SALT LAKE CITY — Friday was a good day to be a Ute.
Four Utah players were selected during the second and third rounds of the 2020 NFL draft: cornerback Jaylon Johnson went to Chicago in the second round, with safety Julian Blackmon (Indianapolis), running back Zack Moss (Buffalo) and safety Terrell Burgess (Los Angeles Rams) coming off the board in the third.
It’s the most players the program has ever had drafted through the first three rounds.
NFL.com’s Chad Reuter was complementary of each pick, particularly Burgess, who he called a steal as the 104th overall pick:
- On Johnson: “Johnson was a very good value pick as a physical outside corner. He played hurt in 2019, but was still highly competitive.”
- On Blackmon: “Indianapolis needed a safety and took a chance that Blackmon will bounce back from the torn ACL he suffered last season to become a ballhawking center-fielder type — or maybe even play some outside corner, as he did earlier in his career at Utah.”
- On Moss: “Moss will be the power back the Bills need to go with (Devin) ‘Motor’ Singletary.”
- On Burgess: “The Rams found a nickel back/safety in Burgess later in the third round. Considering his coverage ability, he was worthy of being picked much earlier in the draft. He was an absolute steal.”
ESPN’s Mel Kiper also saw strong value in Moss going to Buffalo with the 86th pick, writing, “Utah running back Zach Moss made my top 50, and he lasted all the way to the Bills at No. 86. His 4.65 40-yard dash at the combine is probably the cause of his drop, but he could be a good complementary back with Devin Singletary.”
On to Day 3
If Day 3 projections are any indication, there should be plenty of action for locals again during the draft’s final day in the fourth through seventh rounds.
Utah defensive end Bradlee Anae is among the best players available heading into the fourth round, which begins at 10 a.m. MDT.
The Athletic’s Dane Brugler has Anae listed as the 89th-best prospect going into the draft and the pass rusher is the 11th-best remaining talent on his board.
“Overall, Anae relies too much on his first step and appears near maxed out, but he is a hungry, high-effort pass rusher with the edge quickness that will earn him immediate playing time as an NFL rookie,” Brugler wrote of Anae.
Anae is also No. 21 overall on ESPN’s list of best available players heading into the day. “Anae is a tactician with a nonstop motor rushing the passer. He’s a solid hand fighter with an effective inside move,” ESPN’s Steve Muench wrote.
Here’s where locals are ranked at their respective positions on ESPN’s best available players list:
- No. 10: Tyler Huntley, Utah
- No. 20: Javelin Guidry, Utah
Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller created a mock draft for the final four rounds and has five locals going on Day 3. That includes four more Utes coming off the board, with two in the fourth round — Fotu to Cleveland and Anae to Arizona — and two more in the seventh round — Penisini to the Rams and Guidry to the Giants. Miller also has Utah State’s Tipa Galeai being picked late in the seventh by Miami.
CBS Sports’ Chris Trapasso also created a Round 4 mock draft. He has Anae headed to Cleveland at pick No. 115 overall and Fotu to Las Vegas at 121.
Follow along with our live coverage of Day 3 below: