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Analysts weigh in on UF, FSU and other non-UM state prospects; Marlins, Canes notes


The Marlins moved on from catcher Jarrod Saltamacchia, designating him for assignment today, and the only question is where he ranks among their free agent busts of recent years. I would slot him second, behind Heath Bell but ahead of John Buck. (Don't include Jose Reyes or Mark Buehrle, who were decent before being traded.)

Saltalmacchia's final Marlins numbers: .209, 12 homers, 45 RBI and 17 errors in 123 games in a little more than a season. He was 2 for 29 this season.

Manager Mike Redmond and president/baseball operations Michael Hill both said they feel rookie catcher J.T. Realmuto is ready to be a full-time starter.

The Marlins have 10 days to trade Saltalamacchia, but they've tried unsuccessfully to do that for a while. He's still owed $15 million through next season.

"Fifteen million is not easy to part with, but we've never been afraid to make decisions," Hill said. "It was right to do this."

Said Redmond: "Last year was a tough year [for Saltalamacchia]. We were looking for him to be better and it just didn't happen."

### Throughout the first 21 days of this rollercoaster Marlins season, this has been a constant: exemplary defense.

After another error-less game Sunday, the Marlins own the best fielding percentage in baseball and have the fewest errors (five). No other National League team entered Sunday with fewer than nine errors.

Of the Marlins’ five errors, two were committed by catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, one by right fielder Giancarlo Stanton and one each by shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria (on a questionable call) and second baseman Dee Gordon.

Closer Steve Cishek said the Marlins’ infield defense is as good as he can remember in his time with the team. “Hech and Dee up the middle are incredible,” Cishek said. “Martin Prado has always been great.”

First baseman Michael Morse, who has split time between first base and the outfield in recent years, has “done very well” defensively at first base, Marlins infield coach Perry Hill said. “Mike saved the [butt] of a couple guys by picking up several balls.”

Hill, who always has praised Hechavarria’s defense, said Gordon “has made every play he should have. And Prado is a pro.”

### Hechavarria has 16 RBI in 19 games this season. Last season, he didn’t drive in his 16th run until his 72nd game.

### On Sunday, Gordon was thrown out for the sixth time (most in baseball) in 14 stolen base attempts. He was 64 for 83 on steals last season.

### Justin Nicolino, the Marlins’ top left-handed pitching prospect, is 2-0 with a 0.79 ERA at Triple A New Orleans and hasn’t given up an earned run in his last three starts, covering 18 innings.

### Marlins TV analyst Tommy Hutton is back Monday after missing three games with the flu.


Two quick Canes items: Cornerback Antonio Crawford, who left the Hurricanes football team in February, announced he's enrolling at West Virginia. He will need to sit out one season.

Crawford would have played a lot as UM's nickel corner had he stayed for his senior season but he indicated he didn't believe coaches had as high a regard for him as they should have...

Three-star Lakeland-based Keyshon Camp, who had been UM's only defensive tackle in its group of 20 oral commitments for 2016, told canesport.com that even though he recently de-committed from Miami, the Hurricanes are still in the mix for him.


The state’s draft class is so deep and so good this year that as many as 10 could go in the first round.

We analyzed UM’s prospects in our last post/column. (Please see it if you missed it.) Here’s a look at the players from the other state schools:

### Early first round: FSU quarterback Jameis Winston, projected by most to go the Tampa first overall. ESPN Mel Kiper: “He's the most NFL-ready QB in the draft. He's big, durable, strong-armed and has both a high football IQ and an ability to read, anticipate and process at a very high level what defenses are trying to do. The off-field stuff is on everyone's radar, but I'm still betting on the talent.”…

NFL Network’s Mike Mayock: “I think he throws too many interceptions. I have trust issues on and off the
field. Had 18 interceptions, could have been 40 easily. Can I trust him with the ball and can I trust him off the field? [The good news is] he throws with anticipation and timing, which is unusual in today’s college football world. I think the bigger concern is whether or not this guy can be the face of your franchise. Let's face it. He was the face of the Florida State franchise and that didn't stop him from making a bunch of bad decisions off the field."...

UF defensive end Dante Fowler: Kiper: “He can stand up or play with his hand on the ground and rush the passer or set the edge. If there's a concern, it's that he's still pretty raw as a pass-rusher, and you have to bet high on that skill if you take him top-five there's more productivity to be found, and Fowler will get better.”

### Possibly mid-first round: UCF receiver Breshad Perriman: Mayock: “I had a bunch of people tell me he didn't have good hands, and boy, do I disagree with that, even though he's got more drops than he should. There's kind of a way to interpret that. A wide receiver who has too many drops should have bad hands, right? Well, I look at his hands and say he makes acrobatic catches, he makes high point catches, he makes contested catches, however, once in a while he drops an easy ball, but I think he's a natural hands catcher. He runs good routes. To me he looks like a first-round wide receiver.”

Kiper: “Has the explosiveness off the line and deep speed of a player who typically comes in a smaller package. No player has moved up more on my board since the season began. Perriman can make the big play with his ability to win on contested throws by beating defenders in the air via size and strength, and with the ability to turn short catches into big plays by running past tacklers and through contact. He's raw in terms of some of the finer points, but he could put up big numbers early if he gets his share of targets.”

### Possibly mid-to-late first round: FSU’s Cameron Irving: Kiper: “ It's pretty rare to find a player who can offer up good tape at center, guard or tackle -- all positions that Erving was asked to play in his time at Florida State. I like Erving at center because he was outstanding there after a midseason switch from tackle.”…

FSU defensive tackle Eddie Goldman. Kiper: “Good interior defender who can occupy blocks. Has a chance to become really good if his growth continues.”

UF offensive tackle D.J. Humphries. Kiper: “Humphries is a guy who rose on my board after I saw him play well against some of the top pass-rushers in the SEC. He lacks polish, but he plays mean, keeps a wide base that makes him tough to get around, and the physical traits are there for him to potentially stick at left tackle.”….

### Potentially second round: FSU offensive tackle Tre’ Jackson: GM Junior draftnik and Montreal (CFL) executive Russ Lande: “A definite NFL starter. Wouldn’t shock me if he moved into the first round. A lot of teams like him.”…

### Potentially second to fourth rounds: FSU cornerback PJ Williams: Williams got good news today --- charges against him were dropped after a recent DUI arrest.

Mayock: “I think PJ Williams [has the talent to be] a first-round corner because of his length. Some teams are looking at him inside, but most of the teams will continue to look at him outside in the NFL's continuing quest to get longer.”… 

FSU receiver Reshad Green: Mayock: “He gets overlooked a little bit too much. Rashad Greene is considered one of the safest picks in the draft. Love everything about him. But when you have a guy 5-11, 180 and runs 4.53, he’s really slight. Can he mix it up with big guys? He did it with FSU at the highest level. I think he’s going in the third round." 

FSU cornerback Ronald Darby: Mayock: “The Darby kid is interesting. He's quick. I think he's more of a third-, fourth-round corner. I do like him in certain areas. Some teams are looking at him inside, also as a nickel.”... ESPN's Todd McShay: “Exceptional athlete who can turn and run with the fastest NFL receivers, but he doesn't have the same instincts or ball skills as PJ Williams.”

FSU linebacker Mario Edwards: Mayock: “From my perspective, he's an intriguing prospect because he flashes talent but not consistency. If he was a more consistent player, I think we'd be talking about him a little bit higher in the draft. I like his height, weight, speed, but I think he's going to be more a third-round pick.”…

FSU’s Josue Matias: Mayock: “Borderline third- or fourth-round guard.” CBS’ Rob Rang: “Needs work as a run blocker.”

UCF cornerback Jacoby Glenn: Mayock: “I think he's quietly moved up some boards. Wouldn't surprise me at all if he's a third-round corner.”

### Notable potential mid-to-late round picks: FSU tight end Nick O’Leary: Lande: “Great hands and smart player, but I don’t think he will gain separation in routes. Maybe another Scott Chandler.”… McShay: “Really good football player, and I love watching him on tape. He has great hands, plays the game the right way and he's one of those guys who will go on Day 3, stick with a team and play a bunch of years, contributing on special teams.”…

FAU cornerback D’Joun Smith: CBS' Dane Brugler said he’s similar to the Dolphins’ Jamar Taylor. Like Taylor, “Smith has the speed, hips and footwork that translate well to the NFL level, as well as the attention to technique that creates turnovers.”

UF running back Matt Jones. CBS’ Rang: “Powerful frame to potentially serve as the thunder in an NFL backfield. [But lacks] lateral agility and breakaway speed."

Others: UT defensive tackle Leon Orr and left tackle Chaz Green and guard Trenton Brown; UCF safety Clayton Geathers and receiver Rannell Hall.

Twitter: @flasportsbuzz