BBD Writer Tony Wiltshire
There will be several dynamic NFL prospects on the field when the UCLA Bruins (9-4) meet the Baylor Bears (7-5) in the Holiday Bowl. UCLA is the more consistent team, but it will be interesting to see if their defense can contain the explosive playmakers on Baylor’s offense.
RB Jonathan Franklin, #23, 5’10, 198
Franklin finished the season as one of the most productive backs in the country. He’s athletic with good feet, and he possesses the vision to pick and slide in the running lanes. He’s not a bruiser, but his pad level and ability to get skinny allows him to gain enough leverage to be an effective runner between the tackles. His receiving ability has improved as has his pass protection. He’ll be selected in the middle rounds, and will appeal to teams that employ a two back system.
TE Joseph Fauria, #8, 6’7, 255
Fauria’s combination of size, speed, and hands make him an intriguing prospect. He’s a fluid athlete with the ability to run solid routes and the speed to attack vertical seams. At this point in his development, he hasn’t shown much as a blocker. He gives effort, but he’s going to have to improve his playing strength if he’s going to be anything more than a matchup based player. His limitations as a blocker limit his upside and will ultimately result in him being selected in the later rounds.
OG Jeff Baca, #60, 6’3, 298
Baca is an excellent run blocker with aggressive physicality and strength, and he plays the game with a nasty attitude. Even though he’ll have to play inside at the next level, he does possess some coordination on the move. His technique in pass protection needs some work, but he has the skills to mature into an adequate pass blocker. He just needs to clean his footwork up and learn to get off the ball more consistently. He’ll be selected in the bottom half of the upcoming draft.
DE Datone Jones, #56, 6’4, 275
Jones is a highly rated prospect that will offer position versatility to some team in April. Even though his game projects as a 4/3 DE, he’s capable of playing the 5-Technique in a ¾ or DT in a 4/3. Even though he has the lateral quickness and closing speed to reach the passer, he’s more of a power / strength player lacking the flexibility to be considered a pure edge rusher. He has strong and active hands, and he possesses the natural power to control the point of attack. As a multi-positional prospect, he will come off the board within the first two rounds of the draft.
CB Aaron Hester, #21, 6’0, 207
Hester is the more impressive CB prospect on the UCLA roster. He has terrific size and length with above average instincts and strength. Even though he’s not a dynamic athlete, he has good balance and the lateral quickness to stick in coverage. He effectively uses his size to press and jam the receiver at the line of scrimmage, and he displays impressive physicality against the run. He’s still developing play awareness and needs technique work, but he offers starter level potential at the next level. If he times well in Indianapolis, he could come off the board in the middle rounds.
CB Sheldon Price, #22, 6’1, 180
For a tall corner, Price has flashed potential as both a man and zone defender. He has a good feel in coverage, and he exhibits an impressive closing burst even though he’s often slow in his drop. Despite his size, he doesn’t offer much in terms of run support. He’s somewhat scheme limited and looks more like a reserve at the next level. He’ll have to test well if he hopes to be drafted. At this point, he carries a free agent grade.
QB Kevin Prince, #4, 6’2, 230
WR Shaquelle Evans, #1, 6’0, 205*
OC Greg Capella, #74, 6’3, 298*
DT Cassius Marsh, #99, 6’3, 276*
DE Anthony Barr, #11, 6’4, 238*
LB Eric Kendricks, #6, 6’, 230*
SAF Tevin McDonald, #7, 5’11, 185* (Suspended for Game)
PN Jeff Locke, #18, 6’0, 208
QB Nick Florence, #11, 6’0, 205
Florence is a mediocre prospect with strong intangibles and smarts. However, his size and arm strength will limit his opportunities at the NFL level. He’ll get a shot as a free agent, but his skills look more suited for the CFL.
RB Jarred Salubi, #21, 5’8, 210
After being the starter to begin the season, Salubi lost his job to Seastrunk and Martin. He’s a compact runner with average quickness, and he does a nice job running behind his pads. Even though he possesses some natural running skills, he simply lacks the NFL caliber burst to be a factor at the next level. He’ll have a tough time making a roster.
RB Lache Seastrunk, #9, 5’9, 205*
Seastrunk is a player that has already announced his intentions to return to Baylor. He’s a dynamic runner that gets to top speed almost instantly. He runs with rare balance and body control, and he’s a smooth accelerator with the speed to consistently reach the perimeter. He’s effective between the tackles, but he needs to do a better job creating if there isn’t space. If he continues to improve, he’ll have an opportunity to be one of the top backs in 2014.
RB Glasco Martin, #8, 6’0, 220*
Martin is the thunder to Seastrunk’s lightning. Martin is a tough inside runner that plays with strength and the ability to push the pile. While he only possesses an average burst, he’s rarely brought down by the first defender. He’s a measured runner that doesn’t have the natural wiggle Seastrunk has, and he’ll never have the speed or agility to press the perimeter at the NFL level. Regardless, he has the physical skills to contribute and will find his way to the league as a free agent if he continues to improve.
WR Terrance Williams, #2, 6’1, 210
Williams is one of the more impressive WR’s in this years class. He has the type of dynamic vertical speed and the quickness to separate inside that NFL teams want on their team. He’s a glider with deceptive acceleration and the body control to potentially be an impact type of player at the next level. If he proves capable of beating press coverage, he’ll emerge as one of the top players in the draft. He holds value in the second round.
WR Lanear Sampson, #3, 5’11, 205
Sampson is a 4 year starter that has shown the ability to create with the ball in his hands. He has some explosion and balance, but he needs to refine his route running ability. He’s primarily suited for the intermediate part of the game, but he has the potential to develop as a special teamer / depth player if he continues to improve.
OG Cyril Richardson, #68, 6’5, 335*
Massive guard and one of the top rated prospects for the 2014 class. Although he has the ability to be an effective right tackle, his game best projects inside at the NFL level. He’s naturally powerful and flashes excellent foot quickness and balance despite his size. He lacks some technique and doesn’t always play with leverage, but he consistently generates movement in the run game. His mechanics in pass protection tend to break down the further he has to be move, but it’s an issue that can easily be cleaned up with proper coaching. He’s on track to be a day 2 selection.
OC Ivory Wade, #78, 6’3, 310
Experienced prospect who has the natural power and athleticism to stick in the NFL. He has the size to match up with power, the feet to reach the second level, and the balance to anchor in pass protection. His position versatility will appeal to decision makers and will likely result in a later round selection.
SAF Ahmad Dixon, #6, 6’0, 210*
Dixon is a talented prospect who possesses the physical tools to develop into a starting caliber safety at the NFL level. He has terrific speed, sideline-to-sideline range, and natural coverage ability. He’s at his best playing physical at or near the line of scrimmage, and he has the instincts to be a legitimate playmaker. If he continues to progress, he’ll have the opportunity to be a mid-round pick in 2014.WR Darryl Stonum, #7, 6’1, 195
WR Tevin Reece, #16, 5’9, 165*
TE Jordan Najvar, #18, 6’5, 260*
TE Jerod Monk, #20, 6’4, 275
OG Cameron Kaufhold, #71, 6’3, 310
DE Gary Mason, #10, 6’3, 265
DE Terrance Lloyd, #11, 6’3, 235*
LB Bryce Hager, 6’, 235*
CB K.J. Morton, #8, 5’9, 178*
CB Demetri Goodson, #3, 5’11, 185
CB Joe Williams, #22, 5’9, 182*
SAF Mick Hicks, #17, 5’10, 200
SAF Chance Casey, #9, 5’11, 185
Game Prediction: UCLA 47 – Baylor 42