There are many NCAA schools riddled with NFL talent on their rosters. Each player has the sparkle in his eye and the hope of hearing his name called in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on April 27th. The reality is, not everyone can be selected during the 2017 NFL draft. Today, I break down the NFL talent from the University of Washington.
The Washington Huskies
The Huskies have nine prospects that have a chance to hear their name called during the 2017 NFL draft. Let’s take a more in-depth look at each player.
John Ross – WR
Weight: 188 lbs.
Before the NFL combine, John Ross was widely considered the third best receiver in this year’s draft. However, he ran the fastest “official” 40-yard dash ever (4.22), which left scouts salivating. Last season, Ross hauled in 81 receptions for 1,150 yards and 17 touchdowns.
A team in need of a possession receiver, who can double as a deep threat, should target John Ross. His strengths include insane footwork, a nightmare in the open field, and incredible straight-line speed. He will need to improve his overall strength and release off the line against more physical, bigger cornerbacks to have success in the NFL. Another concern is both knees. He had major surgeries on both knees and will likely be a long-term concern. Before the combine, many “draft experts” had Ross selected in the second round. While that is still a possibility, it is not likely. Look for Ross to be selected in the middle-late first round. Teams like the Washington Redskins (17th overall), Tennessee Titans (18th overall), and Seattle Seahawks (26th overall) are all possible landing spots for this receiver on draft night.
Player Comparison: DeSean Jackson
Don’t think he can play? Check the tape.
Budda Baker – FS
Weight: 195 lbs.
Outside of Malik Hooker, Budda Baker is viewed as the top free safety in this draft. After running a 4.50 40-yard dash, at the NFL combine, most “experts” had him rising in their mock drafts. He recorded 71 tackles and 2 interceptions in his final season as a Huskie. Baker plays with tremendous passion and explosiveness. Along with his smooth hips and backpedal, NFL scouts love his in-air ball skills, aggression, and how he finishes tackles. An NFC area scout told NFL.com
“I would leave him as a centerfielder and then roll him down over the slot if you needed too. He’s too small to cover tight ends, but he’s got great instincts in coverage which is why he should shine as a single-high.”
Budda makes plays all over the field.
Budda baker making a play out of the slot. Man if he was only 1 inch taller how great would he be lol pic.twitter.com/rZ6vGA3nLT
— Eliot Crist (@EliotCrist) March 21, 2017
While scouts love his ability to play against the pass, he also stacks up against the run.
Budda Baker was the biggest riser on my top-50 big board. He finished in the top-15. Tyrann Mathieu 2.0 pic.twitter.com/E3QnWADh8w
— J.R. (@JReidDraftScout) March 18, 2017
Budda Baker is projected to be an early-middle second-round selection. Teams like the New York Jets (39th overall), the Cincinnati Bengals (41st overall), and the Buffalo Bills (44th overall) could all benefit from this talented safety.
Player Comparison: D.J. Swearinger
Sidney Jones – CB
Weight: 185 lbs.
Sidney Jones was a 1st round prospect before he tore his Achilles nearly two weeks ago at Washington’s Pro Day. He tweeted out a promise a few days ago.
Surgery was great ✊?
The doctor said that I will for sure be playing this upcoming season ? #DontCountMeOut ?
— Sidney Jones IV (@SidneyJonesIV) March 21, 2017
One thing that cannot go unnoticed is how Jones only had 48 targets against him in 14 games (no attempts against Alabama). Before the injury, Sidney Jones was my favorite cornerback in this draft. He has a great feel for where the quarterback wants to go with the football.
— Philly Bleed Green (@phillybldgreen) March 3, 2017
Scouts love Jones for his insane competitiveness, top-notch eyes, and how well he sticks to a receiver throughout the route. In the NFL, he will need to improve lunging and reaching on stemmed routes. All in all, Jones has an incredibly high football IQ and pro bowl potential assuming he fully recovers from injury. Because of his injury, Jones will likely fall into the second round of the draft like Jaylon Smith (Notre Dame) a season ago. Teams like the San Fransisco 49ers (34th overall), the New Orleans Saints (42nd overall), and the Baltimore Ravens (47th overall) could all benefit from his talents, even if they have to wait a season. Jones is a wise investment for any team.
Player comparison: Marcus Peters
The Other Huskies
Kevin King (CB) – Early 3rd round (65th overall) – Cleveland Browns.
Elijah Qualls (DT) – Mid 3rd round (81st overall) – Washington Redskins.
Joe Mathis (DE) – Late 5th round (171st overall) – Buffalo Bills.
Jake Eldrenkamp (OG) – Early 7th round (222nd overall) – Jacksonville Jaguars.
Darrell Daniels (TE) – Late 7th round (252nd overall) – Denver Broncos.
Cameron Van Winkle (K) – Undrafted.