FB: Utes can expect to see a lot of one another during NFL season
The NFL schedule has been officially released — and some immediate thoughts is that Utah will be extremely well represented on a weekly basis in the league.
This past offseason alone, 12 Utes inked contracts in the NFL — 7 of which were drafted and five more who were undrafted, with 9 of them on guaranteed contracts.
List of 2020 Utes:
*Jaylon Johnson, CB, Chicago Bears
*Julian Blackmon, S, Indianapolis Colts
*Zack Moss, RB, Buffalo Bills
*Terrell Burgess, S, Los Angeles Rams
*Leki Fotu, DT, Arizona Cardinals
*Bradlee Anae, DE, Dallas Cowboys
*John Penisini, DT, Detroit Lions
**Francis Bernard, LB, Dallas Cowboys
**Tyler Huntley, QB, Baltimore Ravens
**Javelin Guidry, CB, New York Jets
**Josh Nurse, CB, Baltimore Ravens
**Darrin Paulo, OT, New Orleans Saints
As of now, over half of the weeks of the upcoming NFL season will feature a game between two former Utes squaring off with one another, both of whom were a part of the 2020 draft class.
Week 1, which is set for Sunday, Sept. 13 and Week 13, which is set for Sunday, Dec. 6, will have two games featuring former Utah rookies. Burgess leads Utah in games against collegiate teammates when he will face off five times against former Utes. Johnson is the next highest culprit with four games against former teammates.
*Sunday, Sept. 13: Bears at Lions (Johnson vs. Penisini); Cowboys at Rams (Anae vs. Burgess)
*Sunday, Sept. 27: Rams at Bills (Burgess vs. Moss)
*Sunday, Oct. 4: Colts at Bears (Blackmon vs. Johnson)
*Monday, Oct. 19: Cardinals at Cowboys (Fotu vs. Anae)
*Monday, Oct. 26: Bears at Rams (Johnson vs. Burgess)
*Sunday, Nov. 1: Colts at Lions (Blackmon vs. Penisini)
*Sunday, Nov. 15: Bills at Cardinals (Moss vs. Fotu)
*Sunday, Dec. 6: Lions at Bears (Penisini vs. Johnson); Rams at Cardinals (Burgess vs. Fotu)
*Sunday, Jan. 3: Cardinals at Rams (Fotu vs. Burgess)
With the Raiders moving to Las Vegas, it means that fans in Salt Lake City will finally have an NFL team that's within a reasonable driving distance, 5-6 hours, if they're craving some NFL-action that badly.
Seven of the Raiders' home games will feature matchups against former Utes...
Zack Moss, Star Lotulelei and the Bills comes to Las Vegas during Week 4 while former kicker Matt Gay and new-look Bucs travel to Las Vegas during Week 7. The Raiders host the Denver Broncos, who have Garret Bolles and Tim Patrick in Week 10, before facing Jackson Barton and the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 11. Julian Blackmon and the Colts make the trip to Sin City in Week 14 before Sam Tevi and the Chargers visit four days later for a Thursday night showdown in Week 15. Finally, the Dolphins and Eric Rowe come to Vegas in a Week 16 battle.
If the NFL season is to actually take place this year, it's expected to feature a lot of former Utes, both locally and matchups against collegiate teammates from last season. Altogether, with 12 Utah players from the 2020 class having a shot in the NFL, expect fireworks from the former Utes.
* = Drafted
** = Undrafted