Keep your computers and TVs going during the second night of the NFL Draft on April 27, as at least one Miami Hurricane should be gone by the end of Round 3, ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay said Wednesday during a national teleconference.
McShay projected that defensive tackle RJ McIntosh, who declared for the draft after his junior season, will be chosen in the third round.
UM defensive end Chad Thomas, McShay said, will be picked by the end of the fourth round.
And turns out that the punt-returning ability by former Canes slot receiver Braxton Berrios appears to be a much appreciated commodity by NFL types, at least according to McShay, who heaped plenty of praise on Berrios.
The Miami Herald's question to McShay: "Your thoughts on the University of Miami draft-eligible class, including three who left early, and which Hurricanes do you think could go Day 2, and in about what rounds?"
McShay's answer: "The defensive line position, I think McIntosh to me is probably in that third-round range for me. He’s a good player. I think he can continue to develop. He had certainly flashes this past year. He and [Kendrick] Norton, obviously they had a good defensive front. They did some good things. Their best game was probably, as a whole, against Notre Dame. They gave them all sorts of trouble.
"For me, at least, McIntosh would be in the third round. Chad Thomas I’ve got a fourth-round grade, later fourth-round grade.
"And then Braxton Berrios is intriguing to me because of punt return ability above all. He came on strong this past year. Tough player. He has good hands as a receiver and really good hands as a punt returner. He’s just a really natural punt returner who may not be the most explosive guy, but you trust him. I think with Berrios as a slot receiver, probably a No. 4-type receiver in the league, and a punt returner, you’re getting some good value. I would say in the fourth round. Maybe he falls in the fifth. But I think fourth-, fifth-round range will be right around where Berrios winds up going."
McIntosh, 6-4 and 286 pounds, played in all 13 games and had 52 tackles, leading the Canes (along with Thomas) in tackles for loss with 12 1/2. He had 2 1/2 sacks, seven pass breakups, four quarterback hurries, a forced fumble and fumble recovery. He graduated from Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons High.
Norton, 6-3 and 314 pounds, is from Jacksonville and also played in 13 games last season. He had 26 tackles, with 6 1/2 tackles for loss, two sacks and a breakup and quarterback hurry. Though McShay did not expound on Norton, he possibly could go on the second day, but most certainly on the third day of the draft.
Other Canes are expected to be drafted as well, though McShay didn't mention them. Nine were invited to this year's NFL Scouting Combine.
The NFL Draft begins at 8 p.m. on April 26, with the first round, and continues the following two days. Last year, nine UM players were drafted.
Thomas, 6-5 and 281 pounds, is a Miamian who, besides his 12 1/2 tackles for loss last season, had 41 tackles, 5 1/2 sacks and three quarterback hurries.
Berrios, 5-8 5/8 at the NFL Scouting Combine and 186 pounds, averaged 15.9 yards for 13 punt returns. He was UM's leading receiver, with 55 catches for 679 yards and a team-leading nine touchdowns. He also is one of the smartest football players in the nation.