BYU football: Sitake effect? Cougs could have two taken in NFL draft – Salt Lake Tribune

BYU football: Sitake effect? Cougs could have two taken in NFL draft – Salt Lake Tribune

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Provo • Of all the many differences between new BYU football coach Kalani Sitake and former coach Bronco Mendenhall, Sitake’s emphasis on preparing players for the next level is one of the most glaring.

The Sitake Effect, as some are calling it, could play out this weekend as the NFL draft begins Thursday in Philadelphia and runs through Saturday. BYU has not had more than one player taken in the same NFL draft since 2009, when receiver Austin Collie went to the Indianapolis Colts in the fourth round and fullback Fui Vakapuna went to the Cincinnati Bengals in the seventh round.













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Tight end Dennis Pitta (Baltimore Ravens) and running back Harvey Unga (Chicago Bears) were drafted in 2010, but Pitta was taken in the regular draft and Unga in the supplemental draft.

That streak could end on Saturday, when rounds 4-7 are held at the 3,000-seat, open-air theater constructed along Benjamin Franklin Parkway — with the famed “Rocky” steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art in the background.

According to most draft experts, BYU running back Jamaal Williams and Cougars linebacker Harvey Langi will likely be taken, probably in the middle or late rounds. Both seniors participated in February’s NFL combine in Indianapolis.

Although he mostly played defensive end last fall for BYU, Langi is projected as a middle linebacker — the position he played most of his college career — in the NFL.

“I was on the path of going to the NFL due to the programs here at BYU,” Langi said on pro day, crediting the staffs of both Mendenhall and Sitake. “The reason why I chose to switch over to linebacker and the defensive side [after playing running back at Utah] is because that’s what I want to play in the NFL.”

Tony Pauline of Draft Analyst says Langi will be drafted, and perhaps earlier than most expect.

“The name I continue to hear rising up boards is Harvey Langi of BYU,” Pauline wrote. “Langi’s aggressive style of play and his junior tape — when he lined up at inside linebacker for the Cougars — as well as his combine and pro day workouts have all factored into the rise. The poor depth at the inside linebacker position has also given a boost to Langi’s stock.”

Langi pulled his hamstring two weeks before the NFL combine and didn’t post a 40-yard dash time there. He ran a 4.61 at pro day at 251 pounds to show he could still move well for a man that size.

“At this point consensus is Langi won’t make it out of the fourth round and there’s a very good chance he squeezes into the third round,” Pauline wrote.

Kenny Zuckerman of Priority Sports is representing Langi, who has garnered considerable interest from the Oakland Raiders and New England Patriots.

Other BYU products with outside shots of hearing their names called on Saturday include safety Kai Nacua, offensive lineman Andrew Eide and even oft-injured quarterback Taysom Hill, who despite being 26 years old was flown out to Green Bay by the Packers for a closer look.

BYU offensive coordinator Ty Detmer, who spent 14 years playing quarterback in the NFL, said Hill can play at the next level if he’s put in the right situation.

“He has had offseasons where he hasn’t been able to work on individual techniques [because of] injuries and things like that,” Detmer said. “So if somebody takes him and works with him, he’s got a chance.

“Mentally and physically, he’s got all the tools,” Detmer continued. “I mean, he understands the game. He’s smart. I think there is a little bit more to clean up as far as accuracy and some of that. But that comes with work and reps and offseason training, and there have been several years where he hasn’t been able to do that.”

The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport said people have watched Hill’s film and said, “This guy has a future [in] the NFL if he can just stay healthy.”

A pair of BYU defensive linemen — Travis Tuiloma and Logan Taele — were viewed as draft possibilities before the 2016 season began, but injuries and surgeries sidelined both.



































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