Bruins Look Good at Senior Bowl

UCLA running back Johnathan Franklin, defensive lineman Datone Jones and punter Jeff Locke all had good performances at the Senior Bowl, and improved their stock...

Johnathan Franklin

Franklin emerged as the top back on the North squad. He proved over the week that he can run between the tackles, catch the football out of the backfield and pass protect.

Franklin, 5-foot-10 and 205-pounds, has some deception to his game because he plays a little bigger than his size. Franklin will surprise you with some power. He has good vision and sees and sets up blocks nicely. Franklin has good speed, not great speed. What helps is that he has very good balance and feet and shows the ability to stay on his feet after first contact, picking up extra yards.

During the Senior Bowl practices he consistently caught the ball well and did an excellent job of pass pro in the one-on-one drills against the linebackers and defensive backs.

One of the key aspects that Franklin proved during Senior Bowl practices and the game is that he could easily be a three-down back in the NFL.

In the game, he was the leading rusher for the North, carrying the ball five times for 41 yards, which included a 20-yard touchdown.

NFL Draft Stock: Compared to the other running backs in the game, which included Oregon's Kenyon Barner, Stanford's Stepfan Taylor and Florida's Mike Gillislee, Franklin showed well. Taylor might have been the only other back that improved his rep as much as Franklin. The Bruin running back definitely solidified his draft stock as a middle-rounder, probably looking like a third-round pick.

Datone Jones

Clearly the top prospect at the Senior Bowl was Central Michigan offensive tackle Eric Fisher. The guy that gave Fisher the most problems was UCLA defensive end Datone Jones.

Jones has good size at 6-foot-4 and 280 pounds. He has good length with long arms and knows how to use his hands. Jones battled all week and didn't take plays off. He gets off the ball and shows good athleticism and strength. Jones also showed versatility against the run and ability to get to the quarterback, using power and speed on the edge.

Jones showed he can play defensive end in a 4-3 scheme and was every bit as impressive as Alex Okafor from Texas.

In the game, Jones consistently put pressure on the quarterbacks from the edge, and was credited with one sack, while having many hurries. Since Jones had a great week of practice it was key for him that he showed up in the game, and he didn't disappoint.

NFL Draft Stock: Other pass rushers, like Okafor, came into the game with more hype, but none emerged from the practices and game with more buzz than Jones. His combination of size, burst and motor was unique, and it definitely boosted his draft prospects. Considered a middle-rounder before the game, he's now being mentioned as a second-round possibility and there is some talk that, if he continues to impress in the NFL workouts over the next two months, he could move himself into the first round.

Jeff Locke

The Bruin punter showed a big foot, had a good week and won the Senior Bowl practice award for best specialist. In the game he punted seven times for a 45-yard average, with a long of 52, and put two within the 20. He did a good job of getting the ball off under pressure.

If there was a knock, the general feeling was that he had to work on his consistency.

NFL Draft Stock: NFL teams almost never use their high draft picks -- or any draft picks -- on specialists. Last season, Cal's Bryan Anger was drafted in the third round -- and that was unprecedented. Locke is ranked generally 4th or 5th among punters in the draft, and he's probably looking at -- in a best-case scenario -- a late-round pick. It's very possible he doesn't get drafted (Kai Forbath, UCLA's Lou-Groza-Award-winning kicker, didn't get drafted in 2012) but gets a number of tryouts.

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