Luke Wattenberg will be packing up and joining the Denver Broncos following a long football stay in Seattle.
Where have we heard that before?
If all goes well, the former University of Washington center will find himself snapping the ball to the newly acquired Russell Wilson, who, of course, made a big name for himself over the past decade with Seattle Seahawks.
Wattenberg spent a half-dozen years in the Northwest, but it was enough for the Denver franchise to notice him and go to great lengths to obtain the 6-foot-4, 299-pound lineman on Saturday in the NFL draft.
Making it no secret they want to upgrade their offensive line, the Broncos traded up to obtain Wattenberg in the fifth round with the 171st pick overall, by sending the 179th and 234th selections to the Green Bay Packers.
This was a surprise to the analysts, who had the Trabuco Canyon, California, product getting drafted in the seventh round, if at all, but the Broncos saw something they liked and pursued him.
Wattenberg, 24, impressed the Denver front office with his mobility — he ran a 5.20-second 40-yard dash at the combine — and his versatility that included starting at center, left tackle and left guard for the Huskies.
He’s the 18th UW center selected in the NFL draft, actually the second drafted by the Broncos in the fifth round. However, the great Ray Mansfield passed on that AFL opportunity back in 1963 when there were two pro football leagues and signed with the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles, who took him second in that draft.
The workhorse Wattenberg, while starting over four seasons for some formidable UW teams, received postseason honors in 2020 and 2021 when he was named All-Pac-12 honorable mention.
He finished his Husky career with 48 starts in 54 games played, starting 16 consecutive games at center over the past two seasons.
Wattenberg will compete for the back-up job in Denver behind starter Lloyd Cushenberg, who had better be at best in dealing with the newly acquired Wilson or the Broncos won’t hesitate to find a new center.
Husky Centers in NFL Draft
1937 — John Wintrak, C, NFL pick, 4th round.
1938 — Bud Erickson, C, Cleveland Rams, 2nd round.
1941 — Rudy Mucha, C, Cleveland Rams, 1st round.
1943 — Walt Harrison, C, Philadelphia Eagles, 4th round.
1947 — Bill McGovern, C, Los Angeles Rams, 6th round.
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1947 — Gordon Berlin, C, Chicago Bears, 22nd round.
1963 — Ray Mansfield, C, Philadelphia Eagles, 2nd round.
1967 — Greg Cass, C, Chicago Bears, 9th round.
1967 — Bill Barnes, C, Los Angeles Rams, 17th round.
1976 — Ray Pinney, C, Pittsburgh Steelers, 2nd round.
1978 — Blair Bush, C, Cincinnati Bengals, 1st round.
1980 — Tom Turnure, C, Detroit Lions, 3rd round.
1990 — Bern Brostek, C, Los Angeles Rams, 1st round.
1992 — Ed Cunningham, C, Phoenix Cardinals, 3rd round.
1995 — Frank Garcia, C, Carolina Panthers, 4th round.
1998 — Olin Kreutz, C, Chicago Bears, 3rd round.
2020 — Nick Harris, C, Cleveland Browns, 5th round.
2022 — Luke Wattenberg, C, Denver Broncos, 5th round.
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