High expectations for Utah DBs despite losses to NFL | National Sports – Arizona News

High expectations for Utah DBs despite losses to NFL | National Sports – Arizona News

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah is quietly growing into a defensive back factory of sorts with the Utes continuing to send cornerbacks and safeties to the NFL with regularity, including four off the 2016 roster.

The program has work to do to replace those four starters from last season, but coach Kyle Whittingham is confident in the next wave of DBs.

“I think we’re going to be as good or better in the secondary than we were last year,” Whittingham said, “as soon as this group settles in and the learning curve expires.”

That would be a feat as Utah leads the Pac-12 with 52 interceptions over the last three seasons.

The Utes currently have at least 10 defensive backs in NFL training camps and all but four-time Pro Bowler Eric Weddle (Ravens), Sean Smith (Raiders) and Brice McCain (Titans) have entered since the 2013 season. The group also includes Keith McGill (Raiders), Jason Thompson (Patriots), Eric Rowe (Patriots), 2017 second-round pick Marcus Williams (Saints), 2017 fifth-round pick Brian Allen (Steelers) and 2017 undrafted free agents Dominique Hatfield (Rams) and Reggie Porter (Ravens).

More traditional college powers may have better numbers, but Utah is proud of its trend as the program grows, including having a school-record eight players drafted in April.

Junior safety Chase Hansen (6-foot-3, 220 pounds), out indefinitely due to an undisclosed injury, is likely to be the next Utah defensive back playing on Sundays after leading the team with 90 tackles and…

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