SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, April 26, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — A total of seven former University of Utah football players were taken in rounds 2-6 during the 2020 NFL Draft this week.
“Utah’s seven players drafted is the second-most in school history after a program-record eight players were taken in 2017, also leading the Pac-12 and tying for fifth-most in the country this year,” said a news release from U of U Athletics. “Six of the seven Utes drafted this week were from the defensive side of the ball, the most from Utah’s defense taken in a single draft.”
Entering the 2020 draft, Utah has had 95 draftees during the modern era since 1970. With Utah’s seven picks today, that brings the total to 102 with head coach Kyle Whittingham being at the helm for 52 of those chosen to become pros.
The Utes have had 12 total players drafted in the last two years and 21 in the last four, which is the most in school history in a two-year and four-year period, the news release said. Utah’s 21 draft picks in the past four years are also the most in the Pac-12 with Washington coming in second with 20.
Jaylon Johnson was the first Ute off the board on Friday night, going in the second round to the Chicago Bears as the 50th overall pick, the news release said. He is the third member of the Utah secondary taken in the second round in the past four years and the 15th Ute in program history to go in the second.
Julian Blackmon and Terrell Burgess followed suit, joining their secondary squad member as pros after Blackmon was taken by the Indianapolis Colts and Burgess was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams, both in the third round. It is the fourth time that two or more players from the Utah secondary have gone in the same draft and the first time since 2017.
Utah’s career rushing yards record-holder Zack Moss became the highest drafted running back since Del Rodgers (71st overall to Green Bay in 1982) when he was picked 86th overall to the Buffalo Bills in the third round, the news release said. Moss is the fourth running back drafted in the Whittingham era and the first since 2017.
Utah’s 2020 draft class was rounded out by three members of the defensive line as Leki Fotu, Bradlee Anae and John Penisini were taken on the last day. Fotu was taken in the fourth round to kick off Saturday’s events with the 114th overall pick to the Arizona Cardinals while Anae went in the fifth to Dallas and Penisini was taken in the sixth by Detroit.