Sunday, May 27

Eleven UCLA football players join NFL teams following 2017 draft


UCLA had a busy weekend at the NFL draft with Eddie Vanderdoes (47) and Fabian Moreau (10) both signing with teams. Vanderdoes will be headed to the Oakland Raiders while Moreau will be playing for the Washington Redskins. (Jintak Han/Assistant Photo editor)

UCLA had a busy weekend at the NFL draft with Eddie Vanderdoes (47) and Fabian Moreau (10) both signing with teams. Vanderdoes will be headed to the Oakland Raiders while Moreau will be playing for the Washington Redskins. (Jintak Han/Assistant Photo editor)


The 2017 draft is in the books and five UCLA players, including first-round pick Takkarist McKinley, heard their names called this week.

Five other players also signed as undrafted free agents to round out the Bruins’ draft weekend with 10 players on nine different teams.

McKinley created one of the most shared moments of the draft with his tribute to his grandmother Thursday night.

The defensive end carried her photo with him onto the stage after he was picked with the 26th overall pick by the Atlanta Falcons.

“I told her,” McKinley said on stage. “Before she passed away, I was going to live my dream. I was gonna go D-1. I was gonna go to the NFL. I made that promise to her. This is who I do it for.”

On Friday, cornerback Fabian Moreau was the first Bruin off the board after McKinley with the Washington Redskins taking him with the 81st pick in the third round.

Moreau had a strong pre-draft workout at the NFL combine with an NFC West regional scout praising his strength but criticizing his energy level.

“I just want him to play with more edge,” the scout said. “He should be overwhelming some of these skinny receivers but he just lets them take too many liberties. I would want to bust their ass and let them know what’s up early in the game.”

Although Moreau had been projected as a late first-round pick, his draft stock took a hit after he suffered a pectoral injury at UCLA’s Pro Day.

Teammate Eddie Vanderdoes, whose collegiate career was temporarily halted by an ACL injury his sophomore year, heard his name called moments later with the 88th pick in the third round.

Vanderdoes, who ended his UCLA playing career early to declare for the NFL draft, will stay in California as a part of the Oakland Raiders.

Before the draft, the Auburn, California, native had tweeted that whoever selected him would be getting “the biggest steal of the draft.”

“I’m coming in expecting to contribute and play right away,” Vanderdoes said in an interview with the Oakland Raiders. “I’ve came with that mindset that I need to be the guy to step in and do what I do and dominate. I definitely think people slept on me a little bit this past offseason. That’s what motivated me every morning.”

Linebacker Jayon Brown and offensive tackle Conor McDermott would follow in the fifth and sixth rounds of the draft, respectively.

Brown is headed to the Tennessee Titans while McDermott will go across the country to the defending Super Bowl champions, the New England Patriots.

Brown will reunite with several familiar faces in Tennessee since he played with current Titans linebacker Aaron Wallace in Westwood and under linebackers coach Lou Spanos as a freshman in 2013.

Six other players will get a shot at the pros despite not hearing their names during the draft.

Defensive tackle Eli Ankou will head to Houston to play for the Texans while wide receiver Kenny Walker will head to the Jaguars where former UCLA standout Myles Jack plays.

Linebacker Deon Hollins and cornerback Marcus Rios, who nearly died from a fungal infection before returning to the field, are both headed to the Denver Broncos and defensive back Randall Goforth signed with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Overall, 36 players from the Pac-12 were drafted this weekend, behind just the SEC and the ACC.

Utah led the way in the conference with eight picks followed by UCLA and USC with five each.

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