2011 East West Shrine Game NFL Draft Prospect: Cal Linebacker Mike Mohamed

Mike Mohamed has been the heart and soul of Cal's defense the last two years. He was originally a 4-3 outside linebacker who converted into a 3-4 outside linebacker after defensive coordinator Bob Gregory switched up schemes in 2008. He eventually moved to the inside of the 3-4 with the departure of Worrell Williams and Anthony Felder in 2009.  There's no denying his production: In four years he racked up 340 tackles and often was the player that brought down opposing running backs and receivers in the middle area of the field. His decision-making was missed when Cal played Nevada last year and he could not play, as the rest of the defense made poor mistakes. Mohamed also played fairly well in pass defense and managed to make plays, racking up seven interceptions during his three years as a starter (none more important than his Big Game pick of Andrew Luck to seal the upset in Palo Alto in 2009).

The big question is whether Mohamed has the physical ability to last on the next level. The middle linebacker is one of the most crucial players in the 3-4, but he has to be have a great deal of physicality to deal to get through interior offensive linemen. Unfortunately, Mohamed's slender form did not adapt well against bruising power schemes, as he struggled shedding tacklers.

Unfortunately, despite Mohamed's intelligence and his ability to call out defensive signals, he had times lacked the physical strength of a Williams or Felder to get off the blocks of offensive linemen and stuff the run. He's probably a better fit as a 4-3 outside linebacker in many NFL defensive schemes. Most NFL Draft boards project him to be either a 7th round pick or an undrafted free agent. It'll be interesting to see what Mohamed can do at Saturday's East West Shrine Game.

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