After Thursday night’s barren first round, the Miami Hurricanes have now gone five straight years without a premium pick in the NFL Draft.
In the five drafts prior to that, the Canes had 11 first-rounders, including six in 2004.
Thursday, though, was a long way from those Canes glory years.
Instead, three Alabama players were among the top 11 picks, showing the type of draft domination that used to belong to Miami. Cornerback Dee Milliner went ninth to the Jets, offensive guard Chance Warmack was selected 10th by the Titans, and offensive tackle D.J. Fluker was picked 11th by the Chargers.
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Two of Miami’s Atlantic Coast Conference rivals – North Carolina and Florida State – also had players selected among the first 16 players. UNC offensive guard Jonathan Cooper went seventh to the Cardinals, and FSU quarterback E.J. Manuel was selected 16th by the Bills.
The second half of the first round saw four more ACC players get picked – two more from FSU, one more from UNC and one from Clemson.
Meanwhile, according to every available draft analyst, no Canes player will even be considered until somewhere in the middle rounds, when running back Mike James and cornerback Brandon McGee could be selected.
Opinions are mixed on McGee and James.
McGee’s speed has the attention of scouts, and it’s a big reason why NFL.com projects him to go anywhere from Round 4 to Round 7. He ran a 4.4 at the NFL Combine, the 13th-fastest time recorded in this year’s testing at Indianapolis.
But McGee had an inconsistent career at Miami before finally emerging as a senior. Pro Football Weekly does not project McGee as getting drafted and opines that a lack of confidence is an issue.
Pro Football Weekly has a higher opinion of James, predicting he will get drafted in the sixth or seventh round as an undersized fullback at 5-11, 220 pounds.
James scores high on character and provides solid production. But he doesn’t have the breakaway speed scouts would love for a running back or the desired size of a blocking back.
Plus, fullback is a dying position in the NFL, with most teams opting for more three-receiver or two-tight end formations.
Perhaps future drafts will be kinder to the Canes, who in the next couple of years figure to be sending several talents to the NFL such as running back Duke Johnson, offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson, defensive end Anthony Chickillo and linebacker Denzel Perryman, among others.