The drought is over for BYU when it comes to getting an offensive lineman drafted into the National Football League.
The school that once routinely sent big hogs to the league had one drafted for the first time in 16 years on Friday as the Carolina Panthers selected Cougars offensive tackle Brady Christensen in the third round.
The Panthers must really like Christensen because they made a trade with Philadelphia to move up from No. 73 to No. 70 to get him, giving up their 191st overall pick in the sixth round.
Asked by the Deseret News last month what he will purchase with his first NFL paycheck, Christensen said he would do “the most boring thing ever” and pay off his wife’s car.
“I gotta get out of debt,” he said.
He can probably also afford a set of custom golf clubs he’s been coveting recently.
“I need some that actually fit me,” he said.
Christensen, who will turn 25 this fall, is a big reason why No. 2 overall draft pick Zach Wilson had such a sensational season. The new father from Bountiful protected Wilson’s blind side the past three seasons.
“This dude (is) going to ball out!” Wilson tweeted shortly after the pick was announced. “So excited for him!”
Ironically, Christensen will now protect quarterback Sam Darnold, who was traded to Carolina from New York so the Jets could clear the way for Wilson to be their starter.
The Panthers signed former BYU receiver Micah Simon to a free-agent contract in March, so the two-year teammates will be reunited in Charlotte, North Carolina, this fall.
Christensen is the first BYU offensive lineman drafted since Scott Young was picked by the Philadelphia Eagles in 2005. He is the first tackle to get picked since Dustin Rykert went to the Raiders in 2003.
From 1970 to 2000, when LaVell Edwards retired, BYU had 21 offensive linemen drafted.
Christensen and his wife, Jordynn, became parents on March 16 to a baby boy named Ledger.
After graduating from Bountiful High as a two-star recruit, Christensen served a two-year mission to New Zealand for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Last season, he was BYU’s first consensus All-American since 2001.
The 6-foot-6, 305-pounder wowed scouts with his athleticism, which many didn’t think he possessed, at BYU’s pro day with a broad jump that measured 10 feet, 4 inches, the best all-time by a college offensive lineman.
The former speed-up runner and center fielder for the Bountiful High baseball team ran a 4.89-second 40 at pro day as well.
Christensen told the Deseret News in the months leading up to the draft that he consulted with former BYU offensive tackle John Tait, who was the 14th overall pick in 1999 by the Kansas City Chiefs.
Christensen said he talked to every NFL team but one, which he declined to divulge, over the course of the last three months since he declared early for the draft last January.
He’s the third BYU player taken with the 70th overall pick in the last five seasons, joining Bronson Kaufusi and Fred Warner. Kaufusi was selected by the Baltimore Ravens in 2016 and Warner was taken by the San Francisco 49ers in 2018.
Dane Brugler of The Athletic called Christensen, who started all 38 games the past three seasons for BYU, “an older prospect (who) needs to clean up his timing, but he displays quickness and body flexibility in pass protection and gets the job done as a run blocker.”
Added Brugler: “He projects as an NFL starter.”
Cleveland also drafted a BYU player in the third round recently, taking linebacker Sione Takitaki in 2019, but with the No. 80 overall pick.
Other BYU offensive lineman hoping to have their names called before the draft is over are Tristen Hoge and Chandon Herring.
With Wilson having been selected Thursday and Christensen on Friday, this marks the first time since 2009 that BYU has had multiple players taken in a single draft.
The draft continues Saturday with rounds 4-7 taking place in Cleveland. BYU players hoping to get selected include wide receiver Dax Milne, linebackers Isaiah Kaufusi and Kavika Fonua, defensive tackles Zac Dawe, Khyiris Tonga and Bracken El-Bakri and safeties Troy Warner and Zayne Anderson.