On Tuesday, SI.com released the MMQB 400 by Andy Benoit. Among the 400 best players in the NFL right now as ranked by Benoit, two former UCLA Football Bruins made the list.
Whatever your feelings may be about current UCLA Football head coach Jim Mora, you have to admit he’s had good fortune getting guys into the NFL where they’ve enjoyed vary degrees of success.
Two of those former players landed on the MMQB 400 that was released today and no matter your feelings on the list, it should give Bruin fans a sense of pride to see some familiar names.
Coming in at number 246 on the list is former UCLA Football LB Eric Kendricks with the Minnesota Vikings. Now entering his third year in the NFL, Kendricks is already a name being thrown around as one of the best young LBs in the league and for good reason.
As a rookie in 2015, Kendricks won a starting position before the first quarter of the season went by. That season he tallied 92 total tackles, one pass defended and four sacks. Not bad for a guy that people thought was potentially too small for an every down role in the NFL.
He topped those numbers in 2016 by notching 109 total tackles, nine passes defended and two and half sacks. Kendricks also grabbed the first interception of his career and returned it 77 yards for a score.
Its fairly obvious to see the upward trend Kendricks is on and know he will only get better as a pro.
The next former UCLA Football Bruin is LB Anthony Barr who also plays for the Minnesota Vikings. Barr comes in at 121 on the list but like Kendricks actually has so much room to get better. Though his first three seasons with the Vikings Barr has totaled over 200 tackles and 9.5 sacks. His numbers were down in 2016 but there’s no reason to think he won’t rebound from a subpar 2016.
The Vikings don’t use Barr as a pure rusher but that hasn’t stopped him from playing at a high level. He’s shown the ability to drop into coverage with ease and hold up against the run.
Both are natural fits for what the Vikings require from their LBs and with them both being named to this list, its no wonder some are calling UCLA Football the new LBU.