Owamagbe Odighizuwa out for 2013 season

The defensive line, one of UCLA football’s most battered units this spring, just suffered its biggest loss. Defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa will likely miss the 2013 season after undergoing his second offseason hip surgery.

The Los Angeles Times first reported the news Tuesday that Odighizuwa had the operation for a frayed rotator cuff in his right hip. Once the five-star gem of the Bruins’ 2010 recruiting class, he had sat out all of spring practice while recovering from surgery on his left hip.

Coach Jim Mora said last Monday that Odighizuwa was healing well, but needed to get his right hip checked. The 6-foot-3, 265-pound end was a likely successor for Datone Jones, who recently became UCLA’s first first-round draft pick since 2006. Odighizuwa finished with 44 tackles, 3.5 sacks and two fumble recoveries last season, and will have one year of eligibility left after if he redshirts this fall. He totaled 32 tackles through his freshman and sophomore years. Continue reading

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Johnathan Franklin: ‘It’s a blessing’

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

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Johnathan Franklin’s draft wait ends, joins Datone Jones in Green Bay

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.”

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Datone Jones: ‘I feel like I carried a torch’

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

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Packers take Datone Jones with 26th overall pick

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.”

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Where will Bruins go in NFL Draft?

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

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UCLA pro day results

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.

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NFL Combine Roundup

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

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NFL Combine drills start Saturday

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

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