University of Washington

Where are UW Huskies expected to be taken in the 2019 NFL Draft?

Washington defensive back Byron Murphy runs through a drill during an NFL football Pro Day at the school Monday, April 1, 2019, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Washington defensive back Byron Murphy runs through a drill during an NFL football Pro Day at the school Monday, April 1, 2019, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson) AP

Washington had more players invited to the NFL Combine than any team other than Alabama (11), Clemson (11) and Ohio State (10). The Huskies have at least three players projected to go in the first three rounds. And Byron Murphy is considered by many experts to be the top cornerback in the draft.

Here, we take a look at the latest projections and evaluations for all of UW’s NFL prospects. The draft takes place this week, running from Thursday to Saturday.

Byron Murphy, CB

NFL.com draft projection: Round 1

Overview: Considered the top cornerback in the draft by many experts, Murphy is ranked behind LSU’s Greedy Williams by NFL.com. Virtually a round 1 lock, Murphy has been projected to go as high as No. 9 to the Buffalo Bills (Pro Football Focus) and is a popular prediction for the Pittsburgh Steelers at No. 20. CBS Sports has Murphy as its top-ranked cornerback because of his “because of his tenacity at the line of scrimmage, his mirroring ability downfield, and his high football IQ.”

Kaleb McGary, T

NFL.com draft projection: Rounds 1-2

Overview: McGary rarely falls past the second round in mock drafts and several outlets, including CBS Sports and NFLDraftScout.com, have him going in the first round. NFLDraftScout.com senior analyst Rob Rang writes that McGary “is as pro-ready as this class gets at offensive tackle with the size, athleticism and toughness to project as a plug and play starter at right tackle.” After the Huskies’ pro day, McGary said he had visits scheduled with more than a dozen teams.

Taylor Rapp, S

NFL.com draft projection: Round 2

Overview: Rapp is considered the No. 3 safety in the draft by NFL.com behind Mississippi State’s Johnathan Abram and Florida’s Chauncey Gardner-Johnson. After UW’s pro day, much of the talk centered around Rapp’s 4.7 40-yard dash. But that doesn’t seem to have affected his stock much. Rapp is projected as a second-round pick and some experts have him going in the first round. Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller has the Seattle Seahawks taking Rapp with their No. 21 pick. He writes that Rapp is “able to play either safety spot, is a huge hitter and can even match up in slot coverage when needed.”

Drew Sample, TE

NFL.com draft projection: Round 4

Overview: Sample finished his Husky career with 46 receptions for 487 yards and five touchdowns. He caught 25 passes for 252 yards and three TDs last season. Sample called the NFL Combine a “really cool experience. ... It was busy,” he said at the Huskies’ pro day. “It was definitely busy between all the meetings and the workouts and the testing but it was a lot of fun to get down there, talk to some coaches, talk to scouts.” Sample is considered one of the top 10 tight end prospects and typically falls between the fourth and fifth rounds in most mock drafts.

Myles Gaskin, RB

NFL.com draft projection: Round 6

Overview: Gaskin was the first player in Pac-12 history to rush for 1,000 yards in four seasons. He set several UW records, including career rushing yards (5,323) and career touchdowns by rushing (57) and total (62). Gaskin appears as a fifth or sixth round pick in most full mock drafts. At UW’s pro day, Gaskin said he wanted to put on weight after the season. He weighed in at 205 at the combine and 198 at pro day but said he’s comfortable around 200 pounds. He also said he wanted to show off his versatile skill set at pro day. “Just catching deep balls, I think I did that pretty well. Run a little bit faster than in the combine,” Gaskin said. “Just kind of reassuring myself and reassuring other people that I can do whatever they need me do.”

Jordan Miller, CB

NFL.com draft projection: Round 5

Overview: Miller has appeared as a late-round pick in a few full mock drafts but hasn’t been selected in others. Still, Huskies defensive coordinator Jimmy Lake said Monday that he’s been hearing praise for Miller, who ran 4.49 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. “I’m hearing his name floating around a ton,” Lake said. “It’s hard to turn down a 6-foot-1, 4.4 forty corner. He played really good football around here. I think a few teams are falling in love with him.”

Greg Gaines, DT

NFL.com draft projection: Rounds 6-7

Overview: A 2018 All-Pac-12 first team selection, Gaines is considered a mid- to late-round pick by most outlets but Pro Football Focus has him going in the third round to the Los Angeles Rams . Gaines, who started 47 games in his Husky career, was the winner of the 2018 Morris Trophy, given to the top defensive lineman in the Pac-12.

Ben Burr-Kirven, LB

NFL.com draft projection: Rounds 6-7

Overview: A 2018 first-team AP All-American and Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, Burr-Kirven led the country with 176 total tackles last season. His highest projection seems to be the fourth round but he’s mostly predicted to go between Round 5 and Round 7. NFL Analyst Lance Zierlein describes Burr-Kirven as a “small, hyper-instinctive linebacker” who “consistently punches above his weight class for production totals that contradict his size.”

JoJo McIntosh, S

NFL.com draft projection: Priority free agent

Overview: McIntosh wasn’t invited to the NFL Combine but he did participate in UW’s pro day. At least one mock draft — USA Today’s Draft Wire — has McIntosh going in the seventh round. Rang wrote that according to a league source, McIntosh recorded a 4.66 40-yard dash, a 4.29 in the short shuttle and a 7.35 in the 3-cone at pro day.

Jake Browning, QB

NFL.com draft projection: Priority free agent

Overview: Browning’s arm strength was a concern coming out of college but the work he put in leading up to the NFL Combine appears to be paying off. While there, Browning said he spent two months working with 3DQB, a biomechanics-training facility. He worked with “motion mechanics and performance experts” to create more torque through his torso, which led to more velocity on his throws. The improvement was evident during his workout at UW’s pro day. “He was slinging that thing,” Gaskin said of Browning. “His last few months, he got a lot better in my opinion. He has everything, all the intangibles, being a leader and all that kind of stuff. But just to see his arm get a lot of stronger is a big thing for him in just trying to be an NFL quarterback.”

Tevis Bartlet, LB; Jaylen Johnson, DL; Shane Bowman, DL

Overview: Neither Bartlett, Johnson nor Bowman appear as UW draft prospects on NFL.com. Both participated in the Huskies’ pro day and Barlett worked out alongside Burr-Kirven for a few teams toward the end of the event. On Johnson and Bowman, Rang wrote: “Johnson has flashes on tape but Bowman shouldn’t be forgotten, as well. Frankly, he’s the most impressive on the hoof of Washington’s defensive linemen.” He added that Johnson could be selected in the draft.

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