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Utah to The Pros: Utah Utes NFL Draft Recap

The Utah Utes football team, doing their tradition after every home win, called "Lighting the U" after beating Colorado
© Christopher Creveling-USA TODAY Sports

Now that the dust on the NFL Draft has settled, it is time to recap where fan's favorite Utah alumni ended up. Whether they were selected or were signed as an undrafted free agent, a total of eight former Utes found new NFL homes.

With five being selected and three being signed, the Utes boasted were one of thirteen teams to have five or more players picked this year. Utah continues to produce NFL-level talent, and fans can be excited to root for their favorite Utes next season.

Utah Utes Draft Picks

Cole Bishop: Buffalo Bills, Round 1, 60th Overall

Star safety Cole Bishop was the first Ute off the board and was taken by the Buffalo Bills, joining former teammate Dalton Kincaid. Bishop looks to be an instant impact player, as the Bills just lost star safety Jordan Poyer to the rival Miami Dolphins. Utes fans should be excited, as this is a great situation for Bishop, and he could flourish to become a star.

Jonah Elliss: Denver Broncos, Round 3, 76th Overall

Edge rusher Jonah Elliss came off the board in the 3rd round, being taken by the Denver Broncos. Last season, Jonah Elliss had a breakout season before an injury that cut the year short. Many people believed that he could have been taken earlier, had he not built up an injury history. He joins former Utes Cody Barton, Garett Bolles, Tim Patrick, and newly drafted Devaughn Vele.

Sione Vaki: Detroit Lions, Round 4, 132nd Overall

Sione Vaki was a hero for the Utes last year, in a season where there were so many unfortunate injuries. Vaki took snaps as a safety and running back and was very productive in both roles. Although he mostly played safety, his campaign as an RB had him drafted by the Lions as just that. He joins an RB room with David Montgomery and could see some playing time in year one. As of right now, Sione Vaki is the only Ute listed on the Lions roster.

Sataoa Laumea: Seattle Seahawks, Round 6, 179th Overall

The former Ute guard Sataoa Laumea was selected by the Seattle Seahawks with the chance to protect quarterback Geno Smith, in the new era of Seahawks football.

Laumea has a lot of experience and has the potential to become a starter under new head coach Mike Macdonald. While he played a lot of tackle, his size and ability led many scouts to believe his place would be at guard in the NFL. Like Sione Vaki, Laumea is the only player on the Seahawks listed as from Utah.

Devaughn Vele: Denver Broncos, Round 7, 235th Overall

Vele was only a walk-on when he began his journey with the Utes, and now is the first Utah wide receiver to be drafted since Kaelin Clay in 2015. Vele was massively productive over his final two seasons with Utah, racking up 1,284 yards and eight touchdowns in 24 games. Vele looks to add to the Bronco's wide receiver room and complement the Bronco's other new draft additions of QB Bo Nix and WR Troy Franklin. Vele joins DE Jonah Elliss and the other Utes previously mentioned in Denver.

Utah Utes Undrafted Free Agents

While Devaughn Vele was the last Ute drafted, Utah's 2024 pipeline to the pros didn't stop there. In addition to the five drafted Utes, three more were signed, leaving all but one Ute who declared for the draft without an NFL home as of right now. While Emery Simmons hasn't been signed yet, his name with one to watch out for when more mini-camp invites are sent out.

Keaton Bills: Buffalo Bills

With the Buffalo Bills signing Keaton Bills, he becomes the second Ute to join the Bills this draft season, following Cole Bishop. The former Utah offensive lineman played high school football in Utah as well, at Corner Canyon in Draper. He will have the opportunity to compete for a roster spot throughout the offseason, and training camp, which as of right now, looks very possible.

Thomas Yassmin: Denver Broncos

After signing with the Broncos, Yassmin becomes the third Ute to join Denver this draft season. The former Ute tight-end is Australian and used to play Rugby before his days with the Utes. In 2022, he had six touchdowns in what many consider to be his breakout season. Last season was cut short due to injury, and he will try to join Vele on the official roster as a pass catcher.

Miles Battle: Kansas City Chiefs

The former Utes cornerback joins the defending Superbowl champions and looks to join already one of the best young secondaries in the league. In his only season in Utah after spending three years at Ole Miss, Battle recorded 32 tackles and one interception. If he makes the Chiefs roster, he will be the lone Ute for Kansas City next year.


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