BYU Football: Who Is Replacing Every Former Cougar Taken in 2014 NFL Draft?
In an unfortunate turn of events for BYU, only one former Cougar was selected in the 2014 NFL draft. On the other hand, four other players signed free-agent contracts on Saturday and will attempt to build a future as a pro.
Any time a player leaves a program for the professional ranks, whether they are drafted or not, it leaves a mark. When players with that caliber of talent move on to the next level, there are gaps that need to be filled.
So who will replace the former Cougars who made headlines over the weekend?
Kyle Van Noy
Who Will Replace Him: Alani Fua
Kyle Van Noy was known for his playmaking abilities at BYU, and his pass-rushing and coverage skills are what helped him get drafted. Although he played weak-side linebacker as a Cougar, current strong-side 'backer Alani Fua will be his replacement.
Although they play on opposite sides of the field, Fua and Van Noy have very similar playing styles. Both excel in pass defense, whether it be dropping back or bringing a blitz. Also, both have a knack for making plays, something they will be remembered for.
Who Will Replace Him: Jordan Leslie
Although Nick Kurtz has been receiving all of the hype at the WR position, the wideout that will replace Cody Hoffman is Jordan Leslie. The UTEP transfer almost mirrors Hoffman in size but is faster and a better jumper than his predecessor.
We have not yet seen Leslie in a Cougar uniform, but his time in Provo is destined to be great. Who knows, he could end up breaking some of the records that Hoffman set.
Who Will Replace Him: Marques Johnson
Eathyn Manumaleuna holds the record for the most games played at BYU (54) and will be a huge player to replace (literally). At 6'2" and 305 pounds, Manu was a giant playmaker for five years as a Cougar.
His probable replacement will be Marques Johnson, a redshirt senior from Los Angeles. Although Johnson has not yet developed a name familiar with many Cougar fans, he started to show glimpses of potential toward the latter end of the 2013 season. He could end up playing a big role for the BYU defense.
Who Will Replace Him: Robertson Daniel
Daniel Sorensen may have been one of BYU's most underappreciated players during his Cougar tenure. He was a consistent, solid defender and put up eye-popping numbers at the combine.
Robertson Daniel will have quite the task of filling in at free safety, but he proved he can do it in 2013. While playing as a cornerback, Daniel still managed to record 49 tackles and two interceptions.
Daniel will return to his natural position this fall and should be a playmaker for the Cougs.
Who Will Replace Him: Bronson Kaufusi
Spencer Hadley had a limited senior season because of suspension and injury, so it's good to see him getting a shot at the next level. He played both inside and outside 'backer as a Cougar, so his replacement will be Bronson Kaufusi.
Kaufusi was moved from the line to linebacker during the spring, and it is likely that he could see some time as a middle 'backer. Like Hadley, he is a hard-hitting and quick player and may emerge as a star this fall.