Could BYU football have another first-round pick next year?

Published: Thursday, May 9 2013 6:10 p.m. MDT

While Ansah was the only BYU player drafted this year, six others signed free agent contracts.

Mendenhall has drawn criticism for the lack of players in his program drafted in recent years. Some say it's because he has publicly stated that football is No. 5 on his list of priorities.

But Mendenhall said helping send players to the NFL is an extremely high priority for him and for the program.

"I want to help our players reach their goals and potential in whatever area they choose," Mendenhall said. "I think I'm probably as passionate, if not more passionate, as anyone in the country in wanting to help our players reach the NFL."

Mendenhall added that there's much more to life than playing in the NFL. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has shared alarming information with college coaches about the downside of playing professional football, and it's a message he talks about with his players.

"What I do express to our players and others is that just by making it to the NFL and getting the chance to play doesn't guarantee their success in life," Mendenhall said. "There are high rates of divorce, bankruptcy and substance abuse. What I really want is for our players to be completely prepared for life, not only through football, including the NFL, which I love, but also that when their NFL careers are completed, they're well-prepared to be husbands, fathers and providers and positive role models and contributing members of society in the communities where they live.

"Football can be a great vehicle to help them get to that point, but in and of itself, it isn't the only thing to pursue. There are about 30 percent of the players that play in the NFL that are able to balance marriages, finances and their bodies and minds. The other 70 percent, the NFL usually takes a pretty strong toll on them. I'm the most passionate advocate for young men to go on to the NFL, but to be that 30 percent — the ones that can have it all and don't sacrifice the NFL for their well-being. I want them to have both."

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