Jim Mora (Tracy Pierson)

Jim Mora Press Conference Following UCLA Pro Day 2017

Mar. 21 -- UCLA head coach Jim Mora spoke to the media following Pro Day to break down the Bruins' prospects heading into the 2017 NFL Draft...

Opening statement:

We had our annual Pro Day and it has been a success so far. We have 17 of our outgoing seniors working out plus Jordon James and Matt Mengel. They’ve done well. I believe if im not mistaken, all 32 teams were represented here, which is a good sign for the program. Its been a really good day. The young men are focused, working hard and doing a good job. Its always a fun day to see the guys you’ve worked with for a number of years, get on this field and have a big job interview, put themselves on display.

On Takk McKinley:

Football is very important to Takk and he’s passionate about the game and imporving as a player. What happens with a guy like Takk, they don’t know him as well, but as they get to know him through the process, at the Combine, and then they come in for individual visits and get to know his personality and what drives him and how motivated he is. They realize he has tremendous upside. We take a lot of pride in sending guys out of here that aren’t raw. Takk, with all the success he had here, really has just started playing the position. Scouts and decision makers recognize that about him.

On Fabian Moreau:

I’ve gotten a ton of calls about Fabian.  At the combine, he ran really well and measured really well. He was a little over 6-0 and 206 pounds and he verified a 4.36. All the measurables were there. Teams are looking for cover corners. He can do that, line up and bump and run. Fabian came here as a running back so its not a position he’s played a lot so there is a lot of potential for him to be a good player.

On if Moreau could be an instant impact guy in the NFL:

I do believe so.  Its because he’s very intelligent. You hear all these acronyms, FBI, football intelligence, and he has all those. He understands the game. He competes at a high level every day in practice. He’ll be coachable. If he’s in the right environment around the right players, I think he’s going to flourish. His prospects for success are undoubted. Its fun to see people recognize what a good player Fabian is.  I think it says something that he’s played a lot and a fifth year senior. They like that experience. Guys are rushing out of college, and sometimes the best thing to do is stay in college and garner that experience.

On Kenny Walker:

I saw, and every clock is a little different, but I saw a 4.22 and a 4.33. Somewhere in there in both his runs, is legit. Whether it was a 4.33 or 4.22, its fast. He did 19 reps on the bench at 225, which for his size, he did really well. I think he’s another guy with a lot of upside. He’s just had a little inconsistency catching the football. But once again, football is important to him and he’s willing to do the work.

On how a player like Anthony Barr helps UCLA:

We take a lot of pride in running a program that prepares these guys to be great players on Saturday and then be ready for the next level and ready to contribute right away. As you know, there is not a lot of patience for draft picks. Its incumbent on us to prepare them to have the proper mindset. You get word back from the Vikings, talking about Anthony Barr or Eric Kendricks, George Patton calls and said we never had two guys who were so prepared from day one to play, I think it says a lot about the program we’re putting together.

On Jayon Brown:

I think Jayon had a good day. I think people are going to question his size. He measured in at 6-0, 226. They’ll question his size, but he ran well and when they put on his tape, they’ll see a guy who makes plays.  They’re comparing him to Eric Kendricks, who was similar in his size at Pro Day and they’re similar players. Both great leaders, tremendous teammates, great team guys, selfless players. I’ve compared them to Sam Mills, a guy I coached with the Saints. I think Jayon has a lot of those qualities. Jayon has the ability to go in right away and be an impact special teams player. And then grow into a nickel role and then a starters role. That’s how I see it.

On how Eddie Vanderdoes stacks up with the recent run of defensive linemen:

Eddie is more like Kenny (Clark) than he is like Datone (Jones), an inside guy.  You go a little on potential with Eddie. He didn’t have the type of year he would have wanted to have. But since that time he’s dropped down to 305, he was 302 today, and moving around more athletically. As I talk to scouts, I tell them to go back and look at his sophomore film, when he was playing some offense, and you can see his athleticism and you can see his bend.  You see the suddenness and strength in his hands. I think he’ll be an outstanding NFL player because he has initial quickness, he has power.  He can play nose or the 3-tech, when you can do those things, there is value added. I don’t know that it matters where he’s drafted, but I think he’ll have a tremendous career.

On what Vanderdoes needs to continue to improve on:

Continuing with the work ethic that he’s had here recently. A single purpose. Very focused.  Working on his craft.  I think when he gets to that level and can take all his focus on football, in football you’ll see him jump.  Its unquestioned that he has great athleticism for a big man. He has the ability to focus in and it will help him tremendously.   

On Fabian Moreau’s pectoral injury:

Its being evaluated but I don’t think its anything serious. He’s back out here.  He did everything at the combine.  He had good numbers at the combine. His numbers were good enough at the combine, that working out today isn’t that important. And all these teams interested in him will be back here for their individual interviews. Anything that happened to him is minor. 

On Ishmael Adams working on both sides:

That’s a great question and I’m sure that teams probably have him at different places. You’ll see teams looking at him as a returner and for Ish, that might be his thing. I think the fact that he could play DB and a little receiver could help him in camp, because you’re constrained by numbers, so a guy like Ish who could play multiple positions, he might be able to show teams something that could keep him.

On guys not invited to the combine and the importance of Pro Day:

This is their combine. It’s not their one shot, a lot of teams will come back and do individual workouts.  Randall has already worked out with the Tennessee Titans on his own.  It’s a chance for coaches to get up close and personal, scouts and decision makers. They’ll spend the next couple weeks coming back through, putting them on the board, testing their IQ, taking them to dinner. Our guys will be ready for whatever challenges presented to them.

On the talk about Fabian since the combine:

I think anytime you perform like he did at the combine, with his size and speed and explosiveness, people go back and take a second look. He played well in the all-star game. People will go off tape. The best decision makers, the best drafters, they go off the tape, not necessarily the 40. A 40 might confirm something, a vertical might confirm something, but if you ask a GM in a moment of weakness to be honest with you, they go back to the tape and I think Fabian is a player that has shown improvement every single year.

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