Two months ago, we saw only one player from the 2013 BYU Football team get drafted to the NFL (Kyle Van Noy to the Detroit Lions, with the 40th overall pick). However, four more players signed undrafted free agent contracts after all was said and done in New York City.
What’s the latest on these former Cougar stars? Let’s check in and see how all five are faring in the NFL thus far.
Kyle Van Noy
By all accounts, Van Noy is killing it in Detroit. He is already getting some preseason hype about possibly winning Defensive Rookie of the Year this season.
It is pretty much a given at this point that KVN will be the starter on opening day against the New York Giants at strong side linebacker. Reports have been overwhelmingly positive about his work ethic, attitude, and football acumen. He is clearly a fit with the Lions, and the new Detroit coaching staff love him.
Van Noy is built perfectly for this new Detroit Lions defense. Head coach Jim Caldwell is expected to use KVN in a variety of ways this year, much like he was used at BYU. The Lions had a need, and Van Noy fills it. Expect to see Van Noy getting after quarterbacks and causing havoc in the backfield very soon.
When Hoffman didn’t hear his name called this past May, many BYU fans were surprised. It was widely expected that if he would have declared early for the draft last year, he would have been drafted.
However, after a lackluster Senior Bowl performance and a poor showing at the NFL Scouting Combine, Hoffman found his draft stock drop rapidly.
Hoffman didn’t have to wait long to find his NFL home with Washington. He quickly signed an undrafted free agent contract with the Redskins and while not blowing anyone away, has performed well enough to stick around so far.
The signing with Washington was a bit of a puzzler for me because Hoffman is going to have a hard time cracking the 53-man roster this fall. Ahead of him are names like DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, Santana Moss, and Ryan Grant.
While Hoffman is the tallest receiver on the team by at least three inches, he will be battling for the No. 5 receiver position. Expect him to be a member of the practice squad this season and vying for a roster spot in 2015.
Sorensen was a guy who actually got a boost in his draft stock after the combine, where he put up some ridiculous numbers (particularly in the 3-cone drill). While not considered a lock for the draft, it was somewhat of a surprise not hearing his name called in the later rounds.
Sorensen was able to sign with the Kansas City Chiefs under head coach Andy Reid and seems to be in a great situation. The team has an immediate need for a backup strong safety and a key contributor on special teams.
Danny made a name for himself on the first day of rookie minicamp this year when he picked off two passes, and has proven to be a consistent player with the team. He has a real shot at the backup strong safety position this fall.
Eathyn Manumaleuna & Spencer Hadley
Both of these former players are in a similar situation. Neither had any hype from NFL scouts, but both signed undrafted free agent contracts after the draft – Manumaleuna with the New York Giants, and Hadley with the New Orleans Saints.
Hadley was cut after rookie minicamp while Manumaleuna made it to team practices before being waived by the team. Neither seems to have any other offers, but we wish them the absolute best in their future endeavors.
Honorable Mention – Uani Unga
Unga was gaining interest from teams before his injury at the Fight Hunger Bowl. He was invited to the NFL Combine and was still receiving interest at BYU’s Pro Day, but ultimately no offers have surfaced.
Rumors are that he would get a shot in some tryouts for NFL teams sometime this month, but we have nothing to confirm yet. As with all of these former Cougars, we wish him the absolute best in his future.