Update: Called it.
It’s that time of year once again when I get to display my pro-BYU bias and highlight one former Cougar I want the Panthers to draft. I don’t do this every year because some seasons there just aren’t any great NFL prospects coming out of Provo, but in the years I’ve stumped for BYU players I’ve nailed it.
In 2017 it was running back Jamal Williams (drafted No. 134 by the Packers) who has put up 2,946 scrimmage yards and 12 touchdowns in four seasons. In 2018 I hyped linebacker Fred Warner (selected No. 70 by the 49ers) who in three seasons has 367 tackles and was an All-Pro last year. In 2019 my target was linebacker Sione Takitaki (drafted No. 80 by the Browns) who locked down a starting gig in just his second NFL season and racked up 67 tackles .
While BYU quarterback Zach Wilson will be long gone by the time the Panthers select at No. 8, there’s another former Cougar I’m hoping Carolina can land a bit later in the draft and that’s left tackle Brady Christensen.
The 6-foot-5, 302-pounder just finished his redshirt junior season and was a consensus All-American. Christensen’s 96.0 Pro Football Focus grade was the highest grade ever for a tackle in a single season. (Yes, PFF’s highest grade EVER for a tackle). Per PFF he was equally dominant when run blocking as he was pass blocking, grading out at over 95.0 in both areas. When going back to 2014, PFF gives Christensen the lowest quarterback pressure percentage allowed by a tackle at 0.8%.
His BYU Pro Day was legendary. According to the Deseret News, his 10-foot-4 inch broad jump would have been the best result in combine history for a tackle by three full inches! When comparing the rest of his BYU Pro Day results to the 53 tackles in last year’s 2020 NFL Combine, here’s how he would’ve ranked, per the Deseret News:
- 10-foot-4 broad jump = 1st of 53 (new combine record for position)
- 4.89 second 40-yard dash = 2nd of 53
- 7.33 three-cone drill = 2nd of 53
- 4.46 shuttle drill = 2nd of 53
- 34-inch vertical = 3rd of 53
- 30 bench press reps = 5th of 53
Most mock drafts have him being drafted somewhere between the mid-second late-third round. SB Nation’s mock draft has him going in the second round at No. 57, which is the exact same landing spot where CBS has him going. Three other recent mock have him going in the third round with Walter Football predicting he’ll be taken at No. 84, Pro Football Network at No. 95, and NFL.com has him going at No. 98.
As a redshirt junior who elected to serve a two-year mission to New Zealand for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (which owns BYU), he’s a little older than most prospects. While his exact date of birth has been hard to track down, Pro Football Network says “he’ll be 24 heading into his rookie season.”
While BYU’s schedule isn’t the SEC, he has squared off against nine Top 25 teams over his three seasons and has more than held his own. The quality of opponents Christensen faced at BYU is much stronger than that of fellow prospects like Northern Iowa’s Spencer Brown (just one Top 25 opponent over the last three years) and North Dakota State’s Dillon Radunz (zero).
If a quarterback falls to the Panthers at No. 8 then at No. 39 they address a position other than left tackle, my dream scenario would then be general manager Scott Fitterer to pounce on Brady Christensen at No. 73 in the third round. If Christensen falls to No. 113 in the fourth round, he’s a no-brainer even if Carolina picked another left tackle earlier in the draft.
I’ll go out on a limb and predict Christensen becomes a quality starter at one of the most important positions in football. So far I’m a perfect 3-for-3 with my BYU Homer Picks.
I’m pretty sure Brady Christensen will make me 4-for-4.