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.
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.”
UCLA’s pro day on March 12 was closed to both fans and media, but NFL.com has some of the results. Johnathan Franklin caught the ball well, while Datone Jones may be shaping up to as a 4-3 defensive end in the pros. Punter Jeff Locke was also compared favorably to Bryan Anger, whom the Jacksonville Jaguars reached for in the third round last year.
The can’t-miss moment of the NFL Combine was SBNation’s glorious video of linemen running the 40-yard dash to “Chariots of Fire.” UCLA’s Jeff Baca makes an appearance 20 seconds in. Watch it if you haven’t already.
If you’re looking for something more substantive, here are the results from the Bruins’ workouts. Continue reading →
The NFL Combine’s first set of workouts took place Friday, and former UCLA tight end Joseph Fauria participated with 17 bench press reps — tied for 10th at his position.
Saturday is when the real fun begins, as offensive linemen and tight ends do their field work. Running backs, quarterbacks and receivers will also compete in the bench press. Here are the rest of the Bruins in Indianapolis this weekend, with ratings and analysis from their profiles on NFL.com.
DL Datone Jones — 85.6 — “Going forward, Jones needs to do a better job of anchoring, or disengaging once his intial surge is halted. However, his immense physical talent and extremely productive senior season should make him an early selection.”
Pro comparison: Cory Redding Continue reading →
Bob Palcic on Nick Ekbatani:
“I told him today that I was thinking of him primarily as a guard, but since he has experience at tackle, that if someone were to get injured, he’d be a possibility. Nick coming back will only make us better. I’m used to having a seven-eight man rotation. You want a backup center, a backup guard, and a swing tackle. If I have eight guys, I usually feel pretty comfortable in that situation.”
Aaron Hester on his recovery from a fractured fibula:
I’m just happy to be walking again without pain. I lost the crutches yesterday; as soon as I got my X-ray results back, they texted me and said there were really good results. I just left my crutches right where they were. Wherever they were, I just left them and started walking.”
Reggie Carter on the bye week practice:
“We don’t have a game to prepare for, so right now it’s more execution, technique. We can slow it down a little bit, work on technique a little bit. Once the season starts, you kind of lose out on that opportunity to work on technique because your game planning.”
Reggie Carter on his performance in the Kansas State game:
“After watching game film, I had an OK game, but there were times where I could have been more physical with offensive linemen, played the ball a little better inside out. I can’t overrun plays; I need to play fast but play the ball inside out. That will be my emphasis this week, working to be crisp with my hands and with my footwork.”
Embree Making a Name
Sophomore Taylor Embree, who broke the UCLA freshman record for receiving yardage and receptions last season, continues to make spectacular plays as the team’s split receiver.
Midway through practice, redshirt freshman quarterback Kevin Prince lofted a pass to the very back of the end zone. Embree caught up to it, leapt from his feet, snagged it with one hand and tapped a toe in the end zone, eliciting a roar from the field.
Embree was not impressed.
“You get chances to make big catches like that, and obviously those are the big ones that everyone remembers, but for me, I want to be known as someone who catches every ball,” Embree said. “That’s my goal; shoot, I mean if you can make the spectacular catches but drop can’t catch a slant in traffic, what good is it?”
He has excited his coaches and offensive teammates with his performance during fall camp.
But he has earned the defense’s respect.
“Taylor Embree is an NFL receiver in the making,” redshirt freshman cornerback Aaron Hester said. “You can tell. He has the concentration and the hands and everything. And he handles himself like a pro. I see the maturity in his routes.”