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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Akeem Ayers Of UCLA Only Local Projected First Round Pick

The 2011 NFL draft won't be held until April, but that won't stop us at SB Nation from projecting next year's first round picks. What is a mere five months between friends? Over on SB Nation, Brian Galliford, with some assistance from Dan Kadar of Mocking the Draft, has projected all 32 first round picks of next year's draft. The local picks, players from UCLA and USC, can be boiled down to just one selection.

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UCLA linebacker Akeem Ayers, a finalist for the Butkus Award (given annually to the nation's top linebacker) and a semifinalist for the Lott IMPACT Trophy, is the only local college player projected to be selected in the first round. Galliford projects Ayers to be drafted 11th, by the St. Louis Rams. UCLA has had just one player drafted in the first round of the NFL draft in the last seven years, Marcedes Lewis, who was drafted 28th overall by Jacksonville in 2006.

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If no USC player is drafted in the first round in 2011, that will be two years without a first round pick for the Trojans, who dominated the draft for seven seasons. From 2003 to 2009, USC had 14 players drafted in the first round:

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  • 2003: Carson Palmer (#1), Troy Polamalu (#16)
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  • 2004: Kenechi Udeze (#20)
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  • 2005: Mike Williams (#10), Mike Patterson (#31)
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  • 2006: Reggie Bush (#2), Matt Leinart (#10)
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  • 2008: Sedrick Ellis (#7), Keith Rivers (#9), Sam Baker (#21), Lawrence Jackson (#28)
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  • 2009: Mark Sanchez (#5), Brian Cushing (#15), Clay Matthews (#26)
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For more college football news and analysis, be sure to read the SB Nation blogs for both UCLA (Bruins Nation) and USC (Conquest Chronicles).