Last year, 11 players with Utah ties were selected in the NFL draft. That included a school-record eight selections from the University of Utah, led by former Ute offensive lineman Garett Bolles in the first round.
This year isn’t expected to be as fruitful for the state.
Still, there are a handful of local prospects who could hear their names called when the 2018 NFL draft takes place April 26-28 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Dane Brugler of NFLDraftScout.com released his seven-round NFL mock draft last Thursday — the two-week mark until the draft’s first round — and it included four players with Utah ties being selected.
First among the locals on Brugler’s list was former BYU linebacker Fred Warner going to the Los Angeles Chargers with the No. 84 overall pick in the third round. Warner had a career-best 87 tackles as a senior last year and added five pass breakups, a sack, an interception, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. He grew up in San Marcos, California, a little over a half-hour away from San Diego, the former home of the Chargers.
Former Stanford and Bingham High tight end Dalton Schultz was next, going to the New York Jets in the fourth round with the No. 107 overall selection. Schultz was named All-Pac-12 first team last year as a senior, when he had 22 receptions for 212 yards and three touchdowns.
Another local high school athlete also went in the fourth found of Brugler’s mock draft, as Washington State and Logan High quarterback Luke Falk was the 131st overall pick, to the Miami Dolphins. Falk finished his college career with 14,481 passing yards — No. 8 among NCAA Division I FBS career passing leaders — and also threw for 119 touchdowns.
Utah defensive end Kyle Fitts went to the New Orleans Saints in the sixth round with the No. 189 overall pick. Fitts had 23 tackles, three sacks, a pass deflection and a fumble recovery for the Utes in 10 games last year.
A pair of other recent seven-round mock drafts list other potential local draftees.
In DJ Boyer’s mock draft for DraftSite.com, eight Utah ties are taken. In addition to Falk (third round, New Orleans), Schultz (third, Arizona), Warner (sixth, Oakland) and Fitts (seventh, Kansas City), Utah and Bingham High defensive tackle Lowell Lotulelei (fifth, Tampa Bay), Weber State cornerback Taron Johnson (sixth, Kansas City), Utah wide receiver Darren Carrington (seventh, Dallas) and Weber State tight end Andrew Vollert (seventh, New Orleans) also make Boyer’s list.
In Scott Dochterman’s Land of 10 seven-round mock draft, seven Utah ties appear, including a pair of new names — Utah offensive lineman Salesi Uhatafe (fifth round, Seattle) and Utah State cornerback Jalen Davis (seventh, Kansas City). Others who show up on Dochterman’s list include Falk (third round, L.A. Chargers), Schultz (fourth, Houston), Warner (fourth, Washington), Fitts (sixth, Tampa Bay) and Lotulelei (seventh, Pittsburgh).
A Cowboy homecoming?
One name that showed up on the Cowboys’ radar is BYU center Tejan Koroma. That’s fitting, considering the former Cougar grew up in Allen, Texas, a suburb of Dallas.
Four DallasCowboys.com writers recently released their second version of selections for the Cowboys’ picks in this year’s draft. Koroma showed up as a Dallas pick in the sixth round with two of the writers, Bryan Broaddus and Nick Eatman.
In their first version of the Cowboys’ picks released March 30, Broaddus also had the 290-pound Koroma being selected by Dallas.
“I really do like Tejan Koroma’s toughness and the way he plays with leverage, but his lack of height (6-0) could be an issue,” Broaddus wrote.
Alex Smith wants to create environment where focus is on wins, not numbers (NBC Sports Washington)
Here’s a look at two feel-good moments from sports this past weekend.
The first comes from Syracuse University, where quarterback Rex Culpepper, who’s battling cancer, led a touchdown drive on the Orange’s final drive of the spring preview.
The other moment comes from the Stanley Cup playoffs, where a little girl was hoping to get a puck from the Washington Capitals’ Brett Connolly. Watch as she waits to finally receive her gift — while the first two pucks Connolly throws over the glass go to the boys surrounding her — and the look of pure elation when she does.