This past season we saw many great players from BYU, Utah, Utah State, and even SUU finish their college careers and begin to turn their focus to the NFL. A handful of these players were selected in this years NFL Draft, and many others were signed as un-drafted free agents.
So I decided to look into some of these former college stars from Utah schools, and see what NFL teams they were able to land on.
Devontae Booker – Denver Broncos (4th round, 136th overall pick)
Booker was picked by the reigning Super Bowl Champs in this years draft. He was the 7th RB selected in the draft, and has the opportunity to add a boost to the Broncos offense after losing their top two QB’s this offseason. The Broncos will look to have Booker contribute early and compete for more snaps during the regular season.
Mitch Matthews – Kansas City Chiefs (Un-drafted)
Matthews had a great career at BYU, but unfortunately was not selected in this years draft. However, he was able to land with the Kansas City Chiefs as an un-drafted free agent, as they look to add more weapons for their former Utah QB, Alex Smith. Head Coach Andy Reid is well-known for drafting and signing BYU players, so we will see how he implements the 6’6 WR in his system this year.
Jason Fanaika – San Francisco 49ers (Un-drafted)
The 270 lb. DE ended his senior year at Utah with 4 sacks and 10.5 tackles for a loss, but those numbers weren’t enough for NFL scouts, so he was not selected in this years NFL Draft. But, like many other Utah football players, he was given an opportunity to try out for a squad. The 49ers called, and Fanaika responded. Fanaika signed a 3 year UDFA deal and is currently competing for a spot on 53 man roster as an OLB.
Bronson Kaufusi – Baltimore Ravens (3rd Round, 70th overall pick)
Kaufusi was one of the best defensive players BYU has seen in recent years. Standing at 6’8 and 280 pounds, Kaufusi is a force to be reckoned with. He finished his senior year at BYU with 10 sacks, 18.5 tackles for a loss, and 1 INT. He was the first player out of the state of Utah selected in this years draft, taken in the 3rd round by the Ravens. Kaufusi was reportedly playing very well at camp thus far, but broke his ankle 2 days ago in practice and will miss his entire rookie season. With his tenacity and toughness, I expect him to make a full recovery and be ready to go next year for the Ravens.
Miles Killebrew – Detroit Lions (4th round, 111th overall pick)
Killebrew was a 4 year starter at SUU, and was known for his big hits and always being where the ball was. He had a total of 135 tackles and 7 passes broken up in his senior year with the Thunderbirds. The Detroit Lions loved his speed and hard-hitting ability, so they selected him in the 4th round of this years draft. His reputation as a hard hitter in college is reportedly being recognized at the Lions camp this summer.
Kyler Fackrell – Green Bay Packers – (3rd round, 88th overall pick)
The reigning Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Year and former Aggie, was selected during the 3rd round of this years NFL Draft. The Packers are hoping to have him be a complimentary pass rusher for Clay Matthews, and help bring some speed off the edge. Fackrell had an outstanding senior year with the Aggies racking up 15 tackles for a loss, 5 sacks, and 4 fumbles recovered. Expect him to get a lot of playing time during his rookie season with the Pack, as they try to revamp their defense this year.
– Jesse Thayne