Plenty of Ties to Washington State in Super Bowl LVII
Super Bowl LVII will be played this Sunday, February 12th in Glendale, Arizona home of the Arizona Cardinals. Even though the Seahawks didn't make the trip south to play in the game, there are a number of ties to the State of Washington between the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs to give you a rooting interest.
Let's Start with the Kansas City Chiefs
Carlos Dunlap - Defensive End
Carlos Dunlap signed with the Kansas City Chiefs as a free agent before the start of this season. Dunlap was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the second round of the 2010 draft after winning a National Championship at the University of Florida in 2009. After a decade in Bengal orange and black, Dunlap was dealt to the Seattle Seahawks before the trade deadline in 2020 for center B.J. Finney and a 2021 seventh round pick.
Dunlap recorded 6.5 sacks in 8 games for Seattle over the rest of that campaign. he was released at the end of the 2020 season only to sign a 2 year deal to stay with the Hawks worth $16.6 million. Dunlap was again released after the 2021 season after posting 8.5 sacks and 1 forced fumble in 17 games.
Frank Clark - Defensive End
Frank Clark was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs, along with a third round pick in the 2019 draft, before the start of the 2019 season by the Seahawks for the Chiefs first and third round picks in the 2109 draft and a conditional 2nd round pick in the 2020 draft.
Clark was drafted by the Seattle in the second round of the 2015 draft out of the University of Michigan. Clark notched a career high 13 sacks in 16 games for the Hawks in 2018. over the course of his career in the Emerald City, Clark only missed two games, posted a pair of double digit sack seasons (10 in 2016 and 13 in 2018), and finished with 35 sacks, 8 forced fumbles, 4 fumble recoveries, and 1 interception in 62 games overall.
Trent McDuffie - Cornerback
Trent McDuffie is in his rookie season after being selected in the first round of the 2022 draft by the Chiefs from the University of Washington. McDuffie played in 11 games this season, spending 7 weeks on the injured reserve from September to November. In his rookie campaign the UW standout has 44 tackles to go with 7 pass deflections, 1 sack, and 1 forced fumble.
McDuffie earned third team All American in his final season (2021) with the Huskies to go with first team All-Pac-12 honors. McDuffie was also named the Dawgs Most Outstanding Defensive Player. McDuffie also earned second Team All-Pac 12 honors in his Sophomore season (2020)
Jaylen Watson - Cornerback
Jaylen Watson is also in his rookie year with Kansas City after being selected in the seventh round of the 2022 draft out of Washington State University. Watson has played in all 17 games this season registering 52 tackles, 8 pass deflections, and 3 interceptions including one returned for a touchdown (99 yards against the Los Angeles Chargers).
Watson made his way to Wazzu via Ventura, a Community College in California. Watson was named a starter in his first season at WSU, the Covid shortened 2020 campaign, where he earned All Pac-12 honorable mention. He repeated the accolade after his final season as a Coug in 2021.
Now For The Philadelphia Eagles
Andre Dillard - Offensive Lineman
Dillard is the only Washington native on the list as he was born and raised in Woodinville. Dillard was drafted in the first round by the Eagles in 2019 out of Washington State University. Dillard has not been able to crack the starting lineup in Philadelphia, but has developed into a solid backup who has filled in multiple times over his first four seasons. he has played in 43 games in his NFL career, starting 9 of them.
Dillard redshirted his first year at WSU and then played in just 3 games his freshaman year. In his junior and senior years he started 26 games at left tackles earning first team All-Pac 12 honors in his final season at Washington State (2018). Dillard followed in his father Mitch's footsteps at Wazzu as the elder Dillard played on the offensive line in the mid 80's.
Gardner Minshew II - Quarterback
Gardner Minshew began his NFL career with the Jacksonville Jaguars who selected him in the sixth round in the 2019 draft out of Washington State University. Minshew would become the starter in his rookie season after QB Nick Foles broke his clavicle in Week 1. He would start 12 of 14 games that season and throw for over 3,200 yards and 21 touchdowns. In 2020 Minshew would appear in 9 games for the Jaguars until he suffered multiple fractures and strained ligaments in his left thumb. he would appear in only one game the rest of that season.
The Jaguars traded Minshew to the Philadelphia Eagles before the 2021 season. Minshew has primarily been a backup, appearing in 9 games for the Eagles, starting four of them in the two seasons he has played in the City of Brotherly Love.
Minshew Mania took Washington State University by storm in 2018 after stops at Eastern Carolina and Northwest Mississippi. Minshew led the Cougars to an 11-1 record as he was the prototypical QB for Head Coach Mike Leach's "Air Raid" offense. He would lead WSU to a 28-26 win in the 2018 Alamo Bowl, being named MVP. Minshew was First Team All Pac-12 and pac-12 Offense Player of Year in 2018 as well as winning the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award as the top upperclassman at the QB Position.