The 2019 NFL Draft marks the second time in the past five events in which no California Golden Bears were taken. Regardless, we do have good news to share as four former Bears have reportedly signed deals with NFL teams!
We’ll kick things off with our former walk-on running back turned starter and reading enthusiast, Patrick Laird. Laird announced on his Twitter that he will be joining the Miami Dolphins. I hope that Florida enjoys your talents as much as we have.
Meanwhile, tight end Ian Bunting will have much fewer changes to adjust to. Bunting will reportedly remain a Bear and return to his home state, now as a Chicago Bear. According to Aaron Wilson (a reporter covering the Texans), we’ve got some information on Bunting’s deal.
Chicago Bears' free agent deals:— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) April 28, 2019
Alex Bars ($35K base gtd, $5K bonus); Ian Bunting ($10K base gtd, $5K bonus); Dax Raymond ($30K base gtd, $15K signing bonus)
We’ll finish off the offensive players with Patrick Mekari, who is reportedly joining the Baltimore Ravens. Mekari was rated by Pro Football Focus as one of the best draft-eligible tackles as pass-blocking efficiency.
Former Cal OT Patrick Mekari tied for third in pass-blocking efficiency among draft class tackles last year. pic.twitter.com/XJrSCcfCne— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) April 15, 2019
We’ll end with the most revered unit of recent Cal teams—the defense. NFL offenses had best beware because Jordan Kunaszyk is coming for you. The former Cal linebacker Kunaszyk will play for former Cal linebacker Ron Rivera as a member of the Carolina Panthers.
Panthers signed Cal LB Jordan Kunaszyk, per NFLPA docs. $10k signing bonus. Joins team coached by another former Cal LB.— Joe Person (@josephperson) April 28, 2019
The Dolphins, Bears, and Ravens currently do not have any other Cal players listed on their rosters, so we as Cal fans have three new teams to root for. The Panthers also lack Cal players (after foolishly underutilizing C.J. Anderson last year), but they’ve got plenty of blue and gold on the sidelines; Bug Rivera is involved in defensive quality control, Richard Rodgers coaches the secondary, and aforementioned head coach Rivera.