The 2019 NFL Draft is officially in the past, as 256 of the best college football players were drafted this past week and now have new cities to call home. A great sight to always see is local players from Washington schools — including UW — accomplish their dreams of being drafted into the NFL. In UW’s case, there were eight players that were drafted, which was tied for the third most by any school in this year’s draft. After the draft, four more Huskies who were not drafted signed with teams as free agents as well.
The first Husky to go off the board was offensive tackle Kaleb Mcgary, who was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons with the 31st overall pick in the first round. McGary was a four year starter for the Huskies and before that, was a standout recruit from Fife High School — just ten minutes east of Tacoma. McGary was the heart of the UW offensive line for the past four years and will be missed in the trenches.
Next to be picked was cornerback Byron Murphy. Murphy was originally thought to be a sure first round pick, but fell to the 2nd pick of the 2nd round and was grabbed by the Arizona Cardinals. While he dealt with injuries throughout the 2017 season, he broke out as a star of UW’s “Death Row” defense in 2018 where he finished with four interceptions and thirteen pass deflections. Murphy was joined by two other defensive backs later in the draft — Taylor Rapp, who was drafted by the Rams, and Jordan Miller, who was picked up by the Falcons. The Huskies have become known for producing next level talent at the defensive back position, as with the addition of these three, there have now been six Husky DBs drafted in the last three years.
The other four Huskies to be drafted were linebacker Ben Burr-Kirven (picked by the Seahawks), running back Myles Gaskin, defensive tackle Greg Gaines, and tight end Drew Sample. Players who are not drafted can also be given opportunities by signing to teams as undrafted free agents. These players have long shots of making the final roster but some show enough flash to do so. The Huskies who signed after the draft were quarterback Jake Browning and two defensive linemen, Jaelen Johnson and Shane Bowman.
The Seahawks also had a busy weekend drafting the players who they believe will be key contributors and future starts of the organization. Going into draft week, the team only possessed four draft picks. But if you know general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll’s drafting style at all, then you knew that they were going to end up with more picks when the draft was all said and done.
After the trade of Frank Clark, which resulted in a first round pick from Kansas City, the team’s total was up to five picks. After trading down multiple times or trading future year’s picks, their final tally of draft choices was ten. With these ten picks, the team was able to fill big needs and can now develop these players into Super Bowl caliber players.
Their first pick of the night was defensive end LJ Collier out of Texas Christian University. Collier is hoped to fill the void left by Frank Clark and will have a prime opportunity to do so once the season begins. He was first team all Big 12 in 2018 and was also a participant in the annual Senior Bowl, which showcases the best seniors in the country.
One name you might be familiar with is DK Metcalf. Metcalf recently became very well known for his massive physique and extraordinary athleticism after a picture of him went viral on social media which showed his impressive build. The Seahawks saw that he was still available to pick in the 2nd round and took advantage of that opportunity by grabbing him with the 64th overall pick. With the news surrounding longtime Seahawk Doug Baldwin and the uncertainty of his playing future due to injury, it was important that they draft a possible replacement.
Overall, Pete Carroll was very happy with the draft class and is excited for what the future holds.
“This is this stage of filling up the roster and we are very much involved with what is coming up next, too, so we are not done,” Carroll said. “We’ve got work to do and we are excited about what’s coming up and you guys will see in time.’’