Just one year after former Cal standout Jared Goff was selected number one overall in the 2016 NFL Draft, three more players were added to the growing list of Bears in the NFL. Davis Webb (New York Giants), Chad Hansen (New York Jets), and Khalfani Muhammad (Tennessee Titans) were three of the 253 collegiate athletes selected during the seven rounds of the draft.
QB Davis Webb – Giants (3rd Round, 87th Overall)
Davis Webb played one season at Cal after transferring from Texas Tech. Webb led the Bears to a 5-7 record, starting all 12 games at quarterback. He threw for 4,295 yards in his senior year, compiling 37 touchdowns and a 135.62 passer rating. Webb also ranked top five nationally in passing yards per game, completions, and total offense. Experts are concerned with his lack of consistency, but believe he contains enough arm strength to overcome it.
The Giants believe that Webb may be a candidate to take over the team after Eli Manning retires. Webb will have time to learn from Manning, as he must transition to the heavy pass Bear-Raid offense to a more balanced pro-style offense. Webb seems to be the number one choice to relieve Manning, as backups Geno Smith and Ryan Nassib are unlikely successors.
WR Chad Hansen – Jets (4th Round, 141st Overall)
Chad Hansen was a breakout star for Cal in 2016, rising from seventh in the depth chart in 2015 to an All-PAC-12 selection the following year. Hansen racked up 1,249 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns despite missing two games due to injury. A transfer from Idaho, Hansen played behind current NFL receivers Trevor Davis and Bryce Treggs before earning his chance to become star wide out for Cal.
Hansen will be a quality downfield option for the Jets; a nice addition to the team. Yet he will be fighting for snaps the whole year, as the Jets already boast a skilled receiving core.
RB Khalfani Muhammad – Titans (7th Round, 241st Overall)
Khalfani Muhammad played in 45 games in his four year career with Cal, and was an instrumental piece in the Bear-Raid offense. Muhammad rushed for 2,073 yards and 14 touchdowns, while compiling 4,575 all purpose yards, good for third all time in Cal history. Muhammad is best known for his incredible speed, specializing in kick returns for the Bears. He also competed on the track team while at Cal.
Selected so late in the draft, Muhammad will have to fight to make the pro roster. He will also have heavy competition at the running back position, as star DeMarco Murray is a lock for the starting spot.
Cal continues to provide quality athletes for the NFL, as Webb, Hansen, and Muhammad join a highly decorated group of former Bears. Newcomers like Jared Goff, Bryce Treggs, and the 2017 class will look to follow their proven predecessors such as Aaron Rodgers, Marshawn Lynch, and Desean Jackson into a lengthy and celebrated career.
Even though these losses were expected, the lack of offense returning for the Bears is concerning. Webb, Hansen, and Muhammad were all key pieces to the Cal offense. It will be tough for first-year head coach Justin Wilcox to find replacements within his depth chart. As of right now, the 2017 season figures to be a long and frustrating one for the Bears.
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