Next Best Thing: 9 Huskies to Pursue NFL as Free Agents

Dan Raley

Hunter Bryant usually runs crisp pass routes, slipping into a downfield seam to make a big catch in traffic. The University of Washington tight end, however, couldn't get open during three days of the virtual NFL draft. He was double-covered by uncertainty.

Similar to most of his pro football-minded Husky teammates, Bryant didn't get drafted. So it's on to the next avenue to try and land a paying football job.

The tight end from Issaquah, Washington, according to social media and news reports, is one of nine Huskies joining NFL teams as undrafted free agents. All are spreading out in different directions.

The 6-foot-2, 242-pound Bryant, who gave up his final season of college eligibility, will join the Detroit Lions. According to this NFL beat writer, these opportunities come with some financial incentives. 

Offensive tackle Trey Adams, once pegged as a first-rounder before brought down several pegs by injuries, will sign with the Buffalo Bills. It's sad what's happened to his overly promising football career. But it's not over yet. 

Running back Salvon Ahmed, another who bypassed on his senior season at the UW to test the NFL waters, will go to the San Francisco 49ers.

Cornerback Myles Bryant, originally a Husky walk-on turned second-team All-Pac-12 selection, will join the New England Patriots. This determined football player apparently is writing a book about his journey.

Wide receiver Aaron Fuller is staying in Seattle with his pro football pursuits, agreeing to turn out with the Seahawks.

Offensive tackle Jared Hilbers will try to catch on with the New York Jets.

Inside linebacker Brandon Wellington will join drafted quarterback Jacob Eason with the Indianapolis Colts.

Defensive tackle Benning Potoa'e will compete for a job with the Tampa Bay Bucs, where former teammate Vita Vea is a starter on the D-line. 

Finally, wide receiver Andre Baccellia will try to make the Kansas City Chiefs roster.

Hunter Bryant, the first-team All-Pac-12 tight end,  might have been the UW player who was the biggest surprise of those who went undrafted. He was considered a third- to a fifth-round selection in most mock drafts, and listed as high as 72nd (Sporting News) among the 255 selections.

Yet he watched as 11 other tight ends had their names called out.  It's possible NFL teams thought his health was too fragile, with Bryant subject to two major knee injuries in college. 

Adams, at 6-foot-8 and 318 pounds, still has a big body to offer, if he can withstand the pounding. Likewise, he has plenty of wear and tear, having had knee and back surgeries during his UW career.

Nine Huskies trying to get through the back door of the NFL. Who wants it bad enough?

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