Have Washington Huskies Captured Interest from East Coast NFL Teams?

Jun 23, 2016; New York, NY, USA; A general view of a video board displaying all thirty draft picks in the first round of the 2016 NBA Draft at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 23, 2016; New York, NY, USA; A general view of a video board displaying all thirty draft picks in the first round of the 2016 NBA Draft at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports /

In the NFL, certain college teams produce more NFL ready players than other teams. As the University of Washington Huskies capture the national spotlight, are east coast NFL teams taking notice?

The University of Washington Huskies football team rose to the national spotlight as they competed in the NCAA playoffs for the elusive national championship. After an incredibly successful season, the team garnered the eye of NFL draft scouts.  Top of that list was the eye of NFL.Com’s Mike Mayock. But he was not alone.

In fact, in one mock draft, six of the seven players invited to the NFL Combine were projected to be picked by the end of day two.  All said, the Washington Huskies are garnering some buzz in the days leading up to the NFL draft.

But that buzz may be a mirage.

The NFL is east-coast centric.  Why do I say that?  Of 32 NFL teams, 14 are in east coast time. That’s why NFL games begin at 1 PM Eastern time. Due to that eastern slant, the NFL tends to focus on east coast talent.

But that may change this year.

Solid Fundamental Football

The Washington Huskies play fundamentally solid football. Defensive backs can tackle.  Wide receivers and tight ends can block.  Defensive tackles can gobble up blockers. And edge players can turn plays back to the middle.

Solid fundamentals.

Perhaps that’s why there has been a great deal of buzz about Washington Huskies in the upcoming draft?  The nation knows that wide receiver John Ross III is fast.   But the Huskies have three defensive backs who trained against Ross.  Safety Budda Baker is rising on many boards, as scouts compare notes. Cornerback Kevin King had a great combine and pro day, and has been appearing in the first round of many mock drafts recently.  And despite surgery to repair his rupure Achilles Tendon, Sidney Jones IV believes he is still the best cornerback in the 2017 NFL Draft.

In the trenches, the Huskies have been just as solid.  Defensive tackle Elijah Qualls is a solid fireplug, jamming up running lanes and collapsing the pocket.  That suited defensive end Joe Mathis just fine, as he was deadly accurate zeroing in on the quarterback from the outside.

Even tight end Darrell Daniels is looking to jump into the NFL.

Will East Coast NFL Teams Go West?

Which takes us to the question, will the East coast NFL teams give Washington Huskies fair consideration?  On one hand, the NFL draft is a series of coaches putting in good words with other coaches and general managers. On the other hand, you do not succeed in the NFL if you recruit from a limited number of schools.

Coach Petersen has brought the University of Washington Huskies football program to the national stage without the glitz or star powered recruits of other programs. He does it the right way – fitting the right players onto a football team that teaches NFL techniques.

From encouraging taking notes in the film rooms, to the confidence in his players, he leads them all.  And the players are about teamwork.  Those principals of building a team is lost in the individuals who play for statistics.

Team Play Wins

Washington Huskies players are different.  Defensive backs would rather see a quarterback sack than an interception.  But when the team needed DBs to step up after Joe Mathis fell to injury, the entire squad did so.

As fans sit and run mock drafts, many scouting reports focus on the physically measurable statistics. Endurance, speed, burst, catch, tackle, block, and pivot. But the whole is often greater than the sum. Players who fail in one system can shine in another.

Some east coast teams know all of this.  And so, this could very well be the year when Washington Huskies invade the NFL east coast. While that may be great for the NFL, it will be one more challenge for those of us on the west coast.

You see, those east coast NFL games still begin at 1:00 p.m. EDT. That’s still 10:0 a.m. for us.