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UCLA Draft News Round Up

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A final look at the 2017 draft and a look ahead after the weekend’s events.

NFL: 2017 NFL Draft Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

After the sixth round on Saturday and a flurry of negotiations with Undrafted Free Agents, UCLA had a total of 11 players taken by various teams in the NFL. Five were taken in rounds 1-6 and six were signed Sunday. You can see these billboards around LA congratulating our players:

You may have seen Takk’s display of emotion on Thursday night at finally fulfilling the promise he made to his grandmother. If you are unaware of his story, check out this article by ESPN. He is a true success story and model human being. Takk even showed up at the Spring Showcase and was signing autographs and taking pictures with fans. When asked why he was there, he said with a chuckle, “I ain’t got nothin’ else to do right now”. Just wait, Takk. Just wait.

But how are these Bruins going to fit in with their new teams? Here is a brief look at each drafted player and their role at the next level.

Takk McKinley

While there was a lot of chatter on Twitter and other teams that seemed interested (Dallas came up a few times), Atlanta ultimately got the gift of Takk. According to Falcons Wire, Takk will definitely be used to get to the opposition’s quarterback and with his quickness off the snap, will be an asset on the edge. His personality fit in with the team better than other prospects, and his drive and fire were exactly what Atlanta was looking for. I think this tweet says it all:

Takk will be in full beast mode this fall and we can’t wait to see what the next level brings for him.

Fabian Moreau

After his injury at the UCLA pro day, many cringed as the potential first round pick watched his stock drop. The twitter reaction after the pick, however, was overwhelmingly positive. He was a real steal for the Washington Redskins and even though he may not have had huge numbers of interceptions while at UCLA, he is a menace for the opposition in the red zone and has five years of experience and maturity to bring with him. He will more than likely outperform his draft number and only one defensive back put up a better time in the 40 at the combine.

Many may have forgotten that Moreau also missed most of the 2015 season with a foot injury, but proved himself healthy in 2016. With more development at the next level, Moreau will be one of the biggest steals of the 2017 draft.

Eddie Vanderdoes

I don’t think there are many more likeable guys that Eddie. After seeing such a gigantic human hold my five week old baby at the Spring Showcase last year (yes, we trusted him) I’ve had a soft spot for him ever since. He is a self proclaimed “steal of the draft” and I couldn’t agree more.

Eddie will bring that push up the middle of the defensive line that can create opportunities for sacks that we loved to watch at UCLA. He is quick for his size, and will boost the Oakland defense that was seventh from the bottom of the league last year. According to Mercury News and head coach Jack Del Rio,

“I think he has a shot,” Del Rio said. “I think it’s important that we develop the guys that are here, that we get a good offseason with (Jihad Ward). He’s attacking this offseason, and Mario Edwards Jr.I think we’ve got to expect these guys that we’ve taken over the last couple of years to take a step forward for us as well. But certainly, Eddie has an opportunity.”

Oakland is looking for the explosive Eddie that showed up to the combine and Senior Bowl. The numbers he put up garnered a lot of attention, and that’s the player the Raiders hope they drafted. With his weight down and his speed up, Eddie certainly has a shot at making a huge impact on the Oakland interior defense in 2017.

Jayon Brown

In a deal with the Philadelphia Eagles, the Tennessee Titans traded up to draft linebacker Jayon Brown. Last year, the Titans also drafted UCLA linebacker Aaron Wallace, who was used as a back up at both the inside and outside positions. Most draft analysts will say that while Brown has talent, he is undersized and will most likely fill the nickel position in Tennessee. His speed will also give him a fighting chance for a roster spot, and he will have former teammate Wallace to show him the ropes. Brown had an opportunity to really showcase his talents in 2015 when stand-out talent Myles Jack went down during practice. He took that opportunity and turned it into a draft pick.

Conor McDermott

The New England Patriots traded up to get offensive tackle Conor McDermott in the sixth round on Saturday. McDermott fits the profile of a New England Patriots offensive tackle nicely—he had a good showing at the combine with decent stats on the 40, vertical jump, and cone drill to show off his athleticism, and also brings the size necessary to protect franchise quarterback Tom Brady. He will most likely be competing with Cameron Fleming and LaAdrian Waddle for a roster spot, but what he brings on paper will make him competitive. There are questions about his strength that were apparent during last year’s season opener vs. Texas A&M, when his weakness was on display against Myles Garrett. But it sounds like McDermott is willing to work to prove his worth.

Go Bruins!!!