With the 2014 NFL draft just two weeks away, most pro football teams are probably done with most of their player evaluation work. Their focus turns now toward wheeling and dealing to get the guys they want.
For local football players hoping to hear their names called, now you have to hope that you did enough both on and off the field to earn a spot on teams’ big boards.
For BYU stars — many of whom graduate this week — it appears unlikely that any will be picked in the first round.
The one who could possibly sneak in there is Cougar linebacker Kyle Van Noy.
In some recent mock drafts, like Pete Prisco’s for CBSSports.com, Van Noy sneaks into the very end of the first round. Most, however, point to him as being a likely second-round selection.
On a draft conference call Wednesday, ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. listed Van Noy as a guy who could help a team from that draft position.
“Van Noy from BYU is one of those linebackers you could maybe go after in the second round,” Kiper said. “There are some good linebackers who can get after the quarterback that will be there in the second round.”
Kiper mentioned Van Noy when talking about the Philadelphia Eagles, who he said would probably get a receiver at No. 22, then look at addressing their linebacker situation at No. 54.
Many recent mock drafts don’t have Van Noy being available that late, but the speculation of where the Cougar star will end up is varied.
Prisco, in his mock draft published in mid-April, suggest Van Noy could go to the Denver Broncos at No. 31, saying, “They have to get more athletic at linebacker. He could help.”
Ex-BYU wide receiver Cody Hoffman, tight end Kaneakua Friel, defensive lineman Eathyn Manumaleuna and safety Daniel Sorensen are all likely mid-to-late round picks.
The local football player who will most likely get picked first, according the consensus from the experts, is former Timpview star offensive lineman Xavier Su’a-Filo, who enjoyed a great career at UCLA before deciding to enter the draft as a junior.
Su’a-Filo is listed as one of the top offensive guards in the country and many mock drafts have him going in the late first round.
Kiper said he thinks Su’a-Filo might also be of interest for the Broncos, who need to shore up an offensive line that will need to protect Peyton Manning next season.
“He’s a versatile kid,” Kiper said. “But there are a lot of guards in the second and third rounds who the Broncos might be interested in.”
Utah’s best draft prospects appear to be another Utah Valley guy, former American Fork star Jake Murphy, and linebacker Trevor Reilly, as well as cornerback Keith McGill.
The 2014 NFL draft will take place on May 8-10 at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.