Elijah Qualls had to wait longer than expected to be drafted on Saturday, but the Philadelphia Eagles eventually selected the former Huskies defensive lineman with the 214th overall pick late in the sixth round of the 2017 NFL draft.
Listed at 6-foot-1 and 313 pounds, Qualls, a Sacramento native, moved to Petaluma, California, when he was 16 years old and starred both as a defender and running back at Casa Grande High School. At Washington, Qualls backed up All-America nose tackle Danny Shelton as a redshirt freshman, then moved into a starting role as a sophomore and junior.
Last season, the Huskies took advantage of Qualls’ rare athleticism for his size by moving him all around the defensive front, even standing him up at times and using him as an edge rusher after he played mostly at nose tackle in 2015. He finished the 2016 season with 38 tackles, five tackles for loss and three sacks, and was voted first-team All-Pac-12 by the league’s coaches. He finished his three-year college career with 77 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks in 38 games.
Qualls becomes the fifth UW player selected in this year’s draft, the most Huskies picked in a single draft since they had five players taken in 2001. He joins former UW teammates John Ross III (No. 9 to Cincinnati), Kevin King (No. 33 to Green Bay), Budda Baker (No. 36 to Arizona) and Sidney Jones (No. 43, also to Philadelphia).