Washington Sent A Talented Group Of Players To The Pros Last Year, They Could Do The Same In ’18.
In the previous addition of this series we looked at the Penn State Nittany Lions. Next up, the Washington Huskies.
Under head coach Chris Peterson Washington had their most successful season in awhile last year. They finished the year 12-2, won the Pac-12 and made it into the College Football Playoff.
They were strong on both sides of the ball last year. Washington had one of the most talented secondaries in the country. They also had multiple playmakers on offense as well.
Meet Washington’s Prospects:
Five players from were drafted from Washington last season. They lost speed demon John Ross at wide receiver and lost three of four starters from the secondary. Obviously replacing these players will not be an easy task.
There will still be plenty of talent on Washington’s roster next season. They will need guys to step up in order to have another successful year, but the same can be said for almost every team in the country.
Here are some of the players to key an eye on:
Defensive Tackle Vita Vea, 6’5” 346, Redshirt Junior:
Vea is a big, strong dude. He can also move pretty well for a guy his size. His bread and butter is run defense. Because of his strength and size it is very difficult for offensive lineman to move.
He had a solid season in 2016. Vea recorded 39 tackles, six and a half tackles for loss, five sacks and two pass defenses.
To improve his draft stock Vea needs to show he can be a consistent pass rusher. He could become an elite prospect if he shows he can get after the quarterback in addition to being an elite run defender.
Wide Receiver Dante Pettis, 6’1” 188, Senior:
John Ross left for the NFL which means Pettis should be in line for more opportunities next season. If that’s the case he could have a really big year. Last year as the number two he accumulated 53 receptions for 822 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Although he may take over the number one duties from Ross, they are different players. Pettis gets the job done by running good routes and understanding where holes will be in the defense. Players who do those things generally find a home in the NFL. He also contributes on special teams. He owns the school record with five punts returned for a touchdown.
If Pettis increases his production next year he could draw a lot interest on draft day.
Offensive Tackle Trey Adams, 6’7” 302, Junior:
Adams has been the starting left tackle for most of his time at Washington. As a freshman he started nine games and last season as a sophomore he started all 14 protected the quarterbacks blindside.
He has good size for the NFL and is a solid athlete, which allows him to get to the second level of the defense. He is a better pass protector than run blocker.
In order to improve his stock he will need to get stronger. This will help him sustain blocks, which is an area where he struggles. There are some concerns as to whether he can play left tackle in the NFL or if he will have to move inside. Obviously if teams don’t think he could play left tackle in the NFL that would have a huge impact on where he goes in the draft.
Linebacker Azeem Victor, 6’3” 222, Senior:
Victor’s season ended on a bad note in 2016. Ten games into the year he fractured his leg. He was leading the team in tackles with 67 when he suffered the injury. He had a really good year in 2015 logging 95 tackles, nine for a loss, seven pass defenses and two forced fumbles.
Athleticism is probably Victor’s most impressive trait. In today’s NFL that is important. He can drop into space and does a decent job in pass coverage. Although he doesn’t always take great angles to the football his speed and closing burst often makes up for it.
It will be important for Victor to show he can return to 100 percent after the broken leg, but that shouldn’t be an issue. He needs to be more physical when it comes to things like taking on blockers and fighting through traffic. Also he could improve on his ability to recognize routes while in pass coverage.
The physical tools are there for Victor. There are things he needs to do better but he will draw interest from teams around the NFL.
Running Back Myles Gaskin, 5’10” 193, Junior:
Gaskin has been Washington’s leading rusher for both of the first two years in his career. As a freshman in 2015 he rushed for 1,302 yards on 227 carries and scored 14 touchdowns on the ground. Last year he carried the ball 237 times for 1,373 yards and 10 scores.
He is more than just a rusher, he’s also an effective pass blocker. This is a trait that will catch the eye of NFL teams. While he doesn’t have elite speed he has very good burst and quickness. He makes guys miss using his ability to change direction without losing much speed.
Even if he has another strong year Gaskin likely won’t be a high round pick. He doesn’t posses the speed or strength to wow scouts. He is still a quality player though. He should end up being at least a mid-round prospect.