The NFL Draft has not showcased many Bruins in the past few years. Since Karl Dorrell took over the program in 2003, only 21 players have been drafted, only one of which picks came in the first round. Yikes.
It is not as though UCLA hasn't been getting the talent. The talent simply isn't developing. Check out where College Football Matrix ranks us with regard to worst player development:
Weak Player Development - So we know that recruiting rank is a very good barometer of future NFL draftees. We have posted the teams with the biggest gap between recruiting rank and draft numbers rank. How about the other direction? These are the teams with above average recruiting and way below average number of draft picks over the last 8 years.
- Oklahoma State
Clearly, the trend of bringing talent in without preparing the talent for the NFL is unsustainable. Along with winning games, Coach Mora's will have to turn this trend around. Thankfully, the two objectives are not mutually exclusive, and developing the talent will in turn lead to winning more games.
Enough of the past. Today, we're here to celebrate the Bruins who are in this year's draft. There is a good chance that we'll have a first round pick this year in DE Datone Jones.
Jones is looking like a mid to late first round pick in most mock drafts. At 6'4 283 lbs., a lot of NFL teams are eyeing Jones as a solid 3-4 end with potential to move inside and rush the passer on nickel and dime situations. Jon Gruden gave him a great nickname, "Datone-setter", and a lot of teams view him as a good penetrating lineman. I would personally love to see him end up with the San Francisco 49ers as Justin Smith's eventual replacement, but he would fit in with a number of teams that run the 3-4 picking in the area that Jones is expected to be chosen, including the Colts, Patriots, and Ravens.
After Jones, the next likely Bruin chosen will be Jonathan Franklin. Franklin has been flying up draft boards ever since his great Senior Bowl and combine showing. I've read that some teams actually have Franklin as the #1 rated running back. Whether or not that is the case, Franklin will likely be a 2nd or 3rd round selection. At 5'10 205 lbs., I'm sure there is some concern that Franklin might not be an every down type back, but us Bruins know otherwise. Franklin is a tough runner that can run inside the tackles and does not shy away from contact. He's also a good blocker and receiver out of the backfield, and should fit in well in the pass happy NFL. The Bengals, Jets, and Dolphins will all be looking for backs, but I think he'd be a better fit with the running back needy Packers or Falcons.
After Franklin, there are some other Bruins who will likely be later selections, including Jeff Baca, Joseph Fauria, Jeff Locke, and perhaps even Sheldon Price.
The NFL Draft is scheduled to start at 5:00 PM and airs on ESPN and the NFL Network. Chime in during the draft, and feel free to make your pick selections below- just don't tweet them, right Mr. Goodall?