University of Washington

3 UW Huskies selected in second round of NFL Draft

Washington’s Byron Murphy Jr. takes a moment in the snow between action. The Washington Huskies played the Washington State Cougars in the Apple Cup at Martin Stadium in Pullman, Wash., on Friday, Nov. 23, 2018.
Washington’s Byron Murphy Jr. takes a moment in the snow between action. The Washington Huskies played the Washington State Cougars in the Apple Cup at Martin Stadium in Pullman, Wash., on Friday, Nov. 23, 2018. joshua.bessex@gateline.com

Three Washington players were selected in the second round of the NFL Draft on Friday.

Cornerback Byron Murphy, a Scottsdale, Ariz. native, is headed home after being taken by the Arizona Cardinals with the 33rd overall pick. The Cincinnati Bengals selected tight end Drew Sample with the No. 52 overall pick before the Los Angeles Rams took safety Taylor Rapp at No. 61.

The Huskies had four players drafted in the first two rounds as offensive tackle Kaleb McGary was taken by the Atlanta Falcons with the No. 31 pick in the first round on Thursday.

A second-team AP All-American last season, Murphy announced he was foregoing his final two seasons of eligibility shortly after the Huskies fell to Ohio State in the Rose Bowl.

Considered by many experts to be the top cornerback in the draft, Murphy was the second cornerback off the board. The New York Giants took Georgia’s DeAndre Baker with the 30th pick of the first round.

Murphy, who joins former UW defensive backs Budda Baker and Zeke Turner in Arizona, was an All-Pac-12 first-team selection last season. He was named the Pac-12 championship game MVP after recording two interceptions, including one he returned 66 yards for a touchdown.

Sample was a 2018 Academic All-Pac-12 second-team selection and an honorable mention All-Pac-12 selection. He finished his UW career with 46 receptions for 487 yards and five touchdowns, catching 25 passes for 252 yards and three touchdowns last season.

According to Pro Football Focus, Sample ranked 14th in overall grade (75.5) among draft-eligible tight ends with at least 300 offensive snaps in 2018. He was first in run-blocking grade (82.2).

NFL.com wrote in its scouting report thatSample’s size and lunch-pail demeanor are what NFL teams look for at the point of attack. While he might be typecast as just a blocking tight end, he possess enough speed and ball skills to become a more productive pass catcher than he was at Washington.”

Sample became the fifth Husky tight end to be drafted since 2014.

Rapp, who started 35 games in his three years at UW, was a back-to-back first-team All-Pac-12 selection in 2017 and 2018. In 2016, he was named the conference’s Defensive Freshman of the Year. A 2018 AP second-team All-American, Rapp finished last season with 59 tackles, three fumble recoveries and two interceptions.

He was considered the No. 3 safety by NFL.com heading into the draft. In his mock draft, Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller had Rapp going in the first round, writing that Rapp is “able to play either safety spot, is a huge hitter and can even match up in slot coverage when needed.”

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