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Utah didn’t have any players selected in the NFL draft a year ago because no Utes made themselves available to be drafted.

A year later, after a Pac-12 championship and Rose Bowl appearance, several former Utah players could be taken this weekend.

Linebacker Devin Lloyd headlines the group of NFL hopefuls — and he’s expected to be taken in the first round.

Coach Kyle Whittingham will be with Lloyd in Las Vegas for the draft, which kicks off Thursday.

Related
How to watch, stream or listen to the 2022 NFL draft

“Devin is a special football player. He’s the best defender that’s ever come through the University of Utah, at least in the modern era,” said Whittingham. “He’s going to be, most likely, the highest drafted defensive player that we’ve had.”

Several other Utes could either be drafted or sign undrafted free agent contracts this weekend, including offensive lineman Nick Ford, running back T.J. Pledger, linebacker Nephi Sewell, defensive lineman Mika Tafua, wide receiver Britain Covey and offensive lineman Bamidele Olaseni.

Last weekend, Utah wrapped up spring football practices with the annual spring game. What comes next for the Utes?

Numbers game

9: Number of NFL first-round picks Utah football has had since 1959.

21: Number of Utah players drafted from 2017-20.

2017: The last time Utah had a player chosen in the first round of the NFL draft, when Garett Bolles was selected No. 20 overall by the Denver Broncos.

From the archives

Related
Why former Ute Devin Lloyd believes he ‘can be the face of an organization’
Who shined on a sometimes wintry day at Utah’s annual spring game?

Extra points

  • Expectations are as high as ever for Utah (Deseret News)
  • Both Gach reportedly won’t be returning to Utah basketball (Deseret News)
  • What’s next for Utah football now that spring ball is over? (Deseret News)
  • Battle for WR1 continues as Utes prepare to wrap up spring camp (Deseret News)
  • Utah’s versatile Braeden Daniels wants to be a ‘dominant’ left tackle (Deseret News)
  • Are both Utah and BYU sleeper candidates to make the College Football Playoff? (Deseret News)

Fanalyst

Comments from Deseret News readers

“Devin Lloyd’s picture should appear next to the definition of Utah Man in this year’s dictionary. That kid is a model citizen, and has earned every bit of the football attention he’s getting. He is so fun to watch, I may have to get the NFL game pass. Devin, for what you’ve contributed to my alma mater, you have the heartfelt thanks of this Utah alum.”

—JohninSLC

“Barnes and JJ are great athletes. They both played well in the spring scrimmage. Barnes has proven he can play and produce under pressure (Rose Bowl). JJ hasn’t proven that yet. Let’s hope the pressure and politics of playing a highly recruited scholarship player doesn’t cloud what a walk on player with no scholarship has already accomplished. Some times the expert isn’t always from out of state.”

— Tushar

Up next

April 29 | 11 a.m. | Baseball | vs. Oregon State | @Salt Lake City | Pac-12 Network

April 29 | 8 p.m. | Softball | vs. UCLA | @Los Angeles | UCLA Live Stream

April 30 | 11 a.m. | Baseball | vs. Oregon State | @Salt Lake City | Pac-12 Network

April 30 | 8 p.m. | Softball | vs. UCLA | @Los Angeles | Pac-12 Network

May 1 | 1 p.m. | Softball | vs. UCLA | @Los Angeles | UCLA Livestream

May 1 | 7 p.m. | Baseball | vs. Oregon State | @Salt Lake City | Pac-12 Network

May 3 | 6 p.m. | Softball | vs. BYU | @Salt Lake City | Utah Livestream