Farnsworth: Three Takeaways From BYU Football’s Pro Day Besides Wilson’s Magic

Mar 26, 2021, 4:37 PM
Brady Christensen - BYU Pro Day...
(Courtesy of BYU Photo)
(Courtesy of BYU Photo)

PROVO, Utah – In what will be the strongest BYU draft class since 2002, the NFL world shined its spotlight on Provo on Friday for BYU’s Pro Day workouts.

To the surprise of no one quarterback Zach Wilson was the focus of the national coverage at BYU’s Pro Day. So instead of focusing on all the great things Wilson did on Friday (yes, he can make ALL the throws) here are the next three things that had scouts, reporters and fans talking after the workouts.

Brady Christensen Is A Beast

The 2020 campaign was a breakout season for several BYU football players. Tackle Brady Christensen may be at the top of that list becoming an All-American pass protector for Zach Wilson.

The offensive tackle class for the 2021 NFL Draft is deep with the expectation that Christensen would draw interest on the third day of the draft (rounds 4-7). But after what he did at BYU’s pro day he will draw plenty of interest from tackle needy teams in the second or third round.

His 10-foot 4-inch broad jump is the best all-time in a draft workout by an offensive lineman, according to Mockdraftable. It beats the old record by three inches.

Christensen also impressed with 30 reps at 225 pounds on the bench press and a 34-inch vertical leap. But the loudest reaction came when he clocked a time of 4.89 in the 40-yard dash.

I know speed isn’t everything for an offensive lineman, but last year only three OL’s ran the 40-yard dash in under five seconds. All three of them were taken in the draft:  Tristen Wirfs (4.85) – 1st round, Ezra Cleveland (4.91) – 2nd round, Danny Pinter (4.93) – 5th round.

Cougars Are Fast

Let’s all be honest with each other for a moment here. The NFL Combine isn’t that exciting to watch. But the one event that seems to get the most people talking is the 40-yard dash.

And when a football player dressed in nothing but shorts and shoes hits the tape in under 4.4 seconds, it gets the attention of every team in the league. That happened three times on Friday.

All of the scouts had their stopwatches ready when Chris Wilcox stepped to the line. When he hit the tape all of those scouts were confirming what they just saw with each other and quickly jotting down numbers in their note pads. Wilcox had just clocked a 4.37.

“That was the goal all along,” Wilcox said after the pro day. “I think the fastest I hit during training was 4.40.”

But then wide receiver Micah Simon took his turn at the sprint and suddenly the competition was on. Simon crossing the finish line in 4.34 seconds. With that time officially in the books, Simon opted to forgo his second attempt. But not Wilcox.

“I’m not gonna lie,” Wilcox said. “I saw Micah’s time and wanted to go out there and beat it.”

And beat it, he did. Wilcox burned the turf for an official 40 time of 4.31.

Only two players in last year’s NFL Draft Combine ran faster than Wilcox’s 4.31. Raiders Wide Reciever Henry Ruggs III ran it in 4.27 and former Ute, current Jets DB Javelin Guidry ran it in 4.29.

Wilcox two times may be enough to get him drafted next month.

Bushman Is Back

Six months after undergoing surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon, tight end Matt Bushman was back on the football field competing for NFL Scouts.

Bushman could have left BYU early and would have been taken in the draft. He opted to return even in the uncertainty of COVID and ruptured his Achilles one week before the 2020 season began.

On Friday, Bushman not only showed he is healthy enough to be back on the football field again but he showed why NFL teams had such great interest in him before the injury.

“The biggest question was my Achilles and I showed that I’m ready,” Bushman said after his pro day workouts. “My biggest strength is my catching ability. I have some of the best hands in this class.”

Bushman will likely be taken somewhere between rounds 4-7 in the draft.

Bonus BYU Takeaway

Did I say three takeaways? Well… here’s one more.

This is going to be BYU’s strongest draft class since five former cougars were taken in the 2002 NFL Draft.

I would expect between 4-6 BYU players taken in this year’s draft. There’s no doubt about Zach Wilson or Brady Christensen being taken. I think in all likelihood Matt Bushman and Khiyris Tonga will be selected. But also keep an eye out for Chris Wilcox and wide receiver Dax Milne to draw day three interest.

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