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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Owamagbe Odighizuwa drafted by New York Giants in third round

He waited longer than expected, but Owamagbe Odighizuwa became the second UCLA player taken in the 2015 NFL draft.

The New York Giants drafted the Bruins’ defensive end in the third round, making him the 74th overall selection this year. Twenty-nine picks earlier, college teammate Eric Kendricks went to the Minnesota Vikings in the second round.

The 6-foot-3, 267-pound Odighizuwa was one of the standouts at the NFL Combine in February, but the hip surgeries that sidelined him for the 2013 season gave some teams pause. Still, he said after UCLA’s Pro Day last month that he was expecting to be taken in the late first or early second round.

“The Giants are trying to get guys that can play inside and outside,” said ESPN analyst Todd McShay. “I think that’s exactly what they get in Odighizuwa.

“He’s a left defensive end fit, but he can reduce on passing downs and rush the quarterback from inside, that three technique. He’s got great length, he runs very fast in a straight line, and has long arms — a lot of pass breakups throughout his career.”

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Eric Kendricks becomes latest Bruin to join Minnesota Vikings

Four Bruins in three years. The Minnesota Vikings made that happen on Friday, picking yet another UCLA product by making linebacker Eric Kendricks their 45th overall pick.

The move reunites Kendricks with Anthony Barr, whom the Vikings took with the ninth overall pick in 2014. Both players won the Lott IMPACT Trophy as seniors, and Kendricks — who left UCLA as its all-time leading tackler — also won the Butkus Award.

“I feel like I just got drafted again,” Barr tweeted.

Kendricks had been projected as a potential late first-round selection, and didn’t figure to wait much longer in the second round. Only 12 other players heard their names called out in Chicago before him.

“I love his instincts and recognition skills,” said ESPN analyst Todd McShay. “I also think he’s the best cover linebacker in the entire draft.”

In addition to Barr and Kendricks, Minnesota drafted punter Jeff Locke and offensive lineman Jeff Baca in the fifth and sixth rounds, respectively, of the 2013 NFL draft.

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No UCLA players taken in first round of NFL draft

In a historic haul for its conference, UCLA was left out.

While nine Pac-12 players were taken in the first round of the NFL draft, first-round hopefuls Eric Kendricks and Owa Odighizuwa will wait another day. The Bruin linebacker and defensive end had been projected as late-first or early second-round picks, and represented the program’s best chance at making a first-day splash for the third straight year.

Brett Hundley, regarded by some as the No. 3 quarterback available, could also be selected in either the second or third round.

The second day of the draft will start at 4 p.m. PT.

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Where will the UCLA Bruins go in the 2015 NFL draft?

Former UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley attends spring football practice at Spaulding Field on April 2, 2015. (Andy Holzman/Staff)

Former UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley attends spring football practice at Spaulding Field on April 2, 2015. (Andy Holzman/Staff)

UCLA hasn’t produced three straight first-round picks since 1994-96, when Jamir Miller, J.J. Stokes and Jonathan Ogden all became top-10 selections.

The Bruins could finally match that streak again today. The NFL Draft starts at 5 p.m., and both linebacker Eric Kendricks and defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa have a chance to be picked. (There’s a bit of buzz linking Kendricks to the Arizona Cardinals, but late-developing draft news could always be a smokescreen.) UCLA hasn’t produced two first-rounders in the same draft since 1981, Freeman McNeil and Kenny Easley went third and fourth overall.

Worth reading on Odighizuwa is this story from Tania Ganguli at ESPN: Owa’s mother, Abieyuwa, helped hold the family together in the wake of his father killing three people in a shooting at the Appalachian School of Law.

In today’s paper, I covered Brett Hundley being set to become the first UCLA quarterback drafted since Cade McNown in 1999, although that’s more likely happen tomorrow. Here are quick draft bios for the Bruins as well.

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