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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NFL roundup: Anthony Barr signs for guaranteed $12.7 million over four years

» After being picked ninth overall in the NFL draft, linebacker Anthony Barr officially signed with the Minnesota Vikings on Tuesday, inking a fully guaranteed contract worth $12,743,596 over four years. He will get a signing bonus of $7,588,072, and the team can exercise a fifth-year option.

He and other former UCLA players must return to campus through spring quarter, however, since NFL rules dictate that anyone who hasn’t graduated cannot stay their teams until their school sessions end.

» Houston Texans sideline reporter John Harris said Xavier Su’a-Filo will become the starting left guard by Week 1, and be a “key figure” in the run game for at least the next five to seven years. Continue reading

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Linebackers Myles Jack, Eric Kendricks make Lott IMPACT Trophy watch list

Can UCLA pull off a repeat?

Linebackers Myles Jack and Eric Kendricks were both named to the 42-man watch list for the Lott IMPACT Trophy — which Anthony Barr won last year. Kendricks, a senior, also made last year’s preseason list.

One of the sport’s major national awards, its stated criteria is “to give equal weight to personal character as well as athletic performance from a defensive college player.”

Jack and Kendricks were two of the Pac-12’s 11 nominees. USC, Stanford and Washington each also placed two names on the list.

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Picked ninth, UCLA’s Anthony Barr becomes highest-drafted Bruin since 1996

That late fall was overblown after all.

None of the recent chatter about UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr’s supposed falling stock mattered. The Minnesota Vikings drafted him ninth overall, making him the top Bruin taken since 1996, when Hall of Fame offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden went fourth.

“When you draw it up, does he look like Jason Taylor or what?” said NFL Network’s Mike Mayock, comparing Barr to the six-time Pro Bowler. “That’s kind of how he plays.” Continue reading

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