Former NCFA Players Featured In Media Leading Up To Draft
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Several former Northern California Football Association players are being featured in sports stories leading up to the 2014 NFL draft.
Santa Rosa JC defensive back Jason Verrett, now at TCU (Associated Press),
Monterey Peninsula College quarterback David Fales, now at San Jose State (San Jose Mercury News / Bay Area News Group),
Diablo Valley College DE Morgan Breslin, now at USC (Bay Area News Group).
Per usuual, expect others to be in the mix during the actual draft.
Former SRJC football player taken in first round of NFL draft
By Bernie Wilson, Associated Press
SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Chargers have taken former TCU and Santa Rosa Junior College cornerback Jason Verrett with the 25th pick in the NFL draft.
Verrett played football for SRJC in 2010 before moving on to TCU. The Chargers, who have to face Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos twice a season, had one of the most porous pass defenses last season.
Verrett is expected to start opposite Shareece Wright. Verrett is only 5-foot-9 and 189 pounds.
He is already familiar with Qualcomm Stadium. It’s where he made his first Division I interception, when his TCU Horned Frogs beat San Diego State.
“I’d definitely like to get another one out there in a Chargers uniform,” Verrett said.
Now Verrett needs to get used to the size and speed of the NFL. The Chargers are confident he can, even though he’s only 5-foot-9 and 189 pounds.
“He’s tough and he plays big,” general manager Tom Telesco said.
Verrett played much of last season with a shoulder injury but was still good enough to share Big 12 defensive player of the year honors. He had two interceptions and 14 deflections.
Verrett said he plays bigger by “just moving my feet and playing a lot smarter on the field. I played against a lot of guys 6-2, 6-3. I didn’t try to get my hands on them too much, but once the ball’s in the air, definitely being a competitor.”
He said he’s confident he’s good enough to play on the outside.
“I felt I showed the versatility on the college level, being able to play the slot and also being able to play on the outside. I want to carry that over to the next level and make plays out there.”
Said coach Mike McCoy: “Size doesn’t matter to him. He’s a tough, physical football player.”
The Chargers, who have to face Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos twice a season, had one of the most porous pass defenses last season.
“Jason’s an excellent cover corner,” Telesco said. “He’s explosively quick and fast, and tough. Maybe the most important thing is he’s very, very instinctive on the football field.”
Verrett had nine interceptions and 35 deflections in his TCU career.
NFL draft: San Jose State QB David Fales a likely late-round pick
By Jimmy Durkin
"I'm a big fan," 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said of the former San Jose State star. "My personal quarterback evaluation of this class has David in the top five."
Harbaugh's opinion seems to leave him on a bit of an island, with most talent evaluators pegging the 6-foot-2, 212-pound quarterback as a mid-to-late round pick when the draft gets under way with Thursday's first round.
Fales, who plans to spend the draft with his family in his hometown of Salinas, will begin watching in earnest when the second and third rounds begin Friday. Rounds 4-7 are Saturday.
San Jose State University Spartans' starting quarterback David Fales (10) looks to pass against the Bowling Green Falcons in the third quarter in the Military Bowl at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012. (Nhat V. Meyer/Staff) ( Nhat V. Meyer )
"I think Fales will go in the fourth or fifth round," NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said. "And I think he's one of those guys that will probably wear a baseball cap for 10 years and occasionally be able to compete for a starting job."
With names such as Johnny Manziel, Blake Bortles and Teddy Bridgewater capturing much of the quarterback attention in the draft, Fales is sitting in the familiar position of being overlooked.
It's no different from when he was under-recruited out of Salinas' Palma High, when he didn't stick at Nevada or when he had only one major college scholarship offer after two seasons of junior college ball.
His circuitous journey is one of the red flags about Fales, along with an arm that some claim isn't strong enough. Mayock, despite that career backup evaluation, said there's a lot he likes about Fales.
"He throws with some anticipation and timing," Mayock said. "I thought the Minnesota game showed that he had enough arm strength to win. He got the ball the down the field. He pushed it down the field with strength and accuracy. Does he have a big arm? No. But he's a smart kid who understands the game."
Harbaugh, who carries a strong reputation for developing quarterbacks, said he didn't see the arm strength issues when Fales worked out at the 49ers' local pro day recently.
"You see a very compact throwing motion," Harbaugh said. "More compact than I saw during his career, but he was still throwing the ball 50-55 yards downfield. Throwing the deep comebacks, the outside lanes like he threw in college -- easily, accurately and on a line."
His strengths -- toughness, accuracy and timing -- have led to him being pegged as a system quarterback who could do well with a team that runs a West Coast style offense. Fales disagrees.
"I don't feel like I'm just a system guy," he said. "I've been able to at my junior college play in a whole different system. I was at Nevada for a little bit and then being at San Jose and being able to adapt to different systems. I think that's something I'm really good at doing, being able to adjust and understand the offense and play to its strengths."
Fales has been praised by 49ers general manager Trent Baalke as a "very smart football player," with "good arm talent." Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie attended Fales' pro day in March and said he displayed that he could "make all the throws."
Both local teams are likely to draft a quarterback over the next three days, and Fales has visited both facilities. He's also met locally with the Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, Chicago Bears and St. Louis Rams and visited the Green Bay Packers.
Fales acknowledges he might not be immediately ready to step onto the field. The speed of the game will be enhanced greatly in the NFL.
"I don't know if I'm ready immediately," Fales said. "It's a whole 'nother speed, and that's something you've got to adapt to. But I've been able to adapt at all levels, so I feel like, again at the next level, I can adapt and learn and pick up the game pretty quick."
As for the negative reviews, Fales doesn't deny that it provides him additional motivation.
"You could say, 'No, it doesn't,' but it definitely does," Fales said. "It definitely fuels the fire."
NFL draft: Bay Area draft prospects
By Jeff Faraudo
MORGAN BRESLIN -- Pos: DE/OLB. Hgt: 6-2. Wgt: 250. Draft projection: rounds 6-7. Comment: One-time Las Lomas-Walnut Creek and Diablo Valley College standout had 13 sacks for Trojans in 2012. Moved to outside linebacker last fall but limited to 4.5 sacks and five games by injuries.
NFL Draft Central http://espn.go.com/nfl/draft