Friday, May 9, 2014
Three Pac-12 players drafted in Round 1
By Kyle Bonagura
As expected, three Pac-12 players were selected in the first round of the NFL draft. It just wasn't the three most were expecting.
The Minnesota Vikings traded down one spot from No. 8 to take UCLA outside linebacker Anthony Barr ninth overall. There had been a growing perception in the weeks leading up to the draft that Barr’s stock -- he’d been established as a top-10 pick throughout the season -- was slipping. But, as is often the case with pre-draft narratives, that turned out to be false.
Barr was recruited to UCLA to play running back under former coach Rick Neuheisel, but after running for 54 yards on 15 carries in two seasons mainly playing fullback, he switched to linebacker when Jim Mora took over before the 2012 season.
Yeah, that turned out pretty well.
Oregon State receiver Brandin Cooks was the next off the board when the New Orleans Saints traded up to grab the Biletnikoff Award winner at No. 20.
The big surprise of Day 1 came when the Arizona Cardinals selected Washington State safety Deone Bucannon at No. 27. He's the first player from Washington State to go in the first round since Marcus Trufant (No. 11) in 2003.
For Bucannon, this was the goal -- and expectation -- all along.
In February, he told the Pac-12 blog that, "like anybody," he he wanted to go in the first round.
“It’s a possibility for me," he said. "I feel like I’ll be a great player and I’ll make an immediate impact on a team and do whatever it takes.”
USC receiver Marqise Lee, who saw a significant drop in production from 2012 to 2013, was considered a first-round candidate but will still be available when the draft resumes on Friday. The 2012 Biletnikoff winner doesn't figure to last long into the second round.