Mel Kiper Rates Cal's NFL Prospects
Courtesy: Cal Athletics  
Release:  06/21/1999

February 23, 1999

Berkeley - ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper recently talked to the Cal media relations office and offered his opinions on Cal's potential draftees in the upcoming NFL draft to be held April 17-18.

Although, he indicated he didn't have all of the reports in from the NFL combines which just ended over the weekend in Indianapolis, he did say he had an initial assessment of the Cal players.

Below are his comments on the four Cal players who may get drafted in May

Dameane Douglas - "I don't have a combine report back on him yet, but the main thing is his productivity. You don't catch 100 balls and not get some attention from the NFL as a player who can produce some good numbers and has a lot of experience catching the ball. I think he's pretty precise in his routs and he really competes for the football. Whereas Bobby Shaw showed great, great hands, Douglas had good hands, but did occasionally drop a pass this past year. The main question on him is whether a defensive back will be in his hip pocket all the time. He didn't show a lot of separation when he went against the top DBs his senior season. He'll just have to get into a pro camp and show what he can do. I see him as a fifth or sixth round draft choice at this early juncture."

John McLaughlin - "John had an excellent combine and I think the scouts came away rethinking their position on him. He's the most intriguing of all of Cal's prospects because he can do a number of different things and has the type of qualities that could make him an NFL player for a long time. Talk about upside potential, McLaughlin has that. He showed at the combine that he may be able to make the transition to linebacker. He showed the NFL people an ability to drop into pass coverage and move laterally, which is what you need in making a move from defensive end to linebacker. He also adds the advantage of giving a team a dynamic wedge-buster on special teams and can be a situational pass-rusher. He could be around a fifth round draft choice."

Marquis Smith - "Marquis will get a long look because you just don't find athletes his size who have his speed very often. The issue is that he sometimes doesn't seem to show up, in terms of making plays. I thought he made some strides in that area this past season, being around the football more than earlier in his career. If he starts making plays, he could be a very good NFL safety, because he has the type of size to really help on run defense. I see him going somewhere in the third to fourth round range.

John Welbourn - "The thing that really hurts John this year is there are so many great offensive tackles in the draft. He's a solid guy who is really intelligent, so he won't have any problems picking up an offensive system or blocking schemes. I see him mostly as an over-achiever as he's not a great athlete. He could be a late round draft choice or a free agent.