Linebacker Donald Butler became the first player from Washington taken in the NFL draft since 2006.
Not much later, Daniel Te’o-Nesheim became the second.
Butler was selected Friday night by the San Diego Chargers as the 79th overall pick and the 15th pick in the third round.
Butler joins Marquis Cooper as the highest drafted Washington linebackers since 1986. Both Cooper and Butler were taken at No. 79 overall.
Te’o-Nesheim was selected by the Philadelphia Eagles with the 22nd pick of the third round. He was the 86th overall selection.
The Chargers spent heavily in a trade with San Francisco to move up 12 spots in the third round to take Butler. The Chargers sent the 49ers their third-round pick, a sixth-round pick and San Diego’s fourth-round pick in 2011.
Jimmy Raye, San Diego’s director of player personnel, said the fact that Butler can play either inside linebacker position made him worth the price.
“You’re sitting there, and you have a couple of guys you’re interested in. You have to make a decision — do you want to try to go up and get him or are you going to sit there and wait for him? And we made the decision to go up and get him,” Raye said.
Chargers coach Norv Turner agrees with that philosophy.
“That player, he may be a difference-maker,” the coach said.
Butler said he’ll make it worth it to the Chargers.
He described himself as “someone who’s going to come in day in and day out and work. That’s how I was raised and that’s all I know. I come in and work, and hopefully I can work in any possible way.”
Te’o-Nesheim was projected to be a third- or fourth-round pick and has been praised by coaches and scouts for his nonstop effort on the field. He is Washington’s career leader in sacks with 301/2, including 11 as a senior.
The Eagles made several trades before selecting Te’o-Nesheim.
“I think of myself as a high-effort guy and I’ll do whatever is asked on and off the field,” Te’o-Nesheim said.
“We have another T.O. in the building,” coach Andy Reid joked, referring to former Eagles wide receiver Terrell Owens. “This one plays defensive end. He can also play tackle in pass-rush situations.”
Washington could have a player drafted much higher next year. Quarterback Jake Locker is projected as a potential first-round pick, with some analysts listing him as the No. 1 prospect. The Huskies haven’t had a player drafted in the first round since 2004, when wide receiver Reggie Williams was taken ninth overall by Jacksonville.