There is a green room in this man's future.
Watching the MNF Pre-season bout between Philly and New England last night, I was interested to see that a guy named Nate Ebner pick off a second quarter pass from Nick Foles. Ebner is a reserve DB / Special Teamer who played his college ball at the Ohio State University. He's expected to make the squad. Interestingly enough, Ebner was not even a starter in any year he played at tOSU. In fact, his senior year he racked up just 11 tackles. That's it. 11 tackles. I guess you just never know who is going to be a pro and who isn't.
Of course, that won't stop me from trying. Below is a Random List of who I think are UW's best pro prospects.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins - If he stays upright, ASJ is a potential "top of the draft" type of player. He has the physical dimensions, the hands and the speed that make him a multi-dimensional threat in the NFL. Given the emerging focus on versatile TEs in hybrid style pro offenses, ASJ is a rare find in the mold of a Rob Gronkowski or a Antonio Gates. He has the added bonus of having experience in Sark's pro-style offense which should make his transition that much easier. If he continues to develop his blocking and maintains the same work ethic he's shown, he's going to be in first round discussions once he declares - most likely after his Junior season.
Shaq Thompson - If ASJ is the #1 prospect, then Shaq is #1a. Without ever having played a down in college, Shaq has already demonstrated the physical skills and the football instincts that make him a top tier prospect for the NFL. He has the versatility to play close to the line as well to drop back and cause chaos in the secondary. Also a likely underclassmen declarer, Shaq is a first-round talent and squarely on the radar of pro scouts.
Kasen Williams - the former Parade National High School Player of the Year is a name already well-known in pro circles. Not unlike ASJ, Kasen has the physical dimensions that pros cannot ignore. 6'-1" and 225lbs are solid attributes that put him on the radar. Layer in the elite-level leaping capability, the pure speed and the soft hands and you can see why Kasen will draw attention as a top 2 or 3 rounder in the NFL Draft. Kasen still needs to show that he can block consistently and that he can stay healthy in order to continue to rise up the ranks. He will also be compared to other elite type WRs who will likely be coming out at the same time as him (e.g. Marqise Lee), so production on the field is going to be a big factor for him. Kasen is a natural leader with an excellent work ethic. As a true sophomore, he already is the leader of the receiving corps and he has a chance to put together a pretty special run over the next two to three seasons as he prepares for life as a pro.
Desmond Trufant - Desmond has a lot going for him when it comes to pro evaluations. He's got the prototypical size. He has clockable speed. He's got a recognized name. He's got four years of starting experience in a high level division against elite competition. On the flip side, Desmond also has to carry the burden of being associated with a couple of putrid defenses that, for the most part, hung him out to dry with bad schemes and poor pass rushes. Whether or not Desmond can get past that will depend on how he plays this year. He's going to be given the chance to be a game-breaker as DC Justin Wilcox moves him around the field and puts together blitz packages for him. Desmond is going to be playing on Sundays, but where he goes in the Draft could vary as much as any player out there based on how this season goes for him.
Danny Shelton - There is little doubt about Danny's potential. He's a beast of a man with tremendous athleticism for his size. That simply cannot be taught. But for him to take the step into "top of the draft" status, Danny needs to continue to develop along the trajectory that he is on. As a one tech, he's already demonstrated the ability to hold the line at the point of attack and to consume space. Can he continue to develop his technique and become an inside pass rush threat? Can he develop the versatility to play the three tech in a different scheme? Can he develop the stamina to be on the field every play? These are the questions that surround the true sophomore and their answers will impact his future as a pro prospect. The good news is that he is young and he has some great coaches surrounding him. The future is bright for him.
As I put this list together, I was encouraged to see a plethora of names with legit pro potential get on to the list. In fact, it was difficult for me to whittle the list down to a top 5 that excludes both Parker and Price. I'm curious who you think our best pro prospects are and if you think that there are any "Nate Ebner's" on the roster.