Washington Huskies running back Dwayne Washington, who left UW with one year of eligibility remaining, was selected by the Detroit Lions on Saturday with the 236th overall pick in the seventh round of the NFL draft.
Washington, a native of Lakewood, California, gives the Huskies two draftees this year, joining linebacker Travis Feeney, who was picked by the Pittsburgh Steelers late in the sixth round.
Washington’s fourth-year junior season was marred some by injury, and he was also beaten out by freshman Myles Gaskin for the Huskies’ starting tailback job. But his blend of size (6-foot-2 and 226 pounds) and speed (a 4.44-second 40-yard dash at UW’s Pro Day) made him an intriguing pro prospect despite questions about his instincts as a ballcarrier, and a solid Pro Day performance seemingly boosted his stock.
A converted receiver, Washington’s pass-catching ability might also have been attractive to NFL teams -- he rushed for just 282 yards on 47 carries in 2015, but caught 25 passes for 315 yards and three touchdowns. In more expansive tailback duty in 2014, Washington finished with 697 yards rushing and 5.3 yards per carry -- in addition to nine touchdowns, four of which covered 51 yards or more.
He is the first UW player drafted by the Lions since defensive tackle Reggie Rogers went in the first round in 1987.