Scouting the Pac 10: UCLA 

Struggling to play catch-up with cross-town rival USC, the Bruins have taken a backseat in the southern California the past few seasons. The program has had two picks in the initial round the past five years and both turned out to be very disappointing. Not a single Bruin was selected in the first day of last year's draft, something which will change in ‘06. 

Marcedes Lewis possesses the abilities to be a big-time player at the next level and is the type of tight end NFL teams covet.  Fluid releasing off the line of scrimmage, Lewis is an outstanding pass catcher who consistently makes the big reception over the middle of the field or into the defensive secondary.  Incredibly athletic, he consistently comes away with the tough reception on third down and is a solid red zone target.  While he gives effort blocking it is not a strong suit of his game.  The ability to create mismatches in the defensive backfield will make Lewis a top 45 selection next year.  Junior running back Maurice Drew is an explosive ball carrier who also impacts the game as a return specialist.  Possessing a burst of speed and displaying outstanding open field running skills, Drew waits for blocks to develop and has the ability to make defenders miss.  Wiggling through the traffic, Drew consistently finds the open seams yet is not a runner who picks up yardage off initial contact.  Not built to be a feature ball carrier in the NFL, versatility makes Drew the perfect situational back for the next level.  Tackle Ed Blanton is a king sized blocker who makes outstanding use of angles and body positioning to keep defenders from the action.  Patient in pass protection, he easily knocks defenders from their angle of attack with terrific hand punch.  Not light on his feet, Blanton plays left tackle for UCLA yet may not have the foot speed or athleticism to stay at that position in the NFL.  His body type and growth potential however, make him a solid developmental prospect on the strong side.  Quarterback Drew Olson is a hard-working passer and patient signal caller relatively accurate between the numbers.  Off the mark downfield, Olson lacks accuracy on the move and does not react well to pressure.  Starting most of last season, Olson could eventually find himself on the bench this year and will need a big off-season to prove his worth to NFL scouts.   

Defensively the Bruins top prospect is safety Jarrad Page, a potential first day pick.  Displaying solid ball skills, Page has a nice break to the throw and gets vertical, defending the pass in mid-air.  Relatively instinctive he displays solid sideline-to-sideline range and flashes on the scene.  Not overly efficient, Page struggles in man-to-man situations.  An athlete who also has a future in baseball, Page has some tough decisions to make on an ultimate career move.  Tackle Kevin Brown is a leverage lineman who quickly gets off the snap t and displays a burst of closing speed.  Working very hard, he chases sideline-to-sideline but lacks playing strength and is stymied at the point.  Brown has good upside for the next level and carries a first day grade.  Middle linebacker Spencer Havner seriously considered entering last April's NFL draft yet decided to stay in college after receiving disappointing reviews from NFL scouts.  An instinctive defender who diagnoses the action, Havner is an aggressive player with an outstanding head for the ball in run defense.  Taking good angles to the action, he anticipates plays long before they unfold.  Lacking speed to the flanks and a sustained burst, he has troubles in coverage and offers just marginal skills in pursuit.  More than anything else, Havner is a two down defender and a likely second day pick.  Outside linebacker Justin London struggled with injury all of last season yet is a solid weak side prospect with excellent range and the ability to make plays in any direction.  Quick filling gaps, he is an explosive defender who also gets depth on drops.  Lacking playing strength, London does not stack well against the run and is slow shedding blocks.  A big senior campaign could move London into the middle rounds.  Finally defensive tackle C.J. Niusulu is an explosive defender with outstanding quickness and a terrific first step.  Undersized, Niusulu is slow shedding blocks and has difficulty once engaged the point.  More of a rotational player on the front-four, Niusulu transferred to Portland State after being suspended from the UCLA program.

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