The Miami Hurricanes have disappointed in recent seasons on the field in terms of winning. However, an area that is still producing at a high rate is the talent headed to the NFL. In a shocker, it was the Hurricanes that led the ACC in combine invitees, not Clemson, as many would believe. Now although it may be a far cry from the days when Miami had multiple first-round draft picks, the ‘Canes are still producing.
Last season the Hurricanes had five players drafted in the NFL Draft, none higher than the fourth round. However, by seasons end, some of those rookies were starting in the playoffs like Travis Homer. The former sixth-round pick showed his value and will have a bigger role this upcoming season. This year’s group of Hurricanes will look to follow in those same footsteps as they prepare to enter into the NFL.
Miami Hurricanes still producing NFL talent
This past season, Miami’s offense struggled once again and youth played a factor in why. Coincidentally, most of the plays being made on offense were from the upperclassmen. A few of which elected to head to the NFL following their junior season. Starting running back DeeJay Dallas will look to follow the path which Homer set last season. Dallas’ season ended a bit earlier than he would’ve hoped after injuring his elbow against Florida International. That hasn’t stopped Dallas from standing out at the NFL Combine as he was listed as one of Sports Illustrated Rising RB prospects.
Another player that helped themselves this past season is former Buffalo transfer, KJ Osborn. The fifth-year senior came to Miami with high hopes but ended up dealing with a stagnant offense. However, his leadership was felt in a young wide receiver group which he helped guide. Along with helping the younger players, Osborn showed his value by scoring the game-winning touchdown versus Pittsburgh. He also displayed versatility in his game by doubling up as Miami’s best punt returner, in addition to his five touchdown receptions.
The Hurricanes defense once again proved to be one of the best in college football. Although that was not enough to get the Hurricanes a higher win total. Most of the draftees will be on defense.
Perhaps the most likely to get drafted first will be Hurricanes defensive end Tre’Von Hill. The former Virginia Tech Hokie was a graduate transfer this season. He amassed nine and a half tackles for loss as a Hurricane. Hill got off to a slow start after recovering in the offseason from shoulder surgery. However, he had a strong finish with four and a half sacks. His performance helped him earn a Senior Bowl invite where he also had a sack in the game.
Junior defensive end Jonathan Garvin could be slotted to be selected in the same range as Hill. Many believed if he were to return as a senior he could potentially crack the first round. His most impressive season was as a junior when he tallied 17 tackles for loss and five sacks. His production slipped a bit this year to only nine tackles for loss with an additional five sacks. Even with that Garvin has been described as a sleeper in this draft after a good combine performance. His 36 inch vertical ranked as the highest amongst defensive linemen at the combine.
The biggest sleeper in the group of Miami Hurricanes is Trajan Bandy. The junior cornerback measured in at the combine as the shortest defensive back in the combine. His height has always been a knock against him but the cornerback plays much bigger than his listed height. Pro Football Focus ranked Bandy as the top cornerback in the last two seasons in cover zero and cover one. That list includes some of the prospects that will be selected in the top five. Bandy’s ability to play nickleback will also be something that intrigues many pro teams.
Highest-graded cornerbacks in Cover 0 and Cover 1 concepts over the past two seasons (2018-19), per @PFF.
1. Trajan Bandy
2. Amik Robertson
3. Jeff Okudah
4. A.J. Terrell
5. Trevon Diggs
6. Kristian Fulton
— Austin Gayle (@PFF_AustinGayle) March 24, 2020
For the first time in four seasons, the Hurricanes will take the field without Shaq Quarterman starting. Last season he broke the Miami school record for most games started by one player. He has long been one of the most consistent players on the defense and enjoyed his best season to date. The senior linebacker finished with a career-high 107 tackles along with 15.5 tackles for loss. He is projected to be drafted on day three of the draft as there are concerns about his coverage ability.
Miami Hurricanes Final Review
Other notables that have a chance of being drafted are Michael Pinckney, who also was a four-year starter at linebacker. During the draft process, it was revealed that he has been playing with a torn labrum in his hip which could hurt his draft stock. Jeff Thomas may be the most talented of the bunch but his slight size and suspensions during his time at Miami will be a question mark. The Miami Hurricanes continue to produce NFL players but the correlation between games won throughout their time has been missing. With much of the players in the group being juniors, the Hurricanes will have to replace their production and leadership.