The U had a great showing at the NFL draft. In total there were nine former Hurricanes that had their name called throughout the three day event. The nine players gave Miami the distinction as having the most within the state of Florida. In terms of the entire NCAA, The U finished third overall behind Michigan (11) and Alabama (10). There were high points and times of uncertainty, but just like the season Miami had, they finished strong.
Miami was fortunate that the Cleveland Browns traded back into the first round to get the coveted David Njoku. He became the fifth tight end from the University of Miami to be drafted in the first round. On top of that Njoku is also the youngest first round pick in the NFL draft, one thing for sure is he’ll have the money to have a nice 21st birthday party.
The Waiting Game
Brad Kayaa going into his junior year was tabbed by NFL Draft analysts as a top 15 player and a for sure first round pick. This past season he put up career numbers in passing yards, completion percentage and touchdowns. However analysts feel as if Kayaa’s mobility in the pocket is an issue and later slid in projections down to a third or fourth round pick. That slide was even deeper as Kayaa fell into the sixth round and saw a long snapper get drafted before the all-time leading passer in school history.
Watch The Finish
Miami got things rolling on the first day of the draft with Njoku being picked up. On the second day of the event, which covers the second and third round, Miami was shut out. As stated before Kayaa was projected around that time frame after the season, Corn Elder was also a player who many thought could be a second day pick. It wasn’t until the third day that Miami ended up getting back on the board. Safety Rayshawn Jenkins kicked things off after being selected by the Los Angeles Chargers in the fourth round. Elder would be next off the board in the fifth round with the Carolina Panthers selecting him to help them win back the NFC South. Offensive lineman Danny Isadora also would make a fifth round appearance, his name would be called by the Minneosta Vikings. In the seventh round the Vikings would select another Miami Hurricane in Stacy Coley.
The third day of the draft seemed to be dominated by the Miami Hurricanes, but it wasn’t without a few surprises. Of course the Kayaa slide to round six was a surprise but there were also more positive surprises in that round. One of the shocking moments in the draft happened in the sixth round when the Saints selected Al-Quadin Muhammad. The shock factor is that Muhammad did not even play last season, after being dismissed off of the Miami football team because of NCAA violations. Arguably even more shocking is the fact that even after his dismissal from Miami, it was the coaches that helped repair his image and convince the Saints to draft him. In an article to The Advocate Muhammad stated “Mark Richt played a major part in the process, even after the situation happened [at the University of Miami], he didn’t look at me any different he welcomed me with open arms.”
The coaching staff celebrated the selection of two graduate transfers as well. Adrian Colbert was a safety recruit at Texas and barely played due to coaches decisions and injuries. After having a year left of eligibility he decided to take a chance at Miami and it paid off, with the San Francisco 49ers drafting him in the seventh round. Marquez “Pops” Williams was playing division 2 football for Mars Hills University before having the graduate transfer option to Miami. He was drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars in order to open up more holes for LSU’s Leonard Fournette.
The nine players that Miami had drafted in Mark Richt’s first year is even more momentum for the Hurricanes this offseason. Miami also had many guys receive opportunities as undrafted free agents as well. Malcolm Lewis, Justin Vogel, Jamal Carter and Jermaine Grace all received contracts as undrafted free agents and will have the chance to make an NFL roster. Joe Yearby and Standish Dobard both have received tryouts from the 49ers and Seattle Seahawks respectively.