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Hansen enjoyed a remarkable ascent as an NFL prospect over the past few seasons, earning little attention as a high school recruit and initially signing with Idaho State. He opted to walk-on at Cal a year later, caught 19 passes for a 249 yards in his first season of eligibility with the Bears and despite Jared Goff leaving early for the NFL, Hansen exploded in 2016, catching 92 passes for 1,249 yards and 11 touchdowns to earn Second Team All-Pac-12 honors from league coaches. He initially wore jersey No. 25 but switched to No. 6 over his final two seasons at Berkley.
Hansen started and played in 11 of 12 games as a 2013 true freshman and recorded 45 receptions for 501 yards and three touchdowns for Idaho State. He sat out the 2014 season per NCAA transfer rules.
Though his statistics were certainly inflated by Sonny Dykes' up-tempo offense, the former head coach was confident that Hansen has a future in the NFL.
"Chad played a significant role in our offensive success last season and was certainly one of the top receivers in the nation," Dykes said following Hansen's announcement that he would forego his final year of eligibility and enter the 2017 draft. "He has worked hard to put himself in this position, and I know it wasn't an easy decision for him to make.
"We're certainly going to miss Chad, but I'm excited for him and this opportunity. He has a skill set that will translate well to the NFL."
STRENGTHS: Hansen sports a well-built frame for receiver with broad shoulders, long arms and a tapered middle. Hansen possesses enough acceleration and top-end speed to force cornerbacks to respect him on the deep ball and shows balance and burst out of his breaks to create separation, dropping his hips and making sharp cuts. His route-running savvy also shows up when fighting through press coverage, where he is consistent able to break free with a quick hesitation and effective hand slap. Hansen catches the ball cleanly and secures it in one fluid motion. He has long arms and impressive body control, including timing in his leaps, to win 50-50 balls, contorting in space and showing good core strength, competitiveness and focus to catch passes with defenders draped over him. Hansen is an alert, competitive blocker downfield. He has had no major injuries to this point in his career.
WEAKNESSES: Hansen lacks elite top-end speed to take the off of the defense. He can rack up yardage after the catch when hit in stride but does not possess the suddenness and agility to create on his own. He shows only average vision to set up blocks after the catch and does not run through enough arm tackles for a receiver of his size.
IN OUR VIEW: Hansen is a legitimate NFL prospect, possessing the size, route-running savvy and reliable hands to earn a Day Three draft pick. His production was certainly inflated by Cal's offense, however.