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NFL draft: 5 Utes, Cougar sign NFL free-agent deals Sunday

Published: Thursday, July 30 2015 12:29 a.m. MDT

Although no Utes were taken in the draft, five players wound up agreeing to free-agent deals on Sunday — safety Steve Tate (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), wide receiver Derrek Richards (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), offensive lineman Jason Boone (New Orleans Saints), defensive end Martail Burnett (Minnesota Vikings), and defensive tackle Gabe Long (Houston Texans).
The NFL is a little bit different game and they have their size, height, weight, speed parameters and all that stuff, said Utah coach Kyle Whittingham. If you don't fit those parameters, then often times you don't get a fair shake.
Whittingham noted that its more difficult than ever to even garner a free agent deal with roster limitations and such.
It's great that five of our guys — at least five of our guys — are getting that opportunity, he said.
Former BYU linebacker Kelly Poppinga was not drafted, but he signed a free-agent contract with the Miami Dolphins. Poppinga, who started all 13 games as a senior at BYU in 2007, will join former Cougars John Beck and John Denney on Miami's roster.
Poppinga's older brother, and another BYU product, Brady, is an outside linebacker with the Green Bay Packers.
Kelly Poppinga fielded free-agent offers from both the Dolphins and Seattle Seahawks following the draft Sunday night.
It was a tough decision, Poppinga said. They both had identical offers and I was really leaning towards Seattle, but at the last second, and I mean literally at the last second, I decided to sign with Miami. It was a really tough decision and I really liked Seattle. Ultimately, I think Miami is the better fit.

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