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UCLA Football Draft News Roundup

Here’s a look back on the weekend and a look ahead at the roles our future NFLers will be playing next season.

NFL: NFL Draft Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Draft weekend is always wild. It never goes quite how you think it will, you’re on the edge of your seat waiting for your guy’s name to be called, and it doesn’t even end with round seven. After all seven round are complete, there’s the UDFA (undrafted free agent) waiting game (check out our tracker here). UCLA had five players taken in the seven rounds of the draft—let’s take a look at each player and how they’ll fit in with their new teammates.

Josh Rosen—Arizona Cardinals

According to Josh Rosen, there were “nine mistakes” made on draft day—that would be the nine guys chosen ahead of him. I happen to think otherwise. He was the fourth quarterback taken, but let’s face it—the Browns, Jets, and Bills aren’t exactly NFL powerhouses. It looks to me like Rosen got a better deal in the end and signed with a better team that actually has a hope and a prayer of making it to the playoffs in the near future. Arizona actually traded up to get him, so it’s obvious they really wanted him (funny thing is they traded with Oakland, who also drafted a Bruin). Of course, we’re seeing Rosen’s ego come out in just about every press conference he’s holding these days, so everything he says is analyzed, replayed, and in some cases, editorial material.

The Cardinals actually have pretty decent offensive statistics, but when you get to touchdowns, they just couldn’t seem to punch it in often enough. In total, they have a few more yards in the air than their opponents (3640 to 3541), but average 12 touchdowns fewer (they only scored 29 touchdowns in 2017). Arizona lost Carson Palmer to retirement and Blaine Gabbert to the Titans, so we should see an overhaul in the offense with two new solid quarterbacks and a new head coach. They rack up an average of just over 227 yards per game good enough for 15th in the NFL, but it will be up to veteran quarterback Sam Bradford and Rosen to get those numbers up (as long as Bradford can stay healthy).

While some may think that Rosen is going to have a chip on his shoulder and the happiness he showed on draft day was fake, Rosen would say otherwise:

According to NBC Sports, Rosen was the most NFL ready in the draft class, but his character caused him to drop further in the first round than he would have liked. It’s now time for Rosen to “prove everyone wrong by winning football games”.

Kolton Miller—Oakland Raiders

Kolton Miller will be joining our own Eddie Vanderdoes in Oakland. While Miller was supposed to go very late in the first, even early in the second, the Raiders shocked us all by drafting him 15th overall.

While Miller didn’t appear to have a stellar career at UCLA, let’s look at some specifics. He played right tackle for two years, then missed most of his junior season due to a foot injury. He came back his senior season and wound up playing out of position on the left, which didn’t lead many to believe he was the greatest player—or was he?

He allowed just two sacks, six hits and eight hurries in 579 pass blocking snaps, and he reduced the number of hurries allowed each year, from 17 two seasons ago to 11 in 2017. He was a beast at the combine, breaking the record for offensive lineman on the broad jump and was considered a top performer in almost every other skill. On top of all that, he ran the 40 in 4.95 seconds, which is absolutely ridiculous for a man of his size.

Oakland’s trade with Arizona dropped them from pick 10 to pick 15 in the first round, and when they took Miller, there was actually a lot of criticism from fans. Luckily, Miller isn’t active on social media and is able to tune out most of the noise (there was even a fake Kolton Miller twitter account).

But, the Raiders are glad to have him:

And even tweeted his accomplishments at the combine:

Go get ‘em, big guy.

Kenny Young—Baltimore Ravens

Our last 42 has left the nest. Kenny Young was one of two defensive players selected by the Ravens in the fourth round, and his speed is definitely what set him apart from other available picks. He can play east and west on the field as well as north and south, and can keep up with tight ends and running backs, which makes him linebacker gold.

In my honest opinion, his character is another attribute that sets him apart, due to the fact that he always talked about influencing young children through football and living up to the standard that was set by Jackie Robinson when he wore 42.

The Ravens are happy to have him, as are the fans:

And here is my favorite draft tweet:

Scott Quessenberry—Los Angeles Chargers

One of our own isn’t going very far. Scott Quessenberry was picked up by the Chargers, and now he gets to live out his childhood dream of playing for his favorite team.

Quessenberry was the first offensive pick for the Chargers in the 2018 draft, after they had taken defensive players with their first four picks.

Quessenberry’s ability to play across the line is one of his attributes that made him a solid draft pick. He started out at UCLA as an offensive guard, but ended up starting 25 games at center in 2016-2017. He is looked at as someone who could fill in a backup spot in his early years and then easily slide into a starting position.

Proud Mama Quessenberry didn’t waste any time supporting her son:

Scott isn’t the first Quessenberry to make it to the NFL. Brother, David, is currently on the roster for the Houston Texans.

Jordan Lasley—Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens must really like what they see coming out of UCLA, as they drafted two of our players this weekend (their first pick in team history, was after all, Jonathan Ogden). Jordan Lasley had some amazing circus catches last year, my favorite being the game winner versus Texas A&M (and yes, it was a catch). Thank you, Fox Sports:

His exceptional playmaking abilities have, however, been overshadowed by his tendencies to drop passes and also his questionable behavior last year, when he mysteriously missed four games throughout the season for undisclosed reasons.

Here’s another player with negative tendencies that now has the opportunity to right the ship. He clearly has talent—he was first in the Pac-12 with 1,264 receiving yards on 69 catches (this is WITH four games on the bench), and at the end of last season, he set a UCLA record with two 200+ yard games in a row. His behavior off the field might be what caused him to drop out of the second and third rounds, where many analysts thought he’d get picked up.

Before the draft, the Pac 12 Network took the time to remind NFL GM’s and owners what weapons Lasley could bring with him:

Clearly, Lasley is thankful for the opportunity:

Go Bruins!