Former Cal running back Marshawn Lynch popularized the phrase "Beast Mode" to describe his style of play. On Wednesday, Lynch was in chill-out mode as he watched current Cal players beast it up in front of NFL scouts at Cal's pro day in Berkeley.
Wide receiver Michael Calvin posted a head-turning 40-yard dash in a hand-timed 4.32 seconds by accounts of some scouts in attendance. Defensive lineman Ernest Owusu bench-pressed 225 pounds 39 times as Lynch and other former Cal players Shane Vereen and Cameron Jordan offered their support.
Scouts already knew about linebacker Mychal Kendricks and receiver Marvin Jones based upon their impressive showings at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis and in all-star games. Kendricks and Jones participated in the pro day in a limited capacity. That left the stage to NFL hopefuls such as Calvin, Owusu and others.
Calvin's impressive time in the 40 qualified as the highlight of the proceedings. It was even more impressive given the steady downpour and cold weather.
"I didn't expect to run a 4.32," said Calvin, a San Lorenzo High graduate. "It was surprising, but at the same time, I knew I was going to hit somewhere in the 4.3 area."
Calvin played in the shadow of fellow receivers Jones and Keenan Allen the past couple of seasons. He is hopeful that his blazing-fast 40 time, along with a 401/2-inch vertical jump, will generate more interest among NFL teams.
"It's great," Calvin said of his performance. "It's a chance for me to actually show the assets that I have. Being under the radar, so to speak, it's good to get this kind of exposure."
Kendricks and Jones offer firm evidence for just how valuable strong showings are for players in pre-draft workouts.
Kendricks posted an impressive 4.41 in the 40 at the combine, performed well in individual drills and comported himself well in interviews. As a result, he said, interest in him among NFL teams has exploded.
"It's been ridiculous," Kendricks said. "It has really opened up a lot of doors for me."
Kendricks, the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, has visits lined up with nine teams in advance of the NFL draft in late April. He declined to divulge which teams are interested.
Most projections have Kendricks going in the second or third round. He said he is accustomed to having to work for everything he gets after being overlooked coming out of Hoover High-Fresno and being offered a scholarship only by Cal among Pac-10 teams
"I've been kind of overlooked all my life ... ," Kendricks said. "Even though I was the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, you didn't hear my name a lot, we didn't get a lot of (publicity). But that's OK. I like being the underdog. That's where I'm most comfortable. I just keep working."
Kendricks, 6-feet and 240 pounds, said he is comfortable playing in either the 4-3 or 3-4, whatever scheme, as long as he gets a chance to show what he can do.
"You just want to get your foot in the door," Kendricks said. "Once you get your foot in the door, just take full advantage. ... It is about what you do on the field. ... I've had to fight for a position on the field, and I've kept it. I put myself in a good position, and I'm ready to rock the next level."
Jones ran a 4.46 in Indianapolis. That, along with a strong showing in practice the week before the Senior Bowl as well as in the game, placed Jones in the sights of NFL teams, and he said he has been told that he won't last past the second round of the draft.
"I've definitely boosted my stock sky high from where I was," Jones said. It's just a great experience."