Patriots trade up to pick UCLA’s Conor McDermott in NFL draft


The defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots wanted Conor McDermott badly enough to trade up for UCLA’s left tackle, sending their sixth- and seventh-round picks to the Dallas Cowboys in order to move up for him in the sixth round.

The Patriots selected the three-year starter at UCLA with the 28th pick of the sixth round, 211th overall. They gave up the 33rd pick of the sixth round and the 21st pick of the seventh.

McDermott may be a long-term project for the Patriots, but his 6-foot-8 frame and exceptional athleticism give him plenty of upside. A tight end weighing around 240 pounds when he arrived at UCLA, the 307-pound fifth-year senior needs to make significant gains in the strength department in order to be an NFL-caliber offensive tackle.

READ: Conor McDermott has upside with height, athleticism

A second-team All-Pac-12 selection his junior and senior seasons at UCLA, McDermott was expected to go anywhere from the fifth round to the seventh round. The Patriots made him their second offensive tackle of the draft after picking Troy tackle Antonio Garcia 83rd overall in the third round.

The two draft picks will have plenty of competition with four other tackles on the Patriots roster: Nate Solder, Marcus Cannon, Cameron Fleming and LaAdrian Waddle. McDermott’s quick feet – he won a basketball state championship at Ensworth High School in Nashville, Tenn. – give him plenty of upside should he add weight and get stronger.

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Football links: Former UCLA Bruins await NFL Draft fate

Several former UCLA players are hoping to hear their names called at the NFL Draft this weekend, including, clockwise from top left: Takkarist McKinley, Fabian Moreau, Jayon Brown, Eddie Vanderdoes and Conor McDermott. (Photos by Thomas R. Cordova/SCNG; Jae C. Hong/AP; Sam Craft/AP; Ronald Martinez/Getty Images; John McCoy/SCNG)

UCLA has another chance at a first-round draft pick and the Bruins are hoping that it will end better this year than last.

Defensive end Takkarist McKinley will be in the green room Thursday for the first round of the NFL Draft in Philadelphia, which starts at 5 p.m. PT and is televised on ESPN and NFL Network. McKinley will be joined by UCLA head coach Jim Mora and defensive line coach Angus McClure as he awaits his NFL fate.

Mora said seeing the culmination of McKinley’s dream is “going to be awesome,” but he also recognized the unpredictability of the NFL Draft. Only a year ago, the coach was with former UCLA linebacker Myles Jack when Jack slipped all the way to the second round after being projected as a sure-fire first-rounder.

“The draft though, it’s a beast,” Mora said. “You don’t have any idea. It’s a crap shoot, you don’t have any idea where you’re going to get picked. Hopefully it works out for Takk.”

McKinley is not the only hopeful Bruin this weekend. Cornerback Fabian Moreau is expected to be a high second-day pick, likely going in the second round. Defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes, offensive lineman Conor McDermott and linebacker Jayon Brown are likely third-day guys.

The second day of the draft (the second and third rounds) starts at 4 p.m. PT on Friday and the event wraps up Saturday with the fourth through seventh rounds, starting at 9 a.m. PT.

Here are links to prepare for the NFL Draft: Continue reading “Football links: Former UCLA Bruins await NFL Draft fate” »

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Conor McDermott at NFL Combine

Former UCLA offensive lineman Conor McDermott participated in his on-field workout at the NFL Combine on Friday, finishing among the top five performers at his position in the 3-cone drill and 20-yard shuttle.

The 6-foot-8, 307-pound McDermott ranked third among offensive linemen in the 3-cone drill with a time of 7.52 and fourth in the 20-yard shuttle with 4.48 seconds.

His 5.18-second 40-yard dash ranked 13th at his position while his 28.5-inch vertical jump ranked eighth.

McDermott also had an 8-foot, 9-inch broad jump, which did not crack the top 15.

Jayon Brown, Eddie Vanderdoes and Takkarist McKinley will have their on-field workouts on Saturday, while Fabian Moreau is scheduled to workout with the other defensive backs on Sunday. You can watch the workouts live on NFL Network.

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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: 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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