UW Draft Day Primer

No Washington player is expected to be picked during Thursday's first round of the 2012 NFL Draft, but that doesn't mean it won't happen. As draft experts are wont to say, all it takes is one organization to fall in love with you to make it happen. Here's a quick primer as to where each of Washington's prospects are expected to go, as well as the thoughts for and against those predictions.

We also have included quotes from Rob Rang, one of the top analysts from NFLDraftScout.com and CBSSports.com, who is from Tacoma and is also a frequent contributor to SportsRadio950 KJR. We spoke with Rang about the different UW prospects back in March as part of Washington's Pro Day.

I've included here the names that I've seen in all the full seven-round pro mock drafts compiled throughout the internet. That's not to say players like Cort Dennison and Quinton Richardson won't be drafted; as long as there are still picks to be made, there are possibilities. But for this article, I'm going to stick with those players that have been selected via full mock draft projections.

Chris Polk, RB, 5-11, 222 - There seems to be a question as to which Washington player will go first, Polk, Alameda Ta'amu, or Senio Kelemete? Polk has a great resume, and right now he appears to be headed anywhere from the middle second round to the middle of the fourth round.

Why will he go high - Polk has shown to be as durable as they come, and he's just as prolific between the tackles, as he is getting around a corner. He's also a very underrated pass catcher. He can be moved out as a receiver in multiple sets, and you could even use him as a return specialist. He's multi-dimensional.

Why he might slide - Because he was a featured back at the Pac-12 level for three years, teams may take a pass because he may have hit his ceiling at the collegiate level. He's definitely lost a step or two from when he came to UW as a lightning-fast prospect. He's still fast, but isn't a game-breaker and his combine numbers weren't overwhelming.

Rang on Polk - "I see a guy that is similar, in some ways, to Seattle's Marshawn Lynch. He is a very physical running back. He has two things about him that are special; he runs through contact as well as any back in this draft, including in my opinion Alabama's Trent Richardson, and he catches the ball so well out of the backfield. And that's a very unique combination of skills. So when you consider the fact that as physical as he is - he's a 38-game starter - the tape speaks for itself, really."

Dawgman Draft Projection - Early third round.

Alameda Ta'amu - DT, 6-3, 337 - Ta'amu seems to be the most stable of the UW prospects from a mock draft standpoint, going anywhere from the late 40's of the second round to the mid- 60's.

Why he will go high - True run-stuffing nose players are really tough to come by, and those teams going with the 34 are going to see a big athlete like Ta'amu as just too tough to pass up. When he's on his game, he can be a real difference-maker - as UW fans saw when he almost single-handedly took apart Nebraska's front four in the 2010 Holiday Bowl.

Why he might slide - Ta'amu's effort has always come under scrutiny, and if he'd shown his flashes of brilliance for UW on a consistent basis, he'd be a consensus top-20 pick; he's that athletic. So questions of toughness and mental fortitude to give max effort on every snap has allowed his draft stock to hover at a consistent place, but really hasn't broken through with GM's to the point where they might take a flyer on him earlier in the draft.

Rang on Ta'amu - "He was a little inconsistent throughout his career with the Huskies; at the Senior Bowl I thought he was one of the more impressive defensive linemen there. To me, as exciting as that was, it's a little bit of a red flag because if he was so good there against so-called elite competition, why didn't we see that more consistently at Washington?

Dawgman Draft Projection - Late second round.

Senio Kelemete - OL, 6-3.5, 309 - Not exactly the biggest guy on the world, Kelemete nonetheless made a name for himself at Washington as a left tackle, starting 26 straight games there his last two seasons. I've seen Senio projected anywhere from the mid-third round all the way through to the mid seventh round, and everywhere in-between! His draft-day story may end up being the most intriguing, just based on the experts' differing opinions.

Why he will go high - Like Polk, Kelemete can do a lot of things really, really well. He started his Husky career on the defensive line because of his toughness and athleticism; he eventually moved over to guard because of need, and eventually found himself out at left tackle because of how well he moves in space and his competitiveness. He'll most likely be moved inside in the NFL.

Why he might slide - It's because he'll most likely play guard in the NFL that diminishes his value in terms of draft history, which has barely had any projected guards picked ever in the first round. It happened with Steve Hutchinson and will probably happen again Thursday with Bellevue product David DeCastro, but those guys are a decade apart, which gives you an idea as to how rare it is.

Rang on Kelemete - "Kelemete, I think there's a lot of people that are going to start to consider him in maybe the third round. He's one of those guys that can come in and play fairly quickly despite the fact that he's going to making a transition from left tackle likely to guard. For me, one of the things that's exciting about him is that he's already shown the ability to make a transition from a different position - so that's not going to be new for him. Of course, he's gone up against some pretty spectacular athletes in this conference."

Dawgman Draft Projection - Late fourth round.

Jermaine Kearse - WR, 6-1, 209 - Kearse rewrote the UW receiving record books, finishing second all-time in receptions (180), receiving yards (2871) and touchdowns (29). His last game was his best, catching five passes for an astounding 198 yards and one touchdown, an 80-yarder. But apparently the scouts aren't that impressed by the numbers, as they have him projected as a late Saturday pick, if at all.

Why he will go high - Again, all it takes is for one coach, one GM to fall in love with you, and you'll be shown the love. That being said, Kearse has the production to justify a draft pick, as well as his big-play capability. He's shown throughout the 50 games he played in his UW career (36 starts) that he's durable and can come up with the clutch catch to keep a drive alive, or help win you a big game.

Why he might slide - It's the thing that has haunted him since the beginning of his UW career - dropped passes. Whether it's focus, attention to detail, just bad luck, or whatever - Kearse has the reputation of a guy that can't make the easy play. He's also not a huge guy if a team is looking strictly for a possession receiver, and while his speed is underrated in my opinion, it's not awesome enough to turn general managers' heads. I think someone is going to get a late round steal here, because I think Jermaine is going to go into the 2012 season with a chip on his shoulder.

Rang on Kearse - "I personally would give him a seventh-round grade, but with this year's draft there's the possibility that he could fall out. If he did fall out, I would expect there's a lot of teams out there that would want to give him a chance, because I think there's a perception out there that if you can get him to be a little more consistent, then you have the potential of a real steal, because he has the size and speed that you're looking for."

Dawgman Draft Projection - Mid seventh round.

Dawgman.com Top Stories