The first half of this season has exposed UM junior quarterback Brad Kaaya’s shortcomings, an NFL scout said this week, and that scout and two draft analysts said Kaaya needs to return for his senior season in 2017.
“He shouldn’t come out [to the NFL after this season] because he’s not good enough,” said one NFC scout who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak publicly on draft prospects. “No mobility, average arm, can’t run for a first down. I’ve been watching him for three years. I must miss something when people say he’s a top 10 pick. What has he done? For some reason, Mel Kiper had him hyped up. Just an average player.”
That scout said he considers Kaaya a mid-round talent and would not recommend that his team draft him in the first three rounds.
But some NFL people hold Kaaya in higher regard. Another NFC scout told me that Kaaya “has toughness, leadership, vision [downfield] and he handles himself really well. I watched him change the plays in practice and he’s a confident kid.
“Doesn’t have a rifle arm like [former UM great] Vinny Testaverde, but he’s got some tools. Going into this year, I thought he was better than Blake Bortles, and Bortles went third overall.”
As for draft analysts, ESPN’s Todd McShay, who once had Kaaya going second overall in a mock draft last May, has now dropped him to 30th in his most recent ranking earlier this month.
Kiper, who told me this past summer that Kaaya could rise to second overall in the 2017 draft, now has removed Kaaya from his top 25 draft-eligible prospects.
“I definitely think he could use another year in school,” texted NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah, who has said he wants Kaaya to show more “poise under pressure.”
NFL draft analyst Tony Pauline said Kaaya should consider turning pro “only if he’s happy being a second-round pick.
“I was never a big fan of his,” Pauline said. “He didn't play half bad against Virginia Tech, but he’s got to stay at Miami and physically mature. He was overrated this summer. I never considered him a top 15 pick like some people were predicting. There’s not a ‘wow’ factor there.”
So what are the issues?
“It's indecision, it's immobility,” Pauline said. “He has to physically mature to get bigger because he can't escape the rush.”
UM people say that even if Kaaya were having a great year, they weren’t absolutely convinced he would turn pro because he doesn’t have a financial need and because he likes college life and this coaching staff.
The big caveat, of course, is that he’s got another seven games (including a bowl) to boost his stock.
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