There are many who think Washington will challenge for the PAC Ten title this season and we understand why. The program has took a huge jump in Steve Sarkisian’s first year and there’s reason to believe the former quarterback will continue to build a winner. Except for two NFL prospects, one well known and the other a real sleeper, the roster is full of late round talent.
Jake Locker is predicted by some to be the first pick of next April’s draft, something we disagree with yet understand. Locker is a sensational athlete who produces throwing the ball or carrying it. Locker effectively sells the play fakes, immediately locates the open wide out and has a terrific sense for what’s happening on the field. He’s nimble enough to escape the rush and loses nothing throwing on the move. To his credit Locker will pull the ball down when nothing’s available rather than force passes into covered receivers. Even at 6-feet, 2.5-inches, Locker seems to have trouble seeing over the offensive line at times. He does not consistently throw with good mechanics and is usually high of the mark when he tries to zip the ball into receivers. He comes with an upside and we will say we were very impressed with Locker’s improvement from thrower to passer last season once Sarkisian got hold of him.
Junior running back Chris Polk is resilient, works runs and keeps the play in bounds trying to pick up positive yardage. He has a terrific burst of speed, shows the ability to pick up large chunks of yardage and carries the ball with a nice degree of strength. Polk also shows himself to be a bit straight-linish and really is not an elusive ball carrier.
Tackle Cody Habben is a large, lumbering blocker only effective in a small area. He blocks with a nasty attitude, makes good use of body positioning and seals defenders from the action with his wide body. Habben also displays good power at the point of attack. He lacks footwork sliding out to protect the edge, struggles to adjust and looks like a marginal athlete on the field.
Junior Alameda Ta’amu could be one of the best kept secrets in the nation on the defensive line and a terrific prospect developing at a great pace. Powerful, he’s very tough to move off the point and easily overwhelms one-on-one blocking, bull rushing opponents off the ball. He must improve his playing balance and Ta’amu is a heavy footed defensive lineman effective in a straight line yet a terrific prospect with a good upside.
Nate Williams is a competitive safety that gives it up against the run but shows poor ball skills in coverage and struggles if asked to play over the slot receiver.
Discuss all the NFL prospects from the PAC Ten!