The Pac-12 saw three players drafted on Thursday night: UCLA's Anthony Barr, Oregon State's Brandin Cooks and Washington State's Deone Bucannon.
If three seems a little light for one of football's power conferences, it's certainly not setting the standard: The SEC had 11 players drafted, a bit of validation for its reputation as a top-notch NFL pipeline. There's four from the Big 10, four from the ACC, four from the AAC (including three from Louisville). The Big 12 only had two, however.
The biggest surprises might be the guys who are still on the board, and who are both widely considered to be among the best remaining talent. USC's Marqise Lee was a Biletnikoff Award winner a year ago, but saw his stock slip headed into the draft. Utah native Xavier Su'a-Filo from UCLA was mentioned a bunch of times by TV pundits as the first round came to a close, but didn't get his call.
As we get into the second round, Lee and Su'a Filo are likely to get snapped up before long. Watch for the buzz to pick up around Washington's Bishop Sankey, Stanford's Trent Murphy, and Arizona State's Carl Bradford. The second day should also be the time when Utah's Keith McGill and Trevor Reilly start getting some looks.
Meanwhile, some reaction around the country to new Pac-12 draft picks:
• In Minnesota, the Vikings think Anthony Barr's physical freakiness could be a major asset to the Vikings' defense:
Unlike former offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave, who didn't utilize Patterson until the Vikings season was kaput, Spielman sounds confident that head coach/defensive mastermind Mike Zimmer will maximize Barr's rare abilities. The new coach sounded like the wheels in his head started turning long ago.
"I've never had a linebacker that has the size and the speed and all the things this guy has," said Zimmer, who spent 20 seasons as an NFL defensive assistant, including the past 14 as a coordinator of multiple top-10 defenses.
• By trading for Brandin Cooks, New Orleans' head coach Sean Payton showed how much he wanted his man:
Payton repeatedly described Cooks as "tough," physically and mentally.
"He's been very consistent, very durable, obviously he runs well," Payton said. "I like his makeup in regards to his mental toughness."
• Although not one of the sexiest picks of the draft, Deonte Bucannon is expected to be able to contribute in the Arizona secondary right away, Bruce Arians thinks:
Arians loved that Bucannon was as four-year starter. His learning curve will not be too steep. How many other players come into the NFL with 384 career tackles and 15 interceptions?
Arians also loved Bucannon's efforts at the NFL combine, where he finished third among safeties in the 40-yard dash.
Tune in tonight.
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