Laiatu Latu, DE - UCLA Bruins
Latu's story is inspiring. After an illustrious high school career in California, the four-star recruit went to the Washington Huskies, where he had a solid start to his college career.
In his sophomore year, Latu injured his neck during practice. The injury was so severe that the Bruins' doctors told him he'd never play football again. Latu retired in earnest with few options. His brief retirement ended when he transferred to UCLA. After passing the team's physical, he was cleared to play football again.
Since joining the Bruins, Latu has put together back-to-back seasons with 10 sacks or more. He was named First-Team All-Pac-12 last season and is a contender for the Ted Hendricks Award, which is given to the best defensive end in the country. He currently has 11 sacks and will surely gain more down the home stretch.
An advantage to drafting Latu is that his 6-foot-5, 265-pound frame is built for the NFL. He's a dominant player on a great UCLA defense and his agility and versatility are on full display every single snap. He'd be a great addition to the Bears line.
One downside to drafting Latu is that he benefits from playing on a talented defensive line. Twin brothers Gabriel and Grayson Murphy have played well on the defensive line and given Latu more opportunities to disrupt plays. Regardless, he'll still be a top draft pick.
UCLA is enjoying its third consecutive winning season under head coach Chip Kelly. Latu's presence has helped the Bruins build a winning program. They earned their first Bowl game in five years last season, losing to Pittsburgh in the Sun Bowl.
Latu's best attribute just might be his adversity. It takes a lot to make a comeback from a neck injury like he did. If college football had a Comeback Player of the Year award, he would most likely be the winner.
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