I spoke with ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay on an NFL Draft conference call today. I asked him whether he thought UM quarterback Jacory Harris would be drafted, and to talk about which of the underclassmen who declared early have the most potential, besides Lamar Miller. I said that some people believe as many as nine -- maybe even more -- Hurricanes will be drafted, and asked his opinion. Here's his reply:
"Jacory, I tend to doubt it. He showed some flashes this past year. I thought he played better this past year, but just — the inconsistency jumps out, and the turnovers and just not protecting and caring for the football. He’s still kind of slight framed and there are durability concerns there. But he has enough arm talent, so it’s not to say that he won’t one day land on a roster if he’s able to continue to develop somehow, but it’s just tough to develop as a quarterback because there’s nowhere to really go and get good developing, if you will, from this point on.
Nine guys from Miami? I have to sit here and count. Travis Benjamin I would say yes, so that’s one; Chase Ford has a chance late as kind of a sleeper; LaRon Byrd is kind of in that same category – there’s a chance, but I’m not saying that he really has a good chance or a great chance to get drafted. I would take a chance on him in the last couple rounds. Marcus Forston makes it two; Lamar Miller, three; (Adewale) Ojomo is kind of on the fringe; Regis is on the fringe, but I would say there’s a good likelihood he gets drafted five; Sean Spence is five; Streeter, six; Vernon, seven; Washington, eight. So you could see as many as nine guys going. It wouldn’t shock me. But I would say probably a safe bet is seven.
You know, Olivier Vernon of all those guys after Miller is the most intriguing to me, I guess. Tommy Streeter there’s a lot of interest because of the height, weight and speed, and certainly he’s a great athlete and has more potential than we’ve seen him do at Miami, but the tape just doesn’t match up with what I see. I would have a hard time drafting him in the first four rounds, even though there’s a strong chance he goes somewhere in that third-, fourth-round range.
But Vernon to me, I think he’s a better player than maybe the perception, and at 6’3″, 262, I think he played defensive end, can play outside linebacker, can do a little bit of both. Has some stiffness, there’s no question. He’s not a great athlete, and his production didn’t always match up, and I’ve heard some things, is he mature enough, how does he work and all those things. But if he is focused and doing the right things and working at it and 100 percent dedicated to football, he’s well built, solid, strong, shows some quickness off the line, and I think he has a chance to make an impact as a pass rusher at the next level."
In closing, this should be another interesting draft year for UM. Last year, eight guys went after another yuck season. This year? Who knows. But organizations sure do seem to like to take chances with the Hurricanes. So many of them are NFL gamers.
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN