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The California Golden Bears and Stanford Cardinal still can't beat the USC Trojans when it comes to producing pro-worthy talent. USC put up nine players in the 2011 NFL Draft, and even when you discount the players from the sixth and seventh rounds (free agent territory), even when you had three Trojans picked up LATE in the seventh round, they still have five guys who are very likely to make an NFL roster next spring.
Cal and Stanford finished in a tie for second with (surprisingly) the Colorado Buffaloes (who had the most first round picks of any Pac-12 team), with four each. Here's a summary of all the draft picks from Pac-12 football teams.
USC (9) (SB Nation Site: Conquest Chronicles)
1st round, 9th pick - Tyron Smith, OT - Dallas Cowboys
3rd round, 77th pick - Jurrell Casey, DT - Tennessee Titans
3rd round, 89th pick - Shareece Wright, CB - San Diego Chargers
4th round, 102nd pick - Jordan Cameron, TE - Cleveland Browns
6th round, 182nd pick - Ronald Johnson, WR - San Francisco 49ers
6th round, 187th pick - Allen Bradford, RB - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
7th round, 240th pick - Stanley Havili, FB - Philadelphia Eagles
7th round, 241st pick - David Ausberry, WR - Oakland Raiders
7th round, 242nd pick - Malcolm Smith, OLB - Seattle Seahawks
Cal (4) (SB Nation Site: California Golden Blogs)
2nd round, 42nd pick - Brooks Reed, DE - Houston Texans
6th round, 197th pick - Ricky Elmore, DE - Green Bay Packers
7th round, 215th pick - De'Aundre Reed, DE - Minnesota Vikings
2nd round, 53rd pick - Stephen Paea, DT - Chicago Bears
5th round, 140th pick - Gabe Miller, OLB - Kansas City Chiefs
5th round, 145th pick - Jacquizz Rodgers, RB - Atlanta Falcons
2nd round, 39th pick - Akeem Ayers, OLB - Tennessee Titans
2nd round, 45th pick - Rahim Moore, S - Denver Broncos
6th round, 184th pick - David Carter, DT - Arizona Cardinals
5th round, 139th pick - Brandon Burton, CB - Minnesota Vikings
6th round, 179th pick - Caleb Schlauderaff, OG - Green Bay Packers
1st round, 8th pick - Jake Locker, QB - Tennessee Titans
3rd round, 84th pick - Mason Foster, ILB - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
7th round, 233rd pick - Lawrence Guy, DT - Green Bay Packers
4th round, 116th pick - Casey Matthews, ILB - Philadelphia Eagles
The fifth and sixth rounds of the NFL Draft is where the linebackers (particularly on the inside) start getting picked out. There are so many solid inside linebackers that can get guys on the ground, play passing lanes, and blitz the quarterback. They all look the same, so it's difficult to figure out who will make it at the next level.
So it makes perfect sense that a strong, productive, but unexciting linebacker like Mike Mohamed ends up being picked midway through the sixth round by the Denver Broncos. It's no knock on Mohamed, who Cal fans all recognize was an essential part of our defense last season, but he doesn't really stand out, meaning he'll have to work his way onto a roster despite being picked. The Broncos are loaded with linebackers, and Mohamed will need to prove his worth with his intelligence, high football IQ, and his strong all-around game.
Broncos fans, what do you think of the pick? Let us know in the comments and go to Mile High Report to discuss the pick with other Denver fans. Cal fans, check out California Golden Blogs for more on Mohamed.
The Cincinnati Bengals look like they might be starting over. They claim they're not trading Carson Palmer, but the drafting of Andy Dalton could signal they're ready to look toward the future. Terrell Owens is leaving, Chad Ochocinco has one foot out the door, and picking A.J. Green with their first pick is a sign they're ready to revamp the receiving corps.
Stanford Cardinal wide receiver Ryan Whalen is on his way too. Whalen provides a great possession receiver for the Bengals, someone who can come in, run routes, and be a great third/fourth option for a team that wants to look for someone to pick up those extra yards. Whalen was the favorite target of freshman quarterback Andrew Luck in 2009; when Whalen got injured for a period in 2010, he never really found his way back up to the top three, but Luck did manage to target Whalen enough in their three/four/five wide receiver sets (41 receptions with nearly 25% of the season missed).
The Stanford Cardinal pass defense was terrible in 2009. Absolutely awful. But that wasn't the fault of Richard Sherman, who made a pretty strong transition from wide receiver to cornerback and thrived in that role. He made plenty of interceptions off of bad throws, racked up the tackles, and can break up passes. In 2010 with a pro guy like Vic Fangio, Sherman finally got to perform for a moderately consistent offense. Sherman could be a guy who could perform quite well in man-press coverage and play tall receivers straight up, particularly on that fade route.
Sherman also fits the mold of the bigger type of cornerback that can be physical with the tall receivers at the next level. Pete Carroll recruited Sherman when he was at USC, but wanted to prove that "kids from Compton could attend a school like Stanford". Inspiring player, and certainly the kind of guy you root for. Carroll must be happy to get a second chance to coach him.
Owen Marecic of the Stanford Cardinal was considered by Jim Harbaugh to be the perfect football player, and he'll be taking his talents to a situation where he'll probably have to be perfect to get on the field early. Marecic is headed to the Cleveland Browns, where he'll have to work his way up to get into the offensive groove of things. The Browns already have a solid fullback in Lawrence Vickers, who was considered a Pro Bowl snub last year. Marecic will probably start his career in special teams and try and work his way up to get into the offensive rotation. He doesn't really have any chance of being a linebacker.
At least with Peyton Hillis, the Browns now have the potential for the first all-white backfield since ... when? That's always different. It's a little high to get Marecic, but still.
The last draft pick of the 3rd round of the 2011 NFL Draft features the first Stanford Cardinal player taken. Sione Fua was widely sought after because he plays at a position that generally translates well toward the pros, the 3-4 nose tackle. While Fua doesn’t have the size to play that position at the next level, defensive tackle might be the place for him, and the Carolina Panthers are willing to take their chances.
Fua was solid in Stanford’s 3-4 system as he shifted over from the defensive tackle position. While it wasn’t a particularly great year for Pac-10 offensive lines, Fua made things difficult for a lot of teams inside, and made it easier for the Cardinal to stop the run and force quarterbacks to throw the ball a lot more than they would’ve been comfortable with.
Interesting nugget—Carolina received this pick after losing Julius Peppers. So it’s a fairly apt trade: A defensive lineman for a defensive lineman, eh?
Panthers fans, what do you think of the pick? Let us know in the comments!
Safeties are not easy to come by in the NFL. You never can really tell. You have to see how they develop, how well they tackle, how good their cover skills are, how well they can contain the run, etc. etc. So it’s never an easy task to pick one, but a lot of them usually go a little bit earlier than people expect.
Chris Conte of the California Golden Bears seems to be the latest example, as he gets picked 93rd by the Chicago Bears. The Bears have plenty of defensive talent, so Conte might have to wait his turn before he sees the field, but that might be the ideal situation for him to grow and develop as a pro player. Conte is used to being displaced, as he spent most of his time at Cal playing cornerback before he finally ended up where he belonged at safety.
Shane Vereen was a great runner at Cal, and all this despite having a lot of trouble adjusting to a poor offensive line and inconsistent quarterback play the two years he started for the California Golden Bears. But Vereen can run, he can play between the tackles, he can play outside and run in open space, he can pass protect, he can pass catch out of the backfield. He is an all-around running back that's similar to Cameron Jordan in player profile--solid in innumerable facets of the game.
Sounds like the type of complete runner Bill Belichick likes. Vereen was picked by the New England Patriots with the 56th pick, and he could challenge BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead immediately to grab more playing time and try and pump up a Pats rush attack that sputtered in last year's AFC Playoffs. Vereen might not start, but he could definitely showcase the strength to play in short-yardage situations, and could come out of the backfield and haul in some balls thrown to him by Tom Brady.
What do Cal and New England fans think about this pick? Let us know in the comments!
Brian Galliford of SB Nation has gone ahead and simulated the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft for us, and he has one local prospect from the Bay Area being picked--Stephen Paea, who has been everywhere around the globe (and actually played high school football in Utah), but claims his hometown to be Los Altos. Paea was on the Oregon St. Beavers last year, and while he didn't have the greatest season (and neither did his team), he is very physically talented and certainly has the tools to succeed at the next level.
Galliford says the Denver Broncos will take him. Even though the most pressing need of the Broncos was running back, they also couldn't pass up on a talent like Von Miller of the Texas A&M Aggies, who they landed with the second pick. Paea will fill a position of need for them.
What do Broncos and Beavers fans think about this possible pick?
Once Tyson Alualu got selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars, Cameron Jordan knew he had a chance not just to be an NFL player, but a first round draft pick. Jordan had all the natural talent in the world and just needed to apply it on the field on a consistent basis. And he showcased it with a strong 2010 season that displayed all his versatility, as defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi proved his worth once again. Jordan is on his way to Bourbon Street, and will be manning it up for the New Orleans Saints next year.
Jordan played various techniques. He lined up in five technique and engaged the tackle, as well as occasionally speed rushing off the edge. He went to three technique and gave opposing guards lots of problems, particularly with his swim move. He could drop into coverage and play with the skills of an outside linebacker. He was good at stripping the ball and forcing fumbles. There's a lot in place for Jordan to be a long-term viable defensive lineman who will be playing a long time in the league.
California Golden Blogs (our Cal SB Nation site) has done a good job breaking down Cameron Jordan.
Saints fans, Cal fans, what do you think of the pick? Head over to Canal Street Chronicles (our New Orleans SB Nation site) to discuss!
Cameron Jordan might be selected by the New England Patriots, but it's probably not going to be by moving up to get him. Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that any deal the Patriots might be making with the Dallas Cowboys to try and snare the Cal defensive end is kaput. If the Pats want him, they're going to wait him out with the 17th pick.
While Jordan could still end up in Bill Belichick's system, there are other teams that are interested in his services. The San Diego Chargers are looking for bulk up front and are only a pick behind New England. The Jacksonville Jaguars, Minnesota Vikings and Miami Dolphins have all expressed interest in Jordan, and they will all pick ahead of New England.
The lesson as always: You should know better than to trust Chris Mortensen on any important rumor mill story. You're just asking to get your hopes dashed.
Cameron Jordan is supposedly the target of the New England Patriots, and they seem to be willing to trade up to get him. Todd McShay of ESPN and Mike Mayock of the NFL Network seem to agree with the assessment, as both their mock drafts have Jordan heading up to Foxboro. Both had them originally drafting Jordan with the 17th pick instead of exploring moving up to get him.
McShay seems to think that Jordan fits the Bill Belichick 3-4 defensive scheme, and can do a lot of different things to help him fit on a New England group that was underwhelming up front last season and ultimately their downfall in the AFC Divisional Playoff matchup with the New York Jets. Jordan is a good five technique player, states Mayock, and he'd be the perfect fit to replace the sorely missed Richard Seymour. Check out McShay's full mock draft on ESPN ($)and Mayock's first round mock draft at NFL.com.
For more reaction from Patriots fans, head to Pats Pulpit.
Cal defensive end Cameron Jordan wasn't supposed to be a top name, especially considering guys like Da'Quan Bowers, Nick Fairley, J.J. Watt, Robert Quinn and Marcell Dareus were all on the board and had excelled on much better teams last season. But the scouts started tuning into him, he had a great Senior Bowl week and soild NFL Combine, and he started creeping on up the draft boards.
Well, looks like Jordan might be pretty highly coveted as a non top-5 pick can get. Chris Mortensen tweets the following.
Trade Buzz: New England looking to trade with Dallas to get Cameron Jordan
Well, color me skeptical. This would be highly out of character for Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots, who are well-known for their love of trading down for more picks and better value. They don't like paying premium for big guys, and trading up to the top 10 (in this case, the ninth pick) for the Dallas Cowboys would definitely be a huge dent in their primo strategy. I'll believe it when I see it.
Cowboys and Patriots fans, what do you think of this potential trade? Let us know in the comments!
There are many players who went to college in the Bay Area (or are from the Bay Area) that are expected to be taken this weekend. But only one name rises above them all: California Golden Bears defensive end Cameron Jordan, who could get picked real early in the 2011 NFL Draft if the cards fall his way. Jordan is a versatile defensive linemen who can line up at multiple positions, play the run, rush the passer, and drop into coverage. Can he become the second linemen in two years Tosh Lupoi sends not only to the NFL, but sends them through the first round of the draft?
Other guys to keep an eye on (HT Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News):
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