UCLA Football: Who Is Replacing Every Former Bruin Taken in 2014 NFL Draft
The UCLA football team will have to replace the five former Bruins taken in this year's NFL draft.
Plugging players into the vacant spots will not be an easy proposition.
Outside of Cassius Marsh's replacement, the general theme for the group will be one of inexperience. The talent level should be decent across the board, but it will be a giant step up in actual playing time for the majority of the new starters.
Let's take a look at the five new individuals replacing those taken in the draft for the UCLA Bruins.
Replacing Anthony Barr: Kenny Orjioke
Rising junior Kenny Orjioke will have the unenviable task of replacing UCLA's most prolific edge-rusher of the past two seasons.
In terms of pure athleticism, Orjioke might be a tad superior to Barr. He's blessed with the ideal traits for the outside linebacker position. Orjioke is not only quick and super athletic, but he's also very long.
He didn't play a ton in his first two years as a Bruin. Orjioke was mostly a special teams player and played behind Barr in a reserve role. Undoubtedly, growing pains will take place.
However, his athleticism should help to mask any deficiencies. Assuming he can continue to polish his pass-rushing skills, Orjioke could be a monster.
His ceiling is considerably high.
Replacing Xavier Su'a-Filo: Alex Redmond
Sophomore guard Alex Redmond will likely slide over to left guard in order to compensate for the loss of stalwart Xavier Su'a-Filo.
As a true freshman, Redmond admirably manned the right guard spot. While not overly athletic, he's a mauler. Redmond utilizes heavy hands and plays with tremendous physicality and aggression.
Su'a-Filo was masterful at getting to the second level. He often was the pulling guard and helped to spring UCLA tailbacks for good yardage. While Redmond doesn't possess the same type of athleticism, he will still be a very effective player.
There shouldn't be a huge drop-off between the two.
Replacing Cassius Marsh: Owamagbe Odighizuwa
Fortunately for the Bruins, fifth-year senior (and former Scout.com 5-star recruit) Owamagbe Odighizuwa will return to the fold in place of Cassius Marsh.
"Owa" sat out the entire 2013 season in order to recuperate from hip surgery. Now fully healthy, he looks primed to have a very good senior campaign. Odighizuwa is built like a Greek god. A freak athlete, he has a lethal combination of power and explosiveness. He is at his best with his hand in the dirt.
However, he can drop in coverage and act as an outside 'backer. Should UCLA opt to go with a bigger look up front (to compensate for the run), it wouldn't be a shock to see Odighizuwa standing up in coverage.
Look for "Owa" to have a productive senior season. If healthy, he's a bona fide NFL prospect.
Replacing Shaq Evans: Devin Lucien
If anyone's poised for a breakout season, it's Devin Lucien.
The talented receiver from Crespi High School will likely take over for receiver Shaq Evans. UCLA utilizes a plethora of options at the position. It's conceivable to think up to eight receivers will be in the rotation.
Alas, one needs to stand out and be "the guy" for the Bruins. Lucien is dynamic when attacking the football. He's demonstrated the ability to contort his body and pluck the ball out of the air. He's adept in regards to his jumping ability, too.
Now a junior, Lucien should take a big leap up in becoming one of UCLA's best receivers.
Replacing Jordan Zumwalt: TBD
It's a bit ambiguous as to who will replace Jordan Zumwalt at middle linebacker.
Zumwalt will be tough to replace on several fronts. He was one of UCLA's emotional leaders in '13. He played with wonderful energy and often set the tone with his physical play. He was also one of UCLA's most talented defensive players last year.
The leading candidate to start is likely sophomore Isaako Savaiinaea. The Hawaiian is physically more stout than Zumwalt, and he is likely better against the run.
Challenging Savaiinaea will be two freshmen—Zach Whitley and Kenny Young.
Whitley is a very talented prospect from Houston. He benefited from enrolling early, as he participated in the entire spring camp. Young is slated to enter this summer. The New Orleans native is one of the crown jewels of this past recruiting class.
Also figuring into the mix will be sophomores Cameron Judge and Jayon Brown.