The Washington Huskies had a disappointing National Championship. From allowing both Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards to gain over 100 yards to the lack of blocking by the Offensive Line, it was a nightmare game and is reflected in the Washington Huskies NFL Draft Prospects.
It’s time to break down the performances and how they will impact the NFL Draft stocks going forward.
See Brian’s analysis of Michigan
Washington Huskies NFL Draft Prospects
All eyes were on QB Michael Penix Jr., and he struggled. To be fair, the Huskies OL played poorly (more on that below) in protection, while the WRs dropped passes and had miscommunications on routes numerous times.
But, it is on Penix to overcome those and find a way to make plays. He hit a few short passes, but could not put the ball in tight windows against a tricky Michigan secondary. This had to be the best game Penix played this year, and it was the worst. The Michigan pass rush often led to Penix not being able to set his feet and that spells trouble. With a clean pocket and clear footwork, Penix can hit his target. But, having to move around in the pocket caused balls to sail high, hit the wrong spot, and cause interceptions.
The hype of Penix as a top-10 pick after the Texas game has now worn off, and it is likely settling back to Penix as a Round 2 pick, where he should be.
WR Rome Odunze flashed his speed and size a few times but was inconsistent. He struggled against zone coverage and often couldn’t work his spacing. On a broken play on 4th down early in the game, Odunze was wide open and flipped the wrong way, leading to an incompletion that could have been a TD. He did have a catch on a few broken plays, but nothing screamed top WR in the class. He will be a first-round pick, but Top 10 may be out of the question.
WR Ja’Lynn Polk had a key drop in the game, looking fairly average.
WR Jalen McMillian couldn’t get separation. No Washington WR moved up my board in this one.
OT Troy Fautanu was one bright spot. On the opening drive, he was leveling the Michigan defense, pancaking Michael Barrett on a screen pass. Fautanu played like a first-rounder with toughness and versatility to manage the left side of the line.
Unfortunately, the rest of the line did not come into play. Most egregious was OT Roger Rosengarten who was abused all game. He had been gaining some NFL Draft hype, but the lack of a natural bend hurt Rosengarten who got pushed back almost every play. Rosengarten seemed slow to react and couldn’t get his kick slide to give him balance. He should return to school and work on his craft.
RB Dillon Johnson played through injury, so it wasn’t a good game to evaluate.
TE Devin Culp had a big catch and run with his mammoth body, but didn’t flash the requisite athleticism needed.
EDGE Bralen Trice only had 3 tackles in the game, but he made an impact. This is where box score scouting can be flat-out wrong. Michigan was holding Trice nearly every play as he got around the edge to attack J.J. McCarthy. Despite the lack of stats, Trice’s explosiveness and use of his hands made him very dangerous and a focal point for the Michigan OL. Look for Trice on Day 2
EDGE Zion Tupuola-Fetui didn’t have as much success. There was one key hold on him that wasn’t called, but he was cleanly run off the line throughout the game. A lot of the big runs were to his side and he was able to navigate around ZTF. He is likely a Day 3 pick.
DT Tuli Letuligasenoa got moved off his gap often. The run stuffer simply could not help in stopping the one. But, he did bat down one ball at the line, but not much past that.
Ultimately, it was a rough National Championship for a great Washington team. As they move into the Big Ten next year, it will be a whole new squad
Get more on the Washington Huskies NFL Draft Prospects at Draft Countdown