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UCLA Linebacker Myles Jack Will Enter the NFL Draft 2016
Photo – LB Myles Jack - UCLA
UCLA junior linebacker Myles Jack has withdrawn from school and will enter the 2016 NFL draft announced by Bruins coach Jim Mora today. Jack tore his anterior meniscus in his right knee in September and subsequently underwent surgery, sidelining him for the rest of the season. His projected recovery time is 4-6 months that would allow him to workout at the UCLA pro day in March. He would be a borderline NFL Combine participant if the recovery time is accurate. He is eligible for the NFL Draft 2016 and three years removed from his HS class graduation.
Jack has started for the Bruins at linebacker since his freshman season in 2013, and also earned All-Pac-12 second-team honors last season. He has played on both sides of the ball, filling in as a feature back where he was very effective for periods. He has also been a kickoff returner showing rare versatility and athleticism. He fits both pro schemes with the ability to play all positions in the standard 4-3 set.
“My personal opinion is, I think he’s a tremendous football player and a tremendous athlete,” Mora said. “I think it’s very risky to do this. There’s going to be a lot of speculation of who he is and where he fits.”
“After long discussions with my family, teammates, coaches and friends, I have made the tough decision to leave UCLA and start preparation for the next step in my journey,” Jack wrote on Twitter on Tuesday. “While I wish I could be on the field playing with my brothers, I’m ready to fulfill a childhood dream.”
As a sophomore in 2014, Jack finished with 88 tackles, second most on the team behind Butkus Award winner Eric Kendricks, who became a 2nd round pick of the Minnesota Vikings in the NFL Draft 2015.
Mora said Jack’s decision to leave school in early October rather than wait until the end of the season and the fall quarter was influenced by the opportunity to rehab and train full-time without class obligations.
“He doesn’t see any point of staying in school,” Mora said. “He’s taking his chips and shoving them into the middle,” Mora said, “and we hope he draws a good hand.”
Mora is a former head coach for the Atlanta Falcons and Seattle Seahawks, soft-pedaled the possibility, expressing concern about the limited junior film of Jack, who played in just three games this season. “I’ve been in 25 draft rooms, and I’ve never seen a guy taken off that,” Mora said. “Never.”
His final play of his college career will be a victory-preserving interception of BYU quarterback Tanner Mangum in the waning seconds of UCLA's 24-23 win over the Cougars on Sept. 19. The 6-foot-1, 245-pound linebacker had started for the Bruins since his second game as a freshman, a 41-21 victory at Nebraska on Sept. 14, 2013. He tallied five tackles on that day against the Cornhuskers.
He also burst onto the scene as a running back that season. Appearing for the first time in a late October in a win at Arizona, he rushed for 120 yards and one touchdown on six carries. He was named the Pac-12 freshman offensive and defensive player of the year, believed to be the first player to be named both. Over three seasons, he carried the ball 68 times for 387 yards and 11 touchdowns. He also started returning kicks this fall. Jack, a Bellevue, Wash., native, is expected to rehab and prep for the draft in the Seattle area.
“Myles’ talent is without question,” Mora said. “He’s extremely talented. An incredible athlete, plays with great energy and great passion and great emotion. Can do so many different things. I hope that he’s put enough out there that he can get a true evaluation, because if they can’t get a true evaluation of you, they’re not going to take you. They don’t take on speculation, not in the first round at least. Maybe in later rounds you go, ‘hey, we’ll take a flier on this guy.’ But there’s no such thing as an NFL GM who says, ‘hey, we’ll take a flier on a first-rounder.”
Frank Coyle projected Jack as a top 15 grade prior to his knee injury. With the injury and today’s announcement, Coyle held that Jack can still be a first round selection off his athleticism and production. “He will have to workout in March/early April to maintain a first round grade, but all indications are that his rehab will be on schedule and allow him to showcase his athleticism. He is capable of a sub 4.6 speed combined with high football IQ and good technique. He is not only scheme diverse, he shows good coverage skills and overall development currently plus the ability to blitz and be a very effective three down backer.”
Frank Coyle is a long time scout with nationwide ties with coaches, scouts and player agents. He is a long time member of the FWAA and voter in College player awards - Heisman, Outland, Nagurski, Lombardi, Thorpe etc for the past 20 years. He writes College Football Mondays weekly during the season. He is a longtime scouting consultant for the Senior Bowl, the nation’s premier postseason All-star game. He does sports radio shows for ESPN, Fox Sports and Sporting News on a year round basis related to College Football especially during the postseason team and All-star Bowl time. He has worked for CBS Sports, NBC Sports, Yahoo and Rivals sports publications and web sites.
NFL Draft 2015 Wrapup – La’el Collins Story Continues
The NFL Draft 2015 is in the books with many surprises and disappointments over the three day event. Chicago hosted the NFL Draft for the first time in over 50 years and put on a huge extravaganza that included coverage from all 32 team headquarters.
Draft Insiders’ Yearbook 2015 – Over 300 Scouting Reports – available Now
Draft Insiders’ 2015 Review – available this spring
Photo – OL La’el Collins – LSU
The class of underclassmen dominated the start of the 2015 NFL Draft with 7 of the top 10 picks and 20 of the 32 first-round picks from the late entrees. Florida St. headed the NFL Draft with redshirt sophomore QB Jameis Winston the first overall selection which started 11 total Seminoles selected over the seven rounds, the most of any school in the nation. Washington provided three #1 picks in DT Danny Shelton, CB Marcus Peters and LB Shaq Thompson. It was the first time since 2009 that one school provided three #1 picks, with Southern Cal accomplishing that unique feat. The Pac 12 also provided 9 overall first round selections this year, the most of any conference in the nation.
As usual, there were many of the 85 underclassmen that probably would have been wiser to stay in school and finish their eligibility and develop further as players. Some high profile prospects fell out of the first round and a few did not get called until the 3rd day of the NFL Draft or not at all over the seven rounds. The SEC had the most draft selections once again with 54 players followed by the ACC with 47, the Pac-12 39, the Big Ten 35 and the Big XII 26. The power five conferences provided over 75% of all players selected.
There were many exciting stories, though an equal number of tragic and shocking revelations. The story related to OL Ja’el Collins of LSU is one of the most bizarre articles in recent NFL Draft history. Collins was considered a mid-first round lock until an investigation related to the murder of an ex-girlfriend hit the news the week prior to the NFL Draft. Collins was eventually questioned by Baton Rouge police the Monday after the NFL Draft weekend. Though no indictment has been issued after the questioning, Collins was considered a person of interest at this point. The timing of the tragedy and inquiry shocked NFL brass and subsequently Collins was bypassed completely over the seven round event. He has been denied entry in the NFL Supplemental Draft 2015 or reentry into the NFL Draft 2016. He is basically a rookie free agent and allowed to sign with any NFL club interested in his services. Rookie free agent contracts are for three years which allows him to test veteran free agency after three seasons. Within days after the police inquiry, Collins spoke with a few clubs, namely the Bills and Dolphins. Clubs like the Giants and Saints are also highly interested in the versatile lineman who carries an early NFL starting grade. His signing should come over the next few weeks after several interviews and recruiting trips are completed. He projects as a rookie starting guard and the skill set to move to tackle in time.
Draft Choices by Conference
Big Ten 35
Big 12 25
Mountain West 10
Conference USA 6
Missouri Valley 4
Sun Belt 3
Ohio Valley 2
South Atlantic 2
Draft Choices by Schools
Florida St 11
Mississippi St 5
Ohio St 5
Oregon St 5
Arizona St 4
Michigan St 4
South Carolina 4
West Virginia 4