Going into Night One of the draft, the biggest question for UW fans was whether one of the talented defensive linemen would sneak into the back of the first round. DE Joe Tryon and DT Levi Onwuzurike were both rated as early second round picks by most draft experts, but with a premium on defensive linemen, it seemed possible that a team would want to grab one of them at the end of the first.
There was an uncharacteristic tension for the last few picks of the round. The Saints took Payton Turner from Houston at #28 to start a miniature run on defensive ends/edge rushers. Miami’s Greg Rousseau came off the board at #30 to Buffalo, and Jayson Oweh went from Penn State to Baltimore with the next pick.
Just as the first round was about to conclude, the world champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers finally called Joe Tryon’s name. Tryon’s decision to sit out the abbreviated 2020 season paid off with a first round selection and he will join former Husky Vita Vea on one of the most imposing defensive fronts in the league.
Onwuzurike and the other eligible Huskies likely to get drafted (namely, Elijah Molden and Keith Taylor) will have to come back on Day Two, but it has to be considered a success for UW to put another defensive linemen in the league on the first day of the draft.
· The Jets abruptly moved on from Sam Darnold and pivoted to Zach Wilson. If you only ever watched UW football games, it would be hard to imagine why anyone would take Wilson over Darnold. But hey, Wilson annihilated BYU’s JV schedule last year.
· The John Ross era did not go well in Cincinnati. Even so, the Bengals used a top 10 pick on another slightly undersized burner in Jamarr Chase. If they get the production out of Chase they hoped to get out of Ross, he will make Joe Burrow look very good.
· It took until the 7th pick for the Pac to get in on the action when Penei Sewell from Oregon went to the Lions. He will protect former Cal Bear Jared Goff. Pac-12 North heads to Motor City. Sewell was rated as high as the #2 overall prospects by some analysts. If he’s even close to that good, he’ll be a great deal for Detroit.
· If you hate Oregon and want Justin Herbert to struggle, you probably don’t like that the Chargers took a highly-regarded LT in the first round. Northwestern’s Rashawn Slater will protect the blindside for the Eugene native for the foreseeable future.
· The Pac got back on the board at 14 when USC’s Alijah Vera-Tucker went to the Jets, who traded up to get him. NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah loved the pick and thinks Vera-Tucker has skill and intangibles to make him a long term starter. Just like everyone always said, the Pac is the conference of offensive linemen. Hopefully Vera-Tucker will use his signing bonus to get a new webcam. While most players had a great at-home setup, the Vera-Tucker household appeared to be broadcasting in 15 pixels.
· Mac Jones’s deal with the devil continued. After playing with arguably the two best receivers, best running back, and best offensive line in college, Jones goes to the New England Patriots with the 15th pick. Jones seems like a decent guy, but it’s scientifically impossible to cheer for that combination.
· Didn’t believe me that the Alabama offense was loaded? When Pittsburgh took Najee Harris at #24, he became the sixth Crimson Tide player and fifth offensive player taken in the first round. Essentially, half the offense was a first round pick in this year’s draft. Holy hell.
· We finally got a Husky name check at #29, with Green Bay on the clock. Unfortunately, it was in the context of describing Kevin King as part of a defensive unit that struggled to make plays.