Oregon, Cal Continue to Be Breeding Grounds for NFL Draft

Monday, May 12, 2014

Thirty-four players from the Pac-12 Conference were selected during the three-day NFL Draft over the weekend.

Six hail from Cal and the University of Oregon, the schools that will play in the first ever college football game at Levi’s® Stadium come Oct. 24.

Don’t worry: The cupboard in Berkley and Eugene isn’t bare. 

These teams are used to losing talent to the pros. In fact, the Golden Bears have had at least one player selected in the draft’s first three rounds every year since 2007. The Ducks, meanwhile, have had at least one student-athlete selected in 28 straight drafts and 53 of the last 55 overall.

Among the schools’ next wave of stars are Cal quarterback Jared Goff, who wears No. 16 in honor of Joe Montana, and Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, who is already on the Heisman Trophy radar of some experts.

Tickets are available to watch the Pac-12 competitors face off this fall — check availability here.

For now, let’s take a closer look the Golden Bears and Ducks who could be coming to Levi’s® Stadium as professionals.


WR Josh Huff – 86th overall (third round) – Philadelphia Eagles (visit the 49ers Sept. 28)’s Bottom Line: “Smooth, competitive, versatile receiver with an impressive skill set which translates well to the evolution of NFL offenses. Can work at flanker or slot and has potential to become a No. 2 or No. 3 receiver in a system incorporating spread concepts. Is the type of player you root for, having persevered through an adverse upbringing and lingering baggage, which forced him to mature the hard way. Would be best served landing in a close-knit locker room with a nurturing position coach.”

RB De’Anthony Thomas – 124th overall – Kansas City Chiefs (visit the 49ers Oct. 5) 

Bottom Line: “A deluxe, specialty back and potential slot receiver with game-breaking return ability, Thomas can be an explosive mismatch weapon in multiple facets of the game. Diminutive stature will decrease the odds he’ll be able to stay healthy in the pros, and his commitment to the game will dictate his future success. Rare speed creates a higher commodity on draft day.” 

DE Taylor Hart – 141st overall – Philadelphia Eagles (visit the 49ers Sept. 28) 

Bottom Line: “Big-framed, smart, active, high-effort player who willingly does the dirty work and will make it difficult for coaches to cut him. Best chance to stick could be as a five-technique, but could also draw interest as a developmental left end. Has the makeup to surprise if he learns to play with power.” 

CB Terrance Mitchell – 254th overall – Dallas Cowboys

Bottom Line: “Wiry, smoother-than-sudden, off-man/cover-3 corner who upped his visibility as a junior by showing improved playmaking ability, which prompted a premature leap to the NFL. Could compete for a job as a No. 4, but lack of ideal explosiveness, top-end speed and bump-and-run ability limits his ceiling.”


TE Richard Rodgers – 98th overall (third) – Green Bay Packers

Bottom Line: “Rodgers’ career arc was affected by Cal’s coaching turnover, as the former high school receiver was recruited as a tight end by Jeff Tedord’s staff and bulked up to 275 pounds as a sophomore when he was out of shape, in part because of a torn labrum and torn foot ligament. As a junior, Rodgers shed 30 pounds and shifted to inside receiver for Sonny Dykes, enabling him to show his more natural “F” tight end skills. Is an unpolished product, but could be a better pro than college player.”

ILB Khairi Fortt – 126th overall (fourth) – New Orleans Saints

Bottom Line: “A better athlete than football player at this stage of his development, Fortt transferred from Penn State and played only one season at Cal before making a premature jump to the NFL. Speedy, finesse, see-and-go reactor who looks the part and has intriguing, starter-caliber athleticism to fit on the weak side in a fast-flowing 4-3 where he’s freed up to chase the ball. Must sharpen his eyes and instincts to reach his potential.”

Andrew Pentis

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