Scouting the Pac 10: UCLA

The Bruins are a team in transition. A program which usually plays in the post season then puts solid prospects into the NFL draft, UCLA finished the 2003 season in disastrous fashion. While there are no outstanding NFL prospects presently on the roster there are a few solid late round picks, especially on the offensive side of the ball.

For the most part UCLA is known for big, tough, slug-it-out blockers.  With that in mind scouts are eyeing three Bruin prospects up front.  Junior tackle Ed Blanton is a solid pass protector who blocks with a wide base, effectively uses angles and displays the ability to slide out laterally. Working to stay square, he anchors at the point and is a patient blocker that does not make mental mistakes.  Not the greatest athlete, Blanton lacks explosion, quickness and run blocking strength.  He possesses the frame to get bigger and should be a solid prospect moving towards his senior season.  In contrast guard Eyoseph Efseaff is quick off the snap into blocks, displays straight ahead power and gets movement at the point of attack.  Playing with a nasty attitude he looks to hit several defenders during a single play yet is smart in his head and immediately picks up stunts or twists.  While he works to bend his knees, Efseaff is not a leverage blocker rather a mauler best in confined quarters.  While he won't test well athletically Efseaff could fall into the late rounds and has a real chance to make a roster at the next level.  Steven Vieira is a hard-working strong- side blocker with decent size and growth potential.  Another nasty lineman, he works to take out opponents and is quick in his head picking up assignments.  Patient and a lineman that displays some ability to slide out and protect the edge, he lacks adjustment, overall playing strength and seems like a marginal athlete.  The Bruins possess a pair of solid second day receivers.  Craig Bragg is a reliable pass catcher that continually makes himself an available target and the same time is effective in his role as a punt returner.  Working his routes, Bragg displays solid ball awareness and uses his body to shield away opponents.  With just ordinary sized/speed numbers Bragg cannot beat defenders down the field and has difficulty physically battling opponents to make the tough reception.  His return skills could eventually help him catch on as a fifth receiver in the NFL.  Tab Perry is back on the squad after sitting out last season with academic problems then subsequently transferring to a I-AA school.  Perry is a tall receiver who, as a freshman, displayed game breaking and game controlling skills.  His play has since fallen off yet recent events will hopefully be a wakeup call for him.  At the top of his game he has the potential to develop into a second receiver in the NFL.  Mercedes Lewis is a tight end with star potential.  An outstanding athlete with the ability to make receptions deep into the secondary, Lewis displays flashes in every aspect of his game and should he develop consistency Lewis will be a first day draft pick in the future. Running back Manuel White is a big bodied ball- carrier and power runner who could move up draft boards with a solid senior campaign. Fullback Pat Norton does not get the credit he deserves but is a hard-hitting lead blocker who attacks assignments.  Displaying strength at the point of attack, Norton immediately picks up defensive blitzes and does a good job in pass protection.  A first year starter in 2004, Norton is a one-dimensional player yet a prospect with a good amount of upside as a true blocking fullback.

Defensively Jarrad Page is the latest in what has been a good group of defensive backs to recently come out of the UCLA program.  A solid athlete, he displays good lateral range and has a penchant for making the big play.  Only a junior, Page's play seemed to slide a bit during his sophomore season after what was an outstanding freshman campaign.  Needing to get back on the right path he offers a good amount of upside potential and is a possible first day pick in the future.  Finally Ben Emanuel is a nice sized safety with good straight line speed and the abilities to stuff the run.

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