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Utah Football: Why did the Utes struggle to get drafted into the 2016 NFL Draft?

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Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Utah football is coming off one of their best seasons in program history, after notching 10 wins in a very difficult Pac-12, and especially a cannibalious Pac-12 South. Utah had a couple of the best linebackers the program has ever had, arguably the best running back, possibly the best punter in college football history, among some other major contributors. As the rounds of the 2016 NFL Draft went by this past weekend, name after name was called without a Ute. The wait was ended in the 4th round when Devontae Booker was drafted by the Denver Broncos. Book, however, was the lone name drafted from Utah, although, seven of his teammates will get chances to make NFL rosters. So after such a great season, and so many great perfomers on the team, the question is, why didn't more Utes see their named called during the Draft? The answer range from a simple shoulder shrug (¯\_(ツ)_/¯) to measurables.

Booker was one of the top rated running backs on a lot of boards from various websites, often times with usually Ezekial Elliott and/or Derek Henry rated above him. With that said, more than just those two backs saw their names called ahead of Booker. A lot of people think it was because of his knee, which makes some sense, but it wasn't an ACL injury, so the fear there shouldn't have been too high. Other reports on draft night, across Twitter that is, speculated if some of what was hurting Booker was that he possibly struggled understanding NFL playbooks. This is plausible, now I'm not sure if as a running back this is too big of a deal, if it is indeed true. Regardless, it's hard to think of many better spots than the Broncos and Gary Kubiak's running scheme for Book to land.

Another major head scratcher was the fact that Tom Hackett was passed over multiple times in the draft by teams for a couple of other punters. Tommy has proven that he may be the most accurate punter ever in college football and can do both rugby style punting as well as traditional. So why others over Hackett? Was it maybe his attitude of being too laid back? I sure hope not, because that may be as good of an attitude as any for a kicker.

I also figured Tevin Carter had a good chance to sneak into the later rounds. His combination of size, speed and physicality may have given some teams something to think about. However, there are without a doubt red flags with him. First of all, his past injuries would have to raise some concerns. Also, what is he in the NFL? He's a bit of a "tweener." He's probably not quick enough to play an NFL safety, and he's not big enough to be a linebacker. He's definitely caught between a rock and a hard place.

Some of the others, like Jared Norris and Gionni Paul, don't have the big measurables that jump out. Everyone knows Paul is short for a linebacker, but he's playmaking ability jumps off the film. Similar with Norris, although he measures much closer to what the NFL would like. Not to mention the leadership capabilities that these two have. And when it comes to a pair of linebackers, they have all the football tools to be contributors in the league.

At the end of the day, all these guys, and others, are going to get shots, and some NFL teams are going to find some diamonds in the rough. It's a shame that the draft process is such a meat market, where it's all about the number of reps you take, the 40 you run, the size of your hands, and what you look like in a speedo. Gross. It just surprised me a little bit that we didn't see one more name called, but as the rounds went by, I had a hunch Booker was going to be the only one. Every Ute going through this process had a reason not to be drafted, but the biggest reason they should have been drafted is that they are damn good football players.

What are some of your thoughts on why only one Ute got drafted?