Two athletes who played their high school football in Utah represent a pair of the state’s best chances to have local players selected in the 2018 NFL draft.
Former Logan High quarterback Luke Falk projects as a mid- to late-round prospect by most national publications for the draft, which runs Thursday to Saturday in Arlington, Texas. The former walk-on at Washington State and three-year starter had career numbers of 14,486 passing yards, 119 touchdown passes and a 66.9 completion percentage while earning All-Pac-12 honors three times.
“Tall, rhythm pass with good natural accuracy and years of quality production who is much more comfortable working the perimeter and against man coverage,” NFL.com analyst Lance Zierlein wrote of Falk, while listing his NFL comparison as Mike Glennon.
Former Bingham High tight end Dalton Schultz, like Falk, is projected as a mid- to late-round selection. He had 55 career receptions for 555 yards and five touchdowns at Stanford while being named to the All-Pac-12 first team last year as a junior.
NFL Draft Scout’s Dane Brugler lauded Schultz as a “mean-spirited blocker (who) looks to engage defenders and run his feet to create movement” while also noting he “needs to continue and develop his strength.”
Utah State: The Aggies’ best possibility to have a player selected in this year’s draft is cornerback Jalen Davis. The 5-10 corner was named to several All-American teams as a senior, including the Walter Camp first team, and set school records with 37 career pass breakups and 48 passes defended, to go along with 11 career interceptions. He clocked a 4.40 time in the 40 at the team’s Pro Day last month. USU typically has a host of players sign free-agent deals each year, and others who could end up on an NFL roster include safety Dallin Leavitt, running back LaJuan Hunt and Tonny Lindsey Jr., and offensive lineman Austin Albrecht.
Weber State: The Wildcats haven’t had a player taken in the NFL draft since 2010. Cornerback Taron Johnson represents the best chance to break that streak while tight end Andrew Vollert also could find his way onto an NFL roster, either as a late-rounder or a free agent. “Johnson was a productive four-year player at the small-school level and possesses the athleticism and ball skills to line up in nickel situations,” wrote Draft Analyst’s Tony Pauline, who rates Johnson as a fifth-round prospect.
Southern Utah: Linebacker Mike Needham, a Desert Hills product, had 100 tackles and seven tackles for loss as a senior and could be the next former SUU defender to join an NFL team. Other possibilities include defensive tackle Robert Torgerson and cornerback Jarmaine Doubs Jr.