Washington Huskies draft prospects 2018
Vita Vea DT
Vea has turned heads and is drawing comparisons to former Oregon Duck Haloti Ngata. Last year, Vea blew up offensive lines all along the west coast on his way to Pac-12 Defensive Player of the year and All-American honors. At 6’4 and 347lbs he was a man among boys in the last couple of years at UW.
Vea has size and strength, he takes up space and is neigh immovable. He can track down runs with his above average speed and has a serious bull-rush ability to get in to the backfield.The knock on Vita is that he is raw and needs to learn a bit more technique. Additionally, Vea has trouble on the double team, which may prevent him from being elite.
SSU’s take: ok, let’s say that Vea isn’t elite because he won’t shed multiple blockers. He will be a 1st rounder because he demands those double teams in the 1st place. Teams with strong edge and linebackers will shoot the gaps that he creates and make the big play that he offers. Vea will be a solid player and possibly a Pro-bowler.
Dante Pettis WR
Dante grew up in the shadow of more famous family members, his father Gary was a gold glove center fielder in the MLB and his cousin Austin was a receiver for the St Louis Rams. Dante had to do something to make his own mark and he did. The 6’1 receiver from San Clemente, CA is now an NCAA legend as the all-time leader in punt returns for touchdowns.
A touchdown machine, in addition to his 9 career punt returns for a TD, he had 15 receiving touchdowns last year to help the Washington Huskies earn a Fiesta Bowl bid. Dante is an amazing athlete with explosion and work ethic. He is skilled at route running and a natural open-field runner. He has great hands and is fearless over-the-middle, making him a perfect NFL slot receiver.
Pettis is not a natural #1 receiver. He lacks size and strength to get off of bigger corner backs. And oddly enough, he lacks the “me first” attitude that many successful #1 receivers have.
SSU’s take: Pettis is going to have a long career in the NFL. He will suppliment his WR job by doubling as a a punt/kick returner. Any NFL team who takes him will get production–as such, who cares if he isn’t a #1. Look for Pettis to get picked up in the 2nd round.
Will Dissly TE
Dissly is not a name that many people have heard but he is causing a buzz in this year’s draft. The Senior from Bozeman, MT got lost in the midst of the other offensive superstars at UW. Originally a defensive lineman, he tried out for tight end in his sophomore year and ended up becoming the starter after a year. Dissly was a monster in the run game, becoming a road grater for the prolific UW running game.
The NFL is missing good blocking tight ends and this creates a market for Dissly. Tough and in love with dishing out pain, Dissly will make coaching happy as a “high-effort” player.
He lacks experience in pass blocking and is not a natural receiver. He is athletic for a defensive lineman, but is no Luke Willson as far as speed and leaping ability.
SSU’s take: Dissly will get drafted in the 5th or 6th round. Too many teams need ground game help, heck the Seahawks could use him.
Keishawn Bierria LB
Speaking of “high-effort,” Bierria was the embodiment of that in his time at UW. With a never-say-die attitude and natural leadership, Keishawn navigated the middle of the defense as the heart and soul of the purple and gold.
A quick decision maker and a nose for the ball, Bierria was always in the mix when a tackle needs to be made. Always in the right spot at the right time, helped Bierria lead the NCAA in fumbles recovered (5) and All-Pac12 honors. Bierria lacks prototypical speed for a linebacker. He also lacks the nimble feet that NFL scouts love.
SSU’s take: someone will draft Bierria and find a good motivator and special teams player. His attitude will rub off on others and that is worth a job–most likely a 6th round pick.
Azeem Victor LB
In 2016, everything was looking wonderful for Victor as he was laying waste to the Pac-12 from the linebacker position. Unfortunately, a horrible leg injury saw him miss 1/2 the season and things got worse from there. Returning in 2017, Victor took a while to get back in the groove and once he did, he got a DUI and was removed from the team. He missed the bowl game, then put together a a poor performance at the NFL combine.
Victor has an uncanny ability to read and diagnose plays and explodes while in space. Takes good angles and similar to Bierria has a nose for the ball. He did get suspended from the team and came back overweight from his broken leg. Also, struggles in man coverage.
SSU’s take: Victor could be a 7th round addition, but he might be better off being a free agent and looking for a team that is a fit for him. The DUI really killed his stock, but there is time to bounce back if he is willing to work for it.