Myles Jack falls out of first round

Former UCLA linebacker Myles Jack tumbled in the first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday. Photo by Keith Birmingham // Pasadena Star-News

Former UCLA linebacker Myles Jack tumbled in the first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday. Photo by Keith Birmingham // Pasadena Star-News

Once considered a lock as a top-five pick, former UCLA linebacker Myles Jack spent more than three painful hours in the green room in Chicago and didn’t hear his name called in the first round of the NFL Draft after reports of a serious issue with his knee torpedoed his draft stock. Reports indicated that the cartilage in his surgically repaired right knee was separating away from the bone after he tore the meniscus in September.

He told NFL Network on the pre-draft red carpet that he was not worried about his knee.

Teammates (former and present) and even opponents took to Twitter to support Jack during his draft free fall.

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Kenny Clark gets drafted by Green Bay Packers 27th overall

Kenny Clark (far right) was selected by the Green Bay Packers with the 27th overall pick in the first round of the NFL Draft.

Kenny Clark (far right) was selected by the Green Bay Packers with the 27th overall pick in the first round of the NFL Draft. Photo by Keith Birmingham // Pasadena Star-News

In one of many twists in Thursday’s NFL Draft, the first UCLA Bruin off the board was not linebacker Myles Jack. As Jack sat in the green room in Chicago, he heard former teammate Kenny Clark‘s name called as the 27th pick overall by the Green Bay Packers.

Pete Marshall was on hand in Highland for Clark’s draft party — read his story here.

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Preview: UCLA in the NFL Draft

Photos by Keith Birmingham (Pasadena Star-News) and SCNG file

Myles Jack (top left), Caleb Benenoch (top right), Kenny Clark (bottom left) and Jordan Payton (bottom right) are some of UCLA’s NFL Draft prospects this year. Photos by Keith Birmingham (Pasadena Star-News) and SCNG file

 

Some links in advance of the NFL Draft, which starts Thursday at 5 p.m.:

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UCLA LB Myles Jack wants to prove he’s not an ‘urban legend’

Myles Jack will enter the upcoming NFL draft as a consensus top-10 pick, about as sure a prospect as any franchise could hope for in the inexact science of talent evaluation.

For the past several months, the main concern for most scouts has been the health of Jack’s knee. On Tuesday, the former UCLA linebacker put himself through a number of drills during the Bruins’ Pro Day on campus — showing dozens of NFL personnel that the meniscus he tore six months ago is no longer a hindrance.

“That’s why it was so important for me to come out and show myself, show face,” he said. “Move around a little bit just to show people that it’s not like a myth or urban legend or anything. I’m really here. I can move around.”

Jack said he currently feels like he’s around “80 percent,” but was able to record a 40-inch vertical — a mark that would’ve tied for eighth-best among NFL Combine participants last month. However, that’s about three or four inches below what he would have been happy with.

He also held off on running a 40-yard dash. Instead, he plans to hold another workout in front of scouts on April 1.

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UCLA receiver Thomas Duarte joins list of NFL draft departures

UCLA Bruins wide receiver Thomas Duarte #18 looks at USC Trojans linebacker Su'a Cravens #21 after scoring a touchdown in the 2nd quarter. Cross town rivals USC and UCLS met at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, CA. 11/28/2015 (photo by John McCoy/Los Angeles News Group)

UCLA receiver Thomas Duarte (18) is the latest Bruin to forgo his senior season in favor of the NFL draft. He led the team with 10 touchdown catches as a junior. (John McCoy/Staff)

UCLA receiver Thomas Duarte has become the latest Bruin to declare for the NFL draft.

His father, Tim, told the Orange County Register on Tuesday that the 6-foot-3, 225-pound inside receiver had filed his official paperwork a day earlier — after receiving a third-round grade on his draft evaluation. Offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone’s recent departure for Texas A&M, he said, was “the straw that broke the camel’s back” in terms of Duarte’s decision.

As a junior, Duarte excelled in Mazzone’s spread offense, working the middle of the field and becoming the team’s most dangerous red zone target. After totaling seven scoring catches through his first two seasons, the Fullerton native found himself on the receiving end of 10 of freshman quarterback Josh Rosen’s 23 touchdown passes.

UCLA will enter next season with just one player who made at least a dozen catches in 2015: soon-to-be redshirt junior Darren Andrews, who recorded 42 catches for 429 yards and a score.

Duarte is the sixth UCLA underclassmen to enter the draft. Linebacker Myles Jack — who suffered a season-ending meniscus tear — and offensive guard Alex Redmond both left the team before the end of the season, while defensive tackle Kenny Clark, running back Paul Perkins and offensive lineman Caleb Benenoch declared shortly after the Bruins’ loss to Nebraska in the Foster Farms Bowl last month.

Only three players had left early after head coach Jim Mora’s first three seasons: offensive lineman Xavier Su’a Filo (No. 33 overall, 2014), quarterback Brett Hundley (fifth round, 2015), and defensive lineman Ellis McCarthy (undrafted).

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