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Cardinal hopefuls prepare for NFL Draft

With the NFL Draft just weeks away, here's a look at The Farm's best and brightest looking to bring their game to the next level...

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Plenty of scouts and NFL representatives were on hand for Stanford's pro day last month. Among the most recognizable were newly minted San Francisco 49ers head coach Chip Kelly and Oakland Raiders offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave.

"When you come to Stanford, you know you're going to get a tough, smart kid who's been well-coached for four years," NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said. "And they're not always 5-star players, but they come here and they get coached up and you know what you get when you draft a Stanford kid. And I think there's some power to that."

All eyes were of course fixated on quarterback Kevin Hogan, who ended the day with a bit of an uneven performance. His script featured 60 passes, and his stock likely rose after the help he received on the field from 6-foot-3 wide receiver Devon Cajuste. The quarterback is projected to be a late-round selection, Mayock chimed in with his thoughts on the 23-year-old, and how hard he's been working.

"He's obviously been working really hard at it," Mayock said at the conclusion of Hogan's showcase. "It was scripted really well to kind of show off what he could do, especially some of the out-breaking routes or seams."

Cajuste, who many believe could transform into a flex tight end in the NFL, ran his 40-yard dash in 4.57 seconds, an improvement from the 4.62 he posted at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. Cajuste, 23, said he wasn't sure what changed, but thought perhaps the music he was listening to when he took the field might have helped a bit.

"I don't know what song was on, but I just felt more juiced," he said. "I then came out and just popped it. And then to hear the time, I was just like, 'Whoa.' Like, completely blessed."

He's spent five years on The Farm, and feels the tweener label that has been attached to him might help him in the long run.

"I think it's awesome," he said. "Because I'm not limited to just being a wide receiver and I'm not limited to just being a tight end. And the fact that they look at me to do both, I think that adds value."

Hogan agrees, and thinks wherever Cajuste ends up he'll serve as an asset. In multiple positions.

"He could play whatever he wanted," Hogan said. "He could play tight end, receiver, h-back. I mean, he's just so talented. He's a physical specimen... He's going to be a heck-of-an asset for NFL teams.

Mayock had yet to come to a solid conclusion by the end of Cajuste's showcase, but was intrigued by what he saw.

"I think Cajuste is an interesting guy to try to figure out," he said. "And what kind of role he could be in the NFL?"

In total, 14 Cardinal players showcased their talent during Stanford's pro day, including Outland Trophy winner Joshua Garnett, widely considered a top-rated guard. Mayock had a rather strong opinion to share on Garnett.

"Worse-case scenario I think he's a second-round pick and a starter Day 1," Mayock said.

The 6-foot-4 guard played most of the Rose Bowl championship season at a weight of 320 pounds, but he showed up for pro day weighing in at 313. The changes to his body have impacted his play, he said.

"I don't have to be worried about school, and I don't have to be worried about all the little distractions," Garnett said. "I should be able to focus on myself. I can definitely tell the difference in my body."

On the other side of the ball, defensive linemen Aziz Shittu and Brennan Scarlett were on hand. It was Scarlett's first, and perhaps only, chance to showcase his talent, as he didn't receive an invite to the combine. The NFL's elite might not have paid notice to Scarlett, but once again, Mayock had done his homework, and had some thoughts to share on the 6-foot-4, 269-pounder.

"I'd seen him on tape," Mayock said. "I was kind of intrigued by him and I wanted to see him today. I thought he moved well and he's another draftable guy that nobody talked about."

Inside linebacker Blake Martinez was of course also on hand. The 22-year-old recorded 141 tackles as a senior, and stepped in for a D-line drill at a moment's notice during an audible at the pro day.

"Obviously I would want some more practice before actually doing D-line stuff in the game -- maybe gain some weight, some PB&J's" Martinez said. "But yeah, it was fun."