SALT LAKE CITY — The 2019 NFL draft is in the endgame now.
Following two days and three rounds filled with 102 picks, the draft’s Day 3 wraps up the event with four more rounds and 152 more picks Saturday.
After two former Utes — safety Marquise Blair and linebacker Cody Barton — were selected by the Seattle Seahawks on Day 2, along with BYU linebacker Sione Takitaki going to the Cleveland Browns, there’s the opportunity for more locals to come off the board in the draft’s final day.
Several Utah ties show up on ESPN’s best available players list, thought the numbers indicate it may be awhile before a local is chosen Saturday.
— Utah State tight end Dax Raymond is rated the 98th best available player remaining by ESPN. He’s also the seventh best tight end left in their ratings. The Athletic’s Calvin Watkins mentioned Raymond as one of several names to watch for the Dallas Cowboys during the final four rounds.
— Utah linebacker Chase Hansen is listed as the seventh-best outside linebacker available. Hansen was a standout throughout his Utes career and finished 2018 with 114 tackles. He missed pre-draft workouts after suffering a herniated disk in the back half of last year.
— USC edge rusher Porter Gustin, who prepped at Salem Hills High, is rated at the 10th best outside linebacker still on the board. Gustin had his senior year end halfway through with an ankle injury, and earlier this week, NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport reported Gustin failed a performance enhancing drugs test at the NFL combine.
— USU running back Darwin Thompson comes in as the No. 22 best available running back remaining, according to ESPN. In several mock drafts, Thompson was a late-round selection, with the Arizona Cardinals the most popular destination. He left USU following his lone season there as a junior college transfer.
— BYU defensive end Corbin Kaufusi is rated the 15th best defensive end remaining. Kaufusi wasn’t able to participate in BYU’s Pro Day as he continued to recover from surgeries to fix three injuries late last year, and because of this, most experts have seen Kaufusi as a free-agent signing and not a draft pick.
— Hawaii wide receiver John Ursua, who prepped at Westlake and Cedar High, is No. 32 on the best available wideouts list. He declared for the draft following a junior year at Hawaii where he had 89 receptions for 1,343 yards and 16 touchdowns.
— UCLA offensive tackle Andre James, who prepped at Herriman High, is the eighth-best offensive tackle remaining on ESPN’s list. He started every game for the Bruins the past two seasons, at right tackle in 2017 and at right tackle in 2018.
— Utah offensive tackle Jackson Barton comes in at the 11th-best offensive tackle remaining. His brother, Cody, went to Seattle during the third round Friday. Jackson, meanwhile, has been seen as a likely free-agent signing.
— Weber State offensive guard Iosua Opeta is rated No. 17 among offensive guards remaining. He was an All-American last year for the Wildcats and, like Barton, is viewed as a likely free-agent signee.
— Utah kicker Matt Gay is the top available kicker on the board. If selected, the 2017 Lou Groze Award winner would be the first Ute kicker ever taken in an NFL draft. No kickers have come off the board in the 2019 draft so far.
— Utah punter Mitch Wishnowsky is also listed as the best available punter in this draft. The 2016 Ray Guy Award winner, like Gay, would become the first Ute punter taken in an NFL draft if he is selected. So far, no punters have been taken in the 2019 draft.
Day 3 mock draft
Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller put out a Day 3 mock draft, and it included a pair of local names.
Sixth round, No. 180: Utah linebacker Chase Hansen, to New York Giants
Sixth round, No. 197: USC (Salem Hills High) edge Porter Gustin, to Baltimore Ravens
Grading Day 2 picks
NFL.com draft analyst Chad Reuter also shared his grades for picks during the draft's second and third rounds.1 comment on this story
He gave the Seahawks a B grade for their Day 2 picks, which includes Blair, Barton and Mississippi wide receiver D.K. Metcalf. Reuter wrote, "The Seahawks apparently did not want to pick early as they moved down again to gain additional picks before selecting their guy at safety (Blair). ... Teams loved the intelligence and athleticism of Barton, and it's not surprising the Seahawks found him intriguing."
Reuter gave the Browns a B+ grade for Friday's efforts. In addition to selecting Takitaki in the third round, they took LSU cornerback Greedy Williams in the second. He wrote, "Takitaki is a solid linebacker prospect who will contribute right away; he had varying grades across the league, though."