Utes await Saturday NFL draft

By Christopher Kamrani, Asst. Sports Editor

More than a handful of former Utes will be ready and eager to hear their names called at the 2009 NFL Draft in New York City, N.Y., on Saturday.

Following Utah’s spotless run toward perfection, a slew of players began to nab nationwide recognition from draft analysts and NFL scouts8212;most exclusively, early entries Sean Smith and Paul Kruger.

The two stellar defensive stalwarts showcased their ability on the largest of stages this season, often stepping up to make crucial plays the few times the Utes were nationally broadcast. Smith, the junior cornerback from Pasadena, Calif., has been receiving rave reviews for his size, ability and versatility as a corner8212;some things that aren’t exactly run-of-the-mill attributes of defensive backs.

FOXSports.com’s Peter Schrager updated his weekly mock draft and pitted Smith being taken No. 43 overall by the San Francisco 49ers.

His blurb on the Niners said, “A guy named Smith out of Utah? Shouldn’t that give 49ers fans nightmares? This Smith8212;Sean, not Alex8212;is a 6-4 ballhawk. Still relatively new to the cornerback position, he’ll learn from veterans Walt Harris and Nate Clements.”
As for Kruger, Schrager has Utah’s star defensive end heading to Atlanta with the No. 55 pick overall.

“The Falcons add some depth to the defensive line with Kruger, the 23-year-old defensive end from the Sugar Bowl champion Utes,” he said. “Kruger’s a survivor, having bounced back from a near life-threatening automobile accident as a child and multiple stab wounds from a 2008 incident.”

Other notable Utes ready to have their names called will be a crew of formidable seniors, most prevalently, quarterback and NCAA Football 2010 coverboy Brian Johnson, kicker Louie Sakoda and wide receivers Freddie Brown, Bradon Godfrey and Brent Casteel.

The draft commences Saturday with the first few rounds scheduled to be finished by the end of the day. The second day draft rounds will take place Sunday.

The draft will be shown live on ESPN on both days.

[email protected]

Erik Daenitz

Sean Smith?s size and ability has got him a lot NFL teams? attention. The NFL draft will take place this weekend in New York.

Paul Kruger was picked to go to Atlanta with the No.55 overall in some mock drafts. Kruger will find out where he goes for real this weekend when the NFL draft takes place in New York.