By Joseph Beyda
Jarek Lancaster, Inside Linebacker
Alter ego: “That special someone.” After leading the Cardinal in tackles in 2011 following the injury to Shayne Skov, Lancaster settled into a backup role but anchored all four Stanford special teams units.
CBSSports.com projection: n/a
Cardinal career: With 54 games of experience under his belt, Lancaster is quietly one of Stanford’s most experienced defenders. He got his feet wet on special teams in 2010, and after Skov went down in 2011, Lancaster and A.J. Tarpley stepped up as the Cardinal front seven continued to establish its dominance en route to a Fiesta Bowl berth. Lancaster’s 70 tackles that year would lead Stanford even though he only started the last 10 games, but when Skov returned the next summer, Tarpley had gained the edge — and the starting job.
How did Lancaster respond? To call him a continual presence for the Cardinal would be an understatement; he finished his career by playing in each and every game since his Stanford debut four years ago. And as a starter on all four of the Card’s special teams units, he mastered the skills that could make him a role player in the NFL.
Pro stock: Lancaster isn’t getting very much attention, especially since he’s overshadowed by the other Cardinal linebackers (Skov and Trent Murphy) in his draft class. But he did participate in Stanford’s pro day, running a 4.75 40-yard dash (two-tenths better than Skov’s reported time) before working out at the 49ers’ local pro day as well as at a smaller workout for Skov attended by scouts from 10 pro teams. Maybe that has given Lancaster a chance to show the NFL what it wants to see, so don’t count him out as a free agent signee after the draft — especially given his special teams experience.
Highlight: Lancaster helped drag down Marcus Mariota in the third quarter of Stanford’s 26-20 win against No. 3 Oregon last year, and dove on the football as the Cardinal rolled to a big lead against the Ducks. Mariota was hurt on the play.
Contact Joseph Beyda at jbeyda ‘at’ stanford.edu.