Ranked: Huard’s top 5 NFL landing spots for UW Huskies

May 5, 2024, 9:30 AM

UW Huskies...

Bralen Trice of the UW Huskies celebrates a stop during a 2023 game. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

After a 14-1 season and trip to the national title game, the UW Huskies tied a modern draft era program record last week with 10 players being selected in the 2024 NFL Draft.

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The 10 players picked equaled the previous seven-round-draft record set in 1998, and it was just one shy of the 11-player mark set twice when draft was 14 rounds.

With a historic draft for the Huskies finished, former UW quarterback Brock Huard ranked his top five landing spots for UW players who are heading into their first NFL season Friday during Brock and Salk.

5. Jack Westover, TE, Seattle Seahawks

Westover is the lone undrafted free agent to crack’s Huard’s top five. The former UW walk-on had 46 catches for 433 yards and four TDs last season. After a productive final two seasons that saw Westover oftentimes overshadowed by UW’s talented receiving trio of 2024 draft picks Rome Odunze, Jalen McMillan and Ja’Lynn Polk, he’s rejoining former Huskies offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb, who joined the Seahawks’ coaching staff under first-year head coach Mike Macdonald during the offseason.

“(He had) huge catches, huge moments and I shared this after the draft, that Ryan Grubb, you have three receivers drafted into the NFL, and when you press Ryan Grubb and (asked) ‘who had the best hands?’ It was Jack Westover,” Huard said. “… In big moments, just put (the ball) in his vicinity and he finds a way to get it done. (The Seahawks have) Noah Fant (and) Pharaoh Brown. Those guys are locked in and they’re loaded – one is a pass catcher, one is a blocker. Jack’s got an opportunity to push for a third or fourth tight end spot, even as an undrafted guy here in Seattle.”

4. Jalen McMillan, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

McMillan was the third UW receiver to go off the board, landing with the Bucs with a third-round pick at No. 92 overall. He was a part of standout receiving corps that was a key factor in the Huskies being one of the best offenses in the country the past two seasons under Grubb and head coach Kalen DeBoer, who left UW to take the same job at Alabama soon after the national title game. McMillan battled injuries during his final year at UW, but he still had 45 receptions for 559 yards in five TDs over 11 games.

“(Tampa Bay has a) good receiving crew (and) good offensive line. Baker Mayfield found himself (and) won a playoff game. I just think he’s going to fit in really, really well. They’re going to like him. Baker is going to like him…. If you’re a Husky fan and you’re following these guys and you want to dig into their careers and their journeys, I promise you you will read something over the next few months where Baker’s like, ‘I like this dude. He just he sees the game like a quarterback. He’s on the same page as me.’”

3. Roger Rosengarten, OT, Baltimore Ravens

Rosengarten went to the Ravens in the second round with the 62nd overall pick. With the 6-foot-5, 308-pound Rosengarten and first-round pick Troy Fautanu bookending the O-line, the Huskies received the Joe Moore Award, which is annually given to the top offensive line in college football.

“He ends up in Baltimore (going) to an established, established program,” Huard said. “Man, he had one blight (in college) and it was in the national championship game, and unfortunately Twitter got all over him. I got really angry about that cause Roger was a cornerstone. He was the blindside (protector) of Penix and he was so good. I thought he actually had a chance to go a little bit higher in that second round. He falls a little bit, but he falls to a great organization and he’s going to slide in and be awesome.”

2. Troy Fautanu, OT/OG, Pittsburgh Steelers

Fautanu was the third Husky drafted in the first round and landed with the Pittsburgh Steelers with the 20th pick. The 6 foot 4, 317-pounder starred at left tackle for UW, winning the Morris Trophy as the Pac-12’s top offensive lineman. The two-time team captain also played a major hand in the offensive line receiving the Joe Moore Award.

“We said it on draft night, if Troy Fautanu was not going to be a Seahawk, being a Pittsburgh Steeler is a pretty good consolation prize,” Huard said. “Good landing spot, man, and they are going to love him. … Was there a chance he could stay here? There was a chance. (ESPN Seahawks insider) Brady Henderson wrote about it, put out a great column yesterday on ESPN. … Maybe there was that knee, that little medical red flag that maybe came up for some organizations. It didn’t come up for Pittsburgh, and they get just an absolute stud of a player and just as much a stud of a person.”

1. Bralen Trice, DE, Atlanta Falcons

Trice was the second UW player picked by Atlanta, where he’ll join first-round pick Michael Penix Jr. and the Falcons. He went in the third round with the 74th pick. Trice broke out as a junior with 12 tackles for loss in nine sacks. As a senior, he posted 11.5 tackles for loss, seven sacks and a forced fumble.

“Bralen was the heartbeat of that (UW) defense, the motor of that defense, the engine of that defense, he was all of it. Atlanta needed pass rushers. A lot of people had mocked those edge rushers and (Florida State’s Jared) Verse and the other kid, Dallas Turner (of Alabama), to Atlanta. They ended up not taking one in the first round. They ended up taking Bralen Trice in the third round. You just watch, this year Bralen is going to have eight-plus sacks.”

Listen to the full segment at this link or in the audio player near the top of this story. Tune in to Brock and Salk weekdays from 6-10 a.m.

More on UW Huskies football

Caple: Six injured UW Huskies players to watch once healthy
• Caple: A few thoughts on UW Huskies’ big first round in NFL Draft
• Huard: Seahawks are great fit for UW Huskies UDFA Jack Westover
• Stunner! UW Huskies’ Michael Penix Jr. drafted No. 8 by Atlanta
• Rome Odunze drafted No. 9 as UW Huskies go back-to-back
• Troy Fautanu to Steelers, giving UW Huskies 3 1st-rounders in draft

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Ranked: Huard’s top 5 NFL landing spots for UW Huskies