Recapping the top 10 picks in the NFL Draft
Tyree St. Louis didn’t find his professional home in the seven rounds of the 2019 NFL Draft, but the offensive lineman is still going to get a shot to make a team for the 2019 season. St. Louis is one of more than half a dozen former Miami Hurricanes, including standout defensive tackle Gerald Willis III (Here’s the link to his unlikely story), who will have to sign as undrafted free agents and he quickly found a team willing to take a shot Saturday. The all-conference tackle has agreed to terms with the New England Patriots.
St. Louis exclusively played tackle at Miami, starting every game at right tackle as a sophomore and junior, then moving to start every game at left tackle as a senior. His play at left tackle in 2018 earned him a nod as an all-Atlantic Coast Conference honorable mention.
The offensive lineman, however, likely has his NFL future at guard. The 6-foot-5, 315-pound lineman from IMG Academy in Bradenton played left guard at the East-West Shrine Game in January and earned plaudits for his play at the interior position in St. Petersburg.
“I have all the natural attributes that a tackle has: great feet, good center of gravity, long hands, long arms, really good speed and power,” St. Louis said after the East’s 21-17 loss to the West at Tropicana Field. “It’s just now moving that inside makes things a lot easier.”
St. Louis, who is originally from Tampa, was a highly touted prospect coming out of IMG. A four-star tackle in the 247Sports.com composite rankings for the Class of 2015, St. Louis never quite lived up to his ceiling, but his experience and physical tools always made him intriguing. Now it has helped him find an NFL home.
Former University of Miami defensive tackle Tito Odenigbo vowed not to sit in front of a television set or computer this weekend.
“I’m going to be in Chicago with my friends doing anything but watching the draft,’’ Odenigbo, 6-3 and 311 pounds, said during the University of Miami’s Pro Day combine last month. “I’m from Dayton, Ohio, but I have a lot of family and friends who live around Chicago.
“I’m a little superstitious.’’
Although he didn’t get picked Saturday, Odenigbo is getting an NFL shot with the Minnesota Vikings.
He came to the Hurricanes as a graduate transfer out of Illinois this past season and made a definite impact, playing in all 13 games and starting the last four. He finished with 25 tackles and 6 1/2 tackles for loss.
“Coach Diaz is a no-regret man,’’ Odenigbo, whose parents came to the United States from Nigeria, said of UM coach Manny Diaz. “He loves penetration and using my athletic ability, so it’s kind of fun playing in this defense.’’
Said Diaz: “Tito has been outstanding. He has exceeded our expectations. He can move, make plays in the backfield [and he] chases the ball.’’
At Illinois, Odenigbo started four games in 2017 and was second on the team in tackles for loss with 4 1/2. He played in 10 games in ‘17 and had 29 tackles, a sack and two pass breakups. He also blocked a field goal at South Florida.
Odenigbo has an older brother, Ifeadi, who played defensive end for Northwestern and was drafted in the seventh round by Minnesota, where he was on the practice squad and also played in one game this past season. His mother, according to the Vikings’ Website, is a pediatrician.
Odenigbo was a three-star prospect out of Centerville (Ohio) High in 2014.
Although he never became the starting cornerback Miami hoped he could be, Jhavonte Dean was invited to the Miami Dolphins rookie minicamp on a tryout basis and accepted the offer on Saturday night. That minicamp begins May 10. Dean will attend in the Browns’ minicamp on a tryout basis next weekend.
Dean’s speed always made him a fascinating prospect — fellow defensive back Sheldrick Redwine said Dean was the fastest player on the team — but he took a circuitous path to play for his hometown team. Dean originally signed with the Cincinnati Bearcats out of South Dade in Homestead, but academic troubles forced him to attend Blinn College in Brenham, Texas. In his time at the junior college, Dean developed into a four-star cornerback and the No. 1 JUCO prospect in the 247Sports.com composite rankings for the Class of 2017. He ultimately signed with Miami even after orally committing to the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Although he never developed into a starter in Coral Gables, Dean was an important part of the Hurricanes’ cornerbacks rotation in both of his seasons with Miami. As a senior, Dean logged 17 tackles and three interceptions. The 6-foot-2, 185-pound cornerback has the physical gifts to develop into something even more than he was for the Hurricanes.
Former Miami Hurricanes running back Trayone Gray is the big, strong and eyebrow-raising fast Carol City graduate who measured 6-1 1/2 and 233 pounds last month at UM’s Pro Day and then ran an unofficial 4.37 seconds in the 40-yard dash. That speed will help him get an NFL shot with the Cleveland Browns, who agreed to a contract with Gray on Saturday night.
This past season, University of Miami tailback DeeJay Dallas called Gray a “Mack Truck with a Ferrari engine.’’
“Choc is big,’’ Dallas said of then fifth-year senior running back Gray, who is nicknamed Choc because his mom said he loved chocolate as a child. “He’s the strongest in our room. He might not look fast but Choc is fast. He’s like 240 and that’s like a Mack Truck. He brings the juice.’’
Said Gray on Pro Day: “A lot of people say I’m a 4.4 guy maybe 4.5, but I believed in myself and my trainers. They said I could run a 4.3. I knew I could run it. I had faith in God. I prayed every day, every night. Before I even ran I told God, ‘I’m leaving it in your hands and do what you gotta do for me.’’’
Gray sat out 2016 because of reconstructive knee surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament. He played in all 13 games in 2018, but only ran 24 times for 83 yards and two touchdowns. His career numbers: 60 carries for 294 yards (4.9 yards a carry) and five touchdowns in 29 games.
▪ Former Canes center Tyler Gauthier has come to terms with the New England Patriots.
▪ The Miami Dolphins invited former Canes wide receiver Darrell Langham to their rookie minicamp and he accepted.
▪ Linebacker Mike Smith accepted an invitation to Dolphins minicamp - on a tryout basis - beginning May 10.
Among those awaiting NFL opportunities on Saturday night: quarterback Malik Rosier and offensive lineman Venzell Boulware.