Local College Players are Headed to the NFL

The NFL draft ended last Saturday with few surprises. Among the players that were taken last Thursday, Friday and Saturday were three UCLA players, tight end Devin Asiasi, running back Joshua Kelly and defensive back Darnay Holmes. The USC players that were chosen were offensive tackle Austin Jackson and wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr.

Asiasi is a sure handed tight end that was drafted in the third round by the New England Patriots. The 6-3, 257 pound Asiasi has average speed but what the NFL scouts liked about him is his blocking and that is what will keep him in the NFL for the next few years.

Holmes is a hard nose but small defensive back that will probably play as a slot defensive back when the New York Giants employ five defensive backs to cover an offensive team that puts five and six receivers on the field in a spread formation. Holmes is small but he can cover and hit. Holmes was drafted in the fourth round.

Kelly maybe the surprise of the 2020 NFL draft. He came out of nowhere at UCLA and became a starter in 2018 after starting the season as a fourth string running back. The UC Davis transfer ran for over 1,000 yards in 2018 and 2019 and he was the best player on a below average UCLA team. It's hard to be the best player on a bad team.

Kelly is a smart player who is great in the locker room. His smile is contagious and his will to succeed is why he was the Most Valuable Player for UCLA the last two years. Kelly was drafted in the fourth round by the Los Angeles Chargers.

For the first time since 2002 USC had only two players drafted but Jackson and Pittman were high draft picks. Jackson was the 18th player picked by the Miami Dolphins and Pittman was the 34th player chosen by the Indianapolis Colts.

Jackson was chosen to protect the Dolphin's No. 6 pick, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa from Alabama. The 6-5, 322 pound offensive lineman will probably play right tackle so he can protect Tagovailoa blind side because he is a left handed quarterback. Jackson is a high character person who was a bone marrow donor for his sister a few years ago. He was the 18th player chosen by the Miami Dolphins.

Pittman is everything you would want in a wide receiver except has does not have great speed. What he lacks in outstanding speed he makes up for it with precise route running and sure hands. At 6-4, and 220 pounds, he takes advantage of his height and he always seems to win the 50/50 balls.


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