Tampering with the Washington Huskies’ defense- is that something we really want to do? Hell yes; we’re fans, we’d tamper with everything if we could. I’m looking at this exercise in "drafting" an opposing defensive player the same way that USA Basketball (should) assemble their roster: We have enough scorers and ball handlers, we need to add a quality roll player who can contribute without disturbing the chemistry. Former San Antonio Spurs’ dirty-work specialist Bruce Bowen has unfortunately used up all of his college eligibility, so we must look elsewhere.
Let’s use the same ground rules that Dawg(Pound)Father Chris Landon laid out in his Day 26 countdown:
First, let's just assume that other programs would never let their superstars reach the free agent market. Thus, no Cameron Smiths, Lowell Lotuleleis, or Adoree Jacksons qualify for this debate. (Specifically: No First-Team All Conference players)
Second, the scope of this discussion needs to be just defensive players who wouldn't be counted on to participate in special teams. Finally, no one-and-dones. Let's keep the discussion focused on players who would give UW at least two seasons.
So, here are the candidates:
LB, Derek McCartney, Colorado, Jr.
While UW is stacked on defense, the only real unknown revolves around the outside linebackers and pass rush. McCartney has 9.5 career sacks playing as a hybrid defensive end/outside linebacker. Last season as a sophomore he tallied five sacks and a team-high 16 QB hurries. Even though I expect UW to find plenty of ways to get after the QB in 2016, another quality pass rusher to rotate into the mix would only help matters.
Adding in the OKG factor, some fans might not like that McCartney skipped the first two practices of Colorado’s spring camp. That is, until you find out he did so because he was donating bone marrow to a cancer patient.
CB, Alijah Holder, Stanford, So.
The Huskies have three very good corners, and the guys behind them look promising as well, but adding a 6’2" cornerback with 4.4 speed would allow another player to redshirt and give the Dawgs an even deeper rotation on the back end. Holder’s six passes-defensed last season would have tied him for third on the Huskies with Darren Gardenhire.
Holder’s 6’2" size is something that will be absent in 2017 with the departure of Kevin King. This move looks more toward next season when the secondary could lose three players.
DE, Hercules Mata'afa, Washington State, So.
Back to pass rush, because it really is the most logical area to seek new talent. At 6’2" and nearly 260 lbs, Mata’afa is a near Joe Mathis-clone. If one Joe Mathis is good, then a pair of them would have to be -I don't know- twice as good? Would WSU give up their best defensive player? Well, all of the guys on this list (or Landon’s list for that matter) are guys that their teams consider extremely valuable players. Since Mata’afa is not a first team All-Conference player, he is up for grabs. I love his motor.
LB, Derek McCartney, Colorado
It’s pretty hard to find someone to add to this defense when we’re not picking All-Conference First-Team type talent. McCartney is my guy because I like good players from bad teams. They excel despite the extra attention they receive. McCartney is the grandson of Colorado coaching legend Bill McCartney, and that’s another characteristic that shows up in good players, football lineage. The 6’3" 240-pounder would fit in well to really any defensive scheme with his combination of smarts and skill.