Editor’s note: Evan Webeck is back at The Husky Haul after taking a short break to help get Emerald City Swagger started. He’ll be a consistent contributor here, while Jesse Kennemer retains the role of Lead Editor.
In Steve Sarkisian’s four year as the Washington Huskies head coach, he has had seven players selected in the NFL Draft. Most recently, cornerback Desmond Trufant was the Atlanta Falcons first round pick in the 2013 draft. The seven players drafted matches the number of wins the Huskies have had each of the past three seasons under Sarkisian.
With the most talent he has had in his time at Washington, he is expected to eclipse the seven-win barrier for the first time. That talent should also lead to him producing the most NFL draft picks in his tenure as Huskies head coach.
The Huskies have two seniors on their roster that, depending on how they perform this season, project to be drafted. Quarterback Keith Price disappointed last season, but by all accounts, he expects to be back to his 2011 self this year. If so, he could see himself selected as high as the third round.
Safety Sean Parker is the other senior with NFL aspirations. He – and Trufant – has been the leader of the Huskies secondary since he stepped on campus as a four-star recruit. With the Huskies relying on him more than ever this season, now that Trufant is gone, he’ll have a chance to impress scouts, and possibly work his way into first- or second-round discussions.
Neither of the seniors, however, are the Huskies most valuable NFL commodities. No, that title belongs to junior tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, junior running back Bishop Sankey and junior wide receiver Kasen Williams. All three of the skill position players have the talent and build to be first round selections in either the 2014 or 2015 NFL Draft.
Seferian-Jenkins has repeatedly said that he wants to play all four years at Washington, but it’s difficult to take any collegiate athlete’s word on that subject. Sankey and Williams have been more tight-lipped on the matter.
If all three were to enter the draft after this season, Seferian-Jenkins is the only one practically guaranteed to be a team’s top pick; however, Sankey has been listed as a top-5 draft-eligible running back. Williams has flown under the radar so far, but he has a chance to break out this season with two years of experience under his belt as Price’s No. 1 wide receiver.
The Huskies future NFL players don’t only exist on offense. Their defense boasts at least four future draft picks. Linebackers Shaq Thompson and Travis Feeney are both just sophomores, but have exploded onto the scene. If Thompson can get a little bigger, he should be one of the top linebackers in his draft class. Defensive linemen Danny Shelton and Josh Shirley have also caught the eye of scouts. Shirley had been mentioned as a possible first round selection in next year’s draft.
All of these future pros are Sarkisian’s recruits. If his on-the-field results haven’t given the administration enough evidence to keep him around, the talent he’s been able to bring to Montlake should.