College football fans were only able to see the dynamic duo of Davis Webb and Chad Hansen link up for one season, and although they won’t be playing together in the NFL, they got the next closest thing. Following the 2017 NFL Draft, both former Bears are moving to the east coast and meeting back up in New York, Webb with the Giants and Hansen with the Jets. The two will have another year of sharing the field, this time at MetLife Stadium; they’ll just be alternating weeks.
Webb, who played just one year at Cal after three years at Texas Tech, looked to be in a good position to go early in the draft. Most talent evaluators in the media tagged him with a fourth-round grade, but word spread from Webb and others as the NFL Draft approached,, that he could rise in the draft. After Cal’s Pro Day, Hansen stated that he was told by multiple teams that he was a first-round talent, and although that kind of talk is just talk, a torrent of rumors coming out of the league seemed to confirm that belief.
When three quarterbacks were taken in the first 12 picks, it seemed that teams were going to be incredibly aggressive in getting their signal-callers of the future. But no quarterback came off the board for another 40 picks, when the Browns took DeShone Kizer. After another 30 or so picks, the Giants used their third-round selection to make Webb the apparent heir to Eli Manning and the fifth quarterback off the board.
“(The Giants and I) had been in contact throughout this long draft process, but you never know until draft night,” Webb said. “I definitely thought (I was going to be a first-round pick) and lot of other people did, too.”
Turning Webb into a viable NFL starter will be a project for the Giants, and Manning will play a key role in that process. Webb has excellent arm strength, but his accuracy and decision-making have generally been subpar. The same thing could be said about the turnover-friendly Manning, but he’s managed to parlay that style of play into two Super Bowl MVP’s and four Pro Bowls.
Hansen will be joining a Jets team looking for offense wherever they can get it. The team lacks a clear quarterback, and with the departure of wide receiver Brandon Marshall in free agency, he could have a chance to contribute early. He will, however, have other young competition. Right before Hansen, the Jets selected another wide receiver in ArDarius Stewart from Alabama.
Khalfani Muhammad rounded out the Bears taken in the draft after the Tennessee Titans took him in the seventh round. The speedy back will probably need to primarily contribute on special teams as a returner to solidify himself a roster spot. His 4.35-second, 40-yard dash at Cal’s Pro Day helped to make him a draft pick rather than an undrafted free agent.
As new Cal football head coach Justin Wilcox takes the reins of a program with a fairly bare roster, it might be awhile until we see a bunch of Bears in the draft like this again, but perhaps it’s the path to making a record better than .500 sustainable at Cal.