After a 5-7 season, Cal still sees a handful of prospects heading towards the 2022 NFL Draft. Although none are expected to go very high, there are still some deep defensive players who will provide value for whichever team lands them. Here are the scouting reports for Cal prospects.
Cal 2022 NFL Draft Scouting Reports
The Cal scouting reports include a number of late-round defensive prospects and a sleeper tight end.
Cameron Goode, OLB
Positives: Athletic linebacker who was a solid pass rusher on the college level. Effectively diagnoses plays, stays with assignments, and gives a lot of effort. Breaks down well and uses his hands to protect himself. Easily changes direction and immediately alters his angle of attack. Gets depth on pass drops. Terrific special-teams player who works to get downfield on coverage units.
Negatives: Lacks pursuit speed. Struggles in coverage. Marginally effective making plays in space.
Analysis: Goode is an enigma of sorts, as he possesses the athletic testing numbers to be an off-ball linebacker. Nonetheless, he was primarily used as a pass rusher for Cal, where he excelled. He has special-teams ability that will be his ticket to the next level, though Goode must improve his play in space and on passing downs.
Chase Garbers, QB
Positives: Once-highly rated passer whose game has really dropped off the past several seasons. Patient in the pocket, buys time for receivers, and displays a sense of timing on throws. Accurate, puts touch on passes, and does not make receivers wait on the ball. Delivers some beautiful passes downfield and throws incredible fade and corner patterns.
Remains poised under the rush, goes to the safe underneath outlet when nothing else is available, and throws the pass away rather than forcing the ball to covered targets. Puts air under deep passes and lets receivers fight to come away with the reception. Shows great awareness and knows where targets are on the field.
Negatives: Plays like an average athlete. Lacks a big-time arm and cannot fire passes downfield. Lacks pocket stature and isn’t big enough to withstand the rush.
Analysis: Garbers was a productive quarterback at Cal who showed next-level ability early in college then watched his game level off. He does not own great physical skills for Sunday football, but he could be a solid third quarterback in a system looking for a game manager.
Elijah Hicks, S
Positives: Smart, tough safety with average athleticism. Physical, correctly diagnoses plays, and takes good angles to the action. Efficient, fires upfield to defend the run, and knocks blockers back to get to the action. Works well with cornerbacks to bracket receivers over the middle of the field. Hard hitter who is a solid open-field tackler. Displays a good head for the game and makes the defensive calls in the secondary.
Negatives: Doesn’t show much quickness or burst. Plays to one speed. Lacks great range for safety and great size for a run defender.
Analysis: Hicks is an efficient defensive back who gets the most from his ability, but he lacks the athleticism for the next level. He can be a fourth safety on Sundays, but Hicks must stand out on special teams this summer.
Jake Tonges, TE
Positives: Solid blocking tight end with average size and speed. Tracks the pass in the air, adjusts to errant throws, and extends to snatch passes out of the air. Shows outstanding blocking vision and gives effort everywhere. Stays square, gets leverage on opponents, and always looks for someone to hit.
Negatives: Not a big part of the passing offense. Does not finish blocks on any level of the field.
Analysis: Tonges was a reliable tight end for Cal, but he lacks the size to be a blocking tight end and the speed to be a top receiver at the position.
Kekoa Crawford, WR
Positives: Somewhat underrated pass catcher with the athletic skills and ability to play on Sundays. Quickly releases off the line of scrimmage, fires into routes, and comes back to the quarterback. Works across the field to make himself an available target, nicely adjusts to errant throws, and extends his hands to snatch passes out of the air. Tracks deep passes in the air, displays outstanding focus, and makes the tough over-the-shoulder reception at full speed. Has a nice build and is tough to knock off his routes.
Negatives: Moderately productive throughout his college career. Did not catch a touchdown pass last season after catching just 4 the prior two years. Lacks a deep burst and second gear.
Analysis: Crawford has shown consistent development in his game the past three years and possesses outstanding length as well as reliable hands. He’s a practice-squad prospect with the potential to develop into a No. 5 receiver on Sundays.
Kuony Deng, LB
Positives: Strong, competitive linebacker who plays with discipline. Breaks down well, gets off blocks, and chases the action hard. Effectively uses his hands to protect himself, fires upfield on the blitz, and sells out. Tough, shows great awareness, and quickly diagnoses plays.
Negatives: Used more in space last season yet isn’t fluid scraping laterally or moving in reverse. Long-limbed loper who struggles to immediately change direction.
Analysis: A possible late-round selection in the 2021 draft, Deng decided to go back to school for a second senior season but was a bit of a disappointment. He was out of position playing in space for Cal last season and is better off standing over tackle in a 3-4 scheme.
Marqez Bimage, LB
Positives: Athletic, playmaking defensive lineman who easily changes direction, plays faster than his 40 time, and displays the ability to bend off the edge. Physical, works hard, and has a nasty attitude.
Negatives: Plays faster than his 40 time yet lacks true pursuit or long speed. Must get the first step on blockers or he’s easily knocked from the action. Poor pass-rushing production.
Analysis: Bimage was graded as a priority free agent entering the season, and he showed that type of ability at times. He’s a versatile defender who shows ability as a pass rusher, stuffs the run, and even plays in coverage. Yet, he lacks top upside. Bimage could be used standing over tackle at the next level, but he must improve his pass-rushing production.