SPORT REPORT: A disappointing NFL draft for UW football

What is usually a busy weekend for Husky football players was unusually quiet for this year’s annual NFL draft. Only two players from the University of Washington’s 2020 roster were picked in the seven rounds of the draft. This is the smallest UW draft class since 2015 and, although this was not the strongest team over the past years, more players were still expected to be taken. However, several other players will get their shot in the NFL as undrafted free agents. 

Jacob Eason: Round 4, Indianapolis Colts

The first Husky off the board was quarterback Jacob Eason who — unexpectedly — had to wait until day three to be picked. Eason was a local product out of Lake Stevens and chose Georgia over the Huskies. After his sophomore season he decided to transfer home and play for UW where he spent only one season before declaring for the draft. 

Coming into the season, Eason was expected to be one of the first quarterbacks taken in this year’s draft. Yet, despite showing flashes of massive potential, his inconsistency resulted in a slip to the fourth round.

Even though this is seen as a disappointment, Indianapolis is the perfect place for Eason to develop into the quarterback he has the potential to be. We have seen several star quarterbacks begin their careers as backups sitting behind veterans with years of experience, and it’s here that Eason will have the opportunity to backup pro-bowler Philip Rivers for his rookie season and possibly longer. 

“I was really just sitting there waiting on a phone call. I had several great conversations with a number of teams, and the Colts were a team that I had more than a few great conversations with. So I was hoping that I might get a call from them,” Eason told reporters after being drafted. “I knew they had a couple picks in the second, I knew they had picks here and there and I was just being patient. When the opportunity came, they took the pick and I couldn’t be more grateful for that.”

Nick Harris: Round 5, Cleveland Browns

The next Husky to be taken was center Nick Harris who was picked by the Browns in the fifth round. Harris had a different road to the NFL than others. Unlike Eason, Harris had only three offers out of high school with UW as the only division one offer. He ended up playing in 25 games at guard during his first two seasons and finished his career as the starting center for his final two.

Harris has more heart and competitiveness than any other player and that will show on Sundays, with this I predict he will have the opportunity to compete for the starting center job in Cleveland. I fully expect him to be starting at some point within the next three years. 

“I think one thing that’s going to translate pretty fast — to the NFL — is my football intelligence,” Harris said at the NFL Combine. “At UW, we prepared well for the schematic part of the game and the mental preparation. I’m just a nerd for the mental part and just watching film.”

Although these were the only two to be drafted, nine other Huskies were picked up by teams as undrafted free agents and will have the opportunity to play in the NFL. Two to keep your eye on are tight end Hunter Bryant and tackle Trey Adams. 

Coming out of Eastside Catholic High School, Hunter Bryant is another local product who played three seasons for the Huskies. He was a finalist for the John Mackey Award given to the nation’s best tight end where he had 52 catches for 825 yards and three touchdowns. Some experts were predicting Bryant to be picked in the first three rounds but injury and size concerns led him to go undrafted and sign a deal with the Detroit Lions. Considering Bryant is incredibly athletic and has shown he can produce at a high level, this could end up being a steal for the Lions.

Trey Adams was a sure first-round pick before a devastating back injury forced him to sit out the entire 2018 season. He was still projected to be a late-round draft pick but went undrafted and signed with the Buffalo Bills. If he can stay healthy, Adams has loads of potential that could be utilized to eventually become a regular starter at tackle for the Bills.