Washington DE/OLB Hau'oli Kikaha has been selected 44th overall in the 2nd round by the New Orleans Saints. Kikaha - the nation's leading sack man last year and for the last two seasons overall - was projected to go in rounds 2 or 3 due to some lingering concerns over his 2 ACL injuries and questions about his speed, coverage skills and run defense, so this is roughly where we expected him to be picked. His pass-rushing skills clearly intrigued the Saints enough to offset any other concerns.
Originally committed to Brigham Young, the 3-star prospect from Kahuku, HI flipped to Washington in January of 2010. He was known as Hau'oli Jamora back then, and was impressive enough in fall camp to earn playing time right away, appearing in all 13 games of his true freshman season and starting the final 7 at DE tallying 49 tackles, 8 TFL and 3 sacks. A knee injury in game 4 of 2011 knocked him out for the remainder of the year, and he re-injured that knee the following fall camp to miss all of 2012. Fans weren't sure what to expect, or even if he'd be able to play again, but he returned better than ever and with a new last name as he adopted the surname "Kikaha" to honor his mother's side of the family. He finished 2013 with 13 sacks, 15.5 TFL and 70 tackles overall to earn 2nd team All Pac-12 honors. Last year he re-wrote the Husky record books for sacks both for a single-season (19) and career (36). Those 19 sacks led the nation, and he was selected a 1st team All-American by the AP, ESPN, FWAA and others, 1st team All Pac-12 and a finalist for the Lombardi, Butkas, Lott, Hendricks and Bednarik awards. He had a 6th season of eligibility available to him but he opted to enter the draft.