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Aside From Tyler Allgeier, Will Any Other Former BYU Cougars Get Drafted?

A few BYU Cougars are hoping to hear their names called next week during the 2022 NFL Draft. What are each player’s chances of being selected in one of the seven rounds?

BYU v Boise State Photo by Loren Orr/Getty Images

It’s fairly obvious that Tyler Allgeier is the best NFL prospect coming out of Provo this season. In 2021, he broke Luke Staley’s 20-year-old, single-season rushing record with 1,601 rushing yards. Now, he is set to make an NFL team very happy with his combination of athleticism, toughness and physicality in the backfield. His skill set translates very well to the NFL.

NFL.com assesses Allgeier’s NFL prospects.

“Well-built, highly productive zone-scheme runner with impressive vision and feel for the job. Allgeier is smooth and instinctive with one-cut talent. He effectively navigates the ebbs and flows of run lane development. He’s more agile than twitchy and relies on his ability to quickly process. While he sees it clearly, his pace and burst can be a little hit-or-miss and might allow for NFL defenses to prevent the chunk play. Allgeier is clearly talented as a runner but will need to prove his explosiveness. He offers very little third-down value right now and could be tabbed as a solid backup in a move-based rush attack.”

Most experts have Allgeier going somewhere around the fourth or fifth round. He is set to become the first former BYU running back to be drafted since Jamaal Williams in 2017. It’s unlikely any other former Cougar gets their name called ahead or even near Allgeier.

However, Allgeier is not the only former Cougar hoping to get a phone call from an NFL general manager come draft time.

Former BYU offensive lineman James Empey has the best chance of being draft among the remaining BYU prospects. A four-year starter at center, he anchored BYU’s offensive line through thick and thin. At times, health became an issue. He played just six games in 2021. Overall, he was one of the most respected and revered players on the roster, especially as BYU’s offense led the way to 21 wins over the last two years.

NFL teams like that he is technically sound and a leader. However, he has fallen on some draft boards due to his light frame, at less than 300 pounds. Most teams prefer their centers to be in the 310-320 pound range. Some teams are also concerned with him already being 25 years old, while most prospects are three or four years younger. His injury history is also a concern to some.

If Empey is selected, it likely will not be until the sixth round at the earliest. Neither CBS nor NFL.com have Empey being drafted in their latest mock drafts.

The Draft Network ranks Empey as the No. 237 prospect. NFL.com ranks him as the 10th-best center prospect. There are 256 total picks in the NFL Draft.

Receivers Samson Nacua and Neil Pau’u are realistically the only other former BYU players with any chance of being drafted next weekend. Even so, their chances are very slim. Samson surprised many during BYU’s pro day, running a 4.48 40-yard dash even with his size at 6-foot-4 and just over 200 pounds. That combination of size and speed is always attractive to NFL teams.

The likeliest scenario for them is being a coveted undrafted free agent. They will likely catch on with a team and make an impact during their training camp this fall.

Pass rusher Uriah Leiataua will likely also get a look by a few teams as an undrafted player.

It’s not the end of the world to be an undrafted rookie. In fact, in some situations, it is better than being selected in the seventh round. That way, you can choose the team you sign with if you get multiple offers.

All-time BYU great tight end Chad Lewis went undrafted in 1997 and earned three Pro Bowl selections and helped the Philadelphia Eagles reach Super Bowl XXXIX.

Safety Daniel Sorensen has carved out a solid eight-year NFL career despite not being drafted.

Former BYU players Michael Davis, Taysom Hill, and Harvey Langi all went from being undrafted to playing meaningful snaps in the NFL.

The NFL Draft opens with the first round next Thursday, April 28 at 8pm ET. Rounds two and three will be on Friday and the remaining rounds on Saturday.