With the first days of the 2014 NFL Draft in the books, we are now heading into day three when teams are looking at diamond in the rough prospects to possibly make their team, and be a solid contributor down the road.
The past two drafts BYU has produced a top 40 NFL Draft pick, which is a big story. When someone goes in the top 40 of the draft, those prospects are looked to be instant contributors to a franchise. Prior to Ezekiel Ansah last year, BYU hadn’t produced a first round pick in the draft since 2000, and the last time the Cougars had someone in the top 40 was when John Beck went to the Dolphins in 2007.
Will BYU have another five-year drought before they produce another elite NFL prospect? Or is there someone on this current 2014 roster that could see their name called early in future drafts?
It is important for BYU to continue producing NFL players on an annual basis. From 1966 to 2010, BYU only had one year where they didn’t have a player selected in the draft (1994). So when BYU had consecutive years without getting a player selected in the 2011 & 2012 drafts, it was a big deal. As much as people like to think BYU doesn’t produce NFL prospects, they have produced many over the past 40+ years. Just look at the history.
There’s a lot of momentum around BYU right now when it comes to producing NFL talent. Ziggy Ansah was the rookie leader in sacks last season, Dennis Pitta just signed a huge extension with the Baltimore Raves worth $32 million, and now Kyle Van Noy being drafted in the top 40. BYU needs to keep the momentum going, because it’s important in recruiting to say, hey! You can come to BYU, and you can make it to the NFL. Even though very few kids actually go pro, everyone comes to the FBS level with aspirations to play in the NFL. It’s the reality. So you need to have guys like Pitta, Ziggy, and KVN, not only getting drafted high, but being successful in the NFL too. That’s happening right now. It’ll only help BYU as they continue to spread their net on the recruiting trail as a football independent.
Here a few players that we might see their names as elite prospects in future drafts:
- Bronson Kaufusi, OLB (Junior)
Kaufusi has everything the NFL covets, size, athleticism, multi-sport athlete, and versatility. The transition from defensive end to outside linebacker will allow Kaufusi to breakout and make a name for himself like Van Noy did.
If Kaufusi has the breakout season many expect him to have, don’t be surprised if he was to leave early and declare for the NFL next season.
In my opinion, Kaufusi is a taller version of Denver Broncos end, DeMarcus Ware. The sky is the limit for Kaufusi.
- Alani Fua, OLB (Senior)
In his first full season as a starter last year, Fua more than held his own starting on the opposite side of Van Noy at outside linebacker. There were games last year that you could make the argument Fua was the player of the game for BYU on the defensive side.
Like Van Noy, Fua is fast, and a playmaker. If Fua is a stat-stuffer like Van Noy was the past three seasons, watch Fua’s stock fly up draft boards.
- Taysom Hill, Quarterback (Junior)
The intangibles brings to the table will have NFL coordinators scheming all night with ideas of how they could use Hill in their offense. We all know Hill’s deficiencies as a passer, but I fully expect him to be much better in 2014. Also, Hill has weapons at wide receiver to throw to which will naturally make him look better.
If Taysom has similar all-purpose yards in 2014 like he did last year, it might be hard for Hill to not put his hat in the NFL Draft because his stock would be very high. Would be huge for BYU, a school that views themselves as “Quarterback U”, to produce a high draft pick at the quarterback spot again.
Do you agree with these three? Or is there someone else in your mind on this BYU team that is a future NFL star in your opinion? Post your comments below, or tweet us @LawlessRepublic.