The 2013 NFL Draft saw four Bruins have their names called, but that wasn’t the end of the road for UCLA seniors getting a shot at the league.
After Datone Jones and Johnathan Franklin were taken by the Green Bay Packers, and Jeff Locke and Jeff Baca were selected by the Minnesota Vikings, nine other Bruins signed contracts as undrafted free agents (UFAs). And that’s just the count so far. There still could be others that put pen to paper before all is said and done.
Here’s the list of players who have been picked up by their respective teams as UFAs to date:
- Joe Fauria—Detroit Lions
- Kevin McDermott—San Francisco 49ers
- Sheldon Price—Indianapolis Colts
- Aaron Hester—Denver Broncos
- Dalton Hilliard—Chicago Bears
- David Allen—St. Louis Rams
- Jerry Johnson—Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Andrew Abbott—Minnesota Vikings
- Donovan Carter—Oakland Raiders
The obvious standout from this list is Big Joe Fauria, a fan favorite at the tight end position for UCLA. Of all the Bruins to sign as free agents, Fauria was the one most expected to be taken during the actual draft. And while he is surely disappointed by his slide down the board, there should be no lack of motivation as he makes his way to Detroit to work out with the Lions. All 6’7″ and 255 pounds of him will be striving to silence the critics and secure a spot on the roster. Other than five-year veteran Brandon Pettigrew, Detroit is pretty thin at TE, so Fauria has a good shot to stake his claim there.
For the rest of the Bruins, just getting a chance to prove themselves on an NFL field is a dream come true. Making it through the cut rounds may be difficult for them, but you can bet they’ll be giving it everything they’ve got. With that said, there is one other UCLA UFA with a legit opportunity to open some eyes—Kevin McDermott.
As a long snapper, it’s difficult to get the attention from media and scouts necessary to break into the draft. Couple that with the infrequent turnover at the position on pro rosters and it’s clear why McDermott wasn’t selected last weekend. However, that won’t mean a thing when he takes the field in San Francisco.
Not only is McDermott one of the best LS prospects in the country, but he is also joining a team with a potential need at the position. As it stands now, the 49ers double-up the duties of TE Brian Jennings, also sending him out for long snaps. And though that has seemed to work them, it would be a luxury for SF to have a young and truly spectacular long snapper in the fold.
No matter what happens for these Bruins, we wish them the best as they chase their NFL careers. It has been a privilege watching them play in the True Blue for all these years. Whether they make it through camp or not, they have all made the UCLA football program proud.