Last season 3 players from the University of Alabama went in the first 11 picks.
This time around a trifecta of athletes from Texas A&M are expected to come off the board in the first 10.
It was not long ago that UM dominated the draft, producing 11 first rounders over a 5 year span, including 6 in 2004.
So when will a Miami player once again crack day 1 of the NFL Draft?
It could be sooner than expected.
Here are the candidates:
2015 NFL DRAFT
RB Duke Johnson - You can make the case that Duke comes back for his senior year. You can also point out that no RB was picked in the first round last season and none are expected to go that soon this year. All valid arguments. But Duke is a special player who can impact an NFL roster with breakaway speed, toughness between the tackles, excellent hands, and elite special teams ability as a returner. Johnson is a rare talent who could and should be a high pick whenever he concludes his stay in Coral Gables. Staying healthy this season will be the biggest key.
NFL Player he most resembles: Giovanni Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals
LB Denzel Perryman - Perryman is a sideline to sideline force who can play in space and is a ferocious tackler. He is also versatile, having played both inside and out at UM. At 6'0 240 he has good but not great size, but the fact that he runs in the 4.5 range in the 40 should more than make up for it. Unfortunately for DP, he will be judged in part by how Miami's team defense improves this coming season. If they make big enough strides, he could hear his name on Day 1 of next year's draft.
NFL Player he most resembles: Curtis Lofton, New Orleans Saints
OT Ereck Flowers - Like Duke, Flowers would have to leave early to be eligible for next season's draft. At 6'6 322 and with very good feet, Flowers looks the part of a prototypical LT at the next level. While he may be UM's best returning offensive lineman, he will still need to improve some to garner consideration for a pick this high. Definitely not out of the realm of possibility though.
NFL Player he most resembles: D'Brickashaw Ferguson, New York Jets
Other possibilities: WR Phillip Dorsett, TE Clive Walford, DE Anthony Chickillo, C Shane McDermott.
2016 NFL Draft
WR Stacy Coley - Yes, it is a bit premature to project where a player will be picked after just one season of Division I football, but Coley is clearly a rare talent. At 6'1 with 4.3 speed, and great run after the catch abilities, his stock should be on the rise by the time he hits his junior season.
NFL Player he most resembles: Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys
CB Tracy Howard - Howard had a nice sophomore campaign, tallying 4 INTs and emerging as arguably the Hurricanes best cover corner. If he improves as exponentially the next 2 years as he did between his first and second years, he could very well be an elite CB by the time he finishes up at Miami.
NFL Player he most resembles: Joe Haden, Cleveland Browns
Other Possibilities: DE/LB Tyriq McCord, DE/LB Al-Quadin Muhammad, S Deon Bush, CB Artie Burns.
I won't go as far as projecting/speculating that talented players like Chad Thomas, Joe Yearby, and KC McDermott might bring UM prominence on draft day as well, as they have yet to play their first collegiate games.
But so long as Miami continues to recruit as well as they have this past class, it is only a matter of time until they once again are producing top shelf NFL Prospects. And that in turn will help keep the recruiting classes loaded as well.