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May 11, 2014
NFL Draft recap
There were 10 former Northern California prep stars selected in this year's NFL draft, highlighted by a trio of first rounders from the Sac-Joaquin Section. We take a look at the former high school standouts that were chosen.
Brandin Cooks WR Lincoln-Stockton/Oregon State (New Orleans Saints: Round 1, Pick 20): The former four-star recruit had a stellar career at Lincoln High School in Stockton. He had 2,484 receiving yards and 27 touchdown catches during his three year varsity career, including 66 catches for 1,125 yards and 10 touchdowns during his senior campaign. Cooks was the 240th ranked player in the nation by Rivals.com, the 26th ranked receiver, and originally committed to UCLA before flipping to Oregon State. He went on to win the 2013 Biletnikoff Award, given to the nation's top receiver, after catching 128 passes for 1,730 yards and 16 touchdowns this past season. He broke Pac-12 single season records for receptions and receiving yards. The New Orleans Saints liked the 5-foot-10, 189 pounder enough to trade up seven spots and select Cooks as the 20th overall pick.
Jason Verrett CB Rodriguez/TCU (San Diego Chargers: Round 1, Pick 25): Verrett graduated from Rodriguez High School without a college offer and attended Santa Rosa Junior College for his freshman season. At the junior college level, Verrett shined with five interceptions and two kick return touchdowns and earned a three-star Rivals ranking. He attended TCU for his final three seasons where he finished with nine interceptions and 34 pass breakups. The Chargers drafted Verrett late in the first round with the intention of developing him as the starting nickel corner. Verrett has been considered undersized at 5-foot-9 and 176 pounds, but he's proven people wrong throughout his entire career.
Deone Bucannon S Vanden/Washington State (Arizona Cardinals: Round 1, Pick 27): The hard hitting safety from Fairfield was ranked No. 11 in the region by NorCalPreps.com when he graduated from Vanden High School in 2010 to attend Washington State. He made an instant impact, starting in eight games during his freshman season and leading the team with 84 tackles. Bucannon finished his four-year career with 384 tackles and 15 interceptions and impressed the Cardinals enough to become a first round selection.
Davante Adams WR Palo Alto/Fresno State (Green Bay Packers: Round 2, Pick 53): Also a basketball standout at Palo Alto, Adams was only a two-star prospect when he committed to Fresno State. After redshirting his freshman season, Adams had 233 catches for 3,030 yards and 38 touchdowns during his two seasons as a Bulldog. He led the nation in receptions during his sophomore season and broke a Mountain West single season record with 24 touchdown catches. After putting together one of the most impressive resumes in the country, Adams was selected in the second round by the Packers. He should compete for a starting job and will be catching passes from fellow NorCal product Aaron Rodgers.
Jalen Saunders WR Pleasant Grove/Oklahoma (New York Jets: Round 4, Pick 104): Saunders was a three-star recruit (NCP's No. 23 overall in 2010) out of Pleasant Grove and committed to Fresno State. He was quite productive in his sophomore season, catching 50 passes for 1,065 yards and 12 touchdowns, but transferred to Oklahoma after a coaching change. While with the Sooners, Saunders had 123 receptions, 1,558 yards, and 11 touchdowns in his final two seasons highlighted by a pair of touchdowns in a Sugar Bowl win over Alabama. At 5-foot-9, 165 pounds, Saunders lacks ideal size, but has elite quickness that should translate as a slot receiver or return man.
David Fales QB Palma/San Jose State (Chicago Bears: Round 6, Pick 183): One of the most underrated quarterbacks in the country (NCP 2009 No. 29), Fales went from a two-star recruit to a record shattering quarterback at San Jose State. After redshirting his freshman season at Nevada, Fales spent two seasons at Monterey Peninsula College before finishing his career at San Jose State. In his two years as a Spartan, Fales broke 25 San Jose State football records and two within the Mountain West Conference. He finished his two-year stint at San Jose State with 8,382 passing yards and 66 touchdown passes, but experts questioned his arm strength and physical attributes. With his accuracy and football IQ, he should be ready to step in as Jay Cutler's backup.
Eric Pinkins DB Inderkum/San Diego State (Seattle Seahawks: Round 6, Pick 208): Pinkins was a three-star recruit from Inderkum high school and chose the Aztecs back when Brady Hoke was the head coach. He had 69 tackles in his senior season to go with four pass deflections. Pinkins drew intrigue when he ran a 4.44 second 40 yard dash and leaped 39.5 inches at his pro day. Put that with his 6-foot-3, 220 pound frame, and Pinkins is the exact type of player who fits in Seattle's system.
Travis Carrie CB De La Salle/Ohio (Oakland Raiders: Round 7, Pick 219): Carrie didn't even have a Rivals profile after graduating from De La Salle, but turned in a nice career at Ohio and eventually heard his name called in this year's draft. He had eight pass breakups and four interceptions, including a pair returned for touchdowns, and was named All-MAC First Team as a punt returner. The 6-foot corner who ran a 4.43 second 40 yard dash and jumped 41 inches at his pro day is known as a hard worker who can contribute on special teams. He has suffered injuries including a torn labrum, fractured shoulder, and even required an open heart surgery, but has worked his way into an NFL draft choice.
Charles Leno Jr. OL San Leandro/Boise State (Chicago Bears: Round 7, Pick 246): The former three-star tackle and 24th ranked prospect in Northern California in 2009 from San Leandro High became a crucial part of Boise's offensive line over the past three years. Leno started in every game since his sophomore season and left Boise with 39 consecutive starts. He was named All-Mountain West this past season and should contribute as either a guard or tackle.
Terrance Mitchell CB Burbank/Oregon (Dallas Cowboys: Round 7, Pick 254): After declaring for the draft as a junior, Mitchell slid a little further than expected. The Burbank High product was ranked No. 9 overall in 2010 by NCP as an early commit for the Ducks and became one of the best corners in the Pac-12. Mitchell finished his career with seven interceptions and 23 pass deflections in Eugene. He'll face former Oregon head coach Chip Kelly in the NFC East.