Cal Football: Downs and Looney Both Picked in 7th Round

ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 26: The Green Bay Packers logo is seen on a video board during the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft at AT
ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 26: The Green Bay Packers logo is seen on a video board during the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft at AT /

The NFL Draft is nearly over, and a couple of former Cal football players had the privilege of hearing their names called on the final day.

As the 2018 NFL Draft winded down, two Cal football players heard their names called in the seventh round. Former Golden Bears who can now call the NFL their new home are linebacker Devante Downs and defensive lineman James Looney.

Downs went off the board first, as the 225th overall pick, and the Minnesota Vikings’ seventh round selection. Looney didn’t last long after that, going to the Green Bay Packers as the 232nd overall selection.

Despite playing in just seven games last season before an injury cut his year, and ultimately his college career, short, Downs was the Golden Bears’ best defender. He racked up 65 tackles before the injury bug hit him, which left him ranked second on the team at year’s end. Beside that, he filled up the stat sheet. Downs finished the year with 5.5 tackles for loss, three sacks, two interceptions, two fumbles forced, and two fumbles recovered. He was named an All-Pac-12 honorable mention, but had it not been for the injury, could have made a legitimate case for the Pac-12’s Defensive Player of the Year.

Looney, on the other hand, was durable in 2017, as he has been throughout his entire Cal career. He started all 12 games last season, and missed just two games over his three-year stint with the Bears. In 2017, Looney tied for the team lead with 9.5 tackles for loss and set a career-high with 3.5 sacks. He added a forced fumble and recovered a pair of fumbles. The big man played both defensive tackle and end for the Bears, and even took a few snaps as an outside linebacker.

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The last time a Bears’ defensive player was selected in the draft was 2014, when the New Orleans Saints made Khairi Fortt a fourth-round selection. The Bears hadn’t had two defenders drafted since 2013, when a pair of cornerbacks, Steve Williams (San Diego Chargers, fifth round) and Marc Anthony (Baltimore Ravens, seventh round), went on the last day.

Downs becomes the lone Cal alum on the Vikings’ (current) roster, and the first selected by Minnesota since 2012 when they took defensive end Trevor Guyton in the seventh round. Guyton never appeared in an NFL game.

Looney, however, will have some company in Green Bay. He joins superstar quarterback Aaron Rodgers, whom the Packers drafted 24th overall in 2005, as well as wide receiver and return specialist Trevor Davis, a fifth-round pick back in 2016.

Next: Cal Fan Thoughts in First Round

Best of luck to both guys, and everyone else, drafted and undrafted, in the NFL!