Jordan Beck is making the most impact so far this preseason of any of the four former Cal Poly football players currently in NFL training camps.
Beck, a backup middle linebacker for the Atlanta Falcons, has recorded five tackles in two games. He also had a pair of stops on special teams Aug. 11 in a 26-23 win over New England before making his mark with four solo tackles in a 38-10 loss Aug. 19 at Green Bay.
“I was able to get a few big hits,” Beck said on the Falcons’ Web site of the game against New England, in which he made the tackle on the opening kickoff. “Our defense (played) well and it was just an awesome game. I think our linebacker core will be pretty deep this year.”
Beck was the 90th overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft. He was challenging for a starting role last summer before suffering a fractured foot in the fourth game of the preseason.
Like Beck, pass-rushing outside linebacker Chris Gocong has dealt with injuries during his rookie season. He has not played in a preseason game for the Philadelphia Eagles, who chose him 71st overall in April, because of a stinger and bruised shoulder suffered in July.
“I do stretches and a lot of rehab to try to get my shoulder firing again,” Gocong told the Delaware County Daily Times on Aug. 21. “I’ve never been injured before. I’ve never been on the sidelines so it’s definitely really frustrating.”
Frustrating because like Beck, Gocong may have lost the chance to compete for a starting job as a rookie.
Both Beck and Gocong won the Buck Buchanan Award as the top defensive player in Division I-AA following their senior seasons at Cal Poly.
Gocong, who set a division record with 23.5 sacks last year, is shifting from a defensive end in college to strong side linebacker in the NFL. He is currently third on the Eagles’ depth chart.
Former Cal Poly cornerback David “Doc” Richardson is entering his third season with the Jacksonville Jaguars as the team’s third-string free safety. He had two assisted tackles Aug. 12 in a 31-26 win at Miami and one solo tackle Aug. 19 in a 17-10 loss to Carolina.
Richardson was undrafted following the 2004 season, but has played nine regular-season games the past two years. He has six career tackles and one pass defensed.
Former Cal Poly wide receiver Adam Herzing has not caught a pass for the Pittsburgh Steelers this preseason. He is listed 11th on the team’s depth chart.
Herzing was undrafted following the 2002 season and is with his fourth NFL team. He caught 14 passes for 220 yards and a touchdown for the Frankfurt Galaxy in NFL Europe in 2005.
Teams must cut their rosters to 65 players by Aug. 29 and to the final 53 players by Sept. 2.