone defense in the Bruins’ ugliest loss of the season Jan. 25 at Galen Center. As UCLA’s defense reached its lowest point of the season, a 96-85 loss at home to Arizona, Alford stuck with an offensively oriented lineup while Aaron Holiday and Ike Anigbogu played just 23 and 12 minutes, respectively.

Best moment: Deep into the season when UCLA’s weaknesses had been thoroughly exposed, Alford led his team to a win in the most improbable of circumstances. Continue reading “UCLA basketball 2017 report card: Steve Alford” »

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UCLA spring football day 14: The penultimate practice

Freshman quarterback Austin Burton is one of four early enrollees with UCLA who are getting a head start on their college careers this spring. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

If you didn’t know any better, it would be hard to tab Jaelan Phillips as a kid who’s supposed to be in high school right now. On the football field, the 6-foot-6, 265-pound early enrollee blends right in among one of the deepest defensive line groups coach Angus McClure has ever had at the position. He answers media questions like a seasoned vet with good posture and direct eye contact. The one tell is his hair.

Phillips, who rose to high-school stardom with his black curls bursting from underneath his helmet, cut his signature locks before spring practice. He said he didn’t have time to style it anymore and the freshman, still conscious of the impression he was making on campus, didn’t want to look bad in class.

Scared that he would lose the power that made him the best recruit in the country, according to 247 Sports’ composite rankings, Phillips was relieved when he didn’t lose a step when UCLA started spring practice. His coaches feel the same way.

“He’s an excellent player,” McClure said. “I’m expecting him to compete every day. He’s really picked up our system.”

More on Phillips’ transition to college, along with UCLA’s three other early enrollees Darnay Holmes, Austin Burton and Jimmy Jaggers.

Video interviews:

Here are notes/observations for the day: Continue reading “UCLA spring football day 14: The penultimate practice” »

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