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2019 NFL draft, Day 2: Could Utah linebacker Cody Barton be the first local taken? One draft expert believes so

Utah's Cody Barton prepares to receive a pass during the Utes' practice at the Spence Eccles Field House in Salt Lake City on Thursday, March 8, 2018.
Utah's Cody Barton prepares to receive a pass during the Utes' practice at the Spence Eccles Field House in Salt Lake City on Thursday, March 8, 2018.

SALT LAKE CITY — There will be 70 picks during the second and third rounds of the 2019 NFL draft Friday.

That includes 32 selections in the second round and 38 in the third, with seven compensatory picks.

Will the first Utah tie come off the board during Day 2 of the draft? One prognosticator thinks so. draft analyst Lance Zierlein has former Utah linebacker Cody Barton, a Brighton High product, going in the third round with the 75th overall pick to the Green Bay Packers in his Day 2 mock draft.

Going into the draft, most experts saw fellow Ute and safety Marquise Blair as Utah’s best option to go first in the draft. But Barton has been receiving love from national punditsand is rated by ESPN as the state’s best available talent right now, with six rounds to go.

Barton is rated the No. 65 prospect remaining by ESPN and the fifth-best remaining outside linebacker, one spot ahead of BYU’s Sione Takitaki.

“He's a developing hand-fighter with excellent upper-body strength and can get off blocks. He's a rangy run defender with good closing speed and a good motor,” ESPN's pre-draft analysis of Barton reads.

Blair, meanwhile, is rated the 71st-best remaining player available and eighth among safeties. Takitaki is rated the 75th best available player by ESPN.

Other Day 2 mock drafts, though, are predicting there won’t be a local taken during the draft’s second day. Mocks from CBS Sports, Bleacher Report, Draft Wire, ESPN (only the second round), Sports Illustrated and The Athletic do not include any Utah ties.

In one example that shows just how varied these draft experts value players, Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller has a different Ute, Chase Hansen, rated higher than Barton among available linebackers. Miller has Hansen 11th on his list of best remaining ‘backers, while Barton is 17th and Takitaki 19th.

One other local player to keep an eye out for is Utah State tight end Dax Raymond. Prior to the draft, Raymond was being projected as anywhere from a fourth-round pick to a seventh rounder. On Thursday, two tight ends were taken during the first round. Ryan Wilson of CBS Sports projected before the draft that Raymond would be the opening pick of the fourth round, at 103rd overall to the Arizona Cardinals.

NFL draft on the air

  • Rounds 2-3, Friday, 5 p.m. (ABC/ESPN/NFL Network)
  • Rounds 4-7, Saturday, 10 a.m. (ABC/ESPN/NFL Network)

The storylines

There are a handful of locals who could be selected in this year’s draft, though most of the action for them will take place on Day 3.

Utah State tight end Dax Raymond declared for the draft following his junior season. Now he’s looking forward to finding a new NFL team.

Utah coach Kyle Whittingham is adamant: it would be a mistake for NFL teams to overlook linebacker Chase Hansen, who played with a herniated disk much of last season. Hansen isn’t high on draft boards, but he could be selected in the back half of the draft.

Multiple surgeries from injuries sustained last season kept BYU’s Corbin Kaufusi from fully participating in pre-draft workouts. Nonetheless, the son and brother of former NFL draft picks may also have a future in the pros.

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