LIST: Top Bay Area college football prospects for NFL Draft

Dustin Dorsey Image
Friday, April 26, 2019
LIST: Top Bay Area NFL Draft prospects
The NFL Draft begins Thursday April 25th on ABC. College athletes across the country are hoping to hear their names called by teams, including many here in the Bay Area. Check out the top prospects from San Jose State, Cal and Stanford.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The 2019 NFL Draft will take place in Nashville, Tenn. and air on ABC7 News for three days starting Thursday Apr. 25, 2019.

RELATED: NFL Draft 2019: Watch full coverage on ABC7

This is the first year that ABC will air the entire draft on the network.

College football hopefuls from across the country hope to hear their name called on draft day, thus making their NFL dreams come true.

This is true as well for players at Cal, San Jose State and Stanford.

We have compiled a list of all the eligible draft prospects from the Bay Area who may soon be on NFL rosters.


Rusty Becker, Defensive End

Rusty Becker only played two seasons for the Golden Bears and had his most success during his senior year. He posted career highs in almost all defensive statistical categories in 2018 in 7 starts. Off the field, he earned Cal's Ken Harvey Award for academic committment and improvement.

Kamryn Bennett, Offensive Lineman

Kamryn Bennett put together a playing career at Cal from 2014-2018. In his junior season, he started all 12 games for the Bears and helped lead the way from the offensive line for Quarterback Ross Bowers to throw over 3,000 yards and Running Back Patrick Laird to rush for the nineteenth 1,000 yard rushing season in Cal history.

Ian Bunting, Tight End

Ian Bunting joined the blue and gold for his graduate season after transferring from the University of Michigan. In his lone season for the Golden Bears, he played in 13 games for Cal and hauled in career highs with 18 catches for 195 receiving yards. He earned his bachelor's degree from Michigan in organizational studies. Bunting earned an invite to the 2019 NFLPA Bowl game alongside teammates Jordan Kunaszyk and Patrick Laird.

Chase Forrest, Quarterback

Chase Forrest only saw limited playing time for Cal. He appeared in seven games off the bench and only threw one touchdown in his career. His touchdown came in his collegiate debut game against Grambling State. In 2018, he was awarded Cal's Joe Roth Award for courage, attitude and sportsmanship.

Alex Funches, Outside Linebacker

Alex Funches played two seasons for Cal after transferring from Trinity Valley Community College in 2017. While at Cal, the 2018 Ken Cotton Award winner for the Golden Bears' Most Courageous Player saw action in all 25 games. He shined brightest in his the 2017 game against UCLA where he posted career-high numbers in sacks with two and sack and tackle for loss yards with 23. He won a pair of league titles for Trinity Valley Community College.

Jordan Kunaszyk, Inside Linebacker

Jordan Kunaszyk was an energizer on the Cal defense. In his 34 games at Berkeley, he made 273 tackles to rank eight on Cal's all-time list. He totaled 148 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, 4 sacks and 5 forced fumbles in his senior year. This led to an invitation to the 2019 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl. Unfortunately, he was not invited to the NFL Combine but showed promising numbers at his pro day. Kunaszyk could be a late-round selection in the NFL Draft.

RELATED: Meet the Bay Area NFL Draft Prospects: Cal Linebacker Jordan Kunaszyk

Patrick Laird, Running Back

Patrick Laird was nothing but a good Golden Bear on and off the field. On the field, he finished with a Cal record for running backs with 51 receptions his senior year. He also added 5 touchdowns and 2,761 all-purpose yards during his Cal career. Off the field, he worked to promote the benefits of reading by hosting the "Patrick Laird Summer Reading Challenge" and publishing a digital series called "#ReadWithPat". He too was not invited to the NFL Combine, but his three-cone drill performance would have been the best among his position. Laird suffered a broken clavicle in Cal's bowl game, but he says it has fully healed and he is ready to contribute at the next level. He is a draftable prospect sometime on Day 3.

RELATED: Meet the Bay Area NFL Draft Prospects: Cal Running Back Patrick Laird

Malik McMorris, Fullback

Malik McMorris was the big bruising fullback for the Cal Golden Bears who played in all 50 career games in Berkeley. He finished his career with 15 catches for 110 yards and four touchdowns and he also added a rushing touchdown. The receiving touchdowns came in bunches as he scored two in each of the games against Oregon State and Washington State. He could be added as an undrafted-free agent for a fullback needy NFL team.

Patrick Mekari, Offensive Lineman

Patrick Mekari was a talented Golden Bear, but saw his senior season end short due to an injury. This same injury kept him out of the team's bowl game and the 2019 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl. However, he still received second-team All-PAC-12 honors from the Associated Press and was on the Outland Trophy watch list. The award recognizes the nation's top interior lineman on either side of the football. Once healthy, he could be added to an NFL roster.

Chris Palmer, Defensive Tackle

Big Chris Palmer was a mainstay inside the Cal defensive line. The nose guard played in 31 games with 13 starts. He tallied 50 tackles, two for loss, one sack and six pass breakups during his 4 year career, all at Cal. Palmer earned Cal's Bob Tessier Award as the Golden Bears' Most Improved Lineman following the 2018. This should help him as he hopes to be an addition to a professional team.

Alonso Vera, Long Snapper

A sneaky choice for a Cal Bear to make the NFL is long snapper Alonso Vera. He was a member of the Cal football team from 2017 to 2018 where he played in all 25 games. He never made an errant snap, which could be appealing to an NFL team who needs one of the most under-appreciated positions in the game of football.

Moe Ways, Wide Receiver

Moe Ways was another Michigan transfer to join Cal in his graduate season. He played in all 13 games with eight starts for Golden Bears in 2018. Ways finished with 34 grabs and 383 yards receiving and his only touchdown of his college career in 2018. He participated in bowl games every year of his four season career as part of the Wolverines and Golden Bears.

Vic Wharton III, Wide Receiver

Vic Wharton III came to Cal after transferring from the University of Tennessee in 2015. In his collegiate career, Wharton III played 44 games with 26 starts and tallied 150 grabs for 1,730 yards and 8 scores. His biggest game came on opening day of his junior season where he torched the North Carolina Tar Heels for a career high 156 total yards and a score. Wharton III finished with 1961 all-purpose yards. He has gained some attention with local teams as he was invited to participate in the Oakland Raiders local pro day.

RELATED: All-Trades 2019 NFL Mock Draft: Barnwell proposes 32 wild deals


Bryson Bridges, Defensive Lineman

Bryson Bridges was another key contributor on the Spartans defensive line. Bridges was second among all conference defensive linemen with 68 tackles in his senior year, including 15 against Army in October. He was a leader on the field to the Spartans and was awarded the SJSU 2018 U.S. Marine Corps Leadership award as voted on by his teammates. Bridges, like his counterpart Boogie Roberts, played in the 2019 Spiral Tropical Bowl All-Star Game and has a chance to be added to an NFL roster given his production in college.

Michael Carrillo, Quarterback

Michael Carrillo joined the program ahead of the 2016 season. He appeared in 6 games for the San Jose State Spartans in his final year. He came on strong at the end of the year where he started the final two games of the season and tossed four touchdowns in that span. His big moment came in November against Utah State where he found Tre Walker on a 75 yard touchdown pass late in the game.

Bryce Crawford, Kicker/Punter

On the field at SJSU, Bryce Crawford was a threat as a punter and a kicker. He finished with a school record for most field goals of 50 or more yards with five - all coming in his junior season. As a result, he was a semifinalist for the Lou Groza Collegiate Placekicking Award. Crawford led the Spartans in scoring in 2016 and 2017 and has a chance to lead an NFL roster in scoring if he is given a chance to kick. He may be added as a special teams player as a late-round selection or undrafted free-agent.

Justin Holmes, Wide Receiver

Justin Holmes saw limited action for the Spartans in five seasons. His biggest accomplishment camer over multiple seasons where he had a catch in 20 consecutive games from the end of 2015 to the third game in 2017. His career day came against the University of Southern Florida in the opening game of the season. Holmes had six catches for 77 yards and a score.

Dakari Monroe, Cornerback

Dakari Monroe came to San Jose State from local Archbishop Mitty High School. The San Jose native was a first-team All-Mountain West selection in 2018 thanks to his four interceptions and 1.6 passes defended per game. Monroe led the team in interceptions in 2017 and 2018. Following his successful senior season, he played in the 2019 College Gridiron Showcase. Monroe was also a major contributor on special teams which may help him land a roster spot on an NFL team.

Josh Oliver, Tight End

Josh Oliver is the top-rated NFL draft prospect for the San Jose State Spartans. The Tight end turned heads his senior season while having one of the best seasons for a tight end in the NCAA. Oliver had the third most catches in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) with 56 and fifth most yards among FBS tight ends with 709. Oliver was invited to participate in the 2019 Senior Bowl and the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine. He made visits to a few NFL teams including the Minnesota Vikings and Oakland Raiders. Oliver is expected to be selected sometime during Day 3 of the draft.

RELATED: Meet the Bay Area NFL Draft Prospects: San Jose State Tight End Josh Oliver

Boogie Roberts, Defensive Lineman

Boogie Roberts was a leader on the SJSU Spartans football team on and off the field. Boogie was a three-season starter and steadily grew as a player every season. He was the first SJSU defensive lineman in the last 15 years to increase his total tackles by +50 from his freshman to sophomore seasons. In his senior campaign, he was credited with 49 tackles, the fourth most by a Mountain West defensive lineman. This helped Boogie receive an invitation to play in the 2019 Spiral Tropical All-Star game. Some see his 6'-2" stature as too short for the pro game, but he makes up for it with his heart.

Malike Roberson, Running Back

Malike Roberson was the third leading running back for the Spartans in his senior season. He carried the ball 66 times for 199 yards and scored three times on the ground. He added two touchdowns through the air as well. Roberson had three 100-plus yard rushing games in his career. They came once a year during his freshman, sophomore and junior campaigns.

John Toussaint, Cornerback

John Toussaint played two years for San Jose State after being an All-Golden Coast Conference selection for Merced College in the early part of his career. Toussaint played primarily on special teams and appeared in seven games as a reserve defensive back for SJSU.

RELATED: NFL Draft Dreams: Nine San Jose State Spartans make their case to be in the NFL at the school's Pro Day


Joey Alfieri, Linebacker

Joey Alfieri appeared in 50 games for Stanford in his five years on the Farm. He finished with 165 tackles (89 solo), 26.5 tackles for loss and 14 sacks. In his senior season, the Portland, Ore. native had one heck of a homecoming as he had three tackles and a 80-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown against the Oregon Ducks. It was his only score of his career. He could follow in the footsteps of other Cardinal linebackers in the pros like Shayne Skov and grab a roster spot as an undrafted free-agent.

JJ Arcega-Whiteside, Wide-Receiver

JJ Arcega-Whiteside has the opportunity to be a very talented NFL receiver. In his senior year, he made the jump-ball his specialty in the end zone as he hauled in 14 touchdowns, tying a 41-year-old school record. Not to mention he was second in Stanford history with 28 career receiving touchdowns and third in school history with nine career 100-yard receiving games. Arcegea-Whiteside was invited to the NFL Scouting Combine, but he did not participate in drills. He can be a possession receiver threat that should be picked on Day 2 of the NFL Draft.

RELATED: Meet the Bay Area NFL Draft Prospects: Stanford Wide Receiver JJ Arcega-Whiteside

Jake Bailey, Punter

Punters are people too and Jake Bailey proved that while at Stanford. He was one of seven Cardinal to be invited to the NFL Combine. This was as a result of finishing first all-time in Stanford history with a 43.81 punting average. Bailey proved to be a weapon for Stanford as he pinned opponents inside the 20 on 76 occasions in his 52 career games. He also set the school mark for the longest punt at 84 yards in the Big Game against Cal his senior year. Bailey can be a drafted player on Day 3 or join a roster as an undrafted free-agent.

Isaiah Brandt-Sims, Wide Receiver

Isaiah Brandt-Sims was a two-sport athlete for Stanford during his five-year career. He only tabbed 2 catches for 26 yards in his football career, but his true stardom came on the track. Brandt-Sims was a two-time All-American for Stanford with school records for the indoor and outdoor 4x400 relays. He may not make the NFL, but we may see him in the Olympics in the future.

Jesse Burkett, Center

Jesse Burkett finished his fifth year on the Farm starting all 11 games he appeared in. He helped anchor an offensive line that protected Quarterback K.J. Costello who finished with the second-most passing yards in a season in Stanford history. He is also successful off the field. He is a four-time PAC-12 All-Academic team member and was a semifinalist for the nation's most prestigious and desirable "academic" award in college football, the William V. Campbell Trophy.

Keller Chryst, Quarterback

Keller Chryst made the walk across the El Camino from Palo Alto High School to Stanford in 2014. He went 11-2 as a start at Stanford, 5-2 in 2017 and 6-0 in 2016 before making the surprise move to transfer to the University of Tennessee in 2018. Chryst, the son of former 49ers Offensive Coordinator Geep Chryst, finished his career with 2,376 passing yards and eight touchdowns.

Brandon Fanaika, Offensive Guard

Brandon Fanaika spent five years on the Farm where he started in 18 games and appeared in 47 total contests. 10 of the starts came his fifth year, where he helped Burkett and his other linemates protect for the Stanford passing attack and lead the way for top draft prospect Bryce Love. Fanaika was starting on the line in 2017 as Love set the single-game school rushing record with 301 yards against Arizona State.

A.T. Hall, Offensive Tackle

A.T. Hall came in with Fanaika and Burkett and left with them after five seasons at Stanford. His performance as a senior in 2017 earned him an All-PAC-12 honorable mention. That season, Hall paved the way for the Stanford running game to have a historic season. This includes against UCLA where Cardinal backs gained 405 yards on the ground, the fourth-most in school history.

Nate Herbig, Offensive Guard

Nate Herbig has the perfect name for an offensive lineman. After all, it does have "big" in it. The Hawaii native is 6'-4" and weighs in at 334 pounds. He has the size and strength to make an NFL roster and hear his name called during the draft. He had the slowest time of any player at the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine, but his power on the field is what NFL teams will look at when looking to select him. He has two PAC-12 All-academic honors to go along with his 2017 All-PAC-12 first team selection as well as an All-PAC-12 second team selection as a junior. He was a big-time prospect coming out of high school and he is a big-time prospect coming out of college.

Alijah Holder, Cornerback

Alijah Holder earned an invitation to the NFL Scouting Combine in 2019, one of seven Stanford players to do so. Injuries plagued Holder in his Senior season, but he still had plenty of production to make him a great piece on the corner for the Stanford defense. He had 132 career tackles in 37 games for the Cardinal, with 59 coming his senior year. He also has two interceptions, 28 passes defended, five forced fumbles and a touchdown during his five years on the Farm. He is a tall corner back with good speed that can stand up with some of the best talents the nation has to offer. Holder can be a late-round selection when Day 3 of the NFL draft rolls around.

Trenton Irwin, Wide Receiver

Trenton Irwin was a contributor to Stanford the moment he walked on campus in Palo Alto. From 2016-2018, Irwin had a catch in every single game he played for the Cardinal, only missing the final bowl game for the team. This impressive streak of receptions brought him to number ten on the Stanford all-time leader board with 152 career catches in 53 career games. Irwin is also a talented special teams players. He finished eighth all-time at Stanford in career punt return average with 10.45 yards per return. His sure hands and special teams abilities could help him earn a spot on an NFL roster.

Bryce Love, Running Back

Let's get something out of the way quickly: yes, an injury has hurt the draft stock of Bryce Love. However, when healthy, Love is one of the most explosive players in the country. His personal resume is basically a record book in itself. Some of his top honors came his junior season where he finished with the most yards in a single season by any Stanford running back with 2,118 yards. It was also the most of any of the Power 5 conference schools in 2017. This also helped the tandem of Love and Cameron Scarlett to finish as the top rushing tandem, with 2,507 yards, in school history. Love earned a Heisman Trophy finalist spot, he won the PAC-12 offensive player of the year award, named a unanimous All-American, won the Doak Walker and Lombardi Awards as well as countless other honors and awards. Should we continue? Mock drafts are having a hard time placing Love given his injury. But an NFL team that takes a chance on him will get an immediate playmaker that is poised to shine at the next level.

RELATED: Meet the Bay Area NFL Draft Prospects: Stanford Running Back Bryce Love

Alameen Murphy, Cornerback

Alameen Murphy is a lengthy cornerback that had good production during his five-year career at Stanford. In 52 career games, he had 161 tackles, 109 solo, for the team. He is not afraid to be physical and make a big hit. He also has 14 passes defended and two interceptions to his credit during his career. His willingness to tackle could make him an attractive prospect for NFL teams looking to add talent in the undrafted free-agent time of draft weekend.

Bobby Okereke, Linebacker

Bobby Okereke is a linebacker that continues to turn heads during every step of his journey. While at Stanford, he showed explosiveness and athleticism at the linebacker position as he totaled 240 tackles, 19 for a loss, 10.5 sacks and three forced fumbles. He then took his talents to the Senior Bowl where he once again gained the attention of NFL talent evaluators. Okereke describes himself as a physical and athletic player, much like Jaylon Smith from the Dallas Cowboys. He believes his talents were recognized while competing during the Senior Bowl and the NFL Scouting Combine. His agent says he does not expect Okereke to make it past Day 2, maybe not even out of the second round.

RELATED: Meet the NFL Draft Prospects: Stanford LB Bobby Okereke

Kaden Smith, Tight End

Kaden Smith is one of the top tight-end prospects in the 2019 NFL Draft. He was recognized as a 2018 Mackey Award finalist, honoring the top tight-ends in college football. This came after two big years at Stanford in which he had 70 grabs for 1,049 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. Smith leaves Stanford early, hoping to follow in the footsteps of a couple other Stanford great tight ends in Zach Ertz and Austin Hooper. Both Hooper and Ertz were Pro Bowl selections a season ago in the NFL. Smith has the chance to be drafted sometime on Day 2, but he will certainly be selected in the NFL Draft according to many experts. His 6'-5" frame and nose for the endzone makes him an attractive prospect for an NFL team looking for a tight end.

RELATED: Stanford Football Pro Day becoming reunion of NFL stars and league brass

Follow along with ABC7 Sports Anchors Larry Beil and Mindi Bach as well as Community Journalist Dustin Dorsey for updates throughout the NFL Draft.


Round 1: Thursday Apr. 25, 2019 - 5:00 p.m. PST

Rounds 2 & 3: Friday Apr. 26, 2019 - 4:00 p.m. PST

Rounds 4-7: Saturday Apr. 27, 2019 - 9:00 a.m. PST