California defensive back Khari Vanderbilt said he knows this off-season is about competing against a tough opponent.
“In this kind of thing, you’re just wanting to see how much better you can get,” he said. “The little things you do, if you can move your numbers, that’s something that will make an impression on teams.”
Vanderbilt is scheduled to participate at Cal’s Pro Day on Friday with just that in mind.
Numbers will be paramount for Vanderbilt, a former San Jose City College player, who worked primarily on special teams and as a backup as a junior before becoming a starter in the Golden Bears’ secondary as a senior.
At 6-foot-1 and 195 pounds, he’s something of a mystery when it comes to probability of landing a spot on an NFL roster.
In this kind of thing, you’re just wanting to see how much better you can get. The little things you do, if you can move your numbers, that’s something that will make an impression on teams.
California DB Khari Vanderbilt
However, NFL prospects from Cal are not a mystery.
The Golden Bears had 29 players on active NFL rosters last season, according to the university. They had four taken in the 2016 draft, led by No. 1 overall pick quarterback Jared Goff of the Los Angeles Rams.
As a senior, Vanderbilt finished with 82 tackles, including 48 solo, four tackles for loss, one interception and one forced fumble. Against the Texas Longhorns, Vanderbilt had 11 tackles and a half-sack in the Golden Bears’ 50-43 win in Berkeley.
Vanderbilt has been training for Cal’s Pro Day and the NFL Draft at the APEC in west Fort Worth.
“Looking back on last season, I really want to improve in man coverage,” he said. “The way our defense was set up last year, though, I moved around and played in the box some at linebacker.
“I really like doing that and it’s something that if I can improve my speed and bulk up too, I feel like that can give me an edge in versatility. I know I can get to the ball fast, but speed is key at this level.”
The NFL Draft is April 27-29 in Philadelphia.