The NFL draft starts Thursday, April 26, 2012, and continues through Saturday. About one dozen players from the 2011 Brigham Young Cougars have hopes of finding a home in the NFL. To help get ready for the draft, BLUE COUGAR FOOTBALL has selected four former Cougars among those most likely to be drafted or signed as free agents and identified three possible landing spots for them.
As you read just remember that I never claimed to be a draft guru, and the draft never plays out the way anyone, even the gurus, expects. With that in mind, I have thrown in some attempts at humor for some teams that I realize probably won't impact the decision making process.
Hebron Fangupo, DL
1. Pittsburgh Steelers. The City of Steel is no stranger to BYU defensive linemen. Former BYU defensive lineman Chris Hoke recently announced his retirement, which opens a spot for Fangupo to join another former Cougar Brett Keisel as part of the Steel Curtain. The Steelers have also been known to draft a Polynesian or two. Does the name Troy Polamalu ring a bell? Pittsburgh is clearly interested in Fangupo and even flew him into town for a pre-draft visit on April 13.
2. Houston Texans. The Texans were fourth against the run last season, and replacing defensive end Mario Williams is much more important than drafting another nose tackle. Nevertheless, there has been a ground swell among media and fans in Houston that nose tackle is a position that should be addressed. Fangupo has become one of the more popular players for the Texans to pick.
3. Seattle Seahawks. Pete Carroll was still at USC when Fangupo was recruited. If he liked him then, there is a possibility he still likes him now. Geographically, Seattle is a good fit with Fangupo being from the west coast.
Matt Reynolds, OL
1. Philadelphia Eagles. We all know that Eagles head coach Andy Reid played offensive line at BYU over 30 years ago. In addition to this connection, Reid is the one who has given Reynolds' brother Dallas a job the last three years, and counting.
2. Denver Broncos. Having acquired the premier pocket passer Peyton Manning, the Broncos should be investing heavily in offensive linemen. Denver decision makers will want to find the right group that will provide Manning the protection he needs to be the same Peyton he was with the Colts.
3. Indianapolis Colts. Speaking of the Colts, they are a pass happy team that is going through a rebuilding phase. Reynolds is not known as a great run blocker. In a pass happy scheme, his weakness to run block is something that would be more easily overlooked.
Jordan Pendleton, LB
1. St. Louis Rams. The Rams became linebacker central for former BYU linebackers in 2011. Three were on the roster. Yesterday, the Redskins announced that they had acquired one of those. They might be willing to go to the well one more time.
2. New Orleans Saints. The Saints are looking to rebuild their image, especially on defense, after being busted for bounties. Picking up a linebacker from the school with a squeaky clean image is a good way to start. Not only can Pendleton help address the Saints’ need for better pass rush, they don’t pick until the end of the third round. The Saints need as many “diamond in the rough” players as possible.
3. Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals were scouting Max Hall in 2009, which was Pendleton’s breakout year. Maybe he caught their eye, as well. Fans in Arizona could gravitate to Pendleton seeing him as a Pat Tillman type who gives his all on every play.
McKay Jacobson, WR
1. Dallas Cowboys. The ‘Boys are Jacobson’s hometown team. Chances are Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was watching when BYU first played in the new Cowboys stadium in 2009. Jones would have seen Jacobson get behind the Oklahoma defense twice that night; once for a 49-yard gain, and once for the game winning touchdown.
2. New England Patriots. Bill Belichick may look at Jacobson and see the heir apparent to Wes Welker. If Jacobson ends up in Foxboro, Massachusetts, then it might also be Patriots owner Robert Kraft’s way to subtly show he supports Republican Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney. After snubbing Dennis Pitta two years ago, the Patriots may now realize they could pick up several Romney supporters by giving Jacobson an NFL future.
3. Philadelphia Eagles. As noted above, Andy Reid has ties to BYU, and he has a penchant for BYU players. Zac Collie got a tryout back in 2007. Reid also jumped on Bingham High School product Kevin Curtis when he became available a few years back.
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