Over its two-day draft, the NFL selected players from Army and Bentley and finally even Idaho. NFL teams also drafted a player named “Washington,” but ultimately they drafted no one from Washington.
At least not the University of Washington. One player who played his collegiate career in the state of Washington was taken: WSU quarterback Alex Brink by the Houston Texans in the seventh round.
And shortly after the draft UW receiver Anthony Russo of Lakewood and WSU’s Michael Bumpus were about to sign with the Seahawks.
Before the draft, Russo had worked out for the Seahawks and said that former UW coach Keith Gilbertson — now receivers coach for the Hawks — had said the team was excited about him.
That leaves other hopefuls such as UW receiver Marcel Reece, defensive end Greyson Gunheim, cornerback Roy Lewis, tailback Louis Rankin and outside linebacker Dan Howell; Washington State offensive tackle Bobby Byrd, fullback Jed Collins, safety Husain Abdullah and defensive tackle Ropati Pitoitua; Eastern Washington guard Matthew Alfred and safety Gregory Smith; and Western Washington inside linebacker Shane Simmons free to look for free agent contracts.
This was the first draft since 2003 when no UW player was selected, and it marked the lowest number of draftees from the state since 1994, when Washington’s Pete Pierson was the only pick.
Pac-10 champion Southern California led the league with 10 drafted players, followed by California, six; Arizona State, five; Arizona, four; UCLA and Oregon, three each; Oregon State, two; WSU, one; UW and Stanford, none.
Before the draft, Washington coach Tyrone Willingham had acknowledged that the ability to produce pro players says something about the strength of college programs.
"I think it does," he said. "I think when you have good players, other people want good players."