UCLA Football: Top 5 NFL Prospects on the Roster
With the NFL draft slated to begin Thursday night at 8 p.m. ET, the dreams of many will be realized. In terms of former UCLA football players, Anthony Barr and Xavier Su'a-Filo will likely find themselves in the first round.
What about the Bruins on the current roster? Which ones are regarded as future NFL draft choices?
Jim Mora and his staff have done a masterful job of building viable depth from within the program. Multiple underclassmen—such as Poasi Moala, Alex Redmond, Tahaan Goodman, Craig Lee and Caleb Benenoch—have the potential to play at the highest level one day.
There are also multiple upperclassmen with the ability to be NFL players in the future. Owamagbe Odighizuwa, Eric Kendricks, Randall Goforth, Devin Lucien, Kenny Orjioke, Malcolm Bunche and Ellis McCarthy (among others) all figure into this mix.
This piece will rank the top five Bruins in terms of NFL potential. These rankings will primarily be based on potential draft position. Both production on the collegiate level and overall potential go into this list. A player without any collegiate experience will not appear.
Here's a look at the top five NFL prospects on the roster for the UCLA Bruins.
5. Eddie Vanderdoes
Rising sophomore Eddie Vanderdoes is a jumbo athlete with impressive skills.
He started last season for the Bruins at defensive end in their 3-4 scheme. At 6'4", 310 pounds, he is cat-quick and extremely powerful. He's versatile enough to play the 3-technique in a 4-3 and the end spot in a 3-4 or even move inside and man the nose in a 3-4.
Not only that, but he participated a bit on offense for UCLA in 2013. He caught a pass out of the backfield as a fullback and also had a rushing touchdown.
The sky truly is the limit for Vanderdoes. It would be a relative shock to see him stay longer than three years in Westwood. He could be a potential top-15 pick by the time he's a junior.
4. Fabian Moreau
Mora had this to say about starting cornerback Fabian Moreau, per Jack Wang of the Los Angeles Daily News: "I think he is on the verge of becoming a great cornerback. Like being one of the best in college football. That's an NFL corner right there. If he keeps developing the way he's developing, he's a sure-fire first-round pick."
That's extremely high praise, considering Mora has more than 20 years of NFL coaching experience.
Originally recruited as a running back, Moreau has all the tools necessary to be very good at the next level. He is equipped with good length, fluidity in regard to turning his hips in coverage and above-average speed.
The NFL loves tall corners, and Moreau is blessed with good size for the position at 6'0", 200 pounds.
One needs to realize he has some room for growth. He's still new to the position, having played at corner for only two years.
However, the junior from Florida has the potential to be solid down the road.
3. Myles Jack
Some might be surprised to see Myles Jack rated as the third-best NFL prospect on the team.
He took college football by storm as a true freshman this past year, displaying why he's one of the most dynamic athletes in the country.
In terms of his future at the next level, his best position could be as a running back. However, it appears as if he'll stick to playing as a linebacker. For the outside linebacker position, he's a bit undersized at 6'1", 225 pounds. His best position realistically is inside.
I am nitpicking to an extent. Jack is a fantastic talent, and barring injury, he will be a first-round draft pick. His ability to move in space makes him special. He will be an every-down linebacker on the next level.
He's a more mobile Patrick Willis.
2. Kenny Clark
Kenny Clark is not a known quantity outside of Westwood.
The nose guard out of San Bernardino, California, is an elite defensive lineman. He could be the most underrated player (regardless of position) in the country.
As a true freshman, he usurped the starting nose guard spot away from senior Seali'i Epenesa. He was truly dominant against both Southern Cal and Virginia Tech. Clark is built low to the ground and demonstrates great explosion—which results often in a collapsing of the pocket.
It's scary to think he will be only a sophomore this year. With two more years left in college, he will cement himself as one of the best interior defensive linemen in the country. He is a potential top-10 talent.
1. Brett Hundley
Brett Hundley is UCLA's best pro prospect.
The talented signal-caller opted to stay in college for one more year to hone his skills at the position. In terms of attributes, he has it all.
UCLA's quarterback possesses a strong arm, very good mobility and elusiveness, leadership qualities, and a strong work ethic.
He will in all likelihood be battling Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston to be the top quarterback selected in 2015. It should be the strongest crop of quarterbacks in recent memory.
Assuming Hundley improves in regard to his pocket awareness and accuracy, he could be in contention to be a top-five pick in next year's draft.