NFL Draft 2011: Top Prospects From the Seattle Area
Seattle might not be known as a football area when it comes to top talent, but under the radar they produce players who one day will hopefully make a lasting image on college football and then the NFL. Many of Seattle's top players decided to take their talents to other states for college and impressed enough to be top prospects in this year's draft.
Guys like Jake Locker, Stephan Schilling and Mason Foster are all players hoping to hear their name called as early as possible in this year's NFL Draft.
Mason Foster, LB, Washington
Mason Foster wasn't quite as high up on NFL scouts radar until the Senior Bowl week. After a tremendous week of practicing and impressing everyone, Foster may have significantly jumped up numerous teams draft boards.
At 6'2", 242 pounds, Foster has prototypical NFL size, and after compiling 372 tackles, six forced fumbles and four interceptions in his career at Washington. He led the Pac-10 this season with a tremendous 151 tackles. He will look to slide up many draft boards as weeks go on.
Jake Locker, QB, Washinton
Many scouts consider this kid the top quarterback prospect in the draft, Locker has the NFL mentality after playing a pro-style offense in college. The downside of this is that he never truly succeeded during his career at Washington despite throwing for 7,639 yards and 53 touchdowns.
Fortunately for him, his arm strength and ability to make smart decisions while in the pocket and on the run make him an ideal choice for teams needing a quarterback. With the right coach in the NFL, Locker has the body, 6'3" 230 pounds, to become a top quarterback and help any team reach the playoffs and beyond.
Stephen Schilling, OG, Michigan
Schilling, from Bellevue, Washington, is rated as the seventh-best offensive guard in the draft and at 6'4" 302 pounds, he has the size to be a strong run blocker in the NFL. Schilling started all twelve games for the Wolverines this season and was an All-Big Ten Honorable Mention this season.
With a 5.02 40-yard dash time, he has quickness for a big guy and will use that to pull on run plays and handle quicker defensive lineman during pass rushes. He is projected to go in the third-or-fourth rounds, but with strong pro days and combine, he could slide up on many draft boards.
Austin Pettis, WR, Boise State
With 71 receptions, 951 yards and 10 touchdowns, Pettis showed scouts he has trusted hands and can get any ball thrown his way. On top of that, at 6'2", 204 pounds, he is a big, physical receiver who can be extremely tough for smaller cornerbacks to cover.
Pettis will need to impress at the combine and pro day in order to be drafted higher than he would be now, but he has the potential and ability as we all saw this season for Boise State.
Titus Young, WR, Boise State
The other leading wide receiver for the Broncos this season was Titus Young. Young also managed 71 receptions but compiled a whopping 1,215 yards along with nine touchdowns. Young is smaller than Pettis but is shifty and can outrun people with his speed.
Young will look to be a deep threat on whichever team drafts him and make an immediate impact. At 5'11" he is a smaller receiver that will have to run strong routs to get open as well.
Nate Williams, S, Washington
Rated by some as the seventh best safety in this year's draft, Nate Williams is a hard hitting safety out of the University of Washington. At 6'0" and 216 pounds, he has the ability to come up and stop the run while using his 4.5 speed to cover wide receivers. He will most likely be a fifth-sixth rounder and could provide help on special teams right away.
Taiwan Jones, RB, Eastern Washington
Big Sky Conference co-offensivee MVP Taiwan Jones will leave Eastern Washington as a junior to enter the NFL Draft. Jones rushed for 1,742 for the FCS National Champs before injuring his ankle in a quarterfinal game against North Dakota in which he rushed for 230 yards.
Jones has the speed for the NFL but lacks the size, making him likely a fourth-fifth round pick if the ankle is healthy and further down if it's not. Jones average 145.5 rushing yards a game and 208.1 all purpose yards. At 7.1 yards per carry, Jones knows how to hit the hole hard and make big plays.
De'Shon Matthews, DE, Washington
A 6'4", 255 pound defensive end, Matthews is a strong player who can utilize his small size as a quick rusher from the outside. He played in all but two games this season and had his best game against Arizona State. Matthews will hope to go in a late round or be signed as an undrafted free agent.
Cody Habben, OT, Washington
At 6'6", 298 pounds, Habben is a tall offensive lineman that ranks 37th out of all the offensive tackles in the draft. He was a multiple All-Pac-10 Honorable Mention and in 2008 and 2009 he started all 12 games in each season for the Huskies. He has the size to be a solid offensive lineman in the NFL with hard work and by fighting for playing time.
Kyle Brotzman, K, Boise State
We all remember how he missed those kicks at Nevada that ended Boise State's hopes of a national championship, but besides that, Brotzman is a very talented kicker.
He has shown he has the ability to make kicks from 50-plus and that on extra points, he's money. Come on, if anyone needs a second chance it's this kid and why not let it be in the NFL.
Shiloh Keo, S, Idaho
A product of Everett, Washington, Shiloh Keo is a hard-nosed safety who has natural talent. He's a big safety at 5'11", 233 pounds and can be a tough defender against the run. During his career at Idaho, he totaled 357 tackles, two forced fumbles and 11 interceptions.
Keo will be a late-round draft pick despite being rated by some as the seventh best safety in this year's draft. He was a first team All-WAC selection in 2009 while leading the Vandals in tackles. Scouts say he has the ability to play S, OLB and even return kicks, making him a very versatile player.
Nathan Enderle, QB, Idaho
Not only does Nathan Enderle have tremendous numbers during his time at Idaho, he also possesses tremendous size for a quarterback in the NFL. Despite the downside that this draft is loaded with quarterbacks, Enderle will likely be a late-round draft pick or signed free agent.
While at Idaho he compiled star-like numbers of 10,084 yards, 74 touchdowns, and this past season had a passer rating of 123.43 while throwing for 3,314 yards, and 22 touchdowns. Look for Enderle to get his shot and end up making an NFL roster during the draft or shortly after.
Zach Enyeart, LS, Washington State
Although being a long snapper means you most likely won't be drafted but rather signed as a free agent, Enyeart is a product of Sammamish, Washington and then Washington State. He is rated as the fourth long snapper out of 21 in the draft, meaning he has a solid shot of ending up on an NFL roster. The best advice to a long snapper: good luck.