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NFL Draft wrap-up

Posted by Eric | April 27, 2008 at 11:03 pm | In Players/Alumni | 3 Comments

This weekend, the Bears had six players taken in the NFL draft. Here is a tabulated summary of the action:

    WR DeSean Jackson Round 2 18th pick (49th overall) Philadelphia Eagles
    TE Craig Stevens Round 3 22nd pick (85th overall) Tennessee Titans
    S Thomas DeCoud Round 3 35th pick (98th overall) Atlanta Falcons
    WR Lavelle Hawkins Round 4 27th pick (126th overall) Tennessee Titans
    OG Mike Gibson Round 6 18th pick (184th overall) Philadelphia Eagles
    RB Justin Forsett Round 7 26th pick (233th overall) Seattle Seahawks
    WR Robert Jordan Undrafted Signed Free-Agent San Francisco 49ers

With respect to the number of players taken in the draft by school, Cal was exceeded by only USC (10), Virginia Tech (8), and LSU (7) — all teams who were in the BCS this past post-season. Arkansas and Michigan also had six players drafted. Overall, a great showing in the draft — it will be great to see more Bears representing Cal in the NFL.

Regarding free agent signings: WR Robert Jordan was picked up immediately after the draft by the local 49ers. OL Brian De La Puente was signed by the 49ers as well.

CONFIRMED 5/1: K Tom Schneider, who completed his degree, will play one more season at Division II North Alabama to prove himself to the NFL.

Media Links

Stevens, DeCoud picked in 3rd round

Posted by Eric | April 27, 2008 at 9:19 am | In Players/Alumni | 2 Comments

TE Craig Stevens was selected by the Tennessee Titans with the 22nd pick of the 3rd round (85th). Later in the round, S Thomas DeCoud was selected 35th (98th overall) by the Atlanta Falcons.

Congratulations to these two seniors, as they were picked at the higher end of draft predictions.

EDIT: WR Lavelle Hawkins will join Stevens at Tennessee — he was selected in the 4th round (126th overall) by the Titans, the first receiver among the Titans’ picks.

EDIT: RB Justin Forsett has been picked in the 7th round (233rd overall) by the Seattle Seahawks.

DeSean Jackson drafted by the Eagles at #49

Posted by Steve | April 26, 2008 at 5:19 pm | In DeSean | 3 Comments

DeSean Jackson in Philadelphia

DeSean Jackson has been drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles as the 18th pick of the second round, pick number 49 overall and the 7th wide receiver to be drafted. In a rather strange draft, no wide receivers were selected in the first round, which seemed to be dominated by defensive players and linemen.

EDIT: The Eagles have also selected OT Mike Gibson in the 6th round (184th overall).

In Alumni news, the Green Bay Packers selected with the 56th pick of the draft QB Brian Brohm from Louisville, so Aaron Rodgers will have some competition for the starting QB job.

EDIT: The Packers also selected QB Matt Flynn (LSU) in the 7th round, so Rodgers will certainly be pushed to succeed with the addition of these rookies.

NFL draft today: projections

Posted by Eric | April 26, 2008 at 10:26 am | In Players/Alumni | No Comments

Today at noon, the NFL draft begins. Cal has an unprecedented number (7) of potential draftees: S Thomas DeCoud, RB Justin Forsett, OL Mike Gibson, WR Lavelle Hawkins, WR DeSean Jackson, WR Robert Jordan and TE Craig Stevens.

OL Brian De La Puente and P Andrew Larson have a good chance in free agency as well.

My projections:

1st round: Jackson
2nd-3rd round: Hawkins
3rd-5th round: DeCoud, Stevens
6th-7th round: Gibson, Forsett
7th round/FA: Jordan, Larson, De La Puente

Good luck to our guys — updates will come as the draft goes on. Meanwhile, here’s a draft video from the NFL about Jackson.

DeSean Jackson article

Posted by Alex | April 16, 2008 at 6:26 pm | In DeSean, Players/Alumni | 4 Comments recently published this article by Thomas George about DeSean Jackson. It brought up some interesting points about Jackson’s draft stock. Seemingly, concerns with Jackson’s character are dropping his stock a bit into the late first round. George says this about Jackson:

The good:

Explosive. Electrifying. Dual threat as a receiver and kick returner. Excellent hands. Projected that he could reach Carolina receiver Steve Smith-type output in style and production. A junior entry into the draft with compelling upside.

The bad:

A me-guy. Selfish. Not a good teammate. Not a coachable player. Too many questionable influences hanging around him and a hard time letting them go.

Also, he quotes a 25-year scout who gives an incredible compliment to Jackson, along with a bit of a caveat:

“This young man has all of the ability in the world. He can be as good as he wants to be. But is he going to do the things necessary to get there? I had a scout tell me to watch him in workouts with the receivers and see if he is not the last one in the line for drills. So, I looked. He was the last one in line for drills. But there are issues and there are issues. He’s not evil. He’s not robbing banks. If you draft this guy, you’d better have him on a short leash from the get-go. He seems to have always done just enough to beat those around him relying on the fact he was better than them. Well, at the next level, they are as good and better than him. His size is a concern. He goes no later than the second round. He could get in the bottom of the first round.”

There have constantly been reports of Jackson being a “me-first” guy, but it is difficult to tell if these are true. Jackson’s teammates have always been complimentary of him. Hopefully, Jackson himself can be trusted, and he ends up being a superstar in the NFL.

Spring open practice report

Posted by Eric | April 13, 2008 at 4:06 pm | In Defense, Offense, Players/Alumni, Quarterback, Special Teams | 2 Comments

Yesterday, Cal fans turned out a sizeable crowd for the Bears’ open practice/scrimmage. Here is a report, courtesy of GFang:


[Kevin] Riley- did not get to show off his arm too much . . . but when he threw, was very crisp and accurate with zip. He would’ve been perfect if Calvin didn’t drop 2 of his passes (that may be Calvin’s weakness). He had great protection, but he did run for 6 yards when under pressure once. Riley’s best pass was a 20 yard TD strike to Calvin deep in the endzone towards the end of practice. That got the biggest pop from the crowd today. Basically, he looked very accurate and was not afraid to thread the needle.

[Brock] Mansion- struggled, even in warm-ups. Misthrew about half of his passes. Does not have the mechanics that Riley does. I think he needs another year to work out the kinks.

Running Back

[Tracy] Slocum got into endzone twice, including a 15 yarder down the right sideline. He is workmanlike. In general he picked up at least 4-5 yards per carry against the 1st team defense. [Covaughn DeBoskie] is slender but tough. Runs very fluidly. He did fumble once after a nice gain, which was recovered by CB [Syd'Quan Thompson].


DE [Ernest] Owusu- played 2nd team; registered 3 sacks, including 2 in a row on QB Cory Smits. He will contribute this season!

LB [Zach] Follett, LB Charles Johnson, and DL [Jon] Karacozoff got their names called often, also.

Special Teams

[Thompson] is a natural at returning punts. WR Nyan Boateng also returned punts; his chances to return were limited. I’d definitely pick Squid to return punts, even if he’s our no. 1 CB.

P [Bryan] Anger is the real deal. Got big pops from the crowd. Thunderous leg! The 2nd chance he got, he launched it 10 yards over [Thompson]’s head and the offense recovered it. The 3rd time he punted, the returner stood way back lol. Anger will be able to consistently kick 50-55 yard punts with great hangtime. Right now he’s at about 70% consistency. I predict he starts for the next 4 years.

Feel free to chime in with any additional observations or thoughts about the scrimmage.

Open practice today

Posted by Eric | April 12, 2008 at 9:21 am | In Players/Alumni | No Comments

Today is the open practice (scrimmage), which begins at noon but has burritos starting at 11. The equipment sale is also going on right now — it was scheduled to begin at 9:00. Also, there’s free parking on campus.

This week, the biggest news is QB Nate Longshore has not taken any reps — he pulled his pectoral muscle and may be out the rest of spring practice. However, Kevin Riley has failed to really shine on the first team in Longshore’s absence. Brock Mansion has struggled, as well. Watch for Riley to step it up in today’s scrimmage.

The defensive line is consistently getting good marks from observers, which is a really good sign. With DE Cameron Jordan bulked up, Rulon Davis healthy and Tyson Alualu experienced, it could be a good year for the unit. Meanwhile, DT Mika Kane has been the primary first team nose tackle in the 3-4, not highly recruited Derrick Hill. Watch for Hill to step it up in the fall in that position.

TE Tad Smith, converted from the defense, continues to make plays and impress. TE Cameron Morrah has finally appeared in a few reports as well, making some nice catches. However, TCGB reports that their blocking “left me wanting Stevens.”

LB Devin Bishop looked pretty good, delivering some solid hits. The linebacking corps is deep.

P Bryan Anger stood out on special teams, making booming punts that should make us feel comfortable after losing Andrew Larson to graduation.

Look for a report on today’s scrimmage later this evening.

Sources and links:

Montgomery leaves Cal

Posted by Alex | April 8, 2008 at 8:15 am | In Players/Alumni, Quarterback, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Originally posted on March 18: Jonathan Okanes over at BearTalk reports that James Montgomery is leaving Cal. At one point, Montgomery was listed as the starting running back for the 2008 Bears offense. Fortunately, the Bears have plenty of depth at running back though it is highly untested.

EDIT by ERIC 3/27: Walk-on QB Bryan Van Meter has decided to leave the team to try rugby. Van Meter would likely have been a backup behind (in no particular order) Kevin Riley, Nate Longshore, and redshirt freshman Brock Mansion.

EDIT by ERIC 4/1: More on Montgomery’s situation in our Spring update.

EDIT by ERIC 4/8: Sadly, Montgomery’s hopes to become a Florida Gator did not work out — he has decided on the Cougars with a verbal commitment to Washington State. Montgomery will have to sit out one year, according to NCAA transfer rules.

Gameday shirt, open practice and sale

Posted by Eric | April 6, 2008 at 6:55 pm | In Uncategorized | No Comments

Cal has released the 2008 Game Day shirt, available online for pre-order. It features a “Every Game Counts” tagline, which I think is a little goofy, and lists the home schedule on the back. The shirt will also be available for sale during the Open Practice on April 12 at noon (Cal Day).

In addition, Cal will hold a surplus sale that morning, beginning at 9 a.m. Last year, I picked up a bunch of Cal football shirts, shorts, and shoes at bargain prices. It is definitely worth a look if you are in the area.

Defense steps up in spring ball

Posted by Eric | April 6, 2008 at 6:45 pm | In Defense, Offense, Players/Alumni | No Comments

On Friday, the offense had trouble moving the ball in the off-season’s first practice in helmets and shoulder pads. As J.Okanes reported, “neither Nate Longshore or Kevin Riley separated himself” on a day when the defense stepped up.

* Secondary

Apparently, Syd’Quan Thompson took only “minimal reps,” with cornerbacks Charles Amadi and Jesse Brooks getting in the rotation on the first team. However, this might just be an effect of Thompson’s suspension earlier this week. When asked about the front-runner to start at cornerback on the other side (see video interview), Thompson said:

I don’t even know, everybody’s out here competing. I mean, I’m even competing to keep my job. Like I said, we’re just out here trying to work to get better as a unit.

The “open competition” mindset seems to be paying off. When pressed about competing to keep his spot:

If I felt comfortable, that would mean I could take days off. I can’t afford to take days off.

Thompson also talked about taking some reps at punt returner — apparently, he was very good at it in high school.

* Defensive Line

On the ends, Rulon Davis and Cameron Jordan are looking very good. J.Okanes mentioned that Davis “stood out” and had this to say about Jordan:

[He] looks like he could be a real force next season. Already blessed with rare athleticism, Jordan looks as though he’s put on a great deal of muscle since the end of the season. He no longer looks like an undersized defensive end, and the extra weight doesn’t seem to have affected his athleticism. When lineman run sprints at the end of practice, he still blows the competition away.

Jordan already made an impact as a true freshman last year, so it will be exciting to see how he will fare with a year of experience and added bulk.

Meanwhile, DL Tyson Alualu shined in one-on-one drills against the OL, “consistently beating his man and getting kudos.”

This is all good news, as the defensive line unit was one of the weaknesses of last season that needed improvement.

* Other notes

(Continue reading “Defense steps up in spring ball”…)

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