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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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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Vikings draft offensive lineman Jeff Baca

To continue the NFC North’s ongoing love affair with UCLA, the Minnesota Vikings picked offensive lineman Jeff Baca in the sixth round, 196th overall. He joins fellow Bruin Jeff Locke in Minnesota, while former teammates Datone Jones and Johnathan Franklin will chase their pro dreams less than 300 miles east in Green Bay.

Baca can play almost anywhere on the line, but has a bad penalties habit. He is the first UCLA offensive lineman drafted since 1999, when Pittsburgh took Kris Farris in the third round. Baca’s selection also marked the first time more than three Bruins were drafted since 2005.

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