UCLA Has No Players Taken In NFL Draft; USC Has 11

When Rick Neuheisel came to coach UCLA he hit the recruiting trails hard — he knew he needed a talent injection. Just how much became clear over the weekend as the NFL draft unfolded.

At no point did a UCLA player’s name get called from the podium. While USC was the talk of the early rounds of the draft and 11 Trojan players in all were picked up, Bruins fans might as well have gone to the beach. Neuheisel is making moves that will change this scenario in the coming years, but it’s pretty clear what he faced when he arrived.

After the draft, three Bruins got picked up as training camp fodder for non-roster spots. Quarterback Pat Cowan will try to make the New Orleans Saints roster as the guy holding the clipboard. Brigham Harwell got picked up by the Washington Redskins, who need defensive linemen so maybe he stands a chance. Then there is running back Kahlil Bell, who will try to earn a running back spot in Minnesota so he can watch Adrian Peterson up close.

Over at USC, anybody who cared — and a lot of people who didn’t — know that the Jets traded up to get Mark Sanchez fifth overall and make him the next Joe Namath (no pressure). Then the linebacking core of the Trojans got selected: Brian Cushing with the 15th pick to Houston; Clay Mathews with the 26th pick to Green Bay; then the fall of Rey Maualuga out of the first round to the 38th overall selection by the Cincinnati Bengals.

But the USC parade did not stop there.

Later in the second round defensive tackle Fili Moala was picked up by the Indianapolis Colts — this was a guy who was considered the best defender at USC by some going into the year but he didn’t wow people. But he was double teamed all year long, and should make a good splash in the NFL.

Next it was wide receiver Patrick Turner in the third round to the Miami Dolphins. Next was another linebacker, Kaluka Maiava, in the fourth round to the Cleveland Browns. A few picks later defensive end Kyle Moore  got picked by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

USC’s kicker David Buehler was considered one of the best in the nation at his position, but you don’t take kickers early so he fell to the fifth round where he was grabbed by the Dallas Cowboys. Finally, the San Diego Chargers took safety Kevin Ellison in the sixth round.

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