SEATTLE — In a star-studded event at Washington that welcomed anywhere from 40-50 scouts, former Husky football standouts performed various drills to showcase their talent for the last time before the 2017 NFL Draft. The Daily of the University of Washington’s Alexis Mansanarez (@almansanarez) was there to catch all the action for DallasCowboys.com.
Top picks: WR John Ross III, CB Sidney Jones, CB Kevin King, S Budda Baker, TE Darrell Daniels
Possible Cowboy fits:
Little needs to be said about what Ross can do to bolster Dallas’ up-and-coming offense, and more needs to be said about the impact guys like King, Baker, and Daniels can have.
After increasing his draft stock at the NFL Combine just last week, King continued to impress back in Seattle. His sheer height is enough to grab the attention of anyone looking to beef up their secondary, while his speed and strength only add to that. King has the ability to overpower anyone in his way. His final year at UW was highlighted with a one-handed interception in the end zone, and those skills were again on display as he sprinted across the field catching all but one pass thrown his way.
Baker prides himself on the ability to play safety, nickel, or corner, and after seeing his performance Saturday it is easy to see why he would excel at any of the three positions. At Washington, Baker led the defense with 71 total tackles, costing opponents 43 yards over the course of 14 games. During position drills, the only part of Pro Day Baker competed in, his closing speed was on full display as he chased down all but one ball. His agility and power can be a weapon on any defense and his speed can provide good run support necessary against an elite group of NFL rushers.
When looking for youth at the tight end spot, Daniels surely fits the bill. Approaching 250 pounds, he has shown a unique ability to fit into the tight end position like he’s been playing it his whole career. Before coming to Washington, Daniels was a wide receiver in high school. He made the switch halfway through his freshman year and ended his collegiate career with a career-high 307 yards and three touchdowns on 17 receptions. What he may lack in speed and route running abilities, he can make up for in sheer physicality, which the Cowboys could use with an aging Jason Witten.
Despite Ross bowing out of the 40-yard dash and only competing in position drills, his speed and strength were still on full display as he cut left to right and was near perfect, dropping only two balls. A clear contender to be a leading receiver on any team, Ross also has the potential to continue to make big plays on kick returns.
Who else stood out:
Cornerback Sidney Jones was on his way to cementing his status as one of this draft’s top secondary prospects, but on the final drill of the day his fate would be tested. After finishing nearly all of the position drills, Jones took to the field one last time and as he backpedaled and turned to cut, he fell to the ground. Unable to get up on his own, Baker came to his aid and later head coach Chris Petersen helped escort him off the practice field. He was carted off with a reported torn Achilles tendon.
Running back Deontae Cooper made his return to Washington after being invited back for Pro Day. The 5-foot 11-inch, 199-pound rusher spent six years in Seattle before transferring to San Jose State University for his final year of NCAA eligibility. Cooper impressed with a 32 1/2-inch vertical jump and an unofficial 4.4-second 40-yard dash.
What they said:
Ross on if he surprised himself running the fastest 40-yard dash ever:
“My fastest with all my times combined — my 10-yard split, 20-yard split, 30-yard split — I thought my fastest time would end up being 4.26, but the adrenaline was going and it was a good day. I’m happy about that.”
Daniels on his time in Indianapolis:
“It was a humbling experience, I enjoyed my time with my teammates and going out there and competing with some of the greatest athletes. It was a dream come true.”
Baker on what he wanted to prove/show at the UW Pro Day:
“I just wanted to prove I was fluid in my DB drills, that I could catch the ball — mostly just fluid and under control when I’m breaking and all that type of stuff.”
Alexis Mansanarez (@almansanarez) covers Washington sports for The Daily of the University of Washington.