This has been a golden fall for BYU football after several disappointing seasons. The Cougars are steamrolling their opponents. They are 9-0 and ranked No. 8 in the national polls. Their quarterback is a Heisman candidate. The Cougars are relevant again. 

Everything is falling their way (well, except for the nonsensical College Football Playoff ratings). Even their NFL players — and there are a few of them — are shining.

The Cougars have taken their lumps in recent years for their poor showing in the NFL draft, which reflects the hard times they’ve had on the field. They have had only six players selected in the draft since becoming an independent nine years ago. By comparison, Utah has had 24 players drafted, and Utah State 11.

NFL scouts might want to reconsider BYU draft prospects after this season. There are four former BYU players who were not drafted who are making an impact on NFL fields this season. If no team thought they were worth drafting at the time, they do now.

BYU will play at Coastal Carolina on Saturday
New Orleans’ Taysom Hill passes against the Denver Broncos during a game Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020, in Denver. Hill, a former BYU standout quarterback, is now the starting QB in the Big Easy while Drew Brees is on the mend. | Jack Dempsey, Associated Press

Taysom Hill

An undrafted free agent in 2017, Taysom Hill become an NFL sensation with the Saints and the most celebrated backup player in recent memory. He is still not a good quarterback in the traditional view of the position; he is, however, a football player who can run, pass, catch, block and tackle and can line up almost anywhere on the field — quarterback, running back, tight end, receiver, special teamer. He could probably even play linebacker and defensive back.

Hill is having another great season as a jack-of-all trades, running and rushing. But he still aspires to be the starting quarterback when Drew Brees retires. He’s auditioning for the job now. That’s why the Saints chose to replace the injured Brees two weeks ago with Hill instead of Jameis Winston.

‘He was ready for the moment’: Why Taysom Hill’s first career start at QB for Saints was a success

Is Hill the Quarterback of the Future? The jury is still out. After 57 career pass attempts and two starts at quarterback, he still hasn’t thrown a touchdown pass. His touchdown pass percentage: 0.0. By comparison, there are 22 quarterbacks this season who have a percentage of 4.0 or better — four out of every 100 passes is for a TD.

Hill had a strong showing in his starting debut against Atlanta, but on Sunday he completed just 9 of 16 passes for a paltry 78 yards against Denver — that’s just 4.8 yards per attempt. Instead, he has relied on his legs, just as he did at BYU, running for two touchdowns in both games. His quarterback rating is a weak 79.3. Unless he can develop his passing into a consistent threat — something he never could do at BYU — then he will not be a full-time NFL quarterback.

Defensive coordinators eventually figure out ways to stop quarterbacks who have a gimmick, whether it’s Colin Kaepernick and the read option or Lamar Jackson leaning on his running ability. Unlike those players, Hill can play and excel at other positions. There hasn’t been a player like him in the NFL in decades.

Kansas City free safety Daniel Sorensen lines up against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. Sorensen has collected 258 solo tackles, 16 tackles for loss, 23 pass deflections, 10 interceptions, three touchdown returns, four caused fumbles, four fumble recoveries. | Mark LoMoglio, Associated Press

Daniel Sorensen

An undrafted free agent in 2014, Daniel Sorensen has become a stalwart defensive player as a hybrid defensive back/outside linebacker for the Chiefs. In week 6, he intercepted a pass against Buffalo late in the game to secure a 26-17 win. In week 7, he intercepted a pass against the Broncos and returned it 50 yards for a touchdown in a 43-16 rout. Two weeks ago he intercepted a pass against the Raiders late in the game to stave off a comeback and secure a 35-31 win.

After nearly seven years in the league, all with the Chiefs, Sorensen has collected 258 solo tackles, 16 tackles for loss, 23 pass deflections, 10 interceptions, three touchdown returns, four caused fumbles, four fumble recoveries.

Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen, left, is tackled by New York Jets linebacker Harvey Langi Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, in Inglewood, Calif. This season, Langi has played in 11 games this season (three starts) and has made 38 tackles. | Jae C. Hong, Associated Press

Harvey Langi

Remember him? He dropped off the football map for a while. An undrafted free agent in 2017, the Patriots signed Harvey Langi to a reported 3-year, $1.68 million contract — draft pick money — because there was a lot of competition for his services. A reserve linebacker, he played in the team’s second game of his rookie season; a short time later he and his wife were in their car, stopped at a red light, when they were rear-ended by a car traveling 55 miles per hour, leaving both of them badly injured.

New York Jets’ Harvey Langi overcame serious accident, thriving as starter

Emergency crews had to cut through the top of Langi’s car to pull them from the wreck. Langi was treated for neck and head injuries, and his wife suffered broken ribs and fractures to both hips.

He missed the rest of the 2017 season (in which the Patriots advanced to the Super Bowl) and was cut before the start of the 2018 season. He signed with the New York Jets and spent the 2018 season on the practice squad, finally returning to the field in 2019. He played in all 16 games and started three of them. He has played in 11 games this season (three starts) and has made 38 tackles.

Los Angeles Chargers cornerback Michael Davis warms up before a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Inglewood, Calif. Earlier in the season Davis intercepted Tom Brady and ran 78 yards for a touchdown. | Kyusung Gong, Associated Press

Michael Davis

An undrafted free agent in 2017, Michael Davis has been having a terrific season for the Chargers, but he reportedly has been suspended two games — on Dec. 1 and Dec. 8 — for violating the league’s substance abuse policy during the offseason. Davis, who became a starter last season and intercepted two passes, has intercepted two passes this season, as well. He intercepted Buffalo’s Josh Allen last weekend. Earlier in the season he intercepted Tom Brady and ran 78 yards for a touchdown. He has 27 tackles this season.

Maybe the success of those four players will raise BYU’s draft prospects in the future.