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NFP Scouting Series: Cal

Checking in with the prospects on the Pac-10's Golden Bears. National Football Post

Print This July 22, 2010, 05:00 PM EST

For the rest of the summer, the National Football Post will be breaking down every team in the Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly known as Division I-A) to identify players who could warrant the most interest from NFL teams in the 2011 draft.

Therefore, today we take a look at the California Golden Bears.

Offense

RossICONRoss will need to make his mark on special teams to have a chance.

WR Jeremy Ross: No. 3 (6-0, 213)
Possesses above-average size, but exhibits some real shiftiness and change of direction skills with the ball in his hands. Exhibits good fluidity in tight areas, knows how to make people miss and accelerates well into daylight. Now, he displays only decent speed and isn’t going to simply outpace anyone at the next level in the open field; is more quick than fast.

Isn’t a real natural receiver at this stage either. Struggles to cleanly pluck the football, doesn’t look comfortable extending his arms away from his frame and when he does, he’s routinely forced to double catch the throw. Also, doesn’t exhibit a real sharpness as a route runner at this stage, seems to glide in and out of his breaks and will gear down in order to change directions. Now, possesses good body control when the ball is in the air and can adjust to the throw, but doesn’t strike me as a guy who is going to be able to generate much separation for himself in the NFL.

Impression: An above-average athlete with above-average size, just isn’t a real polished receiver and will need to have a good camp as a kick-return man in order to make an NFL roster. A long shot at best right now.

Defense

DT Derrick Hill: No. 76 (6-1, 306)
A shorter, thickly built defensive lineman with good girth through his upper body, but is a bit thin in the legs. Exhibits decent overall flexibility when asked to sit into his stance vs. the run and displays above-average anchor strength on contact. However, struggles with his hand placement and consistently allows opposing linemen to get under his frame and stay engaged on him through the play. Moves decently toward the football through contact inside and can put himself in position to make some plays when run at, but really struggles to stack and shed with any kind of consistency. Nevertheless, can keep his pad level down vs. the run and is tough to move off the ball, will overwhelm blocks one-on-one on contact and can clog up lanes inside.

Exhibits an above-average first step for his size and consistently gets off the snap on time in the pass game, but doesn’t display the type of power as a bull rusher as you would expect from someone his size. Isn’t real balanced or sudden when asked to change directions. Tries to work his arm over to disengage, but isn’t real compact, flails his arms and just exposes too much of his frame in the process.

Impression: The guy has some natural power and anchor strength, but he looks real top heavy any time he’s asked to be anything other than a linear athlete. But, his size/power should get him a shot in an NFL training camp as a developmental/free agent type guy.

JordanICONJordan needs to do a better job keeping his pad level down as a pass rusher.

DE Cameron Jordan: No. 97 (6-4, 282)
Possesses a strong, well put together frame with good thickness and girth through both his upper and lower half. Plays the five-technique in the Cal defense and exhibits impressive flexibility for a guy his size when asked to sit into his stance. Does a nice job keeping his head up and base down into contact vs. the run game and exhibits good anchor strength on contact. Has the type of power to consistently hold up/set the edge when run at and uses his strong hands to disengage from blocks. Has the ability to initially get his hands up and arms extended into blocks out of his stance and dictate at the point, but at times will lead with his head, which causes him to easily be turned from the ball. Now, isn’t real sudden or explosive when working his way toward the football and his pad level will begin to rise once he gains a step trying to get up field. However, consistently works his arm over in both the run and pass game in order to successfully shed blocks and close on the play.

Isn’t a real explosive pass rusher, lacks the burst to reach the edge and again will allow his pad level to rise a bit when trying to change directions off his initial rush. Exhibits some natural body control and balance through contact and his combination of length and agility allows him to fight his way off blocks and make his way up the field. However, even when he gains a step he doesn’t exhibit a great closing burst to consistently finish on the play.

Impression: Has the size, length and strength to anchor with consistency in the NFL. I think he’s more of a base 4-3 DE, but will also get some looks as a 3-4 DE as well. Looks like a solid two-down contributor to me.

LB Michael Mohamed: No. 18 (6-3, 238)
Carries his weight well and possesses a lean, athletic-looking frame. Exhibits natural flexibility in his lower half and does a nice job keeping his base under him and sitting into his stance prior to the snap. Displays a good first step when asked to attack downhill vs. the run game, quickly locating the football, picking his way through traffic and working until the whistle. Possesses good balance and change of direction skills in tight quarters, has the ability to slip a blocker quickly and make his way toward the football. However, isn’t real physical when asked to take on a block in the hole. Doesn’t generate a real thump on contact, stops moving his feet and can be easily sealed/engulfed on contact. Also, isn’t a real physical striker as a tackler either; more of a drag down guy who will overrun plays and fail to break down in pursuit. However, exhibits impressive sideline-to-sideline range and can track the football on all areas of the field.

Demonstrates impressive body control, balance and fluidity in and out of his breaks in coverage and has the type of range to consistently run with tight ends down the field. Looks really comfortable in space, keeping his feet under him, cleanly changing directions and generating a good explosive first step for himself out of his breaks. Now, is still maturing in reading his pass keys and will take himself out of some plays on play fakes. But the guy always seems to end up putting himself around the ball and has the type of skill set to be efficient in both man and zone coverage at the next level.

Impression: One of the more fluid/athletic linebacker prospects I have seen this year. I would like to see him be a bit more physical vs. the run, but he’s a gifted run and hit guy who can certainly cover. At worst a core special teams/nickel guy, but I think with some time and development he could end up starting for a team down the line.

Follow me on twitter: @WesBunting

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