I’m on record as saying the Seahawks would be fortunate to have as many Huskies on their team as possible. I’m also on record as a huge know-nothing homer, so maybe they’re best not to listen to me. Anyway, with the 2017 NFL Draft in our rearview, here’s a breakdown on where all of our beloved Huskies will be calling home, at least for Training Camp, if not for many years beyond.
John Ross got us started by the Cincinnati Bengals picking him 9th overall in the first round. If the Seahawks couldn’t have him, I’m glad to see him in the AFC. Quite frankly, too many AFC teams would drop the ball on this, forcing a lot of Huskies into direct competition with the Seahawks. This is an awesome fit, though, for the Bengals. He gets to play opposite A.J. Green and will open up a lot for his partner in crime by opposing defenses game-planning against his speed. This could really further Green’s career, as he’s prone to foot injuries and will likely be slowed further due to age. Green could become a top possession receiver with Ross blowing out coverages over the top.
No more Huskies taken until the second round, where three guys were selected with the top 11 picks on Day 2. Kevin King went to Green Bay, two spots above where Seattle picked. Obviously, he wasn’t a top priority for the Seahawks, otherwise they would’ve made more of an effort to pick him at 26 or again at 31 when they traded down. It’s pretty clear, in hindsight, that the Seahawks had Malik McDowell targeted all along, and King was more of a backup pick. I hope this doesn’t bite them in the ass, as I could easily see King being a Pro Bowl player for years to come, while McDowell feels like more of a longshot (with, admittedly, a higher upside if he reaches his full potential).
Then, to make matters worse, one pick after the Seahawks took McDowell, the Arizona Cardinals moved up to nab Budda Baker. Great, so we get to play against Budda twice a year. They are going to LOVE him in Arizona. I think I’m more jealous of this pick than even the King one, as after Ross, Budda was a close second as far as my favorite Huskies are concerned. That guy just has a nose for the ball, a nose for making a big play, and a nose for beating the shit out of guys. What that means for his long-term health is another issue, but I wouldn’t have let that stop me from taking him high in this draft.
Then, with the 43rd overall selection, the Eagles took Sidney Jones, who had the achilles injury (and thus MIGHT start the season out on the PUP list), but figures to be a long-term lockdown corner for many years to come. Part of me hoped he would’ve dropped a little further, with the Seahawks either landing him at 58, or packaging 58 with another pick to move up into the low 50s or high 40s, but alas, at 43, that’s probably a lot more than the Seahawks were willing to move. Also, aside from the injury issue this year, my main concern with Jones is that he primarily played the Richard Sherman side of the field, so how would he take to playing opposite? I’m pretty sure he would’ve been fine, but you never know.
From there, a pretty long gap without another Husky taken. As time went on, and Friday moved into Saturday, more and more people were questioning the decision of Elijah Qualls coming out a year early. He eventually fell all the way to pick # 214, also belonging to the Eagles. I attribute a little bit of this to being wary after Danny Shelton really hasn’t done much of anything of impact with the Cleveland Browns since he was picked in the first round. Either way, I think they got a great guy at a tremendous value. He tops out as a Sam Adams type player if he can put it all together. Either way, the Eagles didn’t risk much by using a late 6th round pick.
That’s it for the Husky draft picks. Not too shabby, though. Five guys, four of them on defense. I’d expect this to be a trend going forward as Chris Petersen keeps reloading this team with top talent.
In the undrafted sector, tight end Darrell Daniels signed with the Colts. Even without knowing their situation at tight end, he would seem like a longshot. He’ll really, I would think, have to make his hay by improving his blocking a great deal, as I think he’s a sneaky good offensive weapon down field.
Jake Eldrenkamp, left guard who really developed into a nice interior lineman by his senior season, signed with the L.A. Rams. He’s got good size and athleticism and it wouldn’t shock me to see him get stashed on the practice squad for them and maybe make a bigger impact in his second season, if everything breaks right.
Perhaps the biggest shock of this whole thing is Deontae Cooper, the oft-injured running back and HUGE fan favorite, who ended up transferring to San Jose State in his final season in 2016 (part Fresh Start, part being blocked out by the younger UW running backs), I guess is getting an invite to Training Camp with the Oakland Raiders? I’m not sure, exactly, what the deal is, as news is pretty spotty.
Safety Brandon Beaver (who I totally forgot was a senior last year) is getting a shot with Budda Baker’s Arizona Cardinals, so that’ll be interesting. Beaver had some nice impact plays last year, but obviously would be considered a pretty big longshot.
Joe Mathis, defensive end, who missed out on the back-half of his final Husky season due to a foot injury, also went undrafted, much to the chagrin of everyone who saw how impactful he was for the Dawgs. He signed with the Houston Texans, to either be an end or an outside linebacker. Either way, I think they’ve got a good one on their hands. That is a STEAL, especially for a team looking for a cheap way to add some pass rush depth. I hope he really knocks their socks off in Training Camp, because I could see him – over the rest of the undrafted Huskies – having the biggest impact right away.