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BYU football: For second year in a row, no Cougars taken in NFL draft

BYU left tackle Matt Reynolds
BYU left tackle Matt Reynolds
Kenny Crookston/BYU

For former BYU left tackle Matt Reynolds, the minutes seemed to pass like hours.

Yes, Saturday was a long, long day. But it had a happy ending.

Reynolds was expected to be picked in the 2012 National Football League draft, and he was disappointed that his name was never called.

"As you can imagine, it was an emotional roller-coaster," he said. "There were times when we thought things were going to go really well, and there were times when we didn't."

Not long after the draft ended, Reynolds signed an undrafted free agent contract with the Carolina Panthers. He was one of three former Cougars to sign free agent deals, along with center Terence Brown, who agreed to terms with the Miami Dolphins, and defensive lineman Hebron Fangupo, who signed with the Houston Texans.

For the second consecutive year, and for just the third time since 1965, no BYU players were drafted.

The fact he wasnt drafted will serve as a motivator for Reynolds.

"It obviously didn't pan out exactly how we had expected, but after evaluating our options, I feel really good about the Panthers," he said. "I think it's a really good organization and I think I have a really good shot to go in and prove that I'm a player that could have, and should have, been drafted."

Reynolds added that Carolina is "a good organization. They've really improved and theyre making steps toward becoming a championship-caliber team. I think that I can help them along that path."

Judging by the draft projections and the interest shown by numerous teams, Reynolds figured he'd be drafted.

Like many observers, he was surprised that he wasn't.

"From everything we had heard leading up to the draft, we were thinking no later than the sixth (round)," said Reynolds, who spent much of the day at his parents' home in Provo doing projects in the yard. "That came and went. To see the picks keep coming in, and to see my phone sit there silent, was definitely exhausting. But I think it's worked out well and I have a really good opportunity ahead of me."

Reynolds said he has "no idea" why he wasn't drafted.

"The teams that were interested before the draft had very draft-able grades on me. I don't know exactly what the deal was. For whatever reason, the chips fell as they did."

Brown entered the day knowing he wouldn't be drafted. He and his wife, Sara, spent the day golfing and trying not to think about the draft.

"We came home, and knew the draft had ended. So we were waiting anxiously," Brown said. "We didn't hear for a little while. Then the Dolphins called and said, 'Hey, have you signed?' I said I hadn't. They said, 'Well, do you want to sign with us?' I wasn't taking any chances. I'll take the first shot that I get and see what happens. I'm going to go down there, work as hard as I can, learn the playbook as quick as I can, and hopefully shock some people and draw some attention to myself."

Fangupo was projected to be taken in the late rounds of the draft, and he told the Deseret News this week that he was very confident that he would be drafted. Though he wasn't, he'll get his opportunity to make an NFL roster with the Texans.

Other former BYU players could also sign free agent deals in the coming days.