Saturday , April 29, 2017 - 2:54 PM
The Williams running back pair were the first Utah collegians to come off the board Saturday, and it was the Utes who dominated the 2017 NFL Draft from the Beehive State.
“He's an explosive runner who has good top-end speed and vision,” wrote ESPN’s Steve Muench about the pick. “Carlos Hyde has yet to play a full 16-game season, so the 49ers needed to improve their depth behind him.”
BYU’s Jamaal Williams came next, going 134th overall to the Green Bay Packers. He becomes BYU’s highest drafted running back in school history and fills a need in the Packers’ backfield as Eddie Lacy left for Seattle in free agency.
“He’s durable and he’s a tough kid,” Packers college scouting director Jon-Eric Sullivan said Saturday. “And I think up here in the elements, he’ll be a good get for us when it gets cold.”
More Utah players got the call Saturday as Utes dotted the draft from top to bottom.
Offensive lineman Isaac Asiata was selected 164th overall by the Miami Dolphins. The Pittsburgh Steelers took Utah defensive back Brian Allen with the No. 173 pick, and offensive lineman J.J. Dielman went 176th to the Cincinnati Bengals.
Allen started only 12 times at cornerback for Utah, but Muench wrote, “He has the potential to develop into a quality starter in a heavy press or Cover 2 scheme.”
The Utes kept coming off the board in the sixth round when the Los Angeles Chargers selected offensive lineman Sam Tevi at No. 190. Then it was the 49ers again, taking defensive end Pita Taumoepenu with the 202nd pick.
In all, a school-record eight players from the University of Utah were drafted. Garett Bolles went 20th to the Denver Broncos on Thursday, then defensive back Marcus Williams was taken 42nd by the New Orleans Saints on Friday.
Only three schools (Alabama, Miami and Michigan) had more players drafted this year.
Stevie Tu'ikolovatu, who played three seasons at Utah before transferring to USC, was drafted 233rd overall (seventh round) by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Utah State got on the board when the Packers selected running back Devante Mays with the 238th pick.
Mays was hampered by injuries as a senior after a promising first year at USU following his transfer from a junior college. He rushed for 208 yards on 18 carries in the season opener against Weber State, then totaled only 19 carries over five games the rest of the season.
Weber State linebacker Tre’von Johnson went undrafted, but he tweeted news of a free-agent deal with the Arizona Cardinals shortly after the draft ended.
Syracuse High product Hunter Dimick was surprisingly the only top Utah target who went undrafted, but he signed a free-agent deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars, according to multiple reports.
Teams will sign undrafted free agents over the next week, but as of Saturday evening, the following players were reported as having signed with the following teams:
An Associated Press report from Genaro C. Armas contributed to this story.
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