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NFL Draft

Breaking down Miami Hurricanes taken in 2018 NFL Draft

Ari Russell

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(USA Today - Jasen Vinlove)

Now that we have had a few days to digest the draft, let’s take a look at breaking down the Miami Hurricanes taken in the 2018 NFL Draft.

DE Chad Thomas was the first Hurricane taken this year. The Cleveland Browns picked Thomas with the 67th pick. Thomas is a very talented person both on and off the field. The Browns add depth to their pass rush and Thomas will likely make an impact right away. If he had a better statistical season in 2017, he would have probably been a second round pick. Off the field, Thomas is also a pro as a music producer, mostly in the hip-hop genre, where he’s produced tracks for Rick Ross.

The New York Jets took TE Chris Herndon IV in the 4th round with the 107th pick. Wow what a choice by the Jets who haven’t had a solid TE in quite some time, The only reason why Herndon dropped to the fourth round was because of a season ending injury in the last game of the regular season. He missed the Senior Bowl but was able to recover in time to show scouts his skill set. Herndon should be full speed by training camp and that’s great for the Jets. Herndon is going to help the Jets right away provided he stays healthy. It’s never a bad idea drafting a Miami Hurricane TE.

RB Mark Walton was selected in the fourth round with the 112th pick by the Cincinnati Bengals. Walton like Herndon was another player who’s stock took a hit because of injury. Walton is going to be a solid pro RB if he can remain healthy. He’s going to help the Bengals offense right away both as a spot RB and as a receiver, because he’s dual threat. Solid value pick for the Bengals.

DT RJ McIntosh got picked up by the New York Giants in the fifth round with the 139th selection. Not exactly where in the draft McIntosh wanted to go after skipping his final year of eligibility, but he does go to a team where he will compete for playing time right away. Doesn’t hurt being a rookie and playing alongside Snacks Harrison.

In the last surprising part of the draft WR Braxton Berrios was taken in the sixth round with the 210th pick by the New England Patriots. This could have been seen back when Miami beat FSU earlier in the season that he was going to be a Patriot. It was just a matter of whether he would be a free agent or be drafted. Well surprise! He’s going to New England, and oh yes he’s going to do just fine.

The final Miami player taken in the draft was DT Kendrick Norton in the seventh round by the Carolina Panthers. Norton probably should have stayed one more year to help his stock, but that doesn’t mean this was a crucial mistake. He does have the size and talent to compete with at this level. Now he’s going to have to have a very solid training camp and pre season to earn his spot. At this point the hope is the fact he just got drafted, should be motivation enough for Norton.

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.

NFL Draft

Dolphins and Jaguars may be very interested in deep WR class

Florida Football Insiders

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Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

It’s never too soon to start talking about possible premium draft picks coming in April for the NFL’s 2020 draft. And, for the Dolphins and the Jaguars they may both very well be interested in what appears to be the deepest position this season.

NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah has been touting the 20/20 receiving draft class for several weeks now. And, that included his appearance on the NFL Total Access show Thursday night:

“I started scouting with the Baltimore Ravens in 2003. This is bar none, the deepest, best wide receiver class that I’ve seen, since I began scouting.”

To be more specific, Jeremiah has laid out the six receivers that he has right now in his top 25 of overall players The 2020 draft to be held in Las Vegas at the end of April. Those include: Oklahoma Speedster CeeDee Lamb, Alabama stud Jerry Jeudy, maybe the fastest player in the entire draft tide receiver Henry Ruggs III, National Champion LSU lanky speedster Justin Jefferson, Arizona State physical, big receiver Brandon Aiyuk and Colorado junior eligible Laviska Shenault.

As Jeremiah makes clear, not all of these receivers may end up going in the first round and there are several other names besides on his list that are probably NFL caliber who will still be around in the third round or later and yet make an impact on Sundays.

And that brings us to both the Dolphins and the Jaguars who are likely in need, especially early I’ll try to get one of these Playmakers.

In 2019, the Dolphins saw DeVante Parker develop into the possible number one yearly receiver that they believed he would become when they took him in the first round in 2015. Miami also has high hopes for un-drafted big receiver Preston Williams who was showing promise until suffering a torn ACL in midseason last year. However, other than that, Miami doesn’t have much else to hang their hat on.

As for Jacksonville, clearly in 2019 former second round pick D.J. Chark demonstrated that he has potential to be a number one receiver year in and year out. He showed an early connection with backup rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew, and Chark finished the season with 1,008 yards on 73 catches and 8 scores. Jacksonville also got good output from another guy with speed in Chris Conley.

But, from there the talent level drops off in North Florida.

So while there are plenty of factors and variables, like which receivers are when you are coming up for selection, there will apparently be no shortage of players to choose from that can make an impact on night three or even day three of the NFL Draft.

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NFL Draft

Prominent state names among NFL Combine invitees

Florida Football Insiders

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Glenn Beil-USA TODAY Sports

A sign that the NFL Draft process is well underway is when the NFL publicizes their official list of players who will be attending the 2020 Scouting Combine at the end of the month.

And, the league made their invite list public Friday afternoon with large 337 draft prospect pool, including some recognizable names from the state:

Some of the most notable names include Heisman Trophy and National Championship winning LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, along with other potential number 1 draft picks at that position, Tua Tagovailoa of Alabama and Justin Herbert of Oregon. There was one state invitee at the QB position and that’s James Morgan, the FIU quarterback.

The running back position has Heisman finalist Jonathan Edwards and also, has several familiar names to state fans led by FSU leading rusher, Cam Akers.

Akers (photo above), who declared early for the 2020 draft giving up his final season of eligibility, is joined by Miami running back and receiving specialist DeeJay Dallas. Also invited was Florida under-sized power back LaMical Perine.

The wide receiver position is particularly deep with invitees by the NFL, and that includes the Gators trio of Tyrie Cleveland, Van Jefferson and Freddie Swain. Also, invited is outstanding UCF wide out Gabe Davis, who gave up his final year of eligibility in Orlando and will be at the combine.

Arguably the best tight end in the draft is Harrison Bryant of Florida Atlantic who led the position nationally in catches and yardage. Bryant could be a first round pick in late April. Also on the Combine list is USF tight end, Mitchell Wilcox.

On the defensive side of the ball is the leading pass-rushing sack artist from college football in 2019 in Chase Young of Ohio State. Miami’s Jonathan Garvin was another defensive lineman added to the mix. Next, Hurricanes linebackers Shaq Quarterman and teammate Michael Pinckney were among the linebacker invitees from Friday.

At defensive back, UCF’s Neville Clark is joined by Florida’s C.J. Henderson, FAU’s James Pierre and Florida State’s Stanford Samuels.

The combine is a five-day process allowing interviews for players with the 32 teams and then, individual position group workouts and 40 yard dash times that will take place at Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium.

The NFL Network still holds the exclusive rights to televise the workouts, which has now expanded to over 50 hours of coverage for that week

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