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Matt Piper and Kyle Goon
Matt Piper and Kyle Goon cover University of Utah sports teams for The Salt Lake Tribune. Matt Piper is on twitter at @matthew_piper, Kyle Goon is on twitter at @kylegoon

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Utes in the NFL Draft — Jake Murphy positive about going pro early

There's a silver lining to playing for a different offensive coordinator every year. Really, there is.

Former Utes tight end Jake Murphy did it, and it forced him to learn new roles. He can block out of the back field, but he also has the skills of a receiving tight end. And now with the NFL Draft this week, Murphy's thankful that he had to adjust.

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"I think I can fit in as a slot receiving tight end, but I can also move around and be an H-back," he said. "That's definitely a positive for me."

The 24-year-old decided to chase the NFL this year instead of returning for his senior season, and so far he sees signs that it was the right choice. Although the draft can be an unpredictable and fickle beast, Murphy said he's yet to hear feedback that he'll go undrafted. He's expecting to be picked on Saturday.

Also fortunate for Murphy: Pro sports run in the family.

Brother Shawn Murphy, a Utah State alum who has played for the Dolphins, Bucs, Panthers and Broncos in his NFL career, has given him an idea of what to expect. And there's always dad - though Dale Murphy never went to NFL mini-camps, the six-time Atlanta Braves all-star has plenty of advice to dispense.

"He can definitely relate to it, the uncertainty of the process," Jake Murphy said. "You have to perform to justify your pick, and it just comes down to putting in extra work."

Murphy's done a lot of that work at John Madsen Performance in Sandy with fellow Ute Karl Williams and a host of others. He's worked out for a few teams, and done a handful of interviews to convince scouts he'll be able to quickly grasp an NFL offense.

Among current NFL players, Murphy thinks he shares some traits with a player that some Ute fans might not want to hear: "I think Dennis Pitta resembles what I want to do. There's some similarities there with our receiving skills."

Until the draft, Murphy will be spending time with his family in American Fork. That's probably his plan for the draft itself, as well. He's not sure when his wife, Arianne Murphy, and year-old daughter Remi will be able to join him in a new city. He's anticipating going almost right away after he gets drafted or picked up as a free agent.

For this last week, he'll try to soak up some family time in between the madness of draft week.

"I'll probably just hang out with them," he said. "It'll be nice."

Kyle Goon


Twitter: @kylegoon

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