NFL Draft first round recap: Five Pac-12 players selected
Rarely is there a dull moment on draft day, and the first twist of Thursday's first round came early when the Miami Dolphins made a trade with the Oakland Raiders to move up from the No. 12 pick to the No. 3 pick.
Miami selected former Oregon defensive end Dion Jordan – the highest Pac-12 alumnus drafted – to snatch him away from former Oregon coach Chip Kelly. Kelly's current team, the Philadelphia Eagles, had the No. 4 pick, and many felt he was interested in reuniting with Jordan. ESPN's team of analysts were skeptical of the pick and questioned Jordan's durability as he didn't light things up statistically in 2012 after a Pac-12 All-First-Team season as a junior. In addition, he doesn't have a wealth of experience on the defensive side of the ball. He switched from tight end during the spring following his freshman season.
"I was surprised," Jordan said on ESPN's broadcast. "I wasn't expecting that trade. I'm very blessed and excited to share this time with my family. I'm ready to go to work."
Utah's Star Lotulelei was the next Pac-12 man off the board, going as the 14th pick to the Carolina Panthers, making him the highest Ute defender ever drafted. Lotulelei garnered some early buzz as a potential top five pick, but teams may have been deterred when a heart condition was discovered during the NFL scouting combine. Lotulelei was later cleared, but the damage may have been done. Camera crews showed an emotional Lotulelei celebrating with family from his home. He becomes the latest Ute in the Utah-Carolina pipeline that includes offensive tackle Jordan Gross – the Panthers all-time leader in starts – and All-Pro wide receiver Steve Smith, now in his 13th year.
Another Duck heard his name called as offensive lineman Kyle Long – son of Hall of Fame defensive end Howie long and brother of current St. Louis Rams defensive end Chris Long – went to the Chicago Bears with the No. 20 pick. Long's road to the League (and return to Chicago) is a winding one. He was drafted to play baseball for the Chicago White Sox in 2008 but didn't sign a deal, choosing to play at Florida State instead. Long left Tallahassee in 2009, enrolling at Saddleback College where he broke with family tradition and flipped to the offensive side of the line. He played both tackle and guard during his one and only season at Oregon.
Long wasn't the only Pac-12 standout with strong football bloodlines selected on Thursday. Two picks later, Washington's Desmond Trufant was selected by the Atlanta Falcons with the No. 22 pick. His brother Marcus (Washington State) has played 10 NFL seasons with the Seattle Seahawks, while his other brother Isaiah has played the last three seasons with the New York Jets. Desmond was a first-team All-Pac-12 selection and team captain as a senior at Washington. He started 45 straight games before a hamstring injury severed the streak late last season.
UCLA's Datone Jones went to the Green Bay Packers with the 26th pick of the first round. Jones, who missed his entire sophomore season with a broken foot, considered leaving Westwood after a lackluster junior campaign, but chose to return to play for first-year coach Jim Mora. Jones' decision – and Mora's new 3-4 defensive scheme – paid dividends. He started in all 14 games and had the conference's fifth-most tackles for loss. The Compton High School product is UCLA's first first-round selection since tight end Marcedes Lewis went No. 28 in 2006 to the Jacksonville Jaguars.