As the 2013 college football season progresses, so does the 2014 NFL draft speculation. With players emerging as legitimate pro prospects every week, the draftniks on the blogosphere adapt their big boards accordingly.
Before Jim Mora began his tenure at UCLA, the Bruins have not produced many top-tier NFL draft prospects. In fact, in 2011 (Rick Neuheisel’s last season), not one team drafted a UCLA player in any of the seven rounds. Many found spots on teams as undrafted free agents, but none have amounted to much (yet).
Fast forward to two years from now, and UCLA has two players in the top-10 of Todd McShay’s list of top NFL draft prospects. Peep it from NFL Network’s (formerly the UCLA beat writer for the L.A. Daily News) Miguel Melendez:
Yes, that’s OLB Anthony Barr as the draft’s fourth-best prospect and QB Brett Hundley two spots behind at sixth.
And this is of no surprise to UCLA fans either. After Hundley showed serious potential last season, many figured Hundley would be better given the amount of time he spent on conditioning and decision-making. NFL scouts were already impressed with Hundley’s performance in 2012 but seeing as he’s now quicker, bigger and has a stronger zip to his throws, it appears that NFL scouts have become enamored with Hundley.
Barr, meanwhile, found himself bursting onto this list some time last year. After recording 13.5 sacks last year (good for top-three in the country), some had him projected getting selected in the first round of the 2013 NFL draft. Barr opted to stay at UCLA instead, and his reasoning appeared sound. After all, Barr was pretty raw, especially since he never got a full run at linebacker in the 2012 offseason. With nine months of training under his belt, he seems better equipped to take a stronghold on a top-five pick in the NFL draft.
Overall, these two Bruins are in pretty damn good shape to make a serious run at becoming a top-10 pick in the 2014 NFL draft. Hundley will have a decision to make (he’s only a redshirt sophomore), but we’re sure there’s a threshold that he’ll have to reach before he even considers declaring for the draft.
Regardless, it should be fun to see what these kids can do at the next level.