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April 17, 2012 at 4:27 PM

ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay talks about Chris Polk and Alameda Ta’amu

ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay held a conference call with reporters today to discuss the upcoming NFL Draft, and was asked about UW’s Chris Polk and Alameda Ta’amu.

Here’s the question, and then what McShay said.

Q: I’m curious about two of Washington’s prospects. Chris Polk, there’s been some talk he did not interview well at the (NFL) Combine, and I’m wondering where you see his status, and then the big nose guard they have, (Alameda) Ta’amu, if he’s someone you expect to go in the first half of the draft.

TODD McSHAY: Well, Chris Polk, there’s a lot things to like. I didn’t hear that — that he didn’t interview well. Maybe that’s the case, but guys I’ve talked to, when I’ve talked to them about Polk, that has not come up. It doesn’t mean. … again, it doesn’t mean that that’s not the case.

With Polk, I don’t see the explosiveness in his running that maybe some people do, but in the same breath, I think he runs with a wide base. I think he runs with good balance. He’s competitive. He runs hard, there’s no question about it.

I mean, what’s not to love about him in the passing game? I think he’s an above average blocker coming out of the college ranks, and he does as good a job as anyone in this class in terms of catching the ball, running routes. He’s just real, real natural in the passing game.

There’s value in that, and he’s the type of guy, just the passionate, diligent worker, loves the game, all those sorts of things, that will contribute on special teams, as well.

Now, the negatives, I told you the explosiveness, I don’t see that agility and acceleration. And also the two shoulder injuries, or surgeries, that he had, just looking at my notes here, I think in 2008 he had the first one, had season ending surgery, and then 2010, underwent a second surgery. That is what is come up in my conversation with teams. I rely obviously on teams and the reports they’re getting from doctors, and then with the durability stuff and the character stuff. That’s the kind of one negative that comes up that I don’t see on tape myself.

But I think Polk, ultimately probably best — I think third round is a good range for Polk. I don’t see him getting into the second. I don’t think there are a bunch of teams that are looking for running backs that high. Fourth round would probably be worst case, but I think Polk will probably come off the board in the third.

Ta’amu, I think he’s a good fit for the nose tackle. I didn’t have a huge — I saw that the production wasn’t there, and didn’t have a great season this past year, and he’s never going to be a good pass rusher. But at 348 pounds, I didn’t see the effort problems that a lot of people, or some people I’ve heard, mention. He’s just a big guy, and I thought he actually played with pretty good effort and had good stamina. He was rarely substituted in 2010 when I watched and a little bit more this past year, but I thought he hustled and played well, and again, at 348 there’s not many guys like him, and there are enough teams running a 3-4 that I think he’s a second round pick.”



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