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Xavier Su'a-Filo hopes to return UCLA linemen to NFL draft favor

Su'a-Filo, who is among the top interior linemen in this year's draft class, hopes to begin a trend of UCLA offensive linemen who are picked for the NFL.

February 20, 2014|By Sam Farmer
  • UCLA offensive lineman Xavier Su'a-Filo (56) creates a running lane for tailback Paul Perkins during a game against California last season.
UCLA offensive lineman Xavier Su'a-Filo (56) creates a running lane… (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles…)

INDIANAPOLIS — Guard Jeff Baca, a sixth-round pick by Minnesota last season, is the only UCLA offensive lineman drafted since 2000. In that sense, former Bruins lineman Xavier Su'a-Filo could be a trendsetter. He's considered among the top interior linemen in this draft class and is a potential first-round pick.

Su'a-Filo said Thursday that the lack of NFL linemen from the school during the past decade attracted him to UCLA.

"That was one of the big reasons I went there," he said. "I love the school. I love the area. I love the place. But I went there to go start a legacy, really to just establish that as an offensive lineman and create a culture there where offensive linemen could be coming out and be pumped out to the NFL again. I think, to me, I wanted to do that.

"I heard of a lot of guys — Kris Farris [third round, 1999], Jonathan Ogden [first round, 1996] — some of those guys back then wanted to be, necessarily, one of those, but someone remembered as who left their mark over there at UCLA."

Longtime draft guru Gil Brandt predicts Su'a-Filo will be the breakthrough player of the combine.

"It's flattering; I really appreciate that," the lineman said. "I just actually found out when he talked to me. But that just gives me more motivation to do what I've planned on coming to do here. People getting to know me, performing well, putting up good numbers and showing teams who I am and what I can bring to the table."

sam.farmer@latimes.com

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