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NFL Draft Recap and Analysis: Cal Leads the Pac-12

Kendricks catapults into the second round as a widely praised pick for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Kendricks catapults into the second round as a widely praised pick for the Philadelphia Eagles.

This was one of the more successful NFL drafts in Cal history both for the Bears and for their new teams. Nearly every pick was praised as a valuable addition. While Marvin Jones may have been the best steal of the draft in the fifth round, Mychal Kendricks' second-round pick by Philadelphia was widely praised as a fantastic pick by everyone from draft analysts to head coach Andy Reid.

After suffering through years of spotty linebacker play, Reid believes Mychal Kendricks can make a big difference on the Eagles D. (Here's a transcript with the rest of Reid's comments). With a pair of Pro Bowl-caliber Bears on his team already, Reid has much respect for Cal's athletes.

"[Mychal Kendricks] played all the positions. The one thing that really interests me there is we're getting a phenomenal pass rusher on that side. We're getting someone who can really cover the tight end, and his pass cover skills are a strong part of his game. When you see the way he's built, you'll understand. He plays a very physical game. You've heard the term 'heavy-handed,' so when he locks onto you, he's pretty strong with that," — Eagles head coach Andy Reid

Things weren't as warm and fuzzy down in Jacksonville after the Jags drafted Bryan Anger in the third round.

[Jacksonville GM Gene] Smith has already been in the crosshairs of Jaguars' fans for a so-so draft record in three-plus years as GM, and this move will deservedly get his loudest critics screaming at the top of their lungs.

I'm sorry, but under no circumstances should any NFL team, especially one with as many needs as the Jaguars, take a punter in the third round. Even if Anger, considered the nation's best punter, is a reincarnation of Lechler, a punter is just not valuable enough to be taken that high.

Lechler has led the NFL in punting five times in the past decade and not once during those seasons did Oakland win more than five games. The advantage gained from having a great punter, over an average one like the Jaguars' Nick Harris, simply isn't substantial enough to use a third-round draft pick. You might make that same argument for a placekicker because they make and miss field goals when games are on the line. But not a PUNTER!!!

After the jump we round up reactions and analysis of all the Bears' draft picks and free agents. Nearly every draft pick was met with unbridled enthusiasm and optimism.

Mitchell Schwartz

The Cleveland Browns entered the second day of the draft with two draft picks: No. 37 overall in round two, and No. 67 overall in round three. There were a lot of interesting prospects on the board when the Browns were on the clock at No. 37, particularly at offensive tackle. The top-rated available players remaining at that position included Cordy Glenn, Jonathan Martin, Mike Adams, and Bobbie Massie. Tom Heckert and company passed on all of those players, and instead decided to take Mitchell Schwartz, an offensive tackle out of California.

Schwartz has experience at right tackle and left tackle; unlike some of the aforementioned players, the Browns don't have to risk him making a transition at the NFL level. He started every game in college and has a good sense of toughness, according to reports. The best thing about this pick is that, regardless of who else was available, Cleveland got their starting right tackle. With their first three picks, Cleveland got three new starters on offense.

People were mostly positive about the Browns' decision to draft Schwartz and were given an extra boost of confidence because he, like Alex Mack, is a product of Michalczik's tutelage.

Before you say, "who?", we can't get upset about this pick just because big "names" like Cordy Glenn and Jonathan Martin were still on the board. Even though Glenn had some experience at tackle, there were questions as to whether he would be able to make the transition from guard to tackle in the NFL. Martin had primarily served as a left tackle in college. Mitchell started 35 games at left tackle and 16 games at right tackle at California, showing consistency at both positions.

The best endorsement I could find of Schwartz was this gem of a comment:

Cal O-lineman are apparently strong, nasty assholes.

Mychal Kendricks

"It's going to be good playing next to them," he said. "I'm so juiced. I'm juiced, man. I'm excited. It's going to be fun. Oh my God."

He took to twitter to say how much he liked the Kendricks pick.

Love Eagles pick of Kendricks. Clearly philosophy change regarding LBs with the signing of DeMeco Ryans and drafting of Kendricks. Fast, physical and can blitz.

He continued...

Still can't get over Kendicks pick. Best 4-3 LB in draft after Kuechly. As I said, an excellent blitzer. Great sideline-to-sideline range.

The only real knock on him is his size, at 5’11. The Eagles are saying they’ll use him at SAM, which is a bit of an oddity for a sub 6 footer. It’ll be interesting to see how well he can handle pass coverage against the likes of Jason Witten (6’6) and Fred Davis (6’4). It’s probably also worth noting that the WILL is likely Brian Rolle, who is also very undersized at 5’10, and DeMeco Ryans, who is 6’1. That would have to be the smallest group of LB’s in the league, and probably by a wide margin.

Still, this group of linebackers is instantly an enormous upgrade over last year’s group.

Bryan Anger

As long as your punter is just not terrible, you're fine. Look at Oakland Raiders punter Shane Lechler for instance. He's been arguably the best punter in the NFL for a decade and was drafted in the fifth-round. In the past 10 seasons, the Raiders haven't won more than 8 games in more than just a single season in 2003. So, how much of a "weapon" is Lechler for the Raiders? Is he that much of a difference maker? He's really, really good at punting... but how much does it matter?

How are we going to know if Anger is ever worth a third round grade? If he makes 10 Pro Bowls is he worth it? What does a punter do that makes him a third round pick?

I mean... the Jaguars used a third round pick on a player you ideally do not want on the football field. I just don't get it. I hope Anger is a great punter for a decade... but I just don't get it. This team has needs in so many other areas, even at depth considering the defensive tackle concerns, that it's such a wasteful luxury pick.


  • Rich Elsen approves, however!

Marvin Jones

Marvin Jones: WR, California, 31st pick, Round Five (166)
Cincinnati goes back to their BPA strategy and selects one of my favorite prospects from this draft class with the Ochocinco pick.
Why I liked this pick: Besides being the BPA, Marvin Jones is a very promising prospect. He's very quick, agile and has a huge catch radius. Jones works the sideline and makes incredible catches look routine. I would've taken him in the 2nd round. Last year, Raiders WR Denarius Moore slipped into the 5th round also. They're very comparable players.
Why I didn't like the pick: I can already see it. Marvin Jones becomes our Anthony Collins and Mohamed Sanu is the Andre Smith at the WR position. Will Jones, who I think is a better prospect, be able to beat out the higher drafted player?
Value: I have mocked Jones to the Bengals in round 2 before. He's number 48 on my board and my 6th best WR in the draft. He wasn't taken until pick 166. (+118)
Grade: A+

Third-day gem: Cal receiver Marvin Jones might end up being better than Sanu. Jones isn't a burner, but he knows how to get open and run routes.

Jones capped off a terrific college career with outstanding performances at the Senior Bowl and combine. Scouts were not enamored with Jones' size, allowing the Bengals to swipe him up in Round 5. Cincinnati continues to pluck quality receivers out of the late frames.

DJ Campbell

Competing for Cal, FS D.J. Campbell caught the pre-draft attention of coach Ron Rivera, a former Bears LB. While keeping up with his alma mater, Rivera's attention was often drawn to Campbell, Saturday's 216th overall selection who likely will have to make his pro mark on special teams. That part of the game "gets overlooked," Campbell said.

Trevor Guyton

Versatility is what made seventh rounder Trevor Guyton appealing:

Guyton can play three-technique [defensive tackle]. He can also play left defensive end. It gives you another rotation guy. [Cal] used him inside as a nickel rusher, so he's been used over the nose as a nickel rusher. So the more guys that we can bring in here that have versatility to play multiple positions, the more value they have for us.

Undrafted Free Agents

The 49ers also reportedly signed kicker Giorgio Tavecchio. The Cal product has a serious leg and will get plenty of chances to show what he can do in camp. However, David Akers is coming off a dominant 2011 and it would be a significant upset to see Akers lose his job to an undrafted rookie.