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Q&A With Jake Curhan: Cal Career, Best Pass Rushers In Pac-12, What Position He'll Play In NFL

Jake Curhan walking on to the field.

BERKELEY, CA - OCTOBER 27: Jake Curhan #71 of the California Golden Bears enter the stadium for the game against the Washington Huskies at California Memorial Stadium on October 27, 2018 in Berkeley, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

After the 2020 college football season came to an end, Cal offensive tackle Jake Curhan announced that he was declaring for the 2021 NFL Draft.

Curhan, a four-year starter at Cal, had plenty of great moments during his time with the program. His production on the field earned him an invite to this year's Senior Bowl.

Following a productive week at the Senior Bowl, the Cal product spent nearly two months preparing for his pro day. Curhan ended up completing the 40-yard dash in 5.42 seconds and the 20-yard shuttle in 4.80 seconds. He was clearly satisfied with his overall performance.

"I thought I killed the field drills," Curhan said, via Sports Illustrated. "Perfect weather for football, the rain was coming down. I felt right in my element."

The Spun caught up with Jake Curhan to discuss his career at Cal, how he's been handling this draft process, what he hopes to accomplish in the NFL and more.

The Spun: How has this draft process been?

Jake Curhan: Pretty good. It’s an interesting process, not like anything I’ve ever done before, but everything is exciting and new. My favorite thing about it is putting 100 percent into football without having to come home and worry about homework.

The Spun: What was the Senior Bowl experience like for you?

JC: It was nonstop movement for a week. It was truly awesome to work with an NFL staff and get to meet with all 32 teams out there. Also, just being around other top players is great. It was a tiring week - I was a little relieved when it was over because of how full each day was - but I was really happy it happened. I was playing guard for the first time, but I’m glad I did because now I know what I need to work on.

The Spun: Do you have a preference as to what position you play in the NFL?

JC: I would say I don’t really have a preference. Whatever gets me on a team and on the field is all that matters. The way most teams are seeing it is swing guard/tackle. I’ll probably play both offensive guard spots and right tackle in practice. I’m focusing most of my attention on guard right now since I already started 40 games at tackle. It’s a bit more different in there than I anticipated it would be. Just the angles of what you’re doing and how much time you have before you’re in contact with the defensive line are different. For me, I’m working on those things so I can be confident in my ability by the time camp starts.

The Spun: What do you think you showed on tape?

JC: I think I showed intelligence, just understanding how a guy might beat me or having a really good knowledge of the offensive plan. So I think intelligence is one thing I showed. The other would be my ability to keep up with some of the fastest edge rushers in the Pac-12. Even though my numbers won’t pop off the page, I feel like I showed I have enough athleticism to keep up with the fastest guys.

The Spun: There’s a clip of you chasing down a defensive player. Do you remember that moment?

JC: That was too bad because we ended up losing the game. That was by far the craziest game I’ve ever been a part of. I think that was like the fourth or fifth interception we threw that game. I saw the pick and I looked around for a second and then just took off and started running toward our own end zone. If he scored on that, it would’ve ended the game. It shows your in-game speed can be different from what you show in the 40-yard dash. Honestly, that’s one of the most rare scenarios though.

The Spun: Who was the best pass rusher you faced in college?

JC: This past year, I’d give it to Kayvon Thibodeaux from Oregon. Trying to pin down or get a drive on Osa Odighizuwa from UCLA was also tough. Same thing with Joe Tryon from Washington. He’s a strong guy, so you got to get yourself strapped in before every play.

The Spun: Which offensive linemen are you studying on film?

JC: There are certain players you love watching just because they’re so great, like Tyron Smith. At the same time, I know that Tyron Smith isn’t a great comparison for me. In terms of players I try to mold what I’m doing after, I’d say Mitchell Schwartz is a big inspiration for me. When you look at the top tackles in the league, a lot of them are more athletic than he is, but he plays smart and plays with great technique.

The Spun: What is an NFL team getting in Jake Curhan?

JC: I’d tell them they’re getting a hard worker. I truly believe there isn’t an offensive lineman in this draft class who is going to improve as much as I will.

Most draft projections have Curhan coming off the board on Day 3 of the 2021 NFL Draft. His ability to play multiple positions on the offensive line certainly makes him an intriguing prospect.

You can read more of our interviews with athletes or media stars here.