UCLA links: Bruins in NFL preseason games

Jayon Brown led the Pac-12 in tackles last year and picked up right where he left off in his NFL preseason debut with the Tennessee Titans on Saturday. In his team’s 7-3 loss to the New York Jets, Brown led the Titans with four tackles in the first half with one for loss. The Tennessean wrote that Brown was among the Titans players who helped their stock the most during the first preseason game.

Fellow former UCLA linebacker Aaron Wallace also impressed for the Titans with five total tackles (four solo), 0.5 sacks and two tackles for loss in the game.

News on other former Bruins in the NFL:

  • Quarterback Brett Hundley played the first half Green Bay’s 24-9 win over Philadelphia. The quarterback was 8 for 15 passing for 90 yards with touchdown and interception. From the Wisconsin State-Journal: Hundley got off to a slow start, hampered by a fumble from Ty Montgomery and three dropped passes, came back to finish the half strong.
  • Defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes earned the start and had one tackle in this NFL preseason debut for the Raiders and is position to start when the real games begin next month. From The San Francisco Chronicle: Quarterback Derek Carr compared Vanderdoes to Justin Tuck.
  • Cornerback Fabian Moreau missed Washington’s preseason opener, but returned to practice Saturday as a full participant after he suffered a pectoral injury at UCLA’s Pro Day in March.

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:

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” »

UCLA Pro Day: Jayon Brown, Eddie Vanderdoes, Takkarist McKinley

Linebacker Jayon Brown talks about UCLA’s Pro Day and improving on his 40-yard dash.

Defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes talks about dropping nearly 40 pounds since last summer, his health and his path to the NFL.

Defensive end Takkarist McKinley talks about his recent shoulder surgery, watching Pro Day from the sideline and getting ready for the NFL Draft.

McKinley, Vanderdoes, Brown workout at NFL Combine

Although defensive end Takkarist McKinley came up short of his promised 4.4-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, the former Bruin still was one of the star sprinters for his position on Sunday.

McKinley officially clocked in at 4.59 seconds for his 40, which placed him third among defensive linemen during Sunday’s on-field workouts in Indianapolis.

He participated in workouts despite an injured shoulder, which will require shoulder Monday. He told reporters Saturday that he played through the injury for two years at UCLA. Even with the injury, he got 24 bench press reps.

Despite testing well, McKinley faltered on some drills, making mistakes while at times guessing which direction to go.

Watch: McKinley’s combine workout

Defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes and linebacker Jayon Brown also participated in on-field workouts Sunday. Here are the full results from each former Bruins’ tests: Continue reading “McKinley, Vanderdoes, Brown workout at NFL Combine” »