Alma Ata Orange: 2015 Draft Prospect Preview
September 22, 2012; Eugene, OR, USA; Oregon Ducks cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu (14) runs for a touchdown following an interception in the second half against the Arizona Wildcats at Autzen Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports
Professor Von Drake – Oregon
From another team that is loaded with talent, the Ducks’ quarterback Marcus Mariota is the favorite to be the number one overall pick next year’s NFL Draft. Their list does not end there; Ifo Ekpre-Olomu would have been a first round pick last year should he have decided to come out. This year, the Oregon cornerback gets the early nod as the top draft pick in his position. It is doubtful the Bengals will see either of these future NFL stars in stripes if they take another trip to the playoffs. Top ranked center Hroniss Grasu is another story. More built for a speed offense like the one that Oregon has become famous for, Grasu is more than capable of blowing back defenders who are scrambling mentally. However, in the NFL he will need to add some strength or become bullied within more set play calling.
Additionally, the linebacker duo of Derrick Malone and Tony Washington are worth checking out, but more fitting prospect would be junior wide receiver Bralon Addison. After a break out year in 2013, Addison should become Mariota’s favorite target after losing more than a few playmakers to the NFL last year. Addison could add critical depth to a very talented, but shallow Bengals receiving corps.
The Surprise – University of California at Los Angeles
If Christo Bilukidi making the Bengals roster is any indicator, then next year may be the year that Cincinnati starts to look for legitimate heir for Domata Peko at nose tackle. UCLA’s Ellis McCarthy is a top tackle in this year’s draft class, despite some knee surgeries earlier in his career. McCarthy is a more prototypical 3-4 nose but next to Geno Atkins who would notice?
The rest of the Bruins defense is not bad either. Outside linebacker Eric Kendricks is a captivating young player, tallying up 105 tackles, 4 tackles for a loss, and an interception in 2013, good enough for third in tackles in the Pac-12. That may change now that offensive blocking schemes do not have to account for Anthony Barr, but Kendricks ability to move laterally and dissect plays should minimize any opposing lines attempts to keep him out of the game.
Two really under-the-radar Bruins are offensive tackle Malcom Bunche and free safety Anthony Jefferson. Bunche is already a graduate… of the University of Miami, but having red shirted his freshmen year, the 6’6”, 327 lb mauler is looking to slide into the guard position vacated by Xavier Su’a-Filo. With naturally fluid kick slide, Bunche unfortunately lacks initial burst, making his transition to guard a fascinating one to keep watch on. As for Jefferson, he comes from an old school physical hitting mentality, but his smaller frame may limit his ability at the next level.
Oh yeah, and UCLA has this quarterback named Brett Hundley… heard of ‘em?