Oregon Ducks

Ten Ducks that must rise in 2017: No. 5 - TE Jacob Breeland

Ten Ducks that must rise in 2017: No. 5 - TE Jacob Breeland

Oregon's quest to improve greatly over last season's 4-8 record will depend on the rapid development of several young and/or previously little-used players. Here is a look at ten most likely to rise to the occasion in 2017.

No. 5: Sophomore tight end Jacob Breeland.

No other position on the roster could be more desperate for someone to rise to the occasion than tight end. 

Pharaoh Brown, Evan Baylis and Johnny Mundt all left the program as seniors after combining for 65 receptions last season. 

That leaves Breeland as the lone returning tight end with playing experience. He caught six passes for 123 yards in 11 games last season with a long reception of 63 yards at Washington State.

While all of this might paint a seemingly hazardous situation at tight end, the truth is that Breeland has the potential to become better than all three of Oregon's senior tight ends from last season. He is certainly more athletic than Mundt and Baylis and he is faster than Brown, who lost some steps after suffering a major leg injury in 2014. 

At 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds, Breeland brings good size to the hybrid position that in coach Willie Taggart's offense, much like in Oregon's previous scheme, will align tight at the line of scrimmage, as a wing and flexed out. 

Depth is a bigger problem at tight end than the starter situation. Behind Breeland is redshirt freshman Cam McCormick, walk-on redshirt sophomore Matt Mariota and a bunch of names that remain mysteries. 

Oregon did not sign a tight end in the 2017 recruiting class. 

So as of now, Breeland is the lone guy Oregon can count on, which makes the tight end position a potential soft spot for the Ducks unless he remains healthy. 

The working list

No. 1: Cornerback Thomas Graham Jr. 

No. 2: Wide receiver Dillon Mitchell.

No. 3: Nose tackle Jordon Scott

No. 4: Freshman quarterback Braxton Burmeister

No. 5: Sophomore tight end Jacob Breeland

No. 6: Sophomore linebacker La'Mar Winston.

No. 7: Redshirt sophomore nose tackle Gary Baker. 

No. 8: Wide receivers Ofodile, Lovette and McNeal.

No. 9: Safeties Brady Breeze and Billy Gibson

No. 10: Several freshman must deliver

 

Troy Dye will not participate in drills at NFL Scouting Combine

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Troy Dye will not participate in drills at NFL Scouting Combine

Troy Dye is full of heart, grit and toughness. 

The Oregon Ducks leading tackler and former defensive captain not only played with a broken thumb, but also a partially torn meniscus in his right knee for four games of the season. 

The injury occurred on November 16th during the Ducks 34-6 win over Arizona.

“I thought it was the equivalent of a minor sprain or something,” Dye told reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine. “I got an MRI on it and didn't think anything was really wrong with it. So if they say it was good I'm gonna keep playing.” 

Dye finished his 2019 campaign with 84 tackles, 2.5 sacks, two interceptions and two forced fumbles. Most importantly, he helped lead the Ducks to a Pac-12 and Rose Bowl victory. 

Dye underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair the damage last month.

“[They] went in scooped it out and got it cleaned,” Dye said. 

Because of the injury and the subsequent procedure, Dye will not be participating in any drills. He will have the opportunity to speak with teams, however. 

“I’ll do all my stuff at the pro day just to be 100-percent full go and put up the numbers that I know I can put up.”

Oregon’s Pro Day is scheduled for March 12th in Eugene. 

Oregon OL Jake Hanson transforms body, showcases strength at NFL Combine

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Oregon OL Jake Hanson transforms body, showcases strength at NFL Combine

It appears Jake Hanson’s training for the NFL Draft is paying off. 

The former Oregon offensive lineman completed a total of 33 reps overall during the bench press at the NFL Combine on Thursday. The bench press is a test of strength where players attempt to get as many reps as possible. 

Here's a look at Hanson's bench press performance: 

According to Oregon football, Hanson's 33 reps are the second-most by an Oregon offensive lineman at the combine. The current record for bench press is held by Oregon State’s Stephen Paea, who had 49 in 2011.

Rather than play in any of the college all-star games, like his teammates Justin Herbert and Calvin Throckmorton, Hanson decided to focus on his training right away. He began working out at O-Line Performance in Phoenix, Arizona and weighed in at 303 pounds at the NFL Combine this week,11 more pounds than he did at the start of his training

You can read more about Hanson's draft stock, as well as his strengths and weaknesses, as he prepares for the NFL Draft in April in our NFL Combine profile here

NFL Combine Profile: Oregon OL Jake Hanson

NFL Combine Profile: Oregon OL Jake Hanson

Jake Hanson

Position: Center  
Year: Senior
Hometown: Eureka, California

Measurables: 

Height: 6’4 3/8" 

Weight: 303 pounds

Hand: 9 2/8"

Arm: 32 6/8

Wingspan: 78

Overview

Hanson played in 50 career games for the Ducks, starting 49 times. He’s proven to be someone Oregon can rely on and a true leader amongst his teammates. The 6-foot-5, 295-pound center shows lateral agility, experience, pass protection and a raw athleticism in zone-blocking schemes. 

At Oregon, Hanson was named AP Pac-12 All-Conference second team during his junior and senior year. The Ducks offensive line, which included Hanson, was named the best o-line in college football, according to Pro Football Focus. 

Hanson received an invite to the East-West Shrine Bowl but elected to begin his preparation for the 2020 NFL Combine instead. He will be a good fit for an NFL offense that uses zone runs and screen passes. 

Draft projections

Hanson was initially projected to be a second or third-round pick in April’s draft. Most mock drafts now show him as a fourth-round selection.  

Strengths

- Snapping with the quarterback under center 
- Quick hands
- Leadership, good communication with teammates

Weaknesses

- Snapping with the quarterback under center 
- Lack of side-to-side mobility 
- Heavy-footed 

Social media workouts

Hanson has been working out alongside Ducks offensive lineman Shane Lemieux in Chandler, Arizona at OL Performance, the research and developmental partner of the NFL. 



NFL Combine profile: Oregon WR Juwan Johnson

NFL Combine profile: Oregon WR Juwan Johnson

Juwan Johnson

Position: Wide receiver 
Year: Grad transfer
Hometown: Glassboro, New Jersey

Measurables: 

Height: 6’4

Weight: 230 pounds

Hand: 10 4/8"

Arm: 34 2/8

Wingspan: 81 5/8

Overview

Oregon wide receiver Juwan Johnson walked off the field on New Years Day a two-time Rose Bowl Champion.

The graduate transfer from Penn State used up his final year of eligibility this past season in Eugene with 30 receptions for 467 yards and four touchdowns. At Penn State, Johnson accumulated 1,053 yards receiving and two touchdowns.

The 6-foot-4, 231-pound receiver recently accepted an invitation to the East-West Shrine Bowl, where he garnered attention from Giants and Chiefs scouts following practices.

Draft projections

Mock drafts predict Johnson will go as early as the sixth round to undrafted. He’s most likely to hear his name called Day 3 of April’s NFL Draft.

Strengths

- Large body frame for shielding defenders
- Experience
- Presents a size mismatch for opposing teams
- Nifty route-running ability

Weaknesses

- Long speed
- Needs to continue developing skillset

Social media workouts

Johnson’s posted a few photos and videos from his workouts to social media recently, including one with former Giants quarterback Eli Manning.

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Receptions, no stats

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Durag, no waves

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NFL Combine profile: Oregon TE Jacob Breeland

NFL Combine profile: Oregon TE Jacob Breeland

Jacob Breeland

Position: Tight end
Year: Redshirt senior
Hometown: Mission Viejo, California

Measurables: 

Height: 6’4 7/8" 

Weight: 252 

Hand: 9 7/8"

Arm: 32 5/8

Wingspan: 78 1/8

Overview

Breeland was primed for a breakout season in 2019, but the Ducks leading pass catcher suffered a knee injury against Colorado which prematurely ended his senior campaign. He finished with a career-high 26 receptions for 405 yards and six touchdowns.

The 6-foot-5, 250-pounder was named to the Phil Steele Pac-12 All-Conference third team, Coaches Pac-12 All-Conference honorable mention and Pac-12 All-Academic honorable mention during his sophomore year.

Draft projections

Breeland was projected as a first round pick prior to his injury, but has not been featured in mock drafts since.

NFL comparison:

Jake McGee

Strengths

- Vertical receiving threat
- Ball skills
- Flexibility

Weaknesses

- Athleticism
- Ineffective blocker
- Return from injury a concern

Please note: Breeland is not expected to workout at the NFL Combine due to his recovery from a torn left anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus. James Crepea of The Oregonian reported that Breeland has an estimated two months of recovery time before he returns to the field. 

Social media workouts

Breeland hired agent Priority Sports to represent him as he prepares for the NFL Draft.

Report: Former Oregon LB Troy Dye played multiple games with torn meniscus

Report: Former Oregon LB Troy Dye played multiple games with torn meniscus

Troy Dye, the Oregon Ducks leading tackler and former defensive captain, just proved he's not just mentally tough, but physically tough too. 

After suffering a broken thumb vs. Washington, in which he had it put in a cast, then broke the cast and finished the game with all while blood trickled down his arm in a post-game interview, James Crepea of The Oregonian revealed Dye also played with torn meniscus in the Rose Bowl.

Teammate Jordon Scott, however, says Dye actually had the meniscus injury for more than a game.

“Last 4-5*,” Scott corrected.

That means Dye could have been playing with the torn meniscus dating back to early November. This might provide some explanation for why Dye pulled out of the Senior Bowl a week before the event.

Despite his pain, Dye never missed a practice at Oregon and was available during open periods of practice leading up to the Rose Bowl. 

As a four-year starter, Dye helped take a 4-8 team in 2016, that was without a bowl game, to a 12-2 season his senior year, which included a Pac-12 Championship and Rose Bowl victory. Dye finished his 2019 campaign with 84 tackles, 2.5 sacks, two interceptions and two forced fumbles. 

Dye is anticipated to be a Day 2 selection in the NFL Draft come April. Whether he will be able to participate in the NFL Combine and take part in any on-field drills or tests this week, remains unknown. 

Justin Herbert aiming to shed same pre-draft labels as Marcus Mariota

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Justin Herbert aiming to shed same pre-draft labels as Marcus Mariota

INDIANAPOLIS – Something struck me during the latest Talkin’ Seahawks Podcast while Bleacher Report’s senior NFL Draft analyst Matt Miller was breaking down Justin Herbert.

Among the knocks against Herbert includes a sentiment that the former Oregon QB might not be vocal enough to lead an NFL offense. That’s a large part of the conversation surrounding Herbert this week at the NFL Combine.

“He’s got to go in and prove that he’s the type of leader that teams want,” Miller told NBC Sports Northwest. “Those are the knocks that you hear about him, that he’s kind of quiet and might be a little reserved. You don’t have to be Baker Mayfield, but you have to be a leader at quarterback. I think he has to answer those questions.”

That sounds awfully similar to what Marcus Mariota’s critics said about him during the pre-draft process back in 2015. Remember Mariota was also thought by some to be too quiet to warrant a top five pick, especially when compared to the gregarious Jameis Winston.

Mariota ended up going No. 2 overall and quickly became the beloved leader of the Tennessee Titans. He ultimately faltered, was replaced by Ryan Tannehill in 2019 and now faces an uncertain future, but all of that resulted because he failed to get the job done from a physical standpoint.

And yet here we are having the same conversations about another Ducks signal caller. They will continue as Herbert leaned into the criticism during his Combine press conference.

“When I showed up (at Oregon), I was shy and didn’t want to step on anyone’s toes, and the quarterback can’t be that,” Herbert said. “To be a successful team, you have to have a quarterback that’s himself. He’s got to be genuine and real, and he needs to demand from his offense, from the team, what he needs to get out of them. I’ve done a better job of being vocal, stepping up and stepping out of my comfort zone.”

Herbert is coming off of a fantastic senior season in 2019 where he posted 3,471 yards, 32 touchdowns and just six interceptions. He also impressed as a runner with four additional scores on the ground. Herbert led Oregon to a 12-2 season that culminated in a Rose Bowl victory against Wisconsin.

He carried that momentum into a successful week down in Mobile, Ala., back in January.

“When I watched him at the Senior Bowl, I watched him interact with guys. I watched guys come up to him,” NFL Network’s Charles Davis told NBC Sports Northwest. “I think (the criticisms) might be a little overblown. It feels like it’s not as bad as many people think.

“Quiet people can be competitors, too.”

Herbert measured in at 6-foot-6, 236 pounds with 10-inch hands. He’s got all the size and physical tools to be a franchise quarterback, which is why he’s projected to be a top-10 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. That doesn’t change the fact that teams will grill him during interviews on his capacity as a leader.

“I’m a different person,” Herbert told reporters. “I think the kid that showed up at the University of Oregon isn’t me anymore. There are aspects of my game that have changed. I’ve become more vocal. I’ve become more outgoing and there are things you have to do to be a quarterback and the way a quarterback carries himself. I think I’ve done a great job of becoming that over these past four years.”

Herbert’s progress is notable, and all that ultimately matters is that he has the confidence to get the job done in the NFL. He said he hasn’t spoken with Mariota during the pre-draft process but the two have established a friendship in recent years.

Of note, between Mariota and any other quarterback prospect who once carried the label of being “too quiet,” Davis hasn’t seen one fail in the NFL for that reason.

“I’ve never seen that, and I’ve never felt that way about head coaches, but they get that, too. Remember Tony Dungy, his critics said he didn’t have the fire to win the big one,” Davis said.

The more legitimate questions about Herbert pertain to his transition to a pro-style offense. Herbert, as well as most other QB prospects for that matter, didn’t operate in a huddle or take snaps from under center in college.

But again, Herbert remains confident in his NFL readiness.

“I think the (Oregon) offense did a great job of preparing us for the NFL, and a lot of stuff fell on me to flip protections (and) to change runs,” Herbert said.

The former Duck figures to be the top QB prospect working out this week in Indianapolis. Joe Burrow announced that he won’t be throwing at the Combine, and Tua Tagovailoa is still recovering from a hip injury. That gives Herbert a prime opportunity to steal headlines and cement himself as the third quarterback on draft boards.

“I want to come out here and I want to do everything, have fun, get better, learn,” Herbert said. “I think it’s all about the long haul so anything I can do to extend my game is what I’m going to do.”

How and when to watch the Oregon Ducks at the NFL Combine

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How and when to watch the Oregon Ducks at the NFL Combine

A record-tying seven former Oregon standouts will take part in this week’s 2020 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. The seven Oregon participants equal the program’s most set three other times in 2007, 2012 and 2015.

[RELATED]: Justin Herbert wants to prove he's a competitor at NFL Scouting Combine

A program record six offensive players will represent Oregon over the first part of the week, highlighted by Rose Bowl MVP and projected first round QB Justin Herbert. The six offensive players is tied for the fourth most from one program at this year’s event. Oregon is also one of four programs with three or more offensive linemen at the combine.

HOW TO WATCH

The NFL Network and NFL.com are providing live coverage of on-field drills Thursday, February 27 to Sunday, March 1. The coverage will begin at 1 p.m. PT on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. on Sunday.

OREGON PARTICIPANT DETAILS & SCHEDULE

Name                                       On-Field Day          Pos.                 Jersey #                  Group #
Jacob Breeland                       Thursday                   TE                     TE02                           1
Justin Herbert                         Thursday                   QB                    QB07                          2

Juwan Johnson                        Thursday                   WR                   WO31                         3

Jake Hanson                             Friday                        OL                     OL17                          4

Shane Lemieux                        Friday                        OL                     OL28                          5

Calvin Throckmorton              Friday                        OL                     OL48                          5

Troy Dye                                   Saturday                    LB                     LB14                           9

Sunday, February 23

·         TE Jacob Breeland – Arrive in Indianapolis, orientation and interviews

·         QB Justin Herbert – Arrive in Indianapolis, orientation and interviews

·         WR Juwan Johnson – Arrive in Indianapolis, orientation and interviews

Monday, February 24

·         TE Jacob Breeland – Measurements, medical pre-exam, x-rays, orientation and interviews

·         QB Justin Herbert - Measurements, medical pre-exam, x-rays, orientation and interviews

·         WR Juwan Johnson - Measurements, medical pre-exam, x-rays, orientation and interviews

·         OL Jake Hanson – Arrive in Indianapolis, x-rays, orientation and interviews

·         OL Shane Lemieux – Arrive in Indianapolis, x-rays, orientation and interviews

·         OL Calvin Throckmorton - Arrive in Indianapolis, x-rays, orientation and interviews

Tuesday, February 25

·         TE Jacob Breeland – Media interviews, medical examinations, testing and interviews

·         QB Justin Herbert – Media interviews, medical examinations, testing and interviews

·         WR Juwan Johnson - Media interviews, medical examinations, testing and interviews

·         OL  Jake Hanson – Measurements, medical pre-exam, orientation and interviews

·         OL Shane Lemieux - Measurements, medical pre-exam, orientation and interviews

·         OL Calvin Throckmorton - Measurements, medical pre-exam, orientation and interviews

·         LB Troy Dye – Arrive in Indianapolis, x-rays, orientation and interviews

Wednesday, February 26

·         TE Jacob Breeland – Bench press (2:30 p.m.), psychological testing, NFLPA meeting and interviews

·         QB Justin Herbert – Bench press (12:30 p.m.), psychological testing, NFLPA meeting and interviews

·         WR Juwan Johnson – Bench press (12:30 or 1:30 p.m.), psychological testing, NFLPA meeting and interviews

·         OL Jake Hanson - Media interviews, medical examinations, testing and interviews

·         OL Shane Lemieux - Media interviews, medical examinations, testing and interviews

·         OL Calvin Throckmorton – Media interviews, medical examinations, testing and interviews

·         OL Troy Dye - Measurements, medical pre-exam, orientation and interviews

Thursday, February 27

·         TE Jacob Breeland – Will not participate in on-field drills.

·         QB Justin Herbert – On-field drills (Vert/Broad Jump – 2 p.m., 40-yard dash – 2:30 p.m., Position Drills – 3:30 p.m., 3-Cone/Shuttle – 5 p.m.)

·         WR Juwan Johnson – On-field drills (Vert/Broad Jump – 3:30 p.m., 40-yard dash – 5 p.m., Position Drills – 6 p.m., 3-Cone/Shuttle – 7:30 p.m.)

·         OL Jake Hanson – Bench press (12:30 or 1:30 p.m.), psychological testing, NFLPA meeting and interviews

·         OL Shane Lemieux – Bench press (12:30 or 1:30 p.m.), psychological testing, NFLPA meeting and interviews

·         OL Calvin Throckmorton – Bench press (12:30 or 1:30 p.m.), psychological testing, NFLPA meeting and interviews

·         LB Troy Dye – Media interviews, medical examinations, testing and interviews

Friday, February 28

·         Jake Hanson – On-field drills (40-yard dash – 1 p.m., Position Drills – 1:30 p.m., Vert/Broad Jump – 2:30 p.m., 3-Cone/Shuttle – 3:30 p.m.)

·         OL Shane Lemieux – On-field drills (Vert/Broad Jump – 2 p.m., 40-yard dash – 2:30 p.m., Position Drills – 3:30 p.m., 3-Cone/Shuttle – 4:30 p.m.)

·         OL Calvin Throckmorton – On-field drills (Vert/Broad Jump – 2 p.m., 40-yard dash – 2:30 p.m., Position Drills – 3:30 p.m., 3-Cone/Shuttle – 4:30 p.m.)

·         LB Troy Dye – Bench press (2:30 p.m.), psychological testing, NFLPA meeting and interviews

Saturday, February 29

·         LB Troy Dye – On-field drills (Vert/Broad Jump – 3:30 p.m., 40-yard dash – 4:30 p.m., Position Drills – 5:30 p.m., 3-Cone/Shuttle – 6:30 p.m.)

Ducks, Dana Altman hopeful for N'Faly Dante's return vs. Oregon State on Thursday

Ducks, Dana Altman hopeful for N'Faly Dante's return vs. Oregon State on Thursday

Good news coming out of Eugene on Tuesday that Ducks fans have been waiting to hear: Oregon men’s basketball center N’Faly Dante is eyeing his return to the court.

His return could come as soon as Thursday against visiting Oregon State in chapter two of this season's Civil War series.

Oregon head coach Dana Altman and senior point guard Payton Pritchard met with members of the media on Tuesday at Matthew Knight Arena: 

Dante was seen moving around and in warm up gear before tipping off against the Arizona Wildcats last Saturday. Dante did not play in the game.

The 6-foot-11 center from Bamako, Mali has been battling knee tendinitis. The last game he played for Oregon was back on Jan. 8 against the University of Washington up in Seattle, WA. In the nine appearances for the Ducks, he averaged 6.2 points and 2.7 rebounds and totaled six blocks. While those numbers seem small, the big man just needs time and minutes. 

He is very athletic.

In their first Civil War meeting, the Ducks had trouble getting into the paint from any position on the court: guards, bigs, anything. Pritchard talked about it after the game. Oregon State's Kylor Kelley, the 7-foot senior forward, recorded 14 points, seven rebounds and two blocks. Having Dante on the court, with his sheer size and athleticism alone, would be a dominating presence for the Ducks.