Cal football: Sonny Dykes discusses NFL draft prospects of Golden Bears

Cal coach Sonny Dykes met with beat reporters Wednesday to talk about the program’s impressive APR scores and took the time to provide analyses on Bears with an opportunity to be taken in the April 28-30 NFL draft.

Dykes is looking forward to attending his first draft, joining Jared Goff in Chicago where the quarterback seems likely to be selected first or second overall.

Here’s what Dykes had to say (with the mock draft projection of CBS Sports in parenthesis):

On QB Jared Goff (1st overall to the L.A. Rams): “Obviously, Jared’s been talked about and pulled apart and examined in a million different ways. I’ve always believed that at the end of the day the most important thing on your resume is your work experience. How you performed with your previous employer . . . not necessarily a lot of the other stuff that seems to come up in the NFL draft.

“The good thing about Jared is he’s been steady through the whole (pre-draft process). That’s why if I was a general manager in the NFL he would appeal to me because he’s done that for three years. His resume is impressive and I’m not talking about the numbers. I’m talking about his approach and his work ethic. You know exactly what you’re getting with him.

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Cal football: Quarterback Jared Goff shows he can fire a wet football at pro day

Staff writer Dan Brown covered Cal’s pro day today while I was in Spokane for the NCAA tournament. Here’s his report on Jared Goff’s day in front of the NFL scouts:

On an otherwise gray, cool day at Memorial Stadium, it rained specifically for Jared Goff.

Cleveland Browns quarterbacks coach Pep Hamilton made sure of that by dousing a few footballs with water before handing them to the Cal quarterback.

It was a Pro Day wrinkle designed to see if Goff — and his reportedly small hands — could throw with velocity and accuracy in adverse weather conditions.

Goff launched the wet ones just fine, including a 45-yard deep shot on the final throw of his session Friday in front of NFL draft evaluators.

Asked later about the wet footballs, Goff saw the sunny side.

“Yeah, growing up in California, they probably wanted to see that,” the Novato native and former Marin Catholic High star said. “That makes sense.

“At the same time, I’ve played in cold weather before. I wouldn’t be the first quarterback to go from California to cold weather. I think Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady have done pretty well.”

The Browns have the No. 2 overall pick in the NFL draft on April 28 and are believed to also be considering North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz. Cleveland head coach Hue Jackson, a former Cal offensive coordinator, was on hand Friday for Goff’s workout.

Also in attendance was 49ers head coach Chip Kelly, whose team has the No. 7 overall pick.\

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Cal football: Big day at combine for Daniel Lasco

Former Cal running back Daniel Lasco, who arrived at Indianapolis under the radar after an injury-plagued senior season, delivered a huge performance Friday at the NFL scouting combine.

Lasco had the day’s best marks in the vertical leap (41.5 inches) and broad jump (11 feet, 3 inches) and ran a swift 4.46 for the 40-yard dash, fourth-best among all running backs who participated.

Here’s a report from NFL.com, including comments from draft expert Mike Mayock:

Lasco was among the workout wonders on Friday, and now has hope that an injury-riddled 2015 won’t cost him a draft spot.

“Daniel Lasco, nobody knows about because he had a hip injury and only played three or four games,” Mayock said. “At the East-West game, he opened my eye. He ran well in the 40 and caught the football well. He’ll be a natural out of the backfield for somebody next year.”

Lasco missed much of the season with hip and ankle injuries, but said recently he was fully healthy and ready to perform well at the combine. He came through.

He participated in every workout event — not everyone does that — and posted solid marks in most categories: 7.22 seconds for the 3-cone drill, 4.26 seconds for the 20-yard shuttle, 11.31 seconds in the 60-yard shuttle and 23 reps in the bench press.


Cal football: Daniel Lasco geared up for NFL combine

Daniel Lasco understands what this week’s NFL combine means to his football future.

“It’s the most important job interview we ever undergo in our lives,” the former Cal running back said. “It’s something I’ve been dreaming about ever since I was a little pipsqueak with a football in my hand.”

For Lasco, who rarely got on the field last fall because of hip and ankle injuries, his four-day audition for NFL teams beginning Tuesday is monumental.

Among the 27 invited running backs who got pre-combine grades on NFL.com, Lasco ranked in a tie for 20th. The focus will be on Ezekiel Elliott, Derrick Henry, Alex Collins and Devontae Booker. Lasco needs a big week to turn some heads.

But Lasco believes he is ready for a week that includes interviews, a medical exam, psychological testing and strength and skill events. He showed a glimpse of his talents at the Jan. 23 Shrine Game in St. Petersburg, Florida, where he was the game’s leading rusher with 62 yards, including a 41-yard burst.

“I don’t believe my confidence ever completely vanished. It was just a little rusty,” said Lasco, who started just three games in 2015 and was limited to 330 rushing yards. “I had to shake that rust off. Luckily, the game went great and I came out healthy.”

Lasco’s agent, Leigh Steinberg, says NFL scouts this week will see a versatile and motivated player who is ready to demonstrate he’s the same guy who rushed for 1,115 yards as a junior at Cal.

Lasco offers no guess on whether an NFL team might draft him, but Steinberg is adamant.

“This is my 42nd year, and I’m going to have to live with what I tell you,” Steinberg said. “There’s no chance (he won’t be picked). He absolutely will be drafted. You may be surprised where he goes in the draft.”

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Cal football: Trevor Davis gets NFL combine invite

Wide receiver/return special Trevor Davis of Cal has been invited to participate in the NFL Combine, he announced via Twitter.

Davis joins former teammates Daniel Lasco and Stephen Anderson, who previously said they will participate in the Feb. 23-29 tryout camp in Indianapolis.

Quarterback Jared Goff and wide receiver Kenny Lawler, who both will enter the NFL draft following their junior seasons, also are expected to get combine invitations. The official list of invites will not be announced until next week.

Wide receiver Bryce Treggs said on Twitter that he was not invited to the combine, but that he will fully participate at Cal’s Pro Day.


Former Cal cornerback Cedric Dozier is headed to Kansas State as  graduate transfer and will be eligible to play immediately in 2016. Dozier was a consensus four-star recruit who started regularly in 2013 and 2014, but saw his playing time drop dramatically last fall.


Former Cal offensive coordinator Tony Franklin, hired last week to the same position at Middle Tennessee State, told me he’s already bought a home in the Nashville area.


Football: Kenny Lawler’s dash to NFL leaves Cal starting over at wide receiver position

First-team All-Pac-12 wide receiver Kenny Lawler, who caught 13 touchdown passes as a junior this fall, announced Tuesday that he will bypass his final year of eligibility at Cal to enter the NFL draft.

Lawler said he went back and forth on the issue over recent weeks, before receiving feedback from the NFL after the Bears returned from their 55-36 win over Air Force at the Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth, Texas, on Dec. 29.

“I’m very thankful for what the NFL had to say,” he said, declining to provide specifics. “After the bowl game, I had another talk with my parents and made the best decision.”

Lawler joins record-setting quarterback Jared Goff as Cal juniors who are turning pro, although he said Goff’s announcement last week had no bearing on his decision.

A 6-foot-4 native of Pomona, Lawler caught 52 passes for 658 yards this season, averaging 12.7 yards per catch, despite being slowed by injury late in the season. But he got healthy in time to catch five passes for 75 yards, including three TDs, against Air Force.

Lawler caught 137 passes for 1,706 yards and 27 touchdowns in his three-year Cal career.

CBSSports.com rates Lawler as the ninth-best receiver in the 2016 draft class. NFLDraftGeek.com has him listed as the No. 17 wideout prospect.

“Where I fall in the draft is going to be determined by what I do in the combine,” said Lawler, who hopes to be invited to the NFL’s pre-draft camp. “I’m just going to remain humble and work so I can put myself in the best position to go as high as possible in the draft.”

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Football: Tony Franklin praises Jared Goff for work ethic that elevated him to `elite status’

No one on the Cal football staff worked more closely with Jared Goff on a day-to-day basis than offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Tony Franklin.

Franklin was visiting family in New York on Thursday and unable to be on hand for Goff’s announcement that he is entering the NFL draft. Franklin offered his thoughts and sentiments in a statement:

“I am excited for Jared and his family as they move into their next challenge. I include his family because I firmly believe that Jerry and Nancy have played an integral role in molding Jared into one of the best quarterbacks to ever play college football. But more important is how they raised him to being a really good human being with a heart and soul that all parents should strive for their children to possess.

“It has been a beautiful adventure traveling this journey with Jared and watching him develop from a skinny kid — who was extremely well-coached in high school — to a young man with elite leadership skills that blended perfectly with his physical talent. Jared worked diligently to master his craft.

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Football: Cal quarterback Jared Goff has known for a while it was time to enter the NFL draft

Jared Goff said he’s known since midseason that he was ready to enter the NFL draft, but that didn’t make it any easier when the Cal junior quarterback announced his intentions Thursday morning.

At a news conference at Memorial Stadium, with his parents and family members in the audience, Goff was uncharacteristically emotional as he talked about his plans and thanked all those who contributed to his prolific college career.

“All the people that have had an impact on me, it’s kind of hard to put into words. That’s why I’ve been a little emotional,” said Goff, fighting off tears. “Thinking about all my teammates and all the fun we’ve had. But I’m definitely excited.”

A 21-year-old from Marin, Goff is rated as one of the top two NFL quarterback prospects in this class and projected to be a high first-round draft pick.

Jerry Goff, a Cal alum and former major league baseball player, said Jared’s decision was “foregone conclusion” even before the bowl game. But watching his son take the next step toward his football dreams hit him hard, too.

“I got a little emotional. It’s stuff you always think about, but when you see it . . . it’s a little surreal,” he said. “I’m happy for him and excited and anxious and all the other words for his future.”

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Football: Does this sound like a guy who is coming back?

After Cal’s 55-36 win over Air Force, Jared Goff stopped short of saying he is headed to the NFL.

Goff said he would discuss the issue with his family, then make a decision. But the junior from Marin spoke in past-tense terms about his Cal career.

“It’s been a fun ride,” Goff said. “To go from 1-11 (in 2013) to last year being so close, to this year winning eight games and finishing with a bowl victory, it’s really as much as you can ask for. It’s been a lot of fun.”

That’s all we have for now. But it sounds like the remaining process may be little more than a formality.


Columnist Marcus Thompson says it’s time for Goff to try the NFL


Cal fans at Fort Worth chanted, “One more year,” at the game’s end.

“I was chanting that, too,” Cal coach Sonny Dykes said, only half-joking.

Dykes said he will confer with Goff, but also sounded like he already knows the outcome.

“None of these decisions these guys have to make are easy decisions,” Dykes said. “I’ll give my two cents and just try to advise him but the way I see this thing is if he’s got an opportunity to be one of the top draft picks or the first quarterback taken in the draft, then I don’t think there’s much of a decision to make, quite frankly.

“I’ll be incredibly supportive. Whatever he decides, he’ll make the decision for the right reasons and I have complete confidence in that. Ultimately my job is to give him my advice and tell him what I think and what I feel and he’s got to sit down with his family and decide what’s best.”

Stay tuned. We should know something soon.

If we don’t already.


Football: ESPN’s Todd McShay projects Jared Goff to 49ers

ESPN draft expert Todd McShay, in his latest mock draft, said Wednesday that he expects Cal junior quarterback Jared Goff to be taken next spring with the No. 5 overall pick by the San Francisco 49ers.

“This is assuming the 49ers move on from Colin Kaepernick in the offseason. I think Goff would benefit from returning to school for his senior season to get bigger and stronger, but I get the sense that’s not going to happen,” McShay wrote.

“He got into some bad habits with his mechanics behind an O-line that did not protect well, but when his feet are right, he can be deadly accurate. With a high football IQ and great work ethic, I have faith he will put in the time to get better.”

McShay predicts Ohio State linebacker Joey Bosa will go No. 1, followed by quarterback Paxton Lynch of Memphis, defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche of Ole Miss and Florida State cornerback Jalen Ramsey.