Rob Rang on Husky NFL prospects

Washington's top two NFL prospects - QB Jake Locker and LB Mason Foster - were on the field in Mobile, Alabama all week in front of Draft analysts, NFL scouts and coaches and both had solid weeks. Dawgman.com spoke with NFLDraftScout.com's Rob Rang to get his thoughts on where both are expected to go in April's NFL Draft as well as which returning players likely have an NFL future ahead of them...

On QB Jake Locker - "This week, I think we saw exactly what we've seen from Jake the past four years. Tantalizing talent, but a some things he needs to work on. Accuracy, consistency and the ability to read defenses are something that he's definitely improved on, but he's not there yet as a signal-caller that is ready to be a starter in the NFL right now. He needs to find the right situation where he can sit behind an established starter for a year or two.

"He's the ultimate team player with immense physical talent. He's a lot like (Tim) Tebow in the fact that he's got that running element, but he's even more athletic than Tebow, so Locker has that as something that will make it very hard for a team that needs a quarterback.

"I've talked to several GMs and scouts and they all feel he'll go in the first round, but it will likely be later in the first round."

On Mason Foster - This past week, we saw a lot of what we saw in his career at Washington. He's not very physical, but he uses his hands really well and that's what allows him to get off blocks and make plays. The problem is, he's not very physical and in the NFL, to play middle linebacker, you have to be more physical than he is. His ultimate draft position will be determined by how well he runs. I don't think he's an outside linebacker, so he'll need to find a spot at middle linebacker in a 4-3, but the problem is there are only a handful of teams running a true 4-3 right now.

"I just don't see him being able to hold up inside and that will probably cause him to fall. I see him as a late 3rd round guy. Now, if he runs well, and teams feel like he can play outside, then you could see him climb up into the late 2nd round.

"His productivity is unquestioned. You can't do what he's done the past few years and not be a great player. So it will all come down to how he runs."

On Nate Williams - He's just like Foster in that, depending on how he runs, he could be a late-rounder or wind up as an un-drafted free agent.

"Williams is tough, he loves to come up and hit and he's smart. But there are concerns about his speed and his quickness.

"He's your typical, in-the-box, enforcer type, but those guys are so few and far between in the NFL nowadays. Most safeties are expected to be able to cover, due to the NFL being such a pass-heavy league now. He's going to need to run well in order to be a player that can look to be drafted."

On Victor Aiyewa - "Unlike some of the other linebackers Washington has had the past few years, Aiyewa is someone who has that athleticism to have a huge upside.

"He's so explosive and he really came on this past year. I like him a lot and he's someone who probably isn't going to get drafted, but he has a chance to be an un-drafted free agent who has a chance to stick because of his ability to play special teams. He could also be a guy who sees the practice squad this year and then has a chance to lift and put on some more size and that will allow him to really show people what he can do."

In addition to those four players, Rang also took the time to give us his thoughts on some Washington players who have a chance to hear their name called in future drafts.

On Alameda Ta'amu - "With him, it's all about development over the next year. He made a huge splash in the Holiday Bowl against a very good Nebraska team, but there were still times, when you watched his film, that you saw him get knocked off the ball a little more than he should have.

"As the season went along, Ta'amu played so much better and was a real force, but in the NFL you have to see that day-in and day-out and I'm not sure we've seen that yet.

"You also want to see how he makes those around him better. He's got to be immovable inside next year so that his teammates can make plays.

"He showed enough athleticism to play as a regular defensive tackle, but I see him fitting on the nose with someone. Due to his size and strength and the fact he's been a three year starter by the time he's done, on a team that is poised to do well, that makes him someone that teams are going to look at, but he's got to show the development necessary to be a top pick."

On Chris Polk - "Polk is so physical even though he's not a big back. He plays a real physical brand of football and you love that about him. It's also why I was pretty surprised that he didn't declare himself eligible.

"With running backs his size, and he's had some injury issues with two shoulder surgeries in two years, it's hard on their bodies to play the brand of football he has.

"However, I just love everything about him. He's so physical, he's tough to bring down and I know scouts are really excited to see him this year.

"He has a chance to be a top-75 pick next year and for running backs, because teams have gone to a two-back or 'running back by committee' system, you have to be really special as a back to get into that category and I really think that's where Polk is right now.

"He should be the top back in the Pac 12 (from an NFL prospect standpoint) this fall and he will likely be one of the top backs in the nation too."

On Jermaine Kearse - "One of the most talented and physically gifted players in the country at his position, but even with his size, speed and athleticism, you still see him as being inconsistent with his hands at times and you see him struggling to get off the line against the jam.

"I was really happy he decided to come back because I really think he has a chance to maximize his value if he can show people he's improved his consistency and his technique and that he's tougher to jam. If he does that he has a chance to be a guy who could go in the first two or three rounds."

On Senio Kelemete - "It has been so long since Washington has had an offensive lineman worth mentioning in the Draft that it will be interesting to watch how he develops.

"He's certainly an intriguing player. He's got some athleticism, but you want to see how effective he can at guard or at tackle. I think he's probably a better fit inside at the next level, but we'll see."

On Cort Dennison - "He's another one with the need to run better, but if he makes your team he will be a tough player to cut because he's a guy who will play his butt off for you.

"He's very smart, a real cerebral guy, but he isn't the most athletic. He's shown he can be more physical, at least at times, that Foster was, but he missed some tackles that I thought he should have made, so he's got a ways to go to show he can play at the next level."

Rang also took the time to talk about some of the young players who were standouts last year in DE Hauoli Jamora and RB Jesse Callier.

"When you have players like them and they are still so young, you make a note of things, but you want to see them do it for a couple of years first," Rang said. "With Callier, because of the position he plays, you can see his talents on display more easily.

"He's quick and he's got good speed, so you want to watch and see how he develops as an inside runner. With Polk, Washington already has that thumper in the middle, so Callier can just keep developing and picking his spots, but he has to show he can do that in order to start to get looks from the NFL.

"With Jamora, he was explosive off the edge, but he's got to get stronger and show he can continue to improve technique-wise as well as how he does with his consistency.

"It's certainly a great start for both of them and scouts start looking at guys right away if they stand out and both did, but they still have at least two more years before they can be considered, so they have a long way to go still."


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