PROVO — It's always a shaky prospect to assess any player's likelihood of being drafted, particularly at BYU. Who would have predicted in 2011 that Matt Reynolds would go undrafted while Ezekiel Ansah would be a top five pick, for example?
Yes, contrasting Ansah with Reynolds provides the most extreme of examples, but underscores the difficulty to accurately assess any particular player's pro prospects. Although there are good indicators regarding a player's pro prospects, those indicators are fluid.
BYU currently has several players on its squad who could be drafted in the near future nevertheless. Here's 10 players who could hear their names called out as NFL draft picks in the coming years.
Van Noy is the easiest player to tab as a potential NFL draft pick currently on the team. Many were surprised when he chose to stay for his senior year as many draft analysts pegged him as a lock to at least get drafted had he made himself eligible.
Van Noy has been doing it all for the Cougars on the field over the last two seasons and could improve his draft prospects with another stellar season starting at outside linebacker.
Manumaleuna was arguably playing the best of any BYU defensive lineman last season before going down with an injury. He's a proven commodity at both the nose tackle and defensive end positions in Bronco Mendenhall's 3-4 base alignment, and that versatility should impress NFL scouts.
Hoffman is a proven play-maker who has the type of elite size and quickness that could etch out a spot for him at the next level. Hoffman's NFL prospects will depend heavily on his 40 time, as it does with any skill position player.
Kaufusi doesn't have a lot of experience, but has already shown elite athleticism playing as a recently returned missionary last season. Should he continue to progress and stay relatively healthy, Kaufusi could very well end up a high NFL draft pick.
Sorensen will be entering his third year starting at BYU in 2013 and has provided stellar play in each of his prior years. Sorensen provides a very physical presence at strong safety and has proven able to cover a lot of space. Such credentials could prove very attractive to NFL scouts.
While most of the BYU offensive line struggled last season, Mathews provided steady and extremely promising play from his left tackle position as a freshman. He's set to start at the most critical of offensive line positions for all four of his years at BYU, and that could translate into high NFL prospects when he leaves the program.
Williams was a revelation at running back last season — filling in admirably for Michael Alisa when he went down with injury. Williams showed great quickness and remarkably mature natural running instincts as a mere 17-year-old throughout last season.
His young age makes him one of the more intriguing future NFL prospects currently on the team along with his impressive work as a true freshman.
Coaches believe Fua had a breakthrough, as a player, during spring training, and that could translate into a big impact this coming season. Fua has always possessed elite athleticism, but now appears to have the instincts and added weight to make that athleticism work for him on the field.
Fua has two more years in the program to prove his worth at the next level, but don't be surprised if he's mentioned as a probable draftee by the end of the 2013 season.
Taysom Hill certainly has to put an entire season together before he's even considered by NFL scouts, but given his young age and apparent superior athleticism, he has plenty of time to warrant that consideration. The NFL is trending toward dual-threat quarterbacks, and Hill certainly fits that bill as a potential prospect.
A BYU cornerback becoming an NFL draft pick would seem like an enormous stretch to most, but Johnson is in relatively good position. He has better size than most BYU field corners in years past, but has legitimate sub 4.5 speed.
Johnson is set to start for three straight seasons, which could help his prospects tremendously.