This weekend was another banner week for the UCLA football program, as 5 Bruins were selected in the NFL Draft. UCLA led the Pac-12 through the sixth round, until Stanford had some players go in the 200's and ended up with 6 guys being selected.
- The reactions about the Bruins' Day 1 and 2 picks, Anthony Barr (#9 to the Vikings) and Xavier Su'a-Filo (#33 to the Texans) from our SB Nation affiliates Daily Norseman and Battle Red Blog were mostly positive. This was especially for Su'a-Filo at #33 which was met with near unanimous excitement despite the fact that they'll be starting Ryan Fitzpatrick or Case Keenum at QB. The opinions are Barr warmed up considerably after the Vikings traded up to pick Teddy Bridgewater at #32, getting their QB of the future (unlike the Buccaneers who decided to take over the claim of worst QB situation in the NFC, not that I'm bitter or anything).
- Anthony Barr killed his opening press conference as a Viking. Displays all the confidence and poise that we came to expect after watching him develop into a top 10 talent over the years.
- Just like on Day 2, a Bruin was off the board almost as soon as the day began on Day 3. At pick 108, Cassius Marsh was scooped up by Seattle. The defending champion Seattle Seahawks leapt on an athletic pass rusher with a high motor that doesn't fit in a traditional position at the next level. There is a reason why teams like Seattle and San Francisco have such exceptional defenses. Marsh isn't ever going to be a player that is on the field for 50+ snaps a game in the NFL, but there is no reason to think he can't produce in passing situations and hold down the edge. The team over at SB Nation's Field Gulls took a look at this selection as well.
- Shaq Evans was off the board quickly in the 4th round to the New York Jets at pick #114. He'll be competing for a starting job with Stephen Hill, and fellow draft picks Jalen Saunders from Oklahoma and Quincy Enuwa from Nebraska. With Evans' ability, there is no reason to expect him to do anything but impress on the East Coast. There were a couple of articles put out at Gang Green Nation, the first about the instant reaction. This was followed by a more comprehensive piece by a Notre Dame fan talking about his upside and untapped potential.
- Jordan Zumwalt landed in a 3-4 defense and a place where linebackers thrive at pick 192 by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Here is the press release at Steelers.com featuring an interview with the Steelers linebackers coach Keith Butler and a transcript of a conference call with Zumwalt. Highlight quote from Butler on Jordan:
He’s an inside guy but does he have the versatility to play outside?
He’s a long, tall kid, but I would see him as an inside guy too at this point. He’s a kid that can provide some backup for us, and he should be able to play some special teams for us. Great competition at the inside linebacker position, we are going to have some.
And, as always Jordan provide both a great quote and a ridiculous moment:
How tough is it waiting to be drafted?
You remember when you were a kid and you were waiting for Christmas? But it’s like you get to meet Santa this time. You know what I mean? It’s pretty tough.
Jordan Zumwalt in his Steelers garb, outside his draft party. pic.twitter.com/OtCYA4CVLu— Ryan Kartje (@Ryan_Kartje) May 11, 2014
- Behind The Steel Curtain also looked at the pick initially. Then they gave the pick a B going through their post-draft grading process, noting his special teams prowess and all of the positive traits that we've grown to admire about Zumwalt over the years.
- It was good news after the final pick was made for a few more Bruins, as Brandon Sermons signed on with the Arizona Cardinals talented secondary after his impressive Pro Day. It'll be a long road for Sermons, but hopefully he can follow Nate Chandler (currently starting LT for Carolina), Derrick Coleman (Seahawks), Sheldon Price (Colts) and Aaron Hester (Broncos) as undrafted free agents that make it onto the roster or as practice squad players that make it on contending teams.
- Another Bruin that has gotten good news is Darius Bell:
S/O to my lil bro @dariusbell3 headed to Baltimore to start his NFL career! Love u bro. Time to take yo spot— Kahlil Bell (@KahlilBell32) May 11, 2014
Some Bruins to keep an eye on for mini-camp invites include Malcolm Jones, Stan McKay, Seali'i Epenesa, Keenan Graham and other former Bruins working for a shot at the NFL. I will try to update BN as news rolls in over the next week or so.
UPDATE: Coach Jim Mora gives a short update on UDFA's. Congrats to all 3 so far.
Brandon Sermons to the Cardinals, Darius Bell to the Ravens, Saili'i Epenesa to the Patriots...stay tuned, more to come. #BruinRevolution— Jim Mora (@UCLACoachMora) May 11, 2014