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
Player Position NFL Team
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.

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