With NFL football officially returning, the free agent bonanza has begun — and four undrafted Cal players may now get their chances to impress.
Since the new CBA was signed on Monday to end a four-and-a-half month lockout, receiver Jeremy Ross, tackle Donovan Edwards, cornerback Darian Hagan and nose tackle Derrick Hill have all reportedly
joined NFL squads.
Ross heads to New England, where he will be reunited with running back Shane Vereen — a second-round pick of the Patriots in April’s NFL Draft. The Sacramento, Calif. native made scattered contributions as a wideout, totaling 764 receiving yards and just three touchdown catches over his career, but flashed some potential as a punt returner and turned in impressive workout numbers.
Edwards, meanwhile, won’t have to travel across the country: the lineman from Richmond, Calif. announced Monday that he joined the San Francisco 49ers. Though the Bears’ line has not been impressive over the past couple of years, Edwards saw time in every contest since 2009 and made all 12 starts up front last fall.
Corner Darian Hagan was originally headed with the Houston Texans, but announced on Twitter that he was joining the Cleveland Browns. After forming one of the conference’s best cornerback tandems as a sophomore in 2008, Hagan saw his 2009 campaign get derailed by injuries and the illness of his infant daughter. He came back to put together a solid senior season as an anchor of Cal’s secondary.
Though no official word has come, Hill will join the Baltimore Ravens according to the Sacramento Bee’s Matt Barrows. Cal’s former nose tackle overcame tough circumstances just to get to Berkeley, where he became one of the team’s most respected players. The Oakland native battled injuries throughout his college career, but was a disruptive force in the Bears’ 3-4 scheme when healthy.
Hill’s signature performance came against No. 1 Oregon, when he stripped Ducks quarterback Darron Thomas and recovered the ball for his first (and only) Cal touchdown.
Update: Hill signed with his hometown Oakland Raiders on July 30.
Image source: Nathan Yan/Daily Californian