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Did Mark Walton help his stock at Miami Pro Day?

Ari Russell

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(USA Today - Brian Spurlock)

With the Miami Hurricanes holding their Pro Day this week, it’s a good time to try to make some sense of one player who’s injury clearly hurt their stock.

RB Mark Walton suffered a season ending ankle injury in what was supposed to be a highly productive junior season. Obviously when a RB injuries a hoof, it’s going to be looked at with great scrutiny. The combine and pro day are huge for players coming off injury like Walton.

Did he do himself any favors this week?

It’s hard to tell at this point. There are dozens of opinions when it comes to importance of pro days and whether a so so performance can really make a difference especially for a player coming off injury. For Walton, he told the Sun-Sentinel that he’s just happy to get back into the football state of mind:

“This is the moment I’ve been waiting for. I went through a phase just sitting on my couch at home, thinking, ‘Man, am I playing again?’ I couldn’t even move my ankle … but getting back in the groove of football, it just made me love the game even more. It was something I really love and it was taken away from me for a moment.”

Right now Walton is projected to go somewhere on Day 2 of the draft, he could be one of those perfect backs to take in the 3rd round. Walton is a player a lot of GMs would appreciate because he’s a versatile back who can be a threat in the receiving game as well.

He’s also mentally tough and hungry at this point.

Another Miami player coming off a key injury is TE Chris Herndon IV. Now Herndon tore his MCL in the regular season finale against Pittsburgh. He was unable to play in the Senior Bowl despite being invited and he was still recovering during the combine. He was available for Miami Pro Day. Here’s what he told the Sun-Sentinel.

“I felt good cutting again and just running my routes, getting out of my breaks, I felt great again…Close to full speed, it’s probably been about three weeks [I’ve felt that way]. I’m working on it still, but I felt good today. … It was extremely important for me today. I missed the Senior Bowl I got invited to, I got invited to the Combine and couldn’t do that. Today was pretty much the last possible time, at least in front of everybody, to show I’m healthy and back.”

Herndon’s draft grade is all over the place because of the injury. Certainly before his stock went up because he was very productive in the Miami offense and also made huge plays in key spots. Another thing that will help Herndon is the fact he’s a Miami TE and the track record for solid pro TEs in the NFL from The “U” is not too shabby.

We are coming down the home stretch with regards to the NFL Draft. It will be interesting to see what transpires with both Walton and Herndon as well as the rest of the Miami players trying to take their talents to the next level.

Born in the Nation’s Capital, Washington D.C., Ari Russell watched the rise of the 1980’s Miami Hurricanes and knew that he had to be part of the “U” someday. After graduating from Coral Gables, Ari rose through the ranks of the former XM Satellite Radio and then Sirius/XM as college football executive producer. He later spent 2 seasons as the publisher of the website “Beyond U Sports” focusing on major college football/basketball. Ari brings a great perspective on everything Miami, including the Dolphins to F.F.I.

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