Utah Utes
2020 NFL Draft Prospects

Bradlee Anae, DE

Positives: Impactful pass rusher who significantly improved his draft stock last season. Agile, can bend off the edge and flatten to pursue the action. Immediately alters his angle of attack, displays the ability to make plays in space and stays with the action. Remains disciplined with assignments and does more than just mindlessly rush up the field. Fires off the snap with a quick first step, works his hands throughout the action and slices through blocks on the inside. Shows a variety of moves to get off blocks. Plays with terrific pad level. Effective out of a three-point stance and standing over tackle.

Negatives: Struggles to get off blocks once engaged. Outpositioned by opponents if he does not get the first step. Ran poorly at the combine. Primarily used up the field at Utah.

Analysis: Anae displayed terrific progress the past three seasons and has watched his draft stock climb north, except for his poor 40 time at the combine. He’s a fluid, agile pass rusher with the athleticism necessary to be used in space, and he only needs to improve his strength.

Francis Bernard, OLB

Positives: Explosive, playmaking linebacker who is constantly around the action. Gets depth on pass drops, displays range and covers a lot of area. Effective against the run, keeps the action in front of him and scrapes well laterally. Quickly locates the action or ball carrier, plays aggressive football and sells out to make plays. Relentless in pursuit of the action and remains disciplined with assignments. Drives his shoulders through ball carriers and wraps up tackling.

Negatives: Marginal athlete with average size. Struggles to get off blocks and gets sealed from the action. Lacks great closing burst.

Analysis: Bernard watched his game take off the past two seasons and plays much more athletic than his speed would lend one to believe. Though he may never be a starter at the next level, he has three-down traits and should be an invaluable backup for an NFL team.

Julian Blackmon, CB

Positives: Versatile defensive back who could be used at corner or safety. Disciplined, instinctive and quick to read and diagnose. Stays with assignments, keeps the action in front of him and works well with teammates to bracket receivers in the middle of the field. Tracks the pass in the air, effectively times his pass defenses and shows a nice move to the throw. Fires up the field and gives effort against the run. Solid special-teams player who is an effective punt returner.

Negatives: Not a stout defensive back. Lacks the size for safety. Possesses average recovery and long speed. Must improve his angles.

Analysis: Blackmon was a consistent defender for Utah and played productive football. He lacks great athleticism, but if he regains form after his injury, Blackman should be a terrific dime back and special-teams player at the next level.

Terrell Burgess, S

Positives: Fast-rising safety who comes off a tremendous senior season. Instinctive, quickly picks up coverage assignments and works well with teammates. Physical, displays a closing burst and outmuscles opponents to defend the throw. Gives effort against the run, wraps up tackling and brings opponents down on initial contact. Showed consistent improvement last season and tested well at the combine.

Negatives: Struggles to get his head back around and locate the pass in the air. Possesses poor hands for the interception. Started for just one season at Utah.

Analysis: Burgess was not graded by NFL scouts entering the season, but he turned in a tremendous senior season and is now poised to be a last-day pick. He can play multiple positions in a variety of schemes, and Burgess could eventually become a starter in the NFL with further development.

Leki Fotu, DT

Positives: Athletic, wide-bodied defensive lineman who impacts the game when focused on the task at hand. Possesses a quick first step, plays with proper pad level and keeps his feet moving. Powerful, knocks blockers off the line and collapses the pocket. Possesses a nasty attitude and runs down opponents in the open field. Easily changes direction and pursues to the action with agility. Impossible to move off the point at times. Puts his shoulders down and drives through tackles.

Negatives: Easily knocked off balance by the initial block. Runs hot and cold. Streaky and disappears for stretches.

Analysis: Fotu has shown himself to be a game-impacting defensive lineman when he’s running on all cylinders. He possesses outstanding physical skills, but he must significantly improve the intensity of his approach and play to his level of ability on every snap.

Javelin Guidry, CB

Positives: Explosive athlete with a developing game. Quick to read and diagnose the action, possesses an explosive closing burst of speed and plays to his 40 time. Stays with coverage assignments, breaks down well and gives effort. Plays with balance and body control and shows the ability to stay on the receiver’s hip out of breaks. Fires up the field and works to defend the run.

Negatives: Unrefined in all aspects of his game. Lacks size, gets outmatched by larger receivers and struggles to bring opponents down in the open field. Slow to recognize routes in zone coverage.

Analysis: Guidry is a tremendous athlete who translates his sprinter’s speed onto the field and comes with a good amount of upside. He needs to improve his overall game, but he does enough things well to get late-round consideration, and Guidry can line up as a dime back and special teamer.

Tyler Huntley, QB

Positives: Productive college quarterback with solid physical skills. Patient in the pocket, knows where his receivers are on the field and takes a big hit in order to get the throw away. Resilient, stays with the action and eludes defenders. Takes off up the field and runs only as a last resort. Effectively picks up yardage with his legs. Possesses a big arm and loses nothing on the move.

Negatives: Must improve his overall accuracy and gets wild at times. Tends to stare down the primary target. Indecisive under pressure. Streaky passer.

Analysis: Though Huntley showed progress last year and became more of a passer, he still needs a lot of work. He’s a developmental prospect who could be headed for the practice squad.

Jaylon Johnson, CB

Positives: Nice-sized cornerback with solid ball skills and tremendous upside. Quick in his backpedal, smoothly flips his hips and loses nothing in transition with opponents. Physical, willingly lays his pads into opponents and mixes it up with receivers throughout the route. Runs well laterally, flies around the action and displays solid ball skills. Beats down opponents to defend the throw and gives effort against the run. Gets vertical to pick off the throw and displays good hands for the interception. Very effective facing the action and quickly closes to the play with a burst of speed. Stays with assignments.

Negatives: Has lapses and occasionally lets receivers run behind him. Late to react to receivers off the line of scrimmage. Must improve his play with his back to the ball.

Analysis: Johnson is a talented athlete with next-level size who flashes ball skills. He must improve the nuances of his position, but he comes with tremendous upside and could develop into a starter at the next level if properly coached.

Zack Moss, RB

Positives: Talented ball carrier who has been very productive when healthy. Possesses outstanding vision, finds the running lanes and quickly cuts back through the clearing. Quick-footed, sets defenders up and makes them miss. Displays the agility necessary to turn the corner. Possesses a burst of speed, follows blocks everywhere on the field and works to pick up as much yardage as possible from each carry. Helps the quarterback sell ball fakes. Solid receiver out of the backfield who nicely makes the reception in contorted positions. Possesses soft hands and snatches the ball away from his frame.

Negatives: Doesn’t consistently breaks tackles or pick up yardage off initial contact. Dances too much in the backfield and runs east and west at times. Has a long injury history, which teams must check out. Performed poorly during combine workouts.

Analysis: Moss was graded as a potential second-day pick by NFL scouts entering the season, but he was again hit by the injury bug and forced to the sidelines. Though he timed poorly in the 40 at the combine and did not test well, Moss presents himself as a quick, explosive back who produces as a ball carrier and receiver on film. Durability is a major concern and will push Moss into the late rounds of the draft, but if he stays healthy, Moss will be a Day 3 steal.

Josh Nurse, CB

Positives: Nice-sized cornerback who watched his game take off last season. Stays downfield with receivers, positions himself to defend the throw and battles opponents. Fires to the ball out of his plant, displays a nice move to the throw and gets a hand in to knock away passes. Plays tough, physical football and quickly comes up the field to defend screen passes and running plays. Strong open-field tackler.

Negatives: Late to react to receivers’ moves off the line, which puts him a half-step behind opponents. Hesitant with average instincts.

Analysis: Nurse was not on the scouting radar entering the season, but a solid campaign in 2019 has put him squarely into late-round conversation. While I expect Nurse to end up as a priority free agent, he has potential as a dime back in bump-and-run coverage.

Darrin Paulo, OT

Positives: Large college left tackle who projects to the right side. Sets with a wide base and shows strength and explosiveness at the point. Keeps his feet moving, moves defenders off the line and seals them from the action. Knocks defenders back with violent hand punch. Patient in pass protection, blocks with good lean and makes proper use of angles.

Negatives: Overextends into blocks. Not light on his feet and lumbers around the field. Lacks footwork off the edge.

Analysis: Paulo is a size prospect with enough ability to be kept on a practice squad as a developmental right tackle.

John Penisini, DT

Positives: Hard-working defensive tackle who gets the most from his ability. Displays tremendous first-step quickness, plays with great pad level and consistently gets leverage on opponents. Explosive, holds his ground against blocks and chases around the field to make plays. Relatively athletic, moves well laterally and possesses a closing burst.

Negatives: More of a first-step lineman who must beat opponents off the snap. Lacks height and gets engulfed by larger opponents. Average pass rusher.

Analysis: Penisini is a hard-working defensive lineman with average physical dimensions. His ability to hold the point against double-team blocks and his resiliency will get him late-round consideration for a team that runs a two-gap defense.

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