Huskies make history with three players taken in first round of draft
Defense was the strength of the Washington Huskies in 2014, and the proof was in the first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday.
For the first time in the program’s history, three players from Washington were taken in the first round: defensive tackle Danny Shelton (12th overall, Cleveland), cornerback Marcus Peters (18th, Kansas City), and linebacker/safety Shaq Thompson (25th, Carolina).
The last time two Huskies were selected in the opening round was 1995, when running back Napoleon Kaufman and tight end Mark Bruener were both taken.
Each UW player picked Thursday had a big hand in Washington’s defense in 2014, which ranked second in the nation in sacks, tied for ninth with a plus-12 turnover margin, and 22nd in rushing defense.
The massive Shelton, who checks in at 6 foot 2 and 339 pounds, is expected to clog up the middle as a nose tackle for the Browns. He was named a first-team All-American in 2014 by USA Today, The Sporting News and SB Nation and was Washington’s first first-team Academic All-American since 1991.
Thompson was also a first-team All-American, as selected by the Associated Press, for his work at linebacker last season. He left Washington a year early, foregoing his senior year, but not before his moonlighting at running back helped him win the Paul Hornung Award, given annually the most versatile player in college football.
Peters’ case was a little different from his former teammates, as he played just eight games at UW as a junior in 2014 before he was dismissed from the team due to multiple altercations with the coaching staff. While he didn’t have as big of a hand in the defense’s success as the others, he still picked off three passes in his limited time with the team.
Washington’s run in the draft continued Friday with linebacker Hau’oli Kikaha, a unanimous first-team All-American and the school’s record holder in career and single-season sacks, going 44th overall in the second round to the New Orleans Saints.