Football: Schwenke’s move to center to pay off

A year ago during spring practice at Cal, Brian Schwenke tried playing center for the first time in his football career.

This week, he expects to be drafted to play the position in the NFL.

“I’d never snapped a football. Now I feel more comfortable at center than I ever did at guard,” he said. “The way football works out, it’s what I’m more naturally built to do. Get that football out of there and go. It works for me.”

Schwenke, who started the two previous seasons at guard, was moved to center partly to benefit the team, partly because it could enhance his professional prospects.

Without the change, Schwenke admitted this week, “I probably wouldn’t be getting as much love as im getting.”

The 6-foot-3, 314-pound native of San Diego is getting enough love he anticipates being taken either Friday, when the second and third rounds are conducted, or Saturday, during the final four rounds.

The first round of the NFL draft will be held Thursday, beginning at 5 p.m.

Online mock drafts by the Bleacher Report and Walter Football both project Schwenke to go in the fourth round. He will be the second center taken in the draft, both said.

Modestly rated the No. 44 offensive guard prospect in the country coming out of high school, Schwenke has gained favor in recent weeks because of his versatility.

“Absolutely. Teams can only dress seven or eight offensive linemen come game day and I can play either position,” Schwenke said. “Teams definitely are interested in that. It’s one of the big reasons why my stock is rising.”

Former Cal coach Jeff Tedford is convinced Schwenke is ready for the next level.

“He came in undersized, but he could always run and is very athletic,” Tedford said. “He’s very smart and highly competitive. And he’s played two positions, which always helps.”

The official NFL combine report said Schwenke “lacks great power” and is “not an impressive body type.”

But he got high marks for experience at two positions and quickness.

“Extremely quick off the snap, gets his hands on his target very quickly,” the analysis said. “Quick to provide assistance on a double team, and aware of who needs help. Plays with a good, low pad level. Constantly wins the leverage battle.”

If Schwenke is confident and comfortable about the position he will play in the NFL, he’s entirely without any sense of where he might do it. Besides his week at the combine, he visited four teams and worked out for two more in Berkeley.

“Come draft day, you don’t have much control over what happens. It just turns into a whirlwind,” he said.

So no clue about his destination?

“Not at all,” he said. “Not even close.”


Where former Cal players are likely go to in the 2013 NFL draft:

— WR Keenan Allen, late first through through early second round

— C Brian Schwenke, third or fourth round

— CB Steve Williams, sixth or seventh round

— CB Marc Anthony, seventh round or free agent

— RB C.J. Anderson, free agent

— DL Aaron Tipoti, free agent

— OT Matthew Summers-Gavin, free agent

— DL Kendrick Payne, free agent

Jeff Faraudo

  • BlueNGold

    Kudos to Brian. I hope he has a stellar professional career.

    Hey JF- since everything else is a bit slow right now, how about some rugby coverage? Saturday at 2 pm Cal is hosting Navy in one of the semi-final matches of the new Varsity Rugby League Championship. Hopefully the weather will cooperate and it will be a beautiful day for rugby in Strawberry Canyon!

  • Gobears49

    Agree some rugby coverage would be great. Cal rugby has dominated college sports more than any other sport, but hardly gets any coverage by the local media. Would love to see some sort of judgement, by someone in the know, how this year’s Cal rugby team compares to their prior year great teams.

  • Boaltblue


    Did you mean RB C. J. Anderson, rather than C. J. Williams?

    Do you think some NFL team will show some love to Isi Sofele? He’s a small back, but played with a big heart at Cal and was a 1322 yard runner and ranked 18th in the country by espn.com in his junior year.

  • Juancho

    I wonder if steve williams was failing out of school. To go early to be a sixth or seventh rounder ?

  • Jeff Faraudo

    C.J. Anderson it is. Of course. Regarding Sofele, he had a nice career at Cal, but is a longshot to make an NFL roster. Doesn’t mean it can’t happen.

  • milo

    Nice to hear about Schwenke. I hear Seattle wants CJ.

    Go Bears!

  • Boaltblue

    Brother Juancho:

    Getting drafted in the sixth or seventh round still yields a salary of > $350K. Very few Cal graduates can earn that amount of money in 3-4 years. Any permanent injury in the senior year ends that opportunity.

    I understand Steve Williams’ motivation to go pro, which may have nothing to do with his grades.

  • wehofx

    Should’ve posted this earlier. Does KA fall out of the first round?

    I hope not but seems very possible.

    Boalt, guaranteed $ for 6/7 rounder is 45-50K.
    I could be wrong about this fact but I think significantly more than half 4 round picks and below do not make it to the first reg season nfl game. (The stats against free agents are even more daunting.) If they do, then they get the 350K contract.

    So, I don’t understand why SW went out early?

  • Juancho

    Boalt you are my brother.

    If he gets that much then youre right. But then again it seems like one more year in school could have maximized his earning potential. He ran that spectacular 40 yard dash. Good for him though. Lets hope he gets drafted sooner.

  • Larry

    Yes, KA fell out of the first round. Appears 2nd or 3rd round now. Heard teams were put off by his cocky attitude in the combine interviews. Plus his 4.7 40 didn’t help his cause, or the rumor of excess water detected in his drug test. NFL doesn’t care for soft cocky kids. They want hard confident men.

  • Larry

    Maybe tough instead of ‘hard’.

  • BlueNGold