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Miami Hurricanes

Former Canes QB Brad Kaaya looking to improve draft stock

Roy Cummings



Photo by Icon Sportswire

(Our Roy Cummings begins his coverage from the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine)


A class of quarterbacks that is considered among the weakest in years will make its way to the NFL Scouting Combine this week in an effort to enhance its value ahead of the 2017 NFL Draft.

One member of that class who’s going to have a hard time achieving that objective is three-year University of Miami starter Brad Kaaya.

Kaya is currently projected to go in the middle rounds of the draft (the third or fourth round to Buffalo is one popular projection), and that probably won’t change, no matter what Kaaya does here at the combine.

Even if Kaaya throws and interviews well, and he likely will, he still won’t be able to show scouts, coaches and general manager what it is they really need to see, which is greater pocket presence.

Make no mistake; Kaaya has NFL star-caliber traits. He has NFL size (6-foot-4, 215 pounds), an NFL arm and NFL smarts. And all he did was get better during each of his three seasons at Miami.

When it was all said and done with the Hurricanes, Kaaya had completed 720 of the 1,188 passes (60.6 percent) he threw for 9,968 yards, 69 touchdowns and just 24 interceptions.

As NFL analyst Mike Mayock pointed out, though, Kaaya never did find the kind of comfort level inside a collapsing pocket that would make him an elite-level NFL prospect.

“Here are my thoughts on (Kaaya),’’ Mayock said during a conference call with reporters this week. “First off, I think he’s a talented kid. He’s got the prototypical size. And he makes three to five throws per game that are awesome. (Throws) where you sit back and you go, ‘Yep, that’s it. That’s it. That’s NFL-(caliber).’

“But then you watch the pocket mechanics break down, and I think he starts to panic a little bit when he sees a flash of color from the other team. He starts to hurry his throws and ends up with poor locations and poor decisions.

“When he has clear vision and clean feet, he’s really good. But it’s the pocket mechanics (in the pocket that hurt his grade). So I think it’s going to take him a little bit of time (before he’s ready to step in and start in the NFL).’’

[graphiq id=”6tS4Nz36XXf” title=” Brad Kaaya Overview” width=”600″ height=”675″ url=”” ]

The good news is that Kaaya’s not alone. Mayock is one of several analysts who’s not sure if there is in fact a Day 1 starters among the quarterbacks in this year’s draft.

How does that help Kaaya? Well, if the majority of quarterback-needy teams agree that all the quarterbacks in this year’s class need time to develop, then the playing field evens up a bit.

And if the playing field evens up, then it’s possible that either through his interviews or his workouts, Kaaya will be able to enhance his draft stock after all.

Roy Cummings is a native of Chicago, Illinois who grew up in the suburb of Lombard. He and his family later moved to Lakeland, Florida, where Roy attended high school at Kathleen High. He graduated from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor's Degree in Mass Communications in 1983 and immediately went to work for the Tampa Tribune. After five years working in a Polk County bureau covering everything from high school sports to college football to the Orlando Magic of the NBA, Roy moved back to Tampa and became the Tribune's first beat writer for the Tampa Bay Lightning, covering the team from its inception through the first eight years on the ice. He was then moved to the Buccaneers beat, where he stayed until the paper was folded in May, 2016. A two-time Florida Sports Writer of the Year, Roy has extensive experience covering all Tampa professional sports teams, including the Tampa Bay Rays.

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