NFL Draft Preview

Apr. 30 -- With the first round of the NFL Draft today, we take a look at where UCLA players stand in terms of their NFL Draft stock...

With the NFL Draft starting today (5 PM PST), we take a look at which UCLA players project as draft picks and where they might fall in the draft.

Likely Draftees

Eric Kendricks

Kendricks had a huge senior year that vaulted him up draft boards across the country. For once, he was fully healthy for an entire year, and that allowed him to put up some eye-popping numbers while also showing off his underrated athleticism. He had an excellent combine performance, with a 4.61-second 40 yard dash and a 38-inch vertical jump. Many are expecting him to go to the Dallas Cowboys or Green Bay Packers toward the end of the first round, and virtually everyone expects him to be off the board by the end of the second round.

Owamagbe Odighizuwa.
Owamagbe Odighizuwa

Odighizuwa is largely in the same boat with Kendricks after a solid senior year and an excellent combine performance. As with Kendricks, he was healthy for his final year in the program, and responded with a year where his versatility truly shined. He projects as a 4-3 defensive end in the NFL, though some teams will likely try to move him around between outside linebacker and defensive end. He ran a stunning 4.62-second 40, had a 39-inch vertical, and showed incredible quickness in the 20-yard shuttle, recording a time of 4.19 seconds. AS with Kendricks, he's expected to be selected anywhere between the end of the first round and the end of the second round.

Brett Hundley

Hundley is the last of the Bruins who is a lock to be selected in the 2015 NFL Draft. Hundley's body of work is impressive: he started every game for UCLA over the last three years and put up some very good numbers. He's a very good athlete, and like Kendricks and Odighizuwa, really opened some eyes at the combine, with a 4.63-second 40, a 36-inch vertical, a 6.93-second three-cone drill, and a stunning 3.98-second 20-yard shuttle. We've documented the concerns about Hundley here over the last few years, but it mainly boils down to feel for the position and decision-making. If he can improve those areas significantly, which is no sure thing, he could be a really good NFL quarterback. There is some risk there, though, so despite his physical tools and excellent character, there's some disagreement on where he might be selected. The very optimistic projections have him being selected toward the end of the first round, while the very pessimistic ones have him as a 4th rounder. Our guess is that he falls in the middle somewhere, and is off the board by the end of the 3rd round.

Potential Draftees/Likely Free Agents

Anthony Jefferson

Jefferson didn't have the sort of combine performance that the previous three had, and failed to really wow observers. His 4.72-second 40 time stands out for not-so-good reasons, and he had mediocre-to-poor marks in the vertical jump and quickness drills. He may still be selected toward the end of the draft, since he has some versatility with the ability to play both cornerback and safety, but there are enough concerns about his athleticism that it wouldn't be surprising if he goes unselected and has to try to make a team through free agency.

Ellis McCarthy.
Ellis McCarthy

McCarthy's decision to leave school was one of the more baffling we've experienced (at least on the football side of things). He didn't really distinguish himself as a college player, and perpetually struggled with conditioning and weight management. He had a very rough combine performance, and then during the UCLA Pro Day, actually tried to work out as an offensive lineman. His size and strength may get him a look toward the end of the Draft, but we'd guess he ends up a free agent pickup for some team.

Malcolm Bunche

We've included Bunche here because he worked out at UCLA's Pro Day, but we'd be pretty shocked if he ended up being drafted. He had a poor year, and was demoted about halfway through the season in favor of Conor McDermott. Again, he's another who projects as a likely free agent selection who will have to work through a camp to make a roster.

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