SALT LAKE CITY — The laid back and humble Bradlee Anae is unassuming and as friendly as they come. But on the field, Anae is a menace and force.
The 6-foot-3, 265-pound defensive end wreaked havoc on opposing backfields for the University of Utah where he broke the all-time career sack record with 30.0 sacks and tackles for loss yards — records that officially made him the “mayor of Sack Lake City” to fans.
After earning a starting role his sophomore season, Anae led the Utes in sacks for three consecutive seasons and was a two-time first-team all-conference defensive end in his last two seasons, and a 2019 consensus All-American.
Anae, a native of Laie, Hawaii, will now get the opportunity to try his hand at the highest level of football.
On Saturday, Anae was selected in the last pick of the fifth round by the Dallas Cowboys with the No. 179 overall pick in the virtual NFL draft. Anae joins five other players selected by the Cowboys and is the fourth defensive player taken by the team.
He is the latest Ute selected in this year’s draft, joining Jaylon Johnson, Julian Blackmon, Zack Moss, Terrell Burgess and Leki Fotu.
Anae, who was one of three Utes players that participated in the Senior Bowl, had a strong showing in his post-collegiate career debut. The all-time Utah sack leader added to his total with three sacks in the game and five pressures, including one that forced an interception against quarterback Jalen Hurts.
The Senior Bowl performance helped Anae’s draft stock, who is seen as a potential “rush linebacker” at the next level, according to a pre-draft analysis by NFL.com. Anae, though, has the skill set to remain at the edge position and attack the opposing blockers.
Anae was one of nine athletes from the University of Utah to participate in the NFL Combine, though his numbers didn't particularly shine. He ran an official 4.93 40-yard dash — in the top 20 of all defensive linemen tested — and bench pressed 225 pounds 25 times — in the top 15 of all defensive linemen tested.
As a fifth-round pick, Anae is not a lock to make an NFL team; however, should he stay with the Cowboys, he’s expected to sign a total value contract worth approximately $2.9 million, according to spotrac.com.