It’s combine time for NFL hopefuls, including a school-record nine Utes and three Aggies
Twelve local players were invited to Indianapolis, including Utah running back Zack Moss, defensive end Bradlee Anae and Utah State quarterback Jordan Love
SALT LAKE CITY — Earlier this month on National Signing Day, Utah coach Kyle Whittingham confirmed that a school-record nine Utes would be headed to the NFL Scouting Combine. The annual gathering, featuring 337 prospects, takes place this week in Indianapolis.
“We lost a lot of good players,” said Whittingham, while noting that eight of the players were on the defensive side of the ball. “It is not hard to figure out why we were formidable on defense this past year and why we had statistically one of the best defenses we have ever had at Utah.”
“It is not hard to figure out why we were formidable on defense this past year and why we had statistically one of the best defenses we have ever had at Utah.” — Utah coach Kyle Whittingham
The Utes’ defensive players invited to participate in the NFL showcase are defensive end Bradlee Anae; defensive tackles Leki Fotu and John Penisini; linebacker Francis Bernard; cornerback Jaylon Johnson; nickel back Javelin Guidry; and safeties Julian Blackmon and Terrell Burgess. The offense will be represented by running back Zack Moss.
Utah wound up getting 19.1 percent of the Pac-12’s 47 invitees to the combine. The Utes have three of the gathering’s 46 defensive linemen and four of the 61 defensive backs participating overall.
Media interviews kicked things off Tuesday with quarterbacks, tight ends and wide receivers.
Despite earning first-team All-Pac-12 recognition, Utah’s Tyler Huntley was not one of 17 quarterbacks invited to the combine. The Pac-12, though, has five signal callers in the mix — Jacob Eason (Washington), Anthony Gordon (Washington State), Justin Herbert (Oregon), Jake Luton (Oregon State) and Steven Montez (Colorado).
On the local front, Utah State’s Jordan Love is in the QB group.
On Wednesday, kickers, offensive linemen and running backs take their turn. Utah’s Moss, the Pac-12’s Offensive Player of the Year, is one of 30 running backs participating.
Later in the week, the other Utes and two more Aggies get involved. Thursday’s press availability includes Anae, Bernard, Fotu and Penisini, plus USU’s David Woodward. NFL.com is reporting that former Aggies linebacker/defensive end Tipa Galeai is being limited to medical evaluations and interviews with teams because of a misdemeanor assault charge in 2017.
Friday’s media session features Blackmon, Burgess, Guidry and Johnson.
Position groups participate in on-field workouts Thursday through Sunday with the NFL Network providing television coverage.
The 2020 NFL draft is scheduled for April 23-25 in Las Vegas.
PLAYING HURT: NFL.com is reporting that Johnson will fully participate in the combine. However, he’s scheduled to have surgery to repair a torn labrum on March 4. The injury occurred in September and the Utah junior played through it before opting not to play in the Alamo Bowl.
”He wanted to play for his team last season and not let them down,” Doug Hendrickson, one of Johnson’s agents, told NFL.com. “The guy’s tough as nails for fighting through that the whole year, and he wanted to compete at the combine at the highest level.”
Johnson is expected to be ready to go for his rookie season.
NFL.com draft analyst Chad Reuter had some positive predictions for local players in his three-round mock draft dated Feb. 21.
- First round: Jordan Love (No. 23, Carolina)
- Second round: Bradlee Anae (No. 40, Arizona); Leki Fotu (No. 41, Cleveland); Terrell Burgess (No. 46, Denver)
- Third round: Jaylon Johnson (No. 69, Carolina)
NFL Scouting Combine workouts
- Thursday: 2-9 p.m. (quarterbacks, tight ends, wide receivers)
- Friday: 2-9 p.m. (kickers, offensive linemen, running backs, special teams)
- Saturday: 2-9 p.m. (defensive linemen, linebackers)
- Sunday: 12-5 p.m. (defensive backs)