2013 NFL Draft: UCLA RB Johnathan Franklin Joins Datone Jones in Green Bay


Johnathan Franklin (23), Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

After Datone Jones became the first UCLA player to go in the opening round of the NFL Draft since 2006, the second day didn’t go over so well for the other Bruins waiting anxiously in the wings.

The second and third rounds passed by painfully slow as pick after pick left UCLA still searching for its next selection. All-time career rushing leader Johnathan Franklin, who was projected by most to be a late-second or early third-rounder, was passed on in favor of a number of other running backs. And as Day 2 came to a close with his name still available on the board, he was left wondering what went wrong.

But The Mayor has endured plenty of adversity over the course of his career, and something like this could never shake him. Here’s what Franklin had to say on Twitter after the third round came and went.

For anyone who even remotely follows UCLA, this is nothing new. Franklin is one of the most humble, hardworking and proudly pious players to ever step foot on a football field—so to hear of him being humbled is almost comical. Franklin may have bought into his own hype, and was disappointed because of it, but fortunately he wouldn’t have to wait long for some good news.

Shortly after the fourth round got going, the Green Bay Packers made a move to get the 28th pick from the Denver Broncos. For whatever reason, GB general manager Ted Thompson was really feeling the Bruins this year. With the 125th overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Packers chose Franklin to join UCLA teammate Datone Jones at Lambeau Field.

Green Bay is a team that doesn’t have much to work with at the RB position, and Thompson has done what he can to remedy that. The Pack took Alabama’s Eddie Lacy in the second round before adding Franklin in the fourth. As a result, GB now has a total of two runnings backs from BCS programs on its roster. Yeah, the cupboards were pretty barren before. And while the Bruin faithful can’t vouch for Lacy, we know exactly what to expect from J. Frank.

In Franklin, the Packers are getting a mature, dedicated football player that always puts the team before himself. Coming out of Dorsey High in L.A. and then making it through a few rough years with the Bruins, Franklin rebuilt his image and had an amazing senior season. The coaching staff couldn’t praise him enough, from his work ethic to his leadership. Franklin’s impact on the UCLA program could be seen on and off the field, and will remain for quite some time. When Jet’s jet lands in Green Bay, it’ll be the beginning of the next chapter in his hopefully long and successful career.

I’m not a Green Bay fan by any stretch of the imagination. I’ve never even been to Wisconsin, and really doubt I ever will. Usually the NFL Draft is more of a UCLA story to me, as I don’t hold allegiance to any specific team. But now, with Jones and Franklin in the Green and Gold, I just might have to pull for the Pack on Sundays. At the very least, I’ll stop actively rooting against Clay Matthews…maybe.

Congratulations Johnathan! Go Bruins!