Several former UCLA football players are looking to hear their name called in the 2019 NFL Draft. Here is how to watch and which Bruins to watch for.
The 2019 NFL Draft begins today, and there are a handful of former UCLA football players that are looking to make that jump to the pros. Whether it is by selection or as an undrafted free agent, we should be able to hear about several Bruins jumping to the NFL.
With this event spanning three days, Go Joe Bruin wants you to stay up-to-date with everything that is happening surrounding the UCLA football program heading to the pros. Here is information on how to watch as well as quick profiles on potential Bruin draftees.
2019 NFL Draft Infomation
Location: Nashville, TN
Thursday (4/25) – Rd. 1, 5 p.m. PT
Friday (4/26) – Rd. 2 & 3, 4 p.m. PT
Saturday (4/27) – Rds. 4-7, 9 a.m. PT
TV: NFL Network, ABC, ESPN, ESPN Deportes
UCLA’s NFL Draft Projections
Caleb Wilson, TE
Projected draft status: 2nd-3rd round
Wilson came onto the scene in the last two years. In 2018, he was considered the best TE in the nation which speaks volumes considering he only played in five games. Last season, it took time to adjust to first-year coach Chip Kelly and his new system, but once again took off as he had an incredible second half of the season. His 965 receiving yards were not only the most on the team but most in the nation among all tight ends. Blocking is a concern but he should be able to strengthen that part of his game with proper professional coaching.
Andre James, OL
Projected draft status: 3rd-6th round
James was one of the Bruins’ best offensive linemen heading into last season and improved under the tutelage of OL coach Justin Frye (now the offensive coordinator). The line took some time to get into shape, but by seasons end, they helped the offense average nearly 500 yards in the last four games of the season. James could do with improving his reaction time, but for the most part should be a developing backup OL in the NFL.
UCLA’s NFL Draft Hopefuls
Nate Meaders, CB
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Meadors is not projected to be selected but could come away with a contract by the end of the weekend as an unsigned free agent. Meadors is a fierce competitor and plays his opponents tight, making it hard for offenses to connect on passes on his side of the field. Last season he had 37 total tackles, 2 TFLs, 1 sack, 1 INT and 2 breakups.
Pickett is in the same situation. Though he might not be selected, he has too much talent not to receive a contract in some form. Though undersized, Pickett does not play that way. He is a hard hitter and is very reactionary. Last season, Pickett led the defense in total tackles with 123. He also logged 4 breakups and 2 INTs.
Wilton Speight, QB
Speight’s single season in Westwood was an interesting one. Though he was injured through half of it, he was able to bounce back and help the Bruins end the season with a lot of momentum. He finished the year with 1,527 passing yards, 466 of which were thrown in the final game of the season against Stanford. Under Chip Kelly, Speight made some strides and showed how dangerous he could be through the air and by using his legs.
The former walk-on became so consistent that he not only earned the starting gig in 2017 but also earned himself a scholarship. With UCLA adjusting to their new coach and system, Flintoft became a valuable commodity when it came to field position. Last season he averaged 45.8 yards per punt and had a long of 70.
Bolu Olorunfunmi, RB
Olorunfunmi had his final season cut short by injury, but he has bounced back and has been working his tail off to get in shape. Though he could only muster 89 yards last season, that doesn’t speak to his workhorse mentality. During his career at UCLA, he averaged 4.4 yards per carry as he was able to bowl through defenders. He is elusive and often hard to bring down and could be a solid backup for a team in need of a short-yardage RB.
Christian Pabico, WR
Pabico is another former walk-on that earned his way into a scholarship. Though he was not the go-to receiver, Pabico showed that he could grind out plays and grind out extra yards. Last year he averaged 10.8 yards per reception.