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McGary leads class of eight Huskies taken in NFL Draft

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Kaleb McGary became just the sixth UW offensive lineman taken in the first round of the NFL draft, and the first since Lincoln Kennedy in 1993.

The Washington football team had its best showing at the NFL Draft in two decades over the weekend, with eight picks. It’s the most for the UW in any one season since 10 Huskies heard their names called in 1998.

Since 2017, Washington has had 18 draft picks, its most over a three-year span since 1992-94.

True to recent form, the three-day draft skewed toward the defense for Washington, with five Death Row alums getting picked. Three came from the secondary, the second time in the past three years that’s happened.

“It just makes me really proud,” cornerback Keith Taylor said after Washington’s Spring Preview. “All of those dudes, those are my brothers. I’m really happy for them to succeed, and I can’t wait to see what they do at the next level.”

However, Washington’s first — and only — first-round pick came from the offense, when the Atlanta Falcons took offensive tackle Kaleb McGary with the 31st overall pick.

“I’m pretty proud of that guy, because he’s been through so much,” UW senior center Nick Harris said. “I’ve never been around a more hardworking person than Kaleb. He deserves everything that’s coming to him, and I can’t wait to see what he does in the league.”

McGary started every game for the past three seasons at the UW at right tackle, earning first-team All-Pac-12 honors in his junior and senior years and the Morris Trophy as the Pac-12’s best offensive lineman as voted by the players. He’s the third offensive player from Washington drafted in the first round this decade, joining Jake Locker and John Ross.

That would be all for the Dawgs on Thursday, but UW fans wouldn’t have to wait long to hear another Husky’s name on Friday. The Arizona Cardinals kicked off the second round by taking Scottsdale-native Byron Murphy. Last season, Murphy led the Huskies with four interceptions, including the only touchdown in the Pac-12 Championship Game.

Nineteen picks later, the Cincinnati Bengals took Drew Sample. Sample, who appeared in all but three games in the past four seasons and led the UW’s tight ends in receptions in 2018, will join Ross in Cincinnati.

Taylor Rapp became the first UW player drafted by the Rams since 1998 when Los Angeles took him with its first pick of the weekend. Two rounds later, the Rams doubled up on Dawgs, taking defensive tackle Greg Gaines.

The most exciting pick for local fans came in the fifth round, when the Seattle Seahawks took Ben Burr-Kirven. BBK, who led the nation with 176 total tackles, is the second UW player to be drafted by the Seahawks in the past two years, after tight end Will Dissly.

Jordan Miller became the third defensive back from Montlake off the board in the fifth round, joining McGary and former Dawg Desmond Trufant in Atlanta.

“That’s a big-time fit,” defensive coordinator Jimmy Lake said. “If you like tall, fast, physical corners, that’s a good fit. I’m so happy that he was selected. His arrow is definitely pointing up as a football player.”

Running back Myles Gaskin, Washington’s all-time leading rusher, became the final Husky off of the board, going in the seventh round to the Miami Dolphins. He’s just the fifth UW player ever drafted by Miami, and the first since 2002.

It didn’t take long after the seventh round ended for some of the Huskies left undrafted to be snapped up. Within minutes, Jake Browning had signed with the Minnesota Vikings. Ben Standing of NBC Sports Washington reported that JoJo McIntosh has signed with the Washington NFL team.

Reach Sports Editor Josh Kirshenbaum at Twitter: @J_Kirshenbaum

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