Jan. 16 is the NFL’s deadline for underclassmen to declare for the draft, and Budda Baker, Sidney Jones, Elijah Qualls, John Ross III and Vita Vea are expected to strongly consider leaving UW early.
ATLANTA — Evaluations from the NFL’s College Advisory Committee have been waiting to be opened.
Now that the Huskies’ season is over, a handful of Washington underclassmen will finally take a peek at their pro projections and then take a long, hard look at declaring for the NFL draft.
Budda Baker, Sidney Jones, Elijah Qualls, John Ross III and Vita Vea are expected to strongly consider leaving UW early, a team source told The Seattle Times.
Jan. 16 is the NFL’s deadline for underclassmen to declare for the draft.
Ross, the Huskies’ All-American junior receiver, said he plans to discuss his options with his family and with UW coach Chris Petersen.
“I still haven’t even talked to Coach Pete,” Ross said in the locker room after the Huskies’ season-ending loss to No. 1 Alabama on Saturday night. “I was just so focused on this game. I didn’t plan on losing, but we’ve got time. If it seems to be the right thing to do, then we’ll do it.”
Ross said he hasn’t looked at the evaluation from the NFL’s College Advisory Committee, which provides underclassmen with an estimation of which round they could be drafted.
“(Petersen) said he got (the evaluation), but I told me not to tell me until after the game,” Ross said.
What is he hoping to hear?
“Anything good,” Ross said. “Like I’ve said, I’m just blessed to be here. Just going back to last year, I wasn’t even walking (after two knee surgeries). So I’m thankful for anything. Either way it goes, I’m a win-win situation.”
Qualls, a junior defensive lineman, was asked what pros and cons he would weigh in his decision.
“Pros: I won’t be broke,” he said with a laugh. “Cons: I know it’s more of a business than the family thing we got here. I’d miss these dudes, man.”
Some media analysts have projected Qualls as a first- or second-round draft pick.
“I honestly didn’t even think I was going to make it to college, and now I get to actually think about going to the pros if I want to go and people want me to go,” he said. “Yo, that’s crazy.”
Jones and Baker, both juniors, are three-year starters in UW’s secondary, and both are projected high-round picks, too.
The versatile Vea is a wild card. The 6-foot-5, 332-pound defensive lineman is a third-year sophomore, which makes him draft-eligible. UW coaches have long lauded Vea’s rare combination of size and speed.