UW Huskies in Draft: Who stands out to NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah?

Jan 22, 2024, 12:16 PM

UW Huskies NFL Draft Rome Odunze...

UW Huskies WR Rome Odunze attempts to haul in a pass against Michigan on Jan. 8, 2024. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

(Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The 2024 NFL Draft in April should be a banner event for the UW Huskies.

Coming off playing for the College Football Playoff National Championship earlier this month, the Dawgs have a big group of players moving on to the pros, and a few of them could be drafted in the higher rounds.

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NFL Network insider and former pro scout Daniel Jeremiah is buying into the pro potential for some of the Huskies, as he shared Monday when he joined Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk.

Here’s a look at what Jeremiah said about three of the UW Huskies’ top 2024 NFL Draft prospects.

All-in on Rome

Rome Odunze, a junior who declared for the draft shortly after the Huskies’ season ended, is in the running for best wide receiver in this draft class. And Jeremiah goes even a step higher than that.

“I think he’s literally my favorite player that I’ve watched in the whole draft,” Jeremiah said.

Odunze, who checks in at 6 foot 3 and 215 pounds, was named first-team All-America by five different outlets and was a Biletnikoff Award finalist in 2023. He led UW with 92 receptions, 1,640 receiving yards and 13 touchdown catches.

Jeremiah said he needed to just confirm one thing about Odunze before declaring him his favorite draft prospect this year, and he was not disappointed.

“I did make a call on Rome because I’m like, look, I’m fixing to go all-in on this kid,” Jeremiah said. “Just tell me he’s not a bad kid. And everybody’s like, ‘Dude, he’s unbelievably intelligent, he knows every position not only in the receiver room but on the entire offense. He’s competitive. He’s a leader. He’s everything you want in a kid.’ I’m like, OK, I just needed that little nudge if I was gonna make that bold of a statement.”

The legend of Troy

Next up, Jeremiah raved about offensive lineman Troy Fautanu, another junior entering the draft early. And there is a lot to like about the 6-4, 317-pound Fautanu.

“He is so explosive,” Jeremiah said. “I watch these guys differently than when I was scouting. So when you’re scouting for a team, you go into a school and those are the eight to 10 prospects you’re going to watch that day. Well, the cool thing about being on this side of things is look, I kind of go at my own pace and however I want. So I just scout by position – I’ll just go through tackles and I’ll watch one after another after another after another. And his ability to just kind of roll his hips and really explode from the ground up is pretty unique, especially amongst this group.”

A question about Fautanu is which position he will play in the pros. Jeremiah thinks his versatility is strong enough that it could be a different answer depending on the team.

“Whether or not some teams want to play him inside at guard, where can be dynamic in there, I think he holds up at tackle if you want to do that, but he’s got length and he is explosive,” he said.

The uniqueness of Penix

Finally, there’s the quarterback. Michael Penix Jr. is a very interesting case going into this draft, having been in college since 2018 with a lengthy injury history, but also having just finished one of the more impressive seasons by a college QB in recent history.

Not only that, but Penix is such a unique player that it makes it him hard to project as a pro. Jeremiah, who has been a color analyst on Chargers games for years, compared that aspect of Penix to a QB he used to see up close all the time.

“It’s not just that he’s left-handed,” Jeremiah said, “but it’s that he’s he’s high-cut and then he’s got a low delivery, so it looks so different when he throws the ball. Doing the Charger games, I saw Phillip Rivers for years – it’s just different. He throws a football differently because of his body type, being left-handed and his release. It looks different than anybody that I can ever remember. But there’s no denying the fact that it absolutely explodes out of his hand.”

How would Jeremiah approach Penix if he was in charge of a team during the draft?

“I saw Penix as kind of a beauty in the eye of the beholder prospect, which is to say would I be shocked if he went in (round) one? No. I felt more comfortable, with just everything considered, with the injury history, if he’s your second pick. Like, you put one right in the middle of the fairway with your first-round pick and then he’s your second pick, I think you’re feeling great about it.”

You can listen to the full Brock and Salk conversation with the NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah in the podcast at this link or in the player near the top of this post.

More on UW Huskies in NFL Draft

Huard: ‘Phenomenal’ Odunze is a blend of two NFL receivers
Bump: Why Michael Penix will be better in NFL than USC’s Caleb Williams
Huard: How title game loss impacts Michael Penix’s draft stock

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UW Huskies in Draft: Who stands out to NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah?