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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Punter Jeff Locke becomes third Bruin drafted

The Minnesota Vikings took Jeff Locke with the 22nd pick of the fifth round, making him the third UCLA player drafted in 2013 and the first punter. Selected 155th overall, Locke will compete with Vikings incumbent Chris Kluwe — a fellow Bruin signed as an undrafted free agent in 2005.

Locke’s punt average of 44.2 yards ranks second in school history.

UPDATE: Kluwe will likely get cut, but told ESPN1500 that he’s eager to compete. He also tweeted the following.

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Where will Bruins go in NFL Draft?

DATONE JONES, DL
Size: 6-4, 283
Expected to go: Late 1st round

You can read more about Jones in today’s story on his draft prospects, but suffice it to say that the talented defensive end will likely become UCLA’s first first-round product since Marcedes Lewis in 2006. He impressed through fantastic post-season performances at the Senior Bowl and NFL Combine, and has even drawn comparisons to seven-time Pro Bowler Richard Seymour. A team like Green Bay at No. 26 or Denver at No. 28 could snatch him up.

JOHNATHAN FRANKLIN, RB
Size: 5-11, 195
Expected to go: 2nd round

Franklin reminds me of Shane Vereen, whom the Patriots took as a second-round pick out of Cal. Vereen rushed for 251 yards and three touchdowns in his first regular season. After running atop the UCLA record books, “The Mayor” could easily eclipse those numbers if he ends up on a team that doesn’t use as deep a backfield rotation as New England.

“You can use him in the passing game,” said Chris Burke, NFL writer for Sports Illustrated. “You don’t have to plan to pair him with someone else who’s a better blocker or a pass-catcher. …

“You’re not gonna give him the ball and expect him to move the pile five yards. If you can get him outside, let him find the hole and make the one cut, he certainly has enough speed and shiftiness.”

JEFF BACA, OL
Size: 6-3, 302
Expected to go: 5th round Continue reading

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UCLA pro day results

UCLA’s pro day on March 12 was closed to both fans and media, but NFL.com has some of the results. Johnathan Franklin caught the ball well, while Datone Jones may be shaping up to as a 4-3 defensive end in the pros. Punter Jeff Locke was also compared favorably to Bryan Anger, whom the Jacksonville Jaguars reached for in the third round last year.

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NFL Combine Roundup

The can’t-miss moment of the NFL Combine was SBNation’s glorious video of linemen running the 40-yard dash to “Chariots of Fire.” UCLA’s Jeff Baca makes an appearance 20 seconds in. Watch it if you haven’t already.

If you’re looking for something more substantive, here are the results from the Bruins’ workouts. Continue reading

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