The Washington Huskies under Chris Petersen have had an exemplary NFL draft record. Most analyses focus on how well Washington has been able to convert 3-star recruits into first, second, or third-round draft picks. But the Huskies were third behind only Alabama and Ohio State in total players drafted in 2019. There have been six Washington first-round picks over the past five NFL drafts and an additional eight second-rounders. Today, we’re going to look forward to the 2020 NFL draft (or beyond) and try to identify who will be the next Husky taken in the first round.
Sr. OT Trey Adams
Last season, several outlets viewed Adams as a top-ten pick before his ACL tear and then back injury, which caused him to miss a combined 17 games. At 6’8 and 314 pounds, there’s no doubt that Adams has the physical frame to warrant a high draft pick. He was a first-team all-Pac-12 player in his sophomore year, which was also the last time he played an entire season—and he’s first-team all-preseason coming into 2019. If he plays up to expectations, Adams has an excellent chance to be the first Husky off the board given how starved the NFL is for offensive linemen the NFL right now.
Jr. TE Hunter Bryant
It’s no secret that the coaching staff is moving forward with the assumption that Bryant is playing his final season in a Husky uniform. Coach Petersen allowed Bryant to play in five games last season even though holding him out against say, Oregon State would’ve allowed him to preserve his redshirt with the new four-game rule. Bryant has averaged 17.2 yards per reception from the tight end position over his short Husky career. That’s essentially identical to what Oklahoma’s Marquise Brown did as Heisman winner and #1 overall pick Kyler Murray’s primary target before becoming a first-round pick at under 6’ tall. Evan Engram was selected 23rd overall by the Giants and it wouldn’t exactly be a surprise to see NFL teams view Bryant in the same mold.
Jr. CB Keith Taylor
Keith Taylor allowed a mere 0.51 yards per cover snap last season which leads returning Pac-12 cornerbacks. pic.twitter.com/nJu4ymNCO6— PFF College (@PFF_College) May 20, 2019
Taylor only got to start a few games last season, but when he did, he was one of the most effective corners in the Pac-12. Every outside starting corner during the Petersen/Lake era has gotten drafted and only Jordan Miller was worse than a second-round pick. Taylor would likely need a season comparable to what Byron Murphy had last year to vault himself into first-round territory but it can’t be completely ruled out. If Byron Murphy and Jordan Miller both have quality rookie seasons with the Cardinals and Falcons respectively, then it will only help to show why Taylor couldn’t get a full-time starting job as in UW’s loaded secondary room until his junior year.
Jr. QB Jacob Eason
There are a range of scenarios for Jacob Eason this season. At the lowest, he loses the starting job to Jake Haener over the final week of camp and never gets another shot at living up to his pedigree. On the more optimistic side of the spectrum, he unlocks a new aspect to the Husky offense and is able to have a season comparable to Jake Browning’s in 2016 (when he won Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year). The dynamic is slowly changing in the NFL with Kyler Murray and Baker Mayfield going #1 overall in back-to-back drafts but NFL teams still love themselves a guy who looks like an NFL quarterback. See: Daniel Jones. With Eason’s arm and frame he’ll tend to get the benefit of the doubt from NFL scouts, who think they can fix any problems they see once they get him in-house. If Eason has that truly transcendent year #1 with Washington, it wouldn’t be a shock to see him vault into the conversation with Herbert, Tua, and Fromm as first-round QB options.
Others Receiving Votes
Jr. RB Salvon Ahmed
If Ahmed puts up a Bryce Love-like season with 1,800+ yards from scrimmage including heavy usage as a receiving back, then it’s not crazy to think he could sneak into the last few picks of Round 1.
Jr. DL Levi Onwuzurike
I think there’s a decent chance that Onwuzurike leaves early after this season but right now I’m skeptical he could be disruptive enough to warrant first-round consideration. However, maybe the Shelton, Vea, Gaines pedigree helps his stock.
Sr. DB Myles Bryant
There’s a good chance Bryant is under consideration for Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year if Washington reaches their potential on defense, but I have a tough time thinking a player of his stature will get early draft consideration regardless of his college production level.
Who will be the next 1st round pick from the Washington Huskies?
This poll is closed
OT Trey Adams
TE Hunter Bryant
CB Keith Taylor
QB Jacob Eason