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Following a year where Utah football saw only one player drafted into the NFL, Utah has a few names that might garner NFL attention. Players such as Zack Moss and Chase Hansen all have traits that NFL teams covet.

RB Zack Moss

Height: 5’10”

Weight: 210 lbs

Zack Moss is a very productive running back that has prototypical NFL size and speed. Moss ran for 1,100 yards last season while averaging 5.5 yards a carry, which is impressive no matter the level of competition. He also showed that he could contribute by catching the ball out of the backfield adding 29 receptions.

Moss reportedly runs somewhere around a 4.43-second 40-yard dash. Combine that with the fact that he runs with excellent balance and Utah has a player that threatens the defense on every carry.

One thing that is nice to see from Moss is his vision, so often coming out of college, spread offense running backs are used to the hole opening up right in front of them. Moss does an excellent job of finding cutback lanes and getting to them quickly to gash the defense.

OT Jackson Barton

Height: 6’7″

Weight: 310

Jackson Barton was tasked with replacing Garrett Bolles who is now a Denver Bronco. Bolles was drafted with the 20th pick in the NFL draft, so replacing him is no small task. However, Barton has done his best to fill the hole left by Bolles. Last season Zack Moss ran for 1,100 yards with Barton at the left tackle spot.

Barton has a long way to go to be drafted in the first round, but he has great length and solid athleticism for the position. He also has the technique to match up with more athletic pass rushers. At 6’7″ Barton will have to be diligent about keeping his pad level down, but I believe he will perform well this coming season.

LB Chase Hansen

Height: 6’3″

Weight: 225 lb

Chase Hansen plays everywhere for the Utah defense. It is not uncommon to see Hansen rushing the passer on one play, then see him play cover 2 safety the following play. Versatility is so important in the NFL, teams love to get defenses into favorable matchups and then get into the hurry-up offense.

Players like Hansen make it easier on defenses to handle those situations. One thing to like about Hansen is while he is only 223 pounds, he plays the run like a linebacker. He is not afraid to set the edge or to come up and stuff a running lane. Hansen throws his body around, and NFL teams will love that.

At 6’3″ and 223 pounds Hansen will likely play “safety” at the next level. However, in the NFL today he might be a safety on first and second down, and a linebacker with good coverage skills on third down. The ability to do both should be valuable to NFL teams looking to add a piece that can help in more than one place.

EDGE Bradlee Anae

Height: 6’3″

Weight: 260 lb

Bradlee Anae is looking to join players such as Star Lotulelei, Hunter Dimick, and Derrick Shelby as pass rushers in the NFL from Utah. Anae has the perfect size for a defensive end in the NFL, and he flashes the ability to make plays.

One thing that Anae has in spades is hip flexibility. He consistently flips his hips around offensive tackles towards quarterbacks, allowing him to get into perfect position for a sack. Anae also flashes a spin move as a counter to his speed rush. Very few college defensive ends have a pass rush repertoire, so having multiple moves should make him a hot commodity in the middle rounds of the NFL draft.

CB Julian Blackmon

Height: 6’1″

Weight: 190 lb

Julian Blackmon is exactly what NFL teams are looking for in modern-day corners. At 6’1″ Blackmon has good length, but more importantly, he plays the ball in the air really well. Blackmon played wide receiver in high school, and it shows. He plays the ball in the air like a receiver and runs like a receiver with the ball in his hands. Blackmon plays corner very aggressively and isn’t scared to take a chance to make a play.

Blackmon also shows the ability to tackle better than expected. He racked up 38 solo tackles last year and 48 total tackles. Far too often in the NFL, cornerbacks are incapable of tackling, so they give up far too many touchdowns. Blackmon is a big play waiting to happen, but he isn’t a liability if he isn’t making a big play.

Austin Horn

Author Austin Horn

The transition from college sports to pro sports is one of the only times where production isn't an indicator of ability. A scouts job is to see why a player is good at the game and determine if they will be successful in a certain scheme. No matter how talented the scout, they will always get a few wrong, I'm just trying to minimize that.

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