11 LB Anthony Barr (6’4″ 245 pounds, SENIOR)
Amazingly enough, Barr started out his collegiate career as a running back or fullback or…something. That all seems like a distant memory at this point, because after his junior season in 2012, Barr established himself as one of the best defensive players in not only the Pac 12, but all of college football.
With Jim Mora Jr. taking over for Rick Neuheisel as the UCLA head coach, the new regime saw something in Barr that they felt he would be best utilized on the defensive side of the ball. The early returns are pretty solid.
Barr finished last season with 82 total tackles, 21 tackles for loss, 13 sacks, five passes broken up, and four forced fumbles. A lot of pass rushers feel pretty good to get those numbers in a couple of college seasons, much less their first year at a new position like that.
The dominance of Barr last season really opened the eyes of scouts, and you can see a lot of raw ability here that NFL teams are excited to get their hands on. Barr has a great frame at 6’4″ 245 pounds. He has great quickness off the snap, and phenomenal speed and athletic ability. Barr has great balance around the edge and explodes into his tackles, and is able to win battles in pursuit as well.
After just one year of evaluation, Barr has the look of a top 15 selection. He could stand to add some weight to his frame, but when you look at his agility and explosiveness, he really looks like he could be an elite pass rusher at the next level. We’ll see what comes of another year of evaluating.
17 QB Brett Hundley (6’3″ 223 pounds, RS SOPHOMORE)
There has not been a UCLA quarterback drafted since 1999, but freshman sensation Brett Hundley figures to change that someday. Hundley has the ideal frame for an NFL quarterback, and he has the athleticism and ability to create with his legs that teams covet in today’s NFL. It might be two or even three years before we see Hundley in the NFL, but after this season, he is draft eligible and you can bet that scouts are excited to see him after a sensational freshman campaign with the Bruins.
Hundley took a redshirt in his first year on campus at UCLA, Hundley completed 66.5 percent of his passes for 3,740 yards, 29 touchdowns, and just 11 interceptions. He also rushed for 355 yards (figuring in lost yardage via sacks) and nine more touchdowns.
Hundley’s playmaking ability is certain to attract the eye of scouts, but it’s his poise and how quickly he adapted to the speed of the college game that is really drawing attention his way. With great coaching and a scheme that suits his talents very well, Hundley should be one of the most NFL-ready QBs when he decides to leave school.
6 LB Eric Kendricks (6’0″ 228 pounds, JUNIOR)
Kendricks didn’t get as much publicity last year as Anthony Barr, but he certainly had a heck of a junior season. His 150 tackles as a sophomore and his first year as a starter were the most by a UCLA linebacker since the late 70s, and he certainly drew the attention of NFL scouts. He is a bit undersized and needs to get stronger at the point of attack, but there’s no denying his productivity and if he can come even close to some of those numbers he had last year, he will undoubtedly be a draftable commodity.
99 DL Cassius Marsh (6’3″ 275 pounds, SENIOR)
With Datone Jones now off to the NFL, Marsh will really have a chance to flourish. Even with Jones and Anthony Barr putting up huge numbers last season, Marsh was still able to rack up 49 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, and six sacks. He is a very strong defender who packs a punch and has deceptive quickness and speed around the edge. An honorable mention All-Pac 12 selection in 2012, Marsh will need to impress scouts in workouts to really up his stock this offseason. If he can display plus athleticism, he has the look of an NFL defensive end.
1 WR Shaquelle Evans (6’1″ 210 pounds, SENIOR)
Evans is a former Notre Dame transfer who finally had a breakout season people felt like he was capable of. It wasn’t overwhelming statistically, catching 60 passes for 877 yards and three touchdowns. Evans has a nice frame for a receiver and going into his senior season, he could build some hype with his newfound chemistry with Brett Hundley. Evans is definitely a name to watch. If he can run well at the Combine, he’ll be an interesting mid-late round receiver to keep an eye on.