UCLA tackle Caleb Benenoch declares for NFL draft

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Caleb Benenoch, OL, UCLA

There are two ways to boost a young quarterback’s development. One of those ways is to make sure he stays upright, which is what the Bucs have done since taking Jameis Winston first overall in 2015. They added another big body by taking UCLA’s Caleb Benenoch in the fifth round. Benenoch projects as an athletic swing tackle who can move inside to guard if needed. He’s likely just a backup for now, but he eventually could work his way into the starting lineup or as an eligible tackle in short-yardage situations.

(Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

UCLA right tackle Caleb Benenoch has become the third UCLA player in four days to forgo his senior season and enter the NFL draft.

“My experiences at UCLA have provided me with great confidence and I can’t wait to represent my Bruins in the NFL,” Benenoch tweeted Thursday.

Benenoch’s departure further weakens an offensive line already lacking in depth. Before the Foster Farms Bowl, junior guard Alex Redmond left early for the NFL draft, and freshman Fred Ulu-Perry, who had been expected to compete for the starting center job, transferred to Hawaii. The Bruins had just six healthy, active linemen for the game.


Next season, the only returning starters will be guard Kenny Lacy and left tackle Conor McDermott, if both choose to stay with the Bruins.

Benenoch started all three seasons at UCLA, mostly at right tackle. This season, he shuttled between tackle and guard.

He is the fifth UCLA underclassman to declare for the NFL draft.

UCLA Coach Jim Mora could not be immediately reached for comment.


Twitter: @zhelfand

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