The 2014 NFL draft is just under two months away and that means a number of former BYU football stars are under the microscope.
I'm looking forward to seeing many of them show their athleticism at BYU's Pro Day on Friday, but I also like finding out where they are on a national radar.
ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. talked about three of the ex-Cougars during a media conference call on Thursday morning, including singling out one as underrated — and the one he picked might come as a slight surprise to some.
"The one who is intriguing to me just because he's not the obvious one is (safety Daniel) Sorensen, who I thought was a little bit of an underrated player throughout his career," Kiper said.
"Sorensen is a nice pick," Kiper said. "I think as a Day 3 player, he's going to make a team and he's going to help you. He could be a starter. He's a very underrated player. I liked what I saw from him during his career."
The ESPN analyst added that Sorensen's success at the combine, which included record performances in the shuttle drills, gave teams an idea of his overall ability even if he doesn't have blazing speed.
"I don't care what he does in the 40," Kiper said. "His overall performance on the field, plus his overall ability when you factor it in with the other drills that are necessary to determine a player's capability at the pro level are all solid."
Kiper said that body of work earned Sorensen the possibility of being a mid-to-late round selection.
"I think he deserves to be a fifth-round pick or in that area," Kiper said. "I think he'll be a surprise and a nice pick for someone."
While Sorensen might be the surprise, former BYU star linebacker Kyle Van Noy isn't as high on Kiper's list as he was last year.
After the 2013 draft, Kiper said he had Van Noy as his No. 3 senior outside linebacker. Some thought Van Noy might be a first rounder but Kiper sees him dropping further in the draft.
"I think right now Van Noy is in the third-round mix as a versatile linebacker who can help you on special teams and do some things there," Kiper said.
He also added that the career receiving leader for the Cougars in Cody Hoffman should also have a chance at getting drafted, placing him as a "mid-Day 3, late-Day 3 pick."
I know the draft is still a long way off and Pro Day might give other guys a chance to catch some attention, but I have to think it's a positive sign for BYU to have the possibility of getting three guys picked when it has only had one (Ezekiel "Ziggy" Ansah last year) since 2010.
Kiper also mentioned another athlete with Utah Valley ties, calling former Timpview lineman Xavier Su'a-Filo (who played at UCLA) a solid second or third-round offensive guard.