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Where Will Former Utes End Up in the 2016 NFL Draft?

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Robert Mansell did an excellent job breaking down which round some former Utah players are likely to be drafted in (you can find his article here). With the 2016 NFL Draft beginning today, we will look at some potential landing spots for all of the former Utah football players he covered in his article. Walter Football, who has a seven round mock draft (found here). In it, he has Devontae Booker (round 4), Jason Fanaika (round 4), Tom Hackett (round 7), and Tevin Carter (round 7) getting drafted.

Siaosi Aiono (C) - New York Giants

Aiono is more likely to get picked up as an undrafted free agent than get drafted in a late round. The Giants need to add depth to their offensive line, and they only have six picks in the draft, so they could look to add Aiono (who can play center and right tackle) as an undrafted free agent if they do not get enough offensive linemen during the draft. Other potential teams are the Seattle Seahawks, Chicago Bears, New Orleans Saints, and Philadelphia Eagles, who all need to add OL depth.

Devontae Booker (RB) - Seattle Seahawks

Ok, first off, I will admit this is a bit of wishful thinking on my part as a Utah and Seattle fan, but I do think there are reasons to believe this could happen. Booker told me there are three running backs he models himself after: Adrian Peterson, Arian Foster, and former Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch. The Seahawks run the football more than most NFL teams, and last season, they dealt with injuries to both Lynch and Thomas Rawls. When healthy Rawls, a rookie and former undrafted free agent, looked the part of an NFL starting running back. Lynch has retired, and I would not be surprised to see the Seahawks add depth at running back (they have used multiple running backs since head coach Pete Carroll got there). Booker runs similar to Lynch, and he has the ability to be an every down back in the NFL. Further, the Seahawks seem genuinely interested in Booker. When Booker held his personal pro day in his hometown of Sacramento, Calif., only the Seahawks and Oakland Raiders sent their running back coaches to watch Booker in person. The Seahawks have more pressing needs to address on the offensive and defensive lines, so I think Booker would have to fall a bit for Seattle to take him. Unfortunately, because of his knee injury, Booker could fall on draft day, and if he is available to the Seahawks in the third or fourth round (Walter Football's latest mock has him going in the fourth round No. 109 to the New York Giants), he could be the pick. Other possible landing spots are to the New England Patriots, New York Giants, Denver Broncos, Dallas Cowboys, or Miami Dolphins. Each of those teams could use at least one running back in the draft, and if they miss out on backs like Ezekiel Elliot and Derrick Henry earlier in the draft.

Tevin Carter (S) - Atlanta Falcons

Carter is a big, physical safety. Carter will likely be a late round pick, and a team like the Falcons could use safety depth, so they could look at Carter in the seventh round. Walter Football has Carter headed to the Jets (who have two seventh round selections). Another landing spot could be the Washington Redskins with their two seventh round picks.

Jason Fanaika (DE) - Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys could look to add depth to their defensive line in the middle of the draft with DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory suspended for the first four games of the 2016 season. Fanaika also showed the ability to play linebacker at Utah, recording one interception while covering former USC wide receiver Nelson Agholor (who now plays for the Philadelphia Eagles who the Cowboys play twice a year). Walter Football has Fanaika going to Dallas in round 4 pick 135. Other landing spots include the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Baltimore Ravens, New Orleans Saints, and Pittsburgh Steelers.

Tom Hackett (P) - Minnesota Vikings has an article on the five biggest needs for each of the 32 NFL teams. Only the Carolina Panthers and the Minnesota Vikings have a need at punter. Per, the Vikings have three picks in the final two rounds (round 6 [180] and round 7 [240 and 244]), meaning they might be more willing than the Panthers (who only have one pick in round 6/7, round 7 [252]) to spend a draft pick on a punter. Walter Football has Hackett going in the seventh round to the New York Jets.

Jared Norris (LB) - Washington Redskins

With two picks in the seventh round (232 and 242), it seems like the Redskins are the most likely team to take Norris if he gets drafted. They have a need at linebacker and could look to add depth at the position late in the draft. The Cincinnati Bengals are also an option after cutting A.J. Hawk as are the Raiders.

Gionni Paul (LB) - Pittsburgh Steelers

Gionni Paul is arguably the best linebacker at Utah since Stevenson Slyvester, so it is not out of the realm of possibility to think Paul could end up on the same team that drafted Sly, the Pittsburgh Steelers. Pittsburgh has a need at linebacker, and their defense struggled to stop the pass last season. Paul showed excellent coverage skills in his two seasons with Utah, intercepting eight passes. The Steelers have three picks in the final two rounds (round 6 [220] and round 7 [229 and 246]). The Steelers like drafting linebackers later in the draft as well. One other landing spot for Paul might be the Baltimore Ravens. Paul plays similar to former Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis. Baltimore however lacks a seventh round pick, so they would either have to take Paul in the sixth round where they have two picks (182 and 209) or pick him up as an undrafted free agent.