When the Class of 2012 was finalized, it appeared the Pac-12 had secured a solid crop of quarterbacks.

Four of the nation's top 12 and six of the top 26 were headed to -- or staying on -- the West Coast. There was a good mix of dual-threat guys and pocket passers -- enough to instill high expectations moving forward. For comparison, the SEC and Big 12 both signed one player from the top 15.

Just over two years later, it's clear the class will never live up to those expectations.

Of the 14 players listed as quarterbacks by ESPN that signed with Pac-12 schools that year, only four are currently on the roster at the school they signed with, listed at quarterback and in good standing with the program. With Monday's news that Oregon's Jake Rodrigues would transfer, the transfer count is up to six. The other four situations are composed of a suspension, a position change, a dismissal and an LDS Church mission.

Here is a look at the Pac-12's quarterbacks from the Class of 2012 and an update on how their careers have progressed:

[+] EnlargeZach Kline
Joshua Weisberg/Icon SMIZach Kline lost out on the starting job at Cal in 2013 to a true freshman and transferred at season's end.
Zach Kline
Ranking: No. 2
School: Cal
Status: Transferred (Butte College)
Comment: Kline redshirted in coach Jeff Tedford's final season behind starter Zach Maynard then lost the competition to replace him to true freshman Jared Goff last year. He appeared in seven of 12 games but made the decision to transfer following the season. Originally it was reported that Kline would attend Oregon State, but instead he announced last month he would attend Butte College -- the same school Aaron Rodgers attended before he went to Cal.

T.J. Millweard
Ranking: No. 5
School: UCLA
Status: Transferred (Kansas)
Comment: After landing at UCLA the year after Brett Hundley, Millweard left Westwood after one redshirt season to head to Kansas. He sat out last season due to NCAA transfer rules but does not appear to be in line for playing time with the Jayhawks. Sophomore Montell Cozart was named the starter following spring practice.

Cyler Miles
Ranking: No. 10
School: Washington
Status: Suspended
Comment: The heir apparent to Keith Price during the 2013 season, it appeared Miles had the potential to become the prize of this class. That still might be the case, but his career remains in a state of flux due to an indefinite suspension following his connection to a post-Super Bowl assault. Coach Chris Petersen told 710 ESPN Seattle a decision won't be made public on Miles' future until August.

Jake Rodrigues
Ranking: No. 12
School: Oregon
Status: Transferring
Comment: Rodrigues' decision on Monday seemingly came out of nowhere after a spring in which multiple reports cast him as a strong candidate to replace Marcus Mariota following next year. But after meeting with coach Mark Helfrich on Monday, as reported by Comcast SportsNet Northwest, he made the decision to move on. It's a safe bet Helfrich didn't say, "Jake, we see you as Marcus' primary backup and expect you to be the starter in 2015," in that meeting. Too early to say where he'll end up.

Jeff Lindquist
Ranking: No. 17
School: Washington
Status: Potential starter
Comment: With Miles' status uncertain, Lindquist moved to the top of the depth chart by default during spring practice. Lindquist and Troy Williams competed as the only two quarterbacks through the spring. He hasn't attempted a pass for the Huskies, but had two carries for 10 yards in 2013.

Javelle Allen
Ranking: No. 26
School: Arizona
Status: Dismissed from team
Comment: Allen served as B.J. Denker's primary backup in 2013, but he was dimissed from the team before the Wildcats played in the AdvoCare V100 Bowl for violating team policies. He appeared in five games but attempted just one pass. It's unclear where his career will go from here.

[+] EnlargeTravis Wilson
AP Photo/Rick BowmerTravis Wilson so far has been the best Pac-12 QB from the 2012 signing class.
Travis Wilson
Ranking: No. 39
School: Utah
Status: Starter
Comment: The unquestioned success story (so far) from this class, Wilson is the only starter among the group. He started seven games as a true freshman and the Utes' first nines games in 2013 before a scary head injury cost him the rest of the season. The injury was serious enough that his career was in jeopardy, but it was announced in February that he would return. Wilson has thrown for 3,138 yards and 23 touchdowns.

Chase Hansen
Ranking: No. 43
School: Utah
Status: LDS mission
Comment: Hansen spent the 2012 season with the Utes, but he put his college football career on hold to depart on his LDS Church mission. He is expected to return to the team for the 2015 season.

Josh Kern
Ranking: No. 44
School: Arizona
Status: Converted to tight end
Comment: After redshirting in 2012, he converted to tight end and played in nine games last season -- mostly on special teams -- without recording a catch.

Shane Dillon
Ranking: No. 51
School: Colorado
Status: Transferred to play basketball (Cuyamaca JC)
Comment: Dillon left the school in July 2013 to pursue college basketball. He initially announced on Twitter he would play basketball at San Diego in the WCC, but that fell through and he landed at Cuyamaca Junior College in San Diego. In 27 games in the 2013-14 season, he averaged 11.9 points and 6.1 rebounds per game.

Wayne Capers
Ranking: No. 78
School: Arizona
Status: Transferred (Western Pennsylvania)
Comment: Although listed as a quarterback during the recruiting process by ESPN, Capers played defensive back for the Wildcats. He appeared in 11 games as a true freshman, but injuries limited him in 2013 before he left the program in November.

Jeff Lockie
Ranking:
No. 105
School:
Oregon
Status: No. 2 on depth chart
Comment: With Rodrigues' transfer, Lockie is in position to serve as Mariota's backup in 2014 -- which should allow for plenty of playing time -- and give him a leg up on becoming the starter in 2015. He completed 8 of 13 passes for 57 yards last year without a touchdown and one interception. At Monte Vista High in Danville, Calif., Lockie was crosstown rivals with Kline (San Ramon Valley High).

Austin Apodaca
Ranking: No. 111
School: Washington State
Status: Transferred (Mesa CC)
Comment: The writing was on the wall for Apodaca even though he was the Cougars' No. 2 quarterback in 2013. He didn't project to ever become the starter in Pullman and decided to transfer in February.

Brent VanderVeen
Ranking: No. 144
School: Oregon State
Status: Competing for backup job
Comment: VanderVeen redshirted in 2012, and sat at No. 3 on the depth chart in 2013 without throwing a pass. He's currently competing for the backup job with Kyle Kempt and Alabama transfer Luke Del Rio.

Note: Arizona State, Stanford and USC did not sign quarterbacks that year.

Pac-12's lunch links

May, 13, 2014
May 13
2:30
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How is it that the ultimate prize in the most macho sport invented is a piece of jewelry?
Dak Prescott, Jalen RamseyUSA TODAY SportsQuarterback Dak Prescott and defensive back Jalen Ramsey could be poised for breakout seasons.
We all know by now that running backs have evolved into a low-value position on NFL draft boards, but that doesn’t change the fact that it could easily be the strongest spot in college football this fall. That could project to at least one or two first-rounders in the 2015 draft pool.

In addition to known studs such as Georgia’s Todd Gurley and Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon, a new crop of running backs has breakout potential in 2014.

Here are 15 post-spring names to remember -- several of them running backs -- in addition to an update on the 10 I offered in January. It’s all a prelude to our master list of breakout candidates, due out in early August as preseason camps begin.


1. Dak Prescott, QB, Mississippi State

With five total TDs in the team’s bowl win, Prescott emerged late last season as a pseudo-breakout performer.

Those in the league, however, perceive that he could become more of a national name this fall. He’s why some, including me, like Mississippi State as an SEC sleeper this fall.

“He’s like a lot of the other athletic quarterbacks, [such as] Braxton [Miller] or Johnny [Manziel],” one SEC assistant told me. “He just needs to come along as a passer.”

Prescott’s 58 percent completion rate needs to move toward 65-70 for a sizable-but-reasonable jump. He also needs to show late-game moxie: Three of Prescott’s seven picks came in the fourth quarter, the only quarter in which his QB rating dipped below 100.


2. KeiVarae Russell, CB, Notre Dame

Russell has been solid so far in his career, but those close to the program believe he will take off as a junior in new coordinator Brian VanGorder’s system.

Video: Oregon coach Mark Helfrich

May, 13, 2014
May 13
9:00
AM ET
video

Oregon coach Mark Helfrich talks about his team after spring practices, up-and-coming players and QB Marcus Mariota.
1. The disparity of opinion regarding the linemen on the consensus All-America team and what NFL teams thought of them is large. Of the eight offensive and defensive linemen from the All-America team, five were drafted in the fourth round or later. Meanwhile, the two receivers and four defensive backs on the All-American team went in the first 41 picks. It could be that different offenses in colleges call for different skills in line play. But the ability to run and move in space, on offense and defense, is valuable in any scheme.

2. The two best quarterbacks in college football, Jameis Winston of Florida State and Marcus Mariota of Oregon, had best stay healthy. Winston’s backup, Jacob Coker, will play at Alabama. Mariota’s backup, Jake Rodrigues, announced Monday that he will transfer. Mariota got hurt last season, and Winston’s off-field problems are well-documented. And yet the one-play-away mantra of coaches that applies to every other position doesn’t apply at quarterback. What’s different? The demands of the position or the egos of the guys playing it?

3. Now that the ACC athletic directors have voted in favor of keeping the status quo of eight conference games, the circle is complete. The ACC and SEC point to each other and say, but we’re playing them! Yes, four schools are. And Notre Dame will be on five ACC schedules a year. Nine ACC games is doable. Asking fans to pay retail prices for bad opponents -– and with four non-ACC games, there are plenty –- is not right.
There were 34 Pac-12 players selected during the NFL draft, but there will be more than twice that many rookies in NFL training camps this summer. Shortly after the draft ended, the dominoes started falling and those who went undrafted started signing free-agent contracts.

The following list of undrafted free agent signings, which was compiled from various announcements and media reports, could change in the coming days:

Arizona
Arizona State
California
Note: K Vincenzo D'Amato will reportedly attend Green Bay's rookie minicamp.

Colorado
Oregon
Oregon State
Stanford
Notes: S Devon Carrington (Pittsburgh) and LB Jarek Lancaster (Oakland) will attend rookie minicamps.

UCLA
USC
Utah
Notes: DT LT Tuipulotu will attend Green Bay's rookie minicamp and C Vyncent Jones told the Deseret News he will attend minicamps for Pittsburgh and Kansas City.

Washington
Note: S Sean Parker will reportedly attend Washington Redskins rookie minicamp.

Washington State
Note: K Andrew Furney will attend Seattle Seahawks rookie minicamp.
The Pac-12 has a pretty good stock of some of the best quarterbacks in the nation in 2013. Thanks to Marcus Mariota, Sean Mannion, Kevin Hogan, Brett Hundley, Taylor Kelly and Keith Price, the Pac-12 had several guys who were known nationwide for their arms.

That got the Pac-12 blog thinking about where exactly all of those passes were going. Mannion had a terrific receiver in Brandin Cooks, but he also had a pretty great tight end in Connor Hamlett. Mariota had great receivers, but also had De’Anthony Thomas involved in the pass game. USC and Arizona State seemed to get their running backs and tight ends more involved, but how much more involved?

Well, the Pac-12 blog found answers to those questions and more.

As a whole, the conference's running backs were more involved in the pass game than its tight ends. Running backs accounted for an average of 21.8 percent of the receptions conference-wide. The low end of the conference was Colorado, whose backs made just 32 of its 235 receptions (13.6 percent). The high end was Arizona State, whose running backs accounted for 124 of its 309 receptions (40.1 percent).

But the running backs didn’t always turn those catches into yards. Though the position group accounted for 21.8 percent of the receptions, it only accounted for 16 percent of the total receiving yardage. With the Sun Devils throwing so often to their running backs, it seems pretty natural that they would have the highest percentage of their team’s yardage, which they did (32.3 percent). However, they weren’t the most efficient running backs in the conference -- that award goes to the USC running backs, who accounted for 27.2 percent of their team’s catches and 31 percent of their team’s receiving yardage.

The teams that were the closest to the Pac-12 average were Oregon State, UCLA and Washington State. Of these running backs, UCLA’s were the most efficient, accounting for 18 percent of the teams receiving yardage. Washington State’s running backs tallied 13.5 percent of the receiving yardage while Stanford’s backs picked up just 9.2 percent of their receiving yardage despite accounting for 21.1 percent of the team catches.

Conference-wide, tight ends were targeted about half as much as the running backs. On average, they picked up 9.5 percent of the catches, but were efficient as a group, tallying 10.5 percent of the Pac-12’s yardage.

Oregon State and Washington targeted tight ends the most. Beavers tight ends had 22.0 percent of the team's catches and Huskies TEs had 15.2 percent. The tight ends from those teams also gained the most yardage, though they flipped spots. Washington’s tight ends accounted for 20.2 percent of its team’s receiving yardage and Oregon State’s accounted for 19.1 percent of its team’s receiving yardage.

The least-involved tight ends can be found on the Arizona, UCLA and Washington State rosters. Those tight ends were either rarely or never involved in the passing game, which makes sense considering the offenses and how deep their respective receiver groups were in 2013.

So where exactly does that leave the wide receivers in this conference? If it’s good to be a running back at Arizona State, does that mean it’s not great to be a receiver there? Or if it’s great to be a tight end at Oregon State, does that mean it’s not great if you’re a receiver? (Answer to that last question: If you’re a receiver not named Brandin Cooks, then yes.)

On average, receivers accounted for 68.5 percent of the receptions in the league. The low end in this statistic would be Arizona State (47 percent), Oregon State (55.2 percent) and USC (59.6 percent). The high end is Arizona (84.1 percent), and then a few schools in the high 70s -- Washington State, UCLA and Colorado.

It comes as no surprise that this is where the biggest jump is in yardage. It’s a lot easier to pick up major yards on a post than a pitch. Because of that, the wide receivers accounted for 75.2 percent of the receiving yardage. Again, Arizona holds the high spot here with 90.2 percent of its team’s receiving yardage from the receivers. And again, Arizona State is on the low end, with just 51.6 percent of its receiving yardage coming from the receivers.

It’s good to be a quarterback in the Pac-12, which means it’s good to be a receiver here, too. But, if you look deeper at the numbers, how good it is really depends on who you are and where you go.
Oregon’s backup quarterback race -- which was a talking point all spring for the Ducks -- seems to be a bit more defined now considering one player has taken himself out of the discussion.

Despite the fact quarterback Jake Rodrigues came out of Oregon’s spring practices looking like the backup and heir apparent to Marcus Mariota, the redshirt sophomore has decided to transfer. That leaves Jeff Lockie, the other redshirt sophomore quarterback on the roster, as the backup by default.

[+] EnlargeJake Rodrigues
Scott Olmos/USA TODAY SportsJake Rodrigues decided to transfer after appearing to win the backup job to Marcus Mariota in the spring.
Coach Mark Helfrich was hesitant to name a definitive backup all through the spring season. Even after Rodrigues looked like the more complete signal-caller in the spring game, Helfrich still didn’t specify what he’d do if the Ducks were to find themselves in need of a QB if Mariota weren’t able to play.

Since Helfrich brought in two quarterbacks in the 2012 class, Lockie has been in a position where he has been fighting a classmate for the backup role behind Mariota. It’ll be interesting to see how he fares now that he is the guy behind the guy. If he doesn’t step up, Helfrich certainly has other options -- two redshirt freshmen, Taylor Alie and Damion Hobbs, as well as 2014 signee Morgan Mahalak.

With Mariota at the helm for another season, the Ducks should be fine, but the really interesting part of this seems to be the timing of Rodrigues’ decision. Rodrigues told CSNNW that his decision was completely based on football.

However, had Rodrigues decided after last season that Oregon football wasn’t working for him, he could’ve transferred during the winter. Though he would’ve still been ineligible to play in 2014, he could’ve been at a school for spring practice. This would’ve given him a chance to become acquainted with a new system, coaching staff and teammates. But since he didn’t make the decision until after the spring -- a spring in which he appeared by most accounts to be the go-to backup -- he now puts himself a bit behind the 8-ball in terms of transfer options.

So it appears as though Oregon quarterbacks -- those still on the roster, and those looking for another roster -- will continue to be an interesting issue this summer.

Quarterback Jake Rodrigues, who was in competition to serve as Marcus Mariota's backup with the Oregon Ducks, will transfer.

As a redshirt freshman in 2013, Rodrigues completed 3 of 6 passes for 67 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He shared the backup job with Jeff Lockie during the season, but neither emerged as a clear-cut No. 2 during spring practice.

Rodrigues decided to leave after meeting with coach Mark Helfrich on Monday morning, according to a Comcast SportsNet Northwest report.

"Football wasn't working out here, and that is why I am leaving," Rodrigues told CSNNW. "I am not leaving because of how people treated me or how much it rains here. I am leaving simply based on this football decision."

It was not immediately clear where Rodrigues, ESPN.com's No. 12-ranked quarterback in the Class of 2012, intends to transfer.

Lockie completed 8 of 13 passes for 57 yards without a touchdown and one interception in 2013. He leads a group of three quarterbacks remaining behind Mariota, a Heisman Trophy front-runner, on the roster along with Damion Hobbs


(Read full post)


Let's get rich and buy our parents homes in the south of France. Let's get rich and give everybody nice sweaters and teach them how to dance. Let's get rich and build a house on a mountain making everybody look like ants.

College Football's New Look

May, 12, 2014
May 12
12:09
PM ET
video

This week, ESPN.com envisioned how the inaugural College Football Playoff might play out. Beginning with the 16 best teams in the nation, as chosen by our own mock selection committee of 13 college football experts, we whittled the list to eight, to four, and to two. Today, we reveal our choice for the favorite to win the four-team playoff: Florida State.

The Seminoles return 14 starters from last season's national championship team, but most importantly, they return the best player in the country in the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, quarterback Jameis Winston.

The Contenders | The Talent | The Strategy | The Leader | The Star


The Star

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- So which Jameis Winston do you think will play for Florida State this fall? Will it be the quarterback who won the Heisman Trophy? Or the 20-year-old who thought he could walk out of Publix with $32 of seafood?

Do you like your college heroes without a flaw? Or should we allow them to grow up in private? And if we do allow them to grow up in private, should we write off shoplifting dinner as an immature stunt? Don't most of us learn not to take something without paying for it pretty early on?

When Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher talks about Winston, doesn't he sound as if he's describing Andrew Luck?

"His ability to retain information and process it and get it out is ridiculous," Fisher said.

For a redshirt sophomore? Or for anybody?


(Read full post)


Spring practice is over, and so is the NFL draft.

Now, the wait begins -- 107 days, to be exact. That's when Arizona State (vs. Weber State), Utah (vs. Idaho State) and Washington State (vs. Rutgers) open their 2014 seasons.

But before we look forward, we'll take another look back at how the Pac-12 fared in the NFL draft.

One word sums it up pretty well: average.

Headed into this year's draft, the conference had averaged 29.8 selections since 2000, which equated to 2.9 per team factoring in Utah and Colorado's arrival in 2011. The 34 selections this year obviously brings that total average up slightly, but it's also a hair under the per-team average (2.84).

Same thing with first-round picks. There were 55 first-round picks during that time period (3.9 per year), which means the three that went in the first round this year was close to status quo.

When Washington State safety Deone Bucannon became the last of those three picks, he snapped the Cougars' first-round drought that dated to 2003. That streak had been tied for the longest in the conference with Arizona State, which counts Terrell Suggs as its last first-rounder.

The conference finished behind the SEC (49) and ACC (42) at No. 3 with players picked in the draft, ahead of the Big Ten (30) and Big 12 (17) among the power five.

In January, Kevin Gemmell outlined who will be replacing the players who left early from the North and South divisions. The total list included 26 players. Nine of those players went undrafted: Cal's Brendan Bigelow, Kameron Jackson, Viliami Moala and Chris McCain; Oregon's Colt Lyerla; USC's Dion Bailey, George Uko and Xavier Grimble; and Utah's Jake Murphy.

There were 19 NFL teams that selected Pac-12 players: Vikings (3), Bears (2), Cowboys (2), Eagles (2), Jets (2), Saints (2), Steelers (2), Packers (2), Seahawks (2), 49ers, Buccaneers, Cardinals, Chiefs, Jaguars, Patriots, Raiders, Redskins, Texans, Titans.

Here's the conference draft tally:

Stanford: 6
UCLA: 5
Oregon: 4
Arizona: 3
Arizona State: 3
USC: 3
California: 2
Oregon State: 2
Utah: 2
Washington: 2
Colorado: 1
Washington State: 1

Round-by-round:

First round
9. OLB Anthony Barr, UCLA: Minnesota Vikings
20. WR Brandin Cooks, Oregon State: New Orleans Saints*
27. Deone Bucannon, Washington State: Arizona Cardinals

Second round
1. OG Xavier Su'a-Filo, UCLA: Houston Texans
6. TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Washington: Tampa Bay Buccaneers*
7. WR Marqise Lee, USC: Jacksonville Jaguars*
13. WR Paul Richardson, Colorado: Seattle Seahawks*
15. LB Trent Murphy, Stanford: Washington Redskins
22. RB Bishop Sankey, Washington: Tennessee Titans

Third round
6. C Marcus Martin, USC: San Francisco 49ers*
8. DE Scott Crichton, Oregon State: Minnesota Vikings*
18. DT Will Sutton, Arizona State: Chicago Bears
22. WR Josh Huff, Oregon: Philadelphia Eagles
34. TE Richard Rodgers, Cal: Green Bay Packers*

Fourth round
8. DE Cassius Marsh, UCLA: Seattle Seahawks
15. WR Shaq Evans, UCLA: New York Jets
16. CB Keith McGill, Utah: Oakland Raiders
17. RB Ka'Deem Carey, Arizona: Chicago Bears
21. LB Carl Bradford, Arizona State: Green Bay Packers*
24. RB De'Anthony Thomas, Oregon: Kansas City Chiefs*
26. LB Khairi Fortt, California: New Orleans Saints*
40. OT Cameron Fleming, Stanford: New England Patriots*

Fifth round
1. DE Taylor Hart, Oregon: Philadelphia Eagles
5. OG David Yankey, Stanford: Minnesota Vikings*
17. CB Shaquille Richardson, Arizona: Pittsburgh Steelers
22. S Ed Reynolds, Stanford: Philadelphia Eagles*
34. OLB Devon Kennard, USC: New York Giants

Sixth round
16. LB Jordan Zumwalt, UCLA: Pittsburgh Steelers
25. RB Marion Grice, Arizona State: San Diego Chargers
28. RB Tyler Gaffney, Stanford: Carolina Panthers
36. LB Marquis Flowers, Arizona: Cincinnati Bengals

Seventh round
16. DE Ben Gardner, Stanford: Dallas Cowboys
18. OLB Trevor Reilly, Utah: New York Jets
39. CB Terrance Mitchell, Oregon: Dallas Cowboys*
*Left with eligibility remaining

By conference (FBS only)
SEC: 49
ACC: 42
Pac-12: 34
Big Ten: 30
Big 12: 17
Mountain West: 16
Conference USA: 9
Independents: 9
MAC: 8
Sun Belt: 4
Oregon coach Mark Helfrich put it best this spring when he said, “In spring ball, you’re panning for gold a little bit. There’s a bunch of crap and one fleck of gold. You grab it and build on that and try to fix the other parts.”

With only 15 practices, there’s only so much a coach can do and only so much a team can accomplish.

[+] EnlargeMariota
Steve Dykes/Getty ImagesMarcus Mariota has worked on becoming a vocal leader this spring.
Last week Ted, Kyle and I took a look around the conference and picked out the pieces of gold that each team found. I wrote about how though you never want to see an injury like Bralon Addison’s happen, the fact that it happened earlier rather than later gave other players the chance to take more reps during the spring with quarterback Marcus Mariota.

But that’s the silver lining to a very, very unfortunate situation. And there were plenty of other pieces of gold that should be mentioned in regard to the Ducks’ spring practices.

So here’s the Oregon spring gold from 2014:

  • The Ducks made some major weight gains (and a few significant losses) between the end of the 2013 season and when they took the field for spring practices. The offensive line as a whole put on more than 100 pounds while other players came into the season with a brand new physique -- defensive lineman Sam Kamp put on 29 pounds, tight end Johnny Mundt put on 20 pounds, linebacker Rodney Hardrick shed 12 pounds. This is definitely a piece of gold for the team this spring, and as long as they can all keep the weight on/off, it’ll make a huge difference next fall.

  • Last season Oregon gave up 3.8 yards per rush and didn’t have enough of a presence at the line of scrimmage. The Ducks only got to opposing quarterbacks 29, meaning they recorded a sack on 5.7 percent of snaps. That made them the 7th best pass rush in the conference (Arizona State led the Pac-12 with 8.2 percent) and 74th in the nation (Louisville led the country with 10.3 percent). However, in the spring game the D-line looked much stronger. Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner were in the middle of several big plays and that is a very, very good sign for defensive coordinator Don Pellum and the entire Duck pass rush.

  • There are still parts to Mariota’s game that can be improved (you know, he could’ve only thrown three interceptions last season instead of four). But really, the biggest strides Mariota needed to make this spring -- and the strides that it seems like he did make -- were in his leadership abilities. He, and several other Ducks’ leaders, are more lead-by-example guys instead of vocal, boisterous players. But Helfrich and offensive coordinator Scott Frost really complimented Mariota this spring on how he has been a better, more vocal leader for the Oregon offense. This is the year for the Ducks and they’re going to need a consummate, go-to leader. Mariota has walked the walk, now he’s talking the talk.

  • As I wrote earlier, the Addison injury is never something anyone wants to see and hopefully he has a swift and full recovery. But because of the timing of the injury, it gave players like Devon Allen, Darren Carrington, Dwayne Stanford and basketball-convert Johnathan Loyd more time to get a feel for the offense. All three of those players are ones that could step up for the Ducks in the fall and this spring gave them all a serious jump-start.

  • As good as Allen and a few others looked in the spring game, I thought the player who stole the show was Tyner. The Ducks need a reliable back this upcoming season, one who can help shoulder the rushing load with Mariota and contribute in pass protection. The battle is between Tyner and Byron Marshall (who led the Ducks in rushing last season with 86.5 yards per game). However, Tyner had a terrific spring and looked like he could steal that lead job this fall. On one play, he literally flattened Dominique Harrison. If he can continue to do that (though, hopefully to opposing defensive players and not his own), he could be major Duck gold.

Pac-12 draft recap: Day 3

May, 10, 2014
May 10
8:34
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Twenty Pac-12 players were selected on Day 3 of the NFL draft, giving the conference a total of 34.

Here is a look at who was selected on Saturday:

Round 4

DE Cassius Marsh, UCLA: Seattle Seahawks, No. 108 overall pick
Note: Marsh will play for defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, who is friends with UCLA coach Jim Mora.

WR Shaq Evans, UCLA: New York Jets, No. 115
Note: Moving from the No. 2 media market to the No. 1, Evans caught a pass in 28 straight games to end his career.

CB Keith McGill, Utah: Oakland Raiders, No. 116
Note: Room for improvement after switching from safety to cornerback in his final season at Utah.

RB Ka'Deem Carey, Arizona: Chicago Bears, No. 117
Note: Draft stock took a hit from slow 40 time and diminished value of running backs in the NFL after running for more than 1,800 yards in his final two seasons.

LB Carl Bradford, Arizona State: Green Bay Packers, No. 121
Note: Left early to become first ASU linebacker drafted since Travis Goethel in 2010 (Raiders).

RB De'Anthony Thomas, Oregon: Kansas City Chiefs, No. 124
Note: Perhaps more so than any other from the conference, it will be interesting to see how his game -- based mostly on speed -- translates to the NFL.

LB Khairi Fortt, California: New Orleans Saints, No. 126
Note: Penn State transfer was one of two Cal players to get drafted (Richard Rodgers).

OT Cameron Fleming, Stanford: New England Patriots, No. 140
Note: Mild upset that he was drafted before teammate David Yankey, the more decorated player in college. Also, check out this excellent Grantland profile of Fleming leading up to the draft.

Round 5

DE Taylor Hart, Oregon: Philadelphia Eagles, No. 141
Note: No surprise here. Chip Kelly has not shied away from taking Ducks and Pac-12 players.

OG David Yankey, Stanford: Minnesota Vikings, No. 145
Note: Vikings offensive line coach Jeff Davidson is the father of Stanford offensive lineman Nick Davidson.

CB Shaquille Richardson, Arizona: Pittsburgh Steelers, No. 157
Note: The Steelers had more defensive backs over the age of 30 than any team in the NFL last season.

S Ed Reynolds, Stanford: Philadelphia Eagles, No. 162
Note: Will join former Stanford teammate Zach Ertz with the Eagles.

OLB Devon Kennard, USC: New York Giants, No. 174
Note: Experienced at both defensive end and outside linebacker, Kennard joins a Giants team that employs a 4-3 defense.

Round 6

LB Jordan Zumwalt, UCLA: Pittsburgh Steelers, No. 192
Note: On the surface it's a perfect fit. Zumwalt's blue-collar reputation should mesh well in Pittsburgh.

RB Marion Grice, Arizona State: San Diego Chargers, No. 201
Note: Good chance to make the roster as a third-down back.

RB Tyler Gaffney, Stanford: Carolina Panthers, No. 204
Note: Was a 24th-round pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2012, but put baseball dreams on hold to pursue football.

LB Marquis Flowers, Arizona: Cincinnati Bengals, No. 212
Note: Flowers will join a linebacker group that includes former college rival Vontaze Burfict, formerly of Arizona State.

Round 7

DE Ben Gardner, Stanford: Dallas Cowboys, No. 231
Note: Snubbed from the Senior Bowl, Gardner received all-Pac-12 honors three times and was a first-team selection as a senior.

LB Trevor Reilly, Utah: New York Jets, No. 233
Note: Supported wife and two kids during senior season by buying various items, often electronics, online and selling them for more elsewhere.

CB Terrance Mitchell, Oregon: Dallas Cowboys, No. 254.
Note: Left with a season of eligibility remaining. Third-to-last pick of the draft.

Pac-12 draft recap: Day 2

May, 10, 2014
May 10
12:40
AM ET
Here's a look at how the Pac-12 fared on Day 2 of the NFL draft.

Six players were selected in the second round and five in the third, giving the conference two-day total of 14. That trails the SEC (23) and Big Ten (16) but is tied with the ACC.

Round 2

OG Xavier Su’a-Filo, UCLA: Texans, No. 1 (33 overall)
Note: The first pick of the day was also the first offensive guard selected.

TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Washington: Buccaneers, No. 6 (38)
Note: John Mackey Award winner will play for former Cal coach Jeff Tedford, Tampa Bay's new offensive coordinator.

WR Marqise Lee, USC: Jaguars, No. 7 (39)
Note: Lee was one of two receivers the Jaguars selected in the second round to pair with the No. 3 overall pick, QB Blake Bortles.

WR Paul Richardson, Colorado: Seahawks, No. 13 (45)
Note: Will give the Super Bowl champions another speedy weapon alongside Percy Harvin.

LB Trent Murphy, Stanford: Redskins, No. 15 (47)
Note: Murphy, the nation's sack leader, will get to remain at outside linebacker in Washington's 3-4 defense.

RB Bishop Sankey, Washington: Titans, No. 22 (54) Tennessee
Note: The first running back selected, Sankey will join former Washington quarterback Jake Locker in Tennessee.

Round 3

C Marcus Martin, USC: No. 6 (70) 49ers
Note: Martin will compete with Daniel Kilgore for the starting job in San Francisco.

DE Scott Crichton, Oregon State: No. 8 (72) Vikings
Note: Hopes to help his parents retire with money from his NFL career.

DT Will Sutton, Arizona State: No. 18 (82) Bears
Note: Two-time Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year was projected by many to go much later.

WR Josh Huff, Oregon: No. 22 (86) Eagles
Note: One of two receivers who will join former Oregon coach Chip Kelly's team in Philly.

TE Richard Rodgers, Cal: No. 34 (98), Pakers
Note: Will catch passes from another Golden Bear, Aaron Rodgers (no relation).

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