Brett Hundley calls fifth-round selection a ‘blessing in disguise’

Brett Hundley fell to the fifth round of the 2015 NFL draft. The UCLA quarterback is pictured here during the Bruins' 38-20 win over USC on Nov. 22, 2014 at the Rose Bowl. (Hans Gutknecht/Staff)

Brett Hundley fell to the fifth round of the 2015 NFL draft. The UCLA quarterback is pictured here during the Bruins’ 38-20 win over USC on Nov. 22, 2014 at the Rose Bowl. (Hans Gutknecht/Staff)

Brett Hundley fell all the way to the fifth round of the 2015 NFL Draft on Saturday, but ended up in a good developmental situation in Green Bay. The UCLA quarterback talked about joining the Packers on a teleconference with local reporters.

How do you feel about coming to Green Bay and sitting behind Aaron Rodgers?

It’s awesome. It’s awesome. It’s a funny thing. Johnathan Franklin, a big brother of mine, I used to ask him about Aaron Rodgers a lot. Just how he is in practice, how he is in the meeting rooms. Now I actually get a chance to be up and personal with it. it’s an awesome experience. Datone (Jones) is there as well. I’m ready to have some fun.

Are you disappointed you’re not in a place where you can start immediately

Yeah. I’m blessed to be in this position and to get picked by Green Bay. Obviously, you always have expectations of going No. 1 or going high in the draft. But you know, everything happens for a reason, and that’s how I look at it. If I’m supposed to be here, this is where I’m supposed to be, and I’m going to make the most of it.

How much pre-draft contact did you have with the Packers?

I talked to them at the combine and that’s about it.

Packers director of pro personnel Eliot Wolf said you made an impression at combine, calling you a football nerd. Is that accurate?

Yeah, very much so. I love football. It’s just who I am and what’s bred inside of me. I love being a quarterback. I love knowing everything about the game. I could sit here all day with you and just watch film and learn. I like knowledge, to put it like that. If I don’t know something, I want to know it. That’s the way I approach things. That’s the way I approach football. I think Green Bay is the perfect organization to learn as much as possible. And they have the best coaches to help me do that, and Aaron Rodgers. Continue reading

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Brett Hundley’s wait ends in fifth round of NFL draft

“I can tell you unequivocally that Brett Hundley is a first-round draft pick. The guy’s a future star in the NFL.”

That was what Jim Mora said less than a year ago, when he and his quarterback sat in Paramount Studios in Hollywood and talked about UCLA’s bright future. For the Bruins, Hundley did just fine, leading them to a an Alamo Bowl win and a top-10 national finish.

Along the way, however, his draft stock collapsed. The 6-foot-3, 228-pound Hundley waited until the third day of the NFL draft, going to the Green Bay Packers in the fifth round as the No. 147 overall selection in 2015. Continue reading

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UCLA’s all-time leading rusher Johnathan Franklin forced to retire after neck injury

At 24 years old, Johnathan Franklin’s career is already over.

UCLA’s all-time leading rusher will retire from the NFL after just one season, his career ended by a neck injury that sidelined him in Week 12 last year. The 5-foot-11 back was drafted in the fourth round in 2013 — lower than both he and many analysts expected — but was nonetheless overjoyed to head to the Green Bay Packers.

However, Franklin only carried the ball 19 times for a touchdown and 107 yards — 103 of which came in a Sept. 22 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. 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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