Not every Power Five institution saw one of its college stars be taken in the 2023 NFL Draft.
One would think that every Power Five team should see at least one of its players selected in the NFL Draft, but here we are…
Admittedly, there are only so many picks to be had in a given draft. Teams like Alabama, Georgia and Ohio State see their best players get taken on the reg. However, we did not see a single Group of Five player go in the first round on Thursday night. That was odd, but not as odd as seeing Washington being among college football’s forgotten. How did U-Dub not get any players drafted?
Washington comprises the unmagnificent seven with Arizona, Colorado, Duke, Indiana, Kansas and Vanderbilt. Outside of Indiana, all six have hope heading into 2023, but my goodness gracious.
Let’s try to unwrap how a traditional power like Washington ends up on this list of woebegones.
Washington Huskies somehow did not have a player taken in the 2023 NFL Draft
In Kalen DeBoer’s first year in Seattle, we got our first taste of Big Penix Energy, and you better believe we liked it! Michael Penix Jr. may be a slender southpaw with a ghastly knee injury on his resume, but he could be a borderline first-round pick next year, or at the very least be 2024’s version of Hendon Hooker coming out of Tennessee. Washington is young and restless, alright.
This draft weekend anomaly says everything about Jimmy Lake wrecking his pontoon boat to the bottom of Lake Washington in a matter of months. Chris Petersen led the Huskies to the College Football Playoff not that long ago, whereas Lake was actually a worse fit in the Pac-12 than Herm Edwards ever was. Even Edwards had an eye for talent, but did not believe in COVID regulations…
So yes, I would anticipate U-Dub having a few players of its own drafted next year besides their Heisman Trophy-contending quarterback. Would it honestly shock you if the Huskies play for a Pac-12 title next year with a realistic shot at making the final four-team College Football Playoff? Not at all, as the Huskies will be battle-tested having played in a very strong league at the top of it.
As for the other six schools, I can sense an upward trajectory in every spot but Indiana. Tom Allen is still doing whatever he does in Bloomington, probably because DeBoer and Penix were in Bloomington during COVID. We will never forget about the unforgettable 2020 Indiana Hoosiers squad that would have made the College Football Playoff as a No. 11 seed had we had 12 teams…
Arizona is recruiting very well under Jedd Fisch’s guidance. U of A is still a bottom-of-the-barrel team in the Pac-12, but the Wildcats should be a tough out anyway on account of the talent Fisch has assembled. Colorado will be lucky to go 6-6 under Deion Sanders in year one at Boulder, but look for the Buffs to stampede in the Rocky Mountain Time Zone possibly midway through 2024.
Duke and Kansas are historically basketball schools, but they seem to have struck gold on their latest coaching hires. Who knew that Mike Elko was the glue holding the snake oil salesman operation together in College Station? Duke won nine games under a first-year head coach. I’m not saying he is the next Steve Spurrier, but we are in need of a new Head Ball Coach to entertain us.
As for Lance Leipold, Kansas is one good year away from contending for a Big 12 championship. Quarterback injuries unraveled their historic campaign midway through last year. Despite being a Kansas City Chiefs fan, I have never seen Rob Riggle happier in my entire life. The last time KU was this good at football, I was applying for colleges and Mark “The Meatball” Mangino changed lives.
Lastly, even in craptastic seasons that they are usually synonymous for, Vanderbilt typically gets a few guys drafted, mostly because of the level of comp they face in the SEC. Where I think it tips in their favor next year is this will be year three for Clark Lea back at his alma mater. Vandy played so well down the stretch. Also, he still has his buddy in recruiting ace Barton Simmons on their staff.
Ultimately, not every Power Five team will get even one of its players taken in a draft. The NFL may be a league driven by parity, but college football has long been anything but that. However, even the have-nots can produce blue-chip talent that one of 32 professional franchises could be interested in. Look for upwards of five of these unmagnificent seven getting one player drafted.
Should Washington not get a player drafted next spring, shut the program down and be Gonzaga.
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