November 17, 2012; Pasadena, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins running back Johnathan Franklin (23) breaks a tackle by USC Trojans safety T.J. McDonald (7) and runs for a gain in the fourth quarter of the game at the Rose Bowl. UCLA won 38-28. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

UCLA and USC In The NFL Draft: A Recap

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November 17, 2012; Pasadena, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins linebacker Anthony Barr (11) forces a fumble by USC Trojans quarterback Matt Barkley (7) in the fourth quarter of the game at the Rose Bowl. UCLA won 38-28. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

 

As far as the outgoing football players from Los Angeles’ two main Division 1 schools, one can say that the 2013 NFL Draft in New York consisted of three days of surprises, the biggest one – by far – having to do with a guy who, to say the least, didn’t anticipate how things would unfold for him.

Roughly eight months ago, Matt Barkley was thought of as the second coming of the “Golden Boy”.

He was the quarterback of a USC Trojan football squad that opened the season as the number one team in the nation according to all the polls, a team that most pundits picked to go the BCS championship game.

Barkley was also the consensus pick to go into that BCS title game as the Heisman Trophy winner.

15 interceptions, a sprained shoulder courtesy of UCLA’s Anthony Barr, a most disappointing 7-6 record, and a less-than-overwhelming performance during USC’s Pro Day later, the quarterback, who everyone predicted would go within the first ten picks of the first round, was not drafted until the third day, the Philadelphia Eagles grabbing him in the fourth round with the overall 98th pick.

It became painfully apparent that the NFL saw Barkley as overrated, someone whose arm strength and mobility was questionable as he sat through the draft’s first two days without a sniff from the 32 NFL clubs.

And it is also apparent that the signal caller has a lot of work to do with regards to proving himself at the pro level.

Meanwhile, UCLA did well in the NFL Draft, the Bruins having four of their seniors chosen, including a first round draftee, defensive lineman Datone Jones, who as the 26th overall pick will take his talents to Lambeau Field as a member of the Green Bay Packers.

Jones was the only Bruin or Trojan chosen on the draft’s first day, and he’s the first UCLA player picked in the first round since Marcedes Lewis in 2006.

Johnathan Franklin, the Bruins’ all-time leading rusher who had a stellar season with his over 1,700 yards on the ground in 2012, will join Jones in Green Bay as the Packers took the running back in the fourth round with the 125th pick.

Punter Jeff Locke and offensive guard Jeff Baca will likewise stay together as the Minnesota Vikings drafted the two players in the 5th and 6th rounds, respectively.

UCLA matched their USC rivals in total picks with four as the other Trojans taken were:

-  Wide Receiver Robert Woods, taken by the Buffalo Bills in the second round,

-  Safety T.J. McDonald, taken by the St. Louis Rams in the third round, and…

-  Center Khaled Holmes, taken by the Indianapolis Colts in the fourth round.

Overall, it was a decent weekend by the Bruins and the Trojans in this year’s NFL draft; now these eight guys need to do a few more things:

Go to work, be successful in transitioning to the next level, and earn their paychecks.

 

 

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