Utah is well represented in this NFL Draft, with players from Utah, BYU, Utah State and even Dixie State among those that could be drafted.
Kyle Van Noy appears to be the prospect with the highest stock, but several others could go in the mid-and late-rounds. Along with the Tribune’s mock draft, here’s a mock look at where Utah players will be drafted:
Minnesota Vikings (40th Overall)
Kyle Van Noy, BYU. Outside linebacker, 6-5/243. Van Noy should receive interest from several teams in the top half of the second round, including the Atlanta Falcons, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars and with the trade down in the main mock with Oakland, the New England Patriots. However, the Vikings nab him after the above teams go in different directions to boost new head coach Mike Zimmer’s defense. Chad Greenway is getting older and the other options in Minnesota aren’t fantastic, leaving Van Noy as a great option to boost the Vikings’ pass rush and linebacking core as a whole.
San Francisco 49ers (56th Overall)
Keith McGill, Utah. Cornerback, 6-3/211. As stated in the main mock, the 49ers have a bevy of picks, but not enough holes to fill on the team’s roster. After moving up with the Browns for Brandin Cooks in my mock scenario, the 49ers turn to the other side of the ball to shore up a need at corner. McGill falls victim to the same deficiencies of most taller corners: stiff hips and lack of recovery speed, but there’s plenty to like as well. Tramaine Brock and Chris Culliver are in place for the 49ers, but McGill could come in as a slot corner and play on the outside when San Francisco faces off against larger receivers.
Atlanta Falcons (68th Overall)
Nevin Lawson, Utah State. Cornerback, 5-9/190. The Falcons went with back-to-back corner selections in the first two rounds of the 2013 Draft, but Lawson would be a sensational option in the slot and a great value in the top half of the third round. Lawson was a mystery to most of the country coming out of Utah State, but made noise at the Senior Bowl and at the Combine to assert himself into the top 100 picks conversation. He’s quick, fluid and has the tools in the right system to develop into a great third and solid second corner.
New Orleans Saints (126th Overall)
Tyler Larsen, Utah State. Offensive lineman, 6-4/313. Larsen could go anywhere from the third to fifth round, but the Saints make sense in the back end of the fourth round after he met with the team at the Senior Bowl. Larsen has good size and was a leader at Utah State, but can still get overpowered at times and will need to shift inside to guard or develop at center for a year or so. Jahri Evans and Ben Grubbs are deep into their careers and Larsen could provide younger depth and competition for incumbent Tim Lelito.
Tennessee Titans (151st Overall)
Trevor Reilly, Utah. Outside linebacker, 6-5/245. Anyone who watched a Utah game last season could see Reilly was the heart and soul of the defense, regularly terrorizing quarterbacks and making tackles. Reilly isn’t as highly rated as other pass rushers in this draft, but he’ll find a spot with the Titans as a situational pass rusher at outside linebacker. He’s strong and has natural pass rushing ability, but his age (26) and recent knee surgery push him down to the fifth round.
Utah TE Jake Murphy, BYU WR Cody Hoffman, Utah TE Anthony Denham, BYU Safety Daniel Sorensen. Murphy has strong hands and would fill an H-back role or a third tight end role as a late sixth round pick. Hoffman showed skill as Taysom Hill’s go-to target last season, but suffers because of the depth at receiver in this draft. Denham is huge and despite his receiving struggles, will stick with a team somewhere. Sorensen flashed at the Combine and looks like a great backup safety and has potential long-term on special teams.
Undrafted Free Agents
Utah State TE D.J. Tialavea, Utah DT Tenny Palepoi, BYU DE Eathyn Manumaleuna, Utah State Safety Maurice Alexander, BYU LB Uani ‘Unga, Dixie State TE Joe Don Duncan