The 2013 NFL Draft is now over. UCLA saw 4 players drafted this year, with Datone Jones being the first Bruin 1st round selection since Marcedes Lewis in 2006, and Jeff Baca the first O-Lineman picked since 1999. We covered Datone's selection by Green Bay, as well as the Packers' pick of Johnathan Franklin to keep him company. A few more notes on the late rounders and UFA's.
- Jeff Locke was the first of the two Bruins taken in the later rounds, selected in the 5th round (155th overall) by the Minnesota Vikings. Congrats to Locke for being the first punter off the board this year, but this is an interesting selection for the Vikings, given Chris Kluwe's presence. Daily Norsemen - SBN's Vikings blog - sees Locke as a way to push Kluwe after an off season. The NFL Network had some fun with his post-selection highlight video.
- The Vikings gave Locke some Bruin company by taking Jeff Baca in the 6th round (196th overall). Baca's versatility, along with his strong showing at the NFL combine got him onto the league's attention, leading to his becoming the first UCLA offensive lineman drafted since 1999. The Norsemen like the pick, seeing him developing into a utility role on the line, able to play anywhere but Center if needed.
Several other Bruins have been signed as undrafted free agents, or otherwise linked with NFL teams.
- Aaron Hester was signed by the Denver Broncos
- Joseph Fauria was signed by the Detroit Lions
- Sheldon Price was signed by the Indianapolis Colts
- Kevin McDermott was signed by the San Francisco 49ers
While not a Bruin, I have been intrigued a bit by the status of Southern Cal's Nickell Robey over the past couple of days. Robey was just picked up by the Buffalo Bills. He was one of their leading defensive players, who decided to leave Lane Kiffen and his program a year early despite being projected as a late round at best prospect with the resulting non-guaranteed paycheck.
Say what you will about guys like Malcolm Lee, Tyler Honeycutt (and maybe even Luc) who wanted to get away from Ben Howland, but at least they were drafted after their early exits.
There was some unofficial talk of the Vikings picking up Andrew Abbott, but he is not part of the group of signings announced today.
For these four, as well as the other departing seniors looking for an NFL opportunity, catching on for offseason workouts and a training camp invite as an undrafted free agent can work out pretty well. Mike Harris was not a particularly highly regarded prospect after leaving UCLA last year, but was signed by the Chargers after the draft and ended up starting at tackle for part of the season as a rookie.