Offensive tackle Jake Curhan says he didn’t know for sure he would enter the NFL draft until after the final game he played this season for Cal.
“It was a difficult decision toward the end because I only did end up playing in two games this year out of the four that we had,” Curhan said. “People really liked my performance against Oregon. That game kind of helped solidify that decision for me. It’s time to take that chance and bet on myself and see what happens.”
The 6-foot-6, 330-pounder, projected by one scouting service as a third-to fifth-round pick, said he appreciates being able to devote himself fully to football.
“It’s really nice to be able to focus on the athlete part without the student part,” he said. “It makes a huge difference in terms of being able to take care of yourself.”
In the video at the top, Curhan discusses how he decided it was time to leave Cal for the NFL.
The website Walter Football ranks Curhan as the No. 16 offensive tackle in the draft. Here their analysis of his NFL prospects:
Curhan also revealed that although he was forced to sit out two games strictly through contact tracing, he did test positive for COVID-19 outside the Cal season.
“I’m doing great,” he said. “No problems anymore.”
Curhan, a fifth-year senior who had started 40 games for the Bears, announced his decision earlier this month. He’s been in Southern California the past couple of weeks, training with about a dozen other NFL draft hopefuls.
His preparation took another detour this week when the NFL announced it will not conduct its traditional scouting combine, which brings together top prospects to work out in front of NFL personnel, be measured, tested, interviewed and examined by medical staff.
“I’m not surprised. I think a lot of people probably saw it coming,” he said.
Curhan talks more below about the NFL's decision to cancel the scouting combine:
Without the week-long combine, which has been held in recent years at Indianapolis, Curhan acknowledged that the importance of the Senior Bowl all-star game a week from Saturday in Mobile, Alabama, and Cal’s Pro Day in March both will be heightened.
“I know this Senior Bowl coming up is going to be very important for me, just in terms of showing I can play football and learn and be coached by an NFL staff,” he said.
We also discussed the Bears’ bizarre season, shortened by the pandemic to four games, with just a single victory.
Asked to describe the season, Curhan succinctly called it “messy.”
He missed the Oregon State and Stanford games while a key block of the offensive line was shelved by contact tracing. The Bears lost both games, each time through a series of self-inflicted wounds, many of them on special teams.
“Watching them at home, I felt we should have won both of them. And I know that feeling is not mine alone,” Curhan said. “That Oregon game was the first one where we really had a full team with a full week of practice.”
Cal beat the Ducks 21-17 in what would turn out to be the final game of the season, the last in Curhan’s career at Berkeley.
Curhan takes one last look back at the 2020 season in this video:
Follow Jeff Faraudo of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jefffaraudo