Eric Kendricks becomes latest Bruin to join Minnesota Vikings

Four Bruins in three years. The Minnesota Vikings made that happen on Friday, picking yet another UCLA product by making linebacker Eric Kendricks their 45th overall pick.

The move reunites Kendricks with Anthony Barr, whom the Vikings took with the ninth overall pick in 2014. Both players won the Lott IMPACT Trophy as seniors, and Kendricks — who left UCLA as its all-time leading tackler — also won the Butkus Award.

“I feel like I just got drafted again,” Barr tweeted.

Kendricks had been projected as a potential late first-round selection, and didn’t figure to wait much longer in the second round. Only 12 other players heard their names called out in Chicago before him.

“I love his instincts and recognition skills,” said ESPN analyst Todd McShay. “I also think he’s the best cover linebacker in the entire draft.”

In addition to Barr and Kendricks, Minnesota drafted punter Jeff Locke and offensive lineman Jeff Baca in the fifth and sixth rounds, respectively, of the 2013 NFL draft.

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No UCLA players taken in first round of NFL draft

In a historic haul for its conference, UCLA was left out.

While nine Pac-12 players were taken in the first round of the NFL draft, first-round hopefuls Eric Kendricks and Owa Odighizuwa will wait another day. The Bruin linebacker and defensive end had been projected as late-first or early second-round picks, and represented the program’s best chance at making a first-day splash for the third straight year.

Brett Hundley, regarded by some as the No. 3 quarterback available, could also be selected in either the second or third round.

The second day of the draft will start at 4 p.m. PT.

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Where will the UCLA Bruins go in the 2015 NFL draft?

Former UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley attends spring football practice at Spaulding Field on April 2, 2015. (Andy Holzman/Staff)

Former UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley attends spring football practice at Spaulding Field on April 2, 2015. (Andy Holzman/Staff)

UCLA hasn’t produced three straight first-round picks since 1994-96, when Jamir Miller, J.J. Stokes and Jonathan Ogden all became top-10 selections.

The Bruins could finally match that streak again today. The NFL Draft starts at 5 p.m., and both linebacker Eric Kendricks and defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa have a chance to be picked. (There’s a bit of buzz linking Kendricks to the Arizona Cardinals, but late-developing draft news could always be a smokescreen.) UCLA hasn’t produced two first-rounders in the same draft since 1981, Freeman McNeil and Kenny Easley went third and fourth overall.

Worth reading on Odighizuwa is this story from Tania Ganguli at ESPN: Owa’s mother, Abieyuwa, helped hold the family together in the wake of his father killing three people in a shooting at the Appalachian School of Law.

In today’s paper, I covered Brett Hundley being set to become the first UCLA quarterback drafted since Cade McNown in 1999, although that’s more likely happen tomorrow. Here are quick draft bios for the Bruins as well.

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Jim Mora: UCLA could use multiple quarterbacks for three games

For a moment, he teetered on the verge of divulging some real information.

Asked today if there’s a timeline on UCLA’s quarterback competition, head coach Jim Mora said: “Well, you know, the sooner the better, once we get to fall camp.”

After insisting for the past few weeks that no one will no the starter until the season-opening kickoff against Virginia, that felt for a moment like a softened stance.

Then he remembered that he was doing a conference call in late April, and that telling anyone whether the Bruins will start Josh Rosen or Jerry Neuheisel or Asiantii Woulard or Mike Fafaul serves the Bruins themselves little purpose.

“But it’s not something that we’re going to push,” Mora continued. “We want it to just happen the way it’s supposed to happen. Heck, we might go three games and not know who our starter is. … We might give each of them a quarter in each game. We don’t know yet.”

Welcome to the offseason.

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UCLA spring camp 2015 roundup

UCLA quarterbacks coach Taylor Mazzone, center, grappling with what he's seeing in the Bruins' Spring Showcase on April 24, 2015. (Keith Birmingham/ Pasadena Star-News)

UCLA quarterbacks coach Taylor Mazzone, center, grappling with what he’s seeing in the Bruins’ Spring Showcase at the Rose Bowl on April 24, 2015.
(Photo by Keith Birmingham/ Pasadena Star-News)

In today’s edition of Los Angeles News Group papers, I covered a few of the things we did and didn’t learn about the UCLA football team through 15 spring practices.

If you missed anything else that happened this month, here’s a recap.

» Storylines
Those who know Bill Roth say UCLA couldn’t have gotten a better play-by-play announcer
— UCLA ends spring without naming a starting quarterback, but Josh Rosen looks like the frontrunner
— Spring Showcase gives fans a glimpse at the Bruins’ new faces
— After enrolling early, Josh Rosen is adjusting quickly to life at UCLA
Deon Hollins is aiming to be UCLA’s next great linebacker Continue reading

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