Barry Jackson

NFL scout assesses UM prospects

NFL Draft prospect Brad Kaaya works out at UM

QB Brad Kaaya, 2017 NFL Draft prospect, works out at UM.
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QB Brad Kaaya, 2017 NFL Draft prospect, works out at UM.

What’s the buzz on UM’s dozen or so NFL prospects? We solicited the view of a veteran, respected NFL scout who has watched Miami a lot and has been on campus twice in the past year, including Pro Day, and met with some of the Hurricanes players:

• On tight end David Njoku, who was drafted 29th by the Cleveland Browns on Thursday night: “He has size, talent and a ton of potential. Somebody will take a shot late in the first round. He has good hands, but not special. He can catch over the shoulder and that’s what all the coaches want him to do. I don't think he's as tough as Jimmy Graham.

“His route-running is adequate. In a system that's not a complicated passing scheme, he could show up big the first year. I don't think he's dumb but I don't think his instincts are real good. He hasn't played enough football for that. He can be a good pro but I don't see him being a Pro Bowl type player.”

• On quarterback Brad Kaaya: “He's a third day guy. In the fourth or fifth round, somebody is going to take him and work with him as a backup kid. I don't think he has starter leadership. I was so disappointed when I went on Miami’s campus the second time. His personality doesn't ooze leadership.

“He has good qualities – good size and he’s a great kid. But it doesn't hold water when you want someone to take you down the field late in a game. He would be in the lower 15 of starters at best if he ever became a starter. I can't see him becoming a top quarterback. He's a true pocket passer, and there are some guys like that. But I don't think he has great pocket presence or the feel for pressure coming. If the pocket is breaking down, he may not be able to run well but you at least want to see that he can step aside and complete it. He did that some but needs to do that more.”

• On receiver Stacy Coley: “He could be a second-day, third-round type guy. He finally stayed healthy last year and he’s got size and speed. A talented athlete with up and down type production and effort.

“He's the kind of athlete you take in the fourth round, factoring in the production. Hands are good, not special. Durability and toughness are more the issue. Big speed guy. Has a little bit of an attitude issue, in my opinion. Committed a lot of penalties.”

• On cornerback Corn Elder: “He is the best player of all four of those [draft-eligible defensive backs]. But he's just so tiny. Not frail but small. He will be a sixth DB for someone, a backup corner. He can cover the slot. Some coaches like a big strong guy who can muscle his way inside, and some guys like little fast quick guys. He can cover those quick slots but will take a pounding. At 5-10, 181, I have equipment guys bigger than he is. He's a third day pick.”

• On cornerback Adrian Colbert: “He shocked me. He outran everybody at his Pro Day. He had the knee surgery and the broken [forearm] last year. I think he will be drafted, fifth, sixth, seventh round. He has size and speed, and you take a shot at a guy with size and speed.”

• On safeties Jamal Carter and Rayshawn Jenkins: “Third day type guys. Neither one had a great workout at Pro Day. They're solid. Carter is a hitter. I heard about some academic issues with Carter but I talked to him and he’s more than smart enough to play safety in the NFL. He speaks well and enunciates. Jenkins came on last season” with two picks, seven pass breakups.

• On guard Danny Isidora: “He's really good run blocker. Needs work on pass protection. Body type isn't suited for being a good pass pro guy. But he’s a tough kid and good kid. Every play he plays hard. I see him as really good backup. I’m not sure he couldn't play center, too. Third day pick.”

• On punter Justin Vogel: “Draftable punter, late-round guy. Not only a good leg, but good placement of the ball.”

• On defensive end Al-Quadin Muhammad, who was dismissed from UM last August but participated in Miami Pro Day: “He played really well when he was at Miami, but he tested awful at the Pro Day. He plays fast and quick and runs people down. He’s an undersized defensive end or pass rusher. I thought he might be something, a designated pass rusher. They tried to do linebacker drills with him but he can't drop into coverage. He would be a hard sell in our draft room. Late round, maybe somebody takes a shot at him as a designated pass rusher. He has a ton of baggage.”

• On linebacker Jermaine Grace, who was dismissed from UM last August but participated in Miami Pro Day: “Undersized linebacker and didn’t run well. I doubt he will get into an NFL camp.”

• On running back Joe Yearby: “He had a mediocre Pro Day, didn’t run well, looked like a high school kid. He is tiny. He's a 5.08 guy, doesn't look 200 pounds. He should have stayed in school. I don't think he will get in camp anywhere.”

• On fullback Marquez Williams: “Has got really good hands. He will be in camp with somebody.”

• On receiver Malcolm Lewis: “He didn’t run well at Pro Day. He’ll be a free agent.”

Here’s what UM coach Craig Kuligowski and a bunch of analysts had to say about UM first round pick Charles Harris. (Kuligowski coached him at Missouri.)

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