Today could be a busy day for locals in the 2018 NFL draft.
With 156 picks being taken in Rounds 4-7, a handful of Utah ties may hear their names called on the longest day of the draft.
NFL draft on the air
— Rounds 4-7: Saturday, 10 a.m. (ABC/ESPN/NFL Network)
Here’s a look at which local players show up on ESPN’s list of “best available” players at different positions:
— Former Logan High quarterback Luke Falk, No. 2 QB and No. 13 overall: Only one quarterback, Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph, went on Day 2 of the draft, to the Steelers in the third round. Falk, the former Washington State star, and Richmond’s Kyle Lauletta are expected to be the best options for signal callers early on Day 3.
ESPN's Mel Kiper said there haven't been any surprises at the QB position, and "Falk is a little stiff, but he could be a good backup."
— Utah wide receiver Darren Carrington II, No. 28 WR: Carrington is trying to follow in his dad’s footsteps. His father was a fifth-round pick to the Denver Broncos in 1989.
— Former Bingham High tight end Dalton Schultz, No. 7 TE: Only four tight ends have been taken so far in the draft, which means it could be a bit of a wait today for Schultz, who played at Stanford. He also ranks as the second-best tight end available, according to NFL.com.
— Utah defensive end Kylie Fitts, No. 9 DE: Fitts represents the Utes’ best overall prospect in this year’s class and has been projected anywhere from a fifth- to seventh-round selection.
— Utah defensive tackle Lowell Lotulelei, No. 12 DT: Lotulelei is trying to join his brother in the NFL. Star Lotulelei, a first-round pick by the Carolina Panthers in 2013, signed with the Buffalo Bills this offseason.
— Weber State cornerback Taron Johnson, No. 8 CB: Johnson is trying to become the first Weber State player taken in the draft since 2010, when wide receiver Tim Toone was Mr. Irrelevent, the last player selected in the draft. Johnson is among the top FCS corners in this year’s class.
— Utah State cornerback Jalen Davis, No. 28 CB: Davis is Utah State’s best chance at extending the program’s streak of draft picks. The Aggies have had at least one player taken in the draft six of the past seven years.
What experts said
The first Utah tie came off the board during Friday's third round when the San Francisco 49ers selected BYU outside linebacker Fred Warner with the 70th overall pick.
Here’s what a few national experts said about that selection:
Steve Muench, ESPN: "Warner is a versatile linebacker who will likely compete for a starting spot on the outside, where Eli Harold is expected to become a designated pass-rusher, and Malcolm Smith missed the 2017 season with a pectoral muscle injury. Warner has the skill set to help a defense that ranked 30th in opponents' third-down percentage last season."
Mike Mayock, NFL.com: "A good solid pick, get another off-the-ball fast linebacker."
Eric Branch, San Francisco Chronicle: "Given (Reuben) Foster’s legal issues, the 49ers were expected to use one of their early picks on an inside linebacker and here it is. If Foster isn’t available, Warner figures to compete with (Brock) Coyle and (Korey) Toomer for a starting spot alongside Smith."
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: "Grade: B. He's a hybrid linebacker who can cover. Fast linebackers are at a premium now and he can run."
Mike Tanier, Bleacher Report: "Warner is a drag-down tackler who pushes the dive button a little too regularly, and he’s not a natural outside linebacker. But matchups and sub-packages are the name of the game these days, so 49ers should find a role for him. Grade: B."
Chad Reuter, NFL.com: "Warner is a solid linebacker worthy of a third-round pick; he'll shore things up at whatever spot the team requires at the second level (Will, Mike, or Sam)."