2011 NFL Draft Projections: Lance Kendricks

Today we're looking at where one of my favorite Badgers in this year's draft class will be selected, tight end Lance Kendricks. One of the best things about Kendricks is how versatile of a player he can be. He had games where he piled up tons of rushing yards. Games where he got his tiptoes down in the back of the end zone for touchdowns (being a former wide receiver helps in that regard). Games where he pancaked the crap out of opposing blockers. And that tight end screen to Kendricks was one of the best plays in the Wisconsin offensive playbook. He still had a large impact on games where he wasn't catching many passes with his superb blocking.

So where will Lance Kendricks be selected in this year's draft? Unfortunately for him, tight end is not a big need for many NFL teams in this draft. Kyle Rudolph out of Notre Dame is the consensus number one tight end, and Kendricks has often ended up as the second tight end on ranking lists.

SB Nation Steelers blog Behind the Steel Curtain has Kendricks going to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at pick number 84 (coincidence that it's his jersey number?):

84. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Lance Kendricks TE, Wisconsin: Tampa needs an upgrade over Kellen Winslow and they are apparently in love with Kendricks' potential.

After the jump we've got more projections for where LK will end up.

NFL.com's Pat Kirwan:

69. Arizona Cardinals, Lance Kendricks, TE, Wisconsin

Walt at WalterFootball.com:

84. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Lance Kendricks, TE, Wisconsin: The Buccaneers are absolutely in love with Lance Kendricks. They won't think twice about taking him in the third round. They're concerned with Kellen Winslow Jr.'s blocking and durability.

Mel Kiper, Jr. at ESPN:

68. Buffalo Bills: Lance Kendricks, TE, Wisconsin


91. Atlanta Falcons: Lance Kendricks, TE, Wisconsin

Peter Schrager at FoxSports:

137. Cleveland Browns: Lance Kendricks, TE, Wisconsin

Brian Galliford at SBNation:

59. Atlanta Falcons: Lance Kendricks, TE, Wisconsin. Short-term, he's another weapon on an offense that needs it. Long-term, he replaces future Hall of Fame player Tony Gonzalez.

This isn't a mock draft, but the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has a very high opinion of Lance Kendricks, ranking him as the number 1 tight end in this draft.

We ended with the highest and lowest draft pick projections for Kendricks, picks 59 and 137. Though the need for a tight end this year is low, I think Kendricks has done much to improve his stock since the Rose Bowl with an impressive Senior Bowl and NFL combine. Kendricks may be hindered by comparisons to Travis Beckum, who hasn't done much in the NFL yet, but I think LK is a better blocker. I would be very surprised if he falls to the 5th round as Schrager predicts. The consensus seems to be 3rd round, but I'm definitely of the opinion that he could sneak in as a 2nd round pick.

Bucky's 5th Quarter is your home for the most in-depth NFL Draft coverage regarding your favorite Wisconsin Badgers. Stay tuned for the latest news, projections and draft analysis all week long and be sure to follow us on Twitter @B5Q.

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