California has always been a sports-driven state, with some of the wealthiest and most prominent professional and collegiate teams driving thousands of fans to the stadiums year in and year out. And the University of California, Berkeley, isn’t the exception to that rule.
While the California Golden Bears may not have the long-withstanding tradition of other Cali-based programs such as USC, UCLA, or Stanford, this program has sure given the National Football League plenty of talent.
Throughout the years, we’ve seen some true legendary athletes leave campus to take their talents to the pros. And today, we’re going to honor the best active players still representing the California Golden Bears in the NFL.
4. Marvin Jones Jr.
While he hasn’t found all that much success with the Jacksonville Jaguars as of late, Marvin Jones Jr. (Etiwanda) has all the physical tools to be a standout wide receiver in the NFL. He just needs to be put in a position to succeed, as he proved during his days catching passes from Matthew Stafford with the Detroit Lions.
He’s physical, strong, and great at creating separation. Even though he kind of fell off in the depth chart, Jones still had some crucial catches for Trevor Lawrence this season, hauling in 46 receptions for 529 yards and three touchdowns.
3. Jared Goff
Just when most people were ready to give up on him, former first overall pick Jared Goff (Marin Catholic) reminded everybody why scouts were so high on him when he first entered the league. He had one of the best seasons of his career, playing well enough to convince the Detroit Lions that he could be their guy going forward.
While not the most mobile or the most explosive athlete, Goff can be quite efficient and put up big numbers when he’s at his best. He led the Lions to a 9-8 record and a playoff berth, completing 65.1% of his throws for 4,438 yards, 29 touchdowns, and seven picks.
2. Keenan Allen
For years, Keenan Allen has been one of the most productive and impactful wide receivers in the league, yet people don’t often mention his name when talking about the finest players in the league. Truth be told, Allen (went to high school in North Carolina) is just a tier below guys like Justin Jefferson, Stefon Diggs, Davante Adams, or DeAndre Hopkins.
Allen’s only Achilles heel has been his proneness to get hurt. He’s expected to find a new team next season, and he may not have a lot of trouble with that after hauling in 66 receptions for 752 yards and four scores despite missing plenty of time this season.
1. Aaron Rodgers
Always controversial, Aaron Rodgers has to be considered the greatest NFL player in California Golden Bears’ history. He’s one of the best quarterbacks this game has ever seen and perhaps the greatest pure quarterback to ever lace them up. According to sports betting odds in Iowa and elsewhere the Pleasant Valley of Chico alum is always on the run for the MVP award.
He may not be the winningest, and his lack of another Super Bowl ring will always be a stain in his otherwise perfect résumé, but there’s no denying Rodgers’ impact and talent.
Rodgers has already won four MVPs in his career, leading the Green Bay Packers to the playoffs more often than not, regardless of who’s catching his passes. The Packers fell short of their goal this season, but it wasn’t on Rodgers, who still managed to complete 64.6% of his passes for 3,695 yards, 26 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions. He could leave Green Bay for the first time in his career. If he doesn’t retire, you better believe multiple teams will knock on his door to get him.