Thursday’s first round of the 2021 NFL draft was a big night for the state of Utah, with Zach Wilson going to the New York Jets with the No. 2 overall pick and Penei Sewell heading to the Detroit Lions at No. 7.
With the quarterback Wilson (BYU and Corner Canyon High) and offensive tackle Sewell (Desert Hills High) off the board, the focus turns to a handful of other Utah ties who are expected to be drafted.
While there’s a strong possibility that no Utah ties are taken during Day 2 of the draft (comprising the second and third rounds), a few could surprise and give the state another pick or two on Friday.
- Defensive tackle
- Utah tie: Bingham High
- ESPN’s best available: No. 6 among defensive tackles
- Tufele is the No. 65 best available player currently on ESPN’s board and is the only Utah tie in the top 100 available at this point. There will be 73 picks on Friday (32 in the second round and 41 in the third) for the former USC Trojan to hear his name on Day 2.
- ESPN’s predraft analysis: “Tufele shoots his hands inside and has the upper-body strength to stack blockers. He has a good motor and good range. He flashes active hands, but there’s still room to grow as a hand fighter and he doesn’t have great change of direction rushing the passer.” — Steve Muench
- Utah ties: BYU and Bountiful High
- ESPN’s best available: No. 14 among offensive tackles
- Wilson’s blind side protector shows up in a pair of Day 2 mock drafts released Friday — he’s a projected second-rounder to Indianapolis by CBS Sports and a third-rounder to Dallas by NFL.com — though Christensen is rated as a late-rounder on ESPN’s big board as the No. 238 overall prospect in the class (there are 259 picks in the 2021 draft).
- ESPN’s predraft analysis: “Christensen put on a show at his pro day. His explosiveness as well as his foot speed flash on tape. He gets good initial surge in the run game, and he’s quick with the change of direction to mirror in pass pro. He has very short arms for an offensive tackle, and his technique is inconsistent.” — Muench
- Wide receiver
- Utah tie: Brighton High
- ESPN’s best available: No. 25 among wide receivers
- Fehoko, who had a breakout season in 2020 at Stanford, is a long shot to be a Day 2 pick after five wide receivers went in Thursday’s first round. He was projected anywhere from a late third to late-round pick and could potentially jump into Day 2 if a team falls in love with him.
- ESPN’s predraft analysis: “Fehoko is a big target with very good timed speed for his size. He tracks the ball well and he makes over-the-shoulder catches. He flashes the ability to make contested catches but he also drops balls that hit him in the hands.” — Muench