The idea may seem far-fetched. Can a team that has gone 34-52 in the last seven seasons produce some of the best NFL athletes in the country? The answer: a resounding yes.
Located in the powerful Pac-12 conference, Cal’s football program receives very little recognition outside of Berkeley. The team, which hasn’t reached double-digit wins since 2006, is rarely a competitor in the Pac-12 North. The Bears haven’t participated in the Rose Bowl in 60 years, and the program’s lone national championship came in 1937.
What the Bears lack in team success, however, they make up with individual talent. Unlike Alabama and USC, whose whole teams are made up of four and five-star recruits, Cal typically only has a couple star athletes on their team. The team relies on Heisman level play from one or two players to find success in the Pac-12.
This is evident in former Cal quarterback Jared Goff, whose record-breaking junior campaign led the Bears to their first bowl win in almost ten years. Goff’s first year at Cal ended in disaster, as the team won just one game. However, his skills continued to progress as time went on, and he would later throw for 4,714 yards and 43 touchdowns in 2015. Despite their defensive woes, the team rode Goff’s outstanding season to a 8-5 record.
Goff would later be drafted first overall in the 2016 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Rams. He struggled under weak leadership and uneven playing time, but showed great potential during his time in L.A.
With his selection in the draft, Goff joined the long list of names of Cal Bears currently in the NFL.
Former Cal Players Currently On NFL Rosters
|Lorenzo Alexander||Linebacker||Buffalo Bills|
|Keenan Allen||Wide receiver||Los Angeles Chargers|
|Tyson Alualu||Defensive tackle||Pittsburgh Steelers|
|C. J. Anderson||Running back||Denver Broncos|
|Stephen Anderson||Tight end||Houston Texans|
|Bryan Anger||Punter||Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|Deandre Coleman||Defensive tackle||Buffalo Bills|
|Chris Conte||Safety||Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|Trevor Davis||Wide receiver||Green Bay Packers|
|Jared Goff||Quarterback||Los Angeles Rams|
|Chad Hansen||Wide receiver||New York Jets|
|Chris Harper||Wide receiver||New York Jets|
|Maurice Harris||Wide receiver||Washington Redskins|
|DeSean Jackson||Wide receiver||Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|Marvin Jones||Wide receiver||Detroit Lions|
|Cameron Jordan||Defensive end||New Orleans Saints|
|Mychal Kendricks||Linebacker||Philadelphia Eagles|
|L.P. Ladouceur||Long snapper||Dallas Cowboys|
|Daniel Lasco||Running back||New Orleans Saints|
|Kenny Lawler||Wide receiver||Seattle Seahawks|
|Marshawn Lynch||Running back||Oakland Raiders|
|Alex Mack||Center||Atlanta Falcons|
|Chris McCain||Outside linebacker||Los Angeles Chargers|
|Stefan McClure||Safety||Indianapolis Colts|
|Brandon Mebane||Defensive tackle||Los Angeles Chargers|
|Steven Moore||Offensive tackle||Tennessee Titans|
|Khalfani Muhammad||Running back||Tennessee Titans|
|Darius Powe||Wide Receiver||New York Giants|
|Jordan Rigsbee||Offensive tackle||Carolina Panthers|
|Aaron Rodgers||Quarterback||Green Bay Packers|
|Richard Rodgers||Tight end||Green Bay Packers|
|Jeremy Ross||Wide receiver||Arizona Cardinals|
|Mitchell Schwartz||Offensive tackle||Kansas City Chiefs|
|Brian Schwenke||Center||Indianapolis Colts|
|Nick Sundberg||Long snapper||Washington Redskins|
|Giorgio Tavecchio||Placekicker||Oakland Raiders|
|Bryce Treggs||Wide receiver||Philadelphia Eagles|
|Shane Vereen||Running back||New York Giants|
|Davis Webb||Quarterback||New York Giants|
The Bears boast one of the best alumni lists in college football. Cal routinely supplies Pro Bowl-level talent to the NFL through the draft. In the last two years alone, 13 Golden Bears have been signed by NFL teams.
The talent on this list shows just how good the Cal Football program is at developing young players. The Bears took an unrecruited Aaron Rodgers and turned him into one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. Undrafted running back CJ Anderson became the Broncos’ best option in the back field. The examples of seemingly “untalented” players becoming star athletes go on and on.
One of the things that sets Cal apart from other universities is the lack of “busts” they produce. Schools like USC and Ohio State are sending dozens of players to the NFL each year, but only a small percentage find success in the league. Cal, on the other hand, sends only a handful of truly talented and prepared players to the next level.
Despite the lack of success predicted in the next couple years for Cal, the talent being produced in Berkeley will not cease. The coaching staff will continue to give the NFL polished athletes that are set up for success on Sundays.