The Miami Hurricanes were tied for the fourth highest number of players drafted in the 2012 NFL Draft, but it's hard to say if the weekend was really a success for any individual player. Most of Miami's draftees will enter into pretty solid situations, but unless some major improvements are made, the 2012 Canes draft class will likely be remembered for a rash of poor decisions.
Let's rundown where each Cane was drafted, how they're feeling about their decision to enter the NFL (if applicable) and the type of situation that they'll be entering into with their new teams.
Olivier Vernon / Miami Dolphins / Round 3, 72 overall
It was probably surprising to Canes fans, coaches and players that Vernon was the first player from the school off the board, but he may be the most physically talented player of the group. Vernon's draft stock was hurt by more or less having his entire junior year wiped out, but the physical tools won out, and it's hard to argue with that. The Dolphins need youth and athleticism on the defensive line, and aside from Cameron Wake have little pass rush to speak of, so Vernon will have a chance to shine. Vernon may have gone a round higher had he come back and had a good year for the Canes in 2013, but considering the team that took him and the position, it's hard to imagine that he's regretting his decision to come out.
Hit the jump for more analysis.
Sean Spence / Pittsburgh Steelers / Round 3, 86 overall
This is right around where Spence was projected to go, or maybe even a little bit higher. The Steelers always have a solid defense, though they don't have much youth in their front seven, so Spence will have an opportunity after or a few years to really gain a foothold in the starting line up. Spence's size will always be a question, but he'll be coached well and will be able to learn from really good veteran linebackers, and a team that took him this high believes in his ability, so that also bodes well for him. Spence leaves UM as one of the school's most decorated linebackers of all-time, and he's also likely feeling pretty good about where he stands as he enters the NFL.
Lamar Miller / MIami Dolphins / Round 4, 97 overall
Miller fell way below where anyone thought he'd be picked, and the reasons for that may never be known. There were questions about his durability, his completeness as a back and his general intelligence, but it's pretty surprising that team after team passed on Miller's physical attributes and production in his one year as a starter at Miami. If anything can ease the pain of dropping to the fourth round after being projected as a first or second round pick, it's that he'll get to stay home and play for the Dolphins. Miami's backfield is set for the upcoming season with Reggie Bush and Daniel Thomas, but Bush probably won't be with the Fins for much longer than the 2012 season. Miller will also contribute right away on special teams, where he would've been something close to a legend at UM had he returned kicks for an entire season. The Dolphins have had one of the worst kick returning units in the NFL for years running, but Miller will immediately upgrade that given the chance. Miller may be regretting coming out early, but you could make the argument that running back prospects should enter the NFL as early as possible.
Tommy Streeter / Baltimore Ravens / Round 6, 198 overall
Streeter is one of the cautionary tales of the 2012 Canes draft class. Streeter banked on his combination of height and speed to elevate him into the first two or three rounds, but he learned a cold lesson this weekend: there's a lot of tall and fast receiver prospects, and a lot more with better production than Streeter. The fact of the matter is that despite his rare combination of size and speed, Streeter needs to put on a lot of weight before he can compete in the NFL consistently. He also only had something like six good games in three seasons as a Hurricane. But he's on an NFL team, one that developed a low-round pick in Torrey Smith into one of the most feared deep threats in the league. That said, Streeter never should have left UM early, and he may be realizing that now.
Brandon Washington / Philadelphia Eagles / Round 6, 200 overall
If any UM player was under-drafted, I think it's Washington. He was an all-conference guard as a sophomore, but really had his NFL prospects jerked around last year when he was moved to left tackle, a position that he was not really suited for. But he's athletic, big, young and a hard worker, and maybe no position group is more made up of low round picks or undrafted players than the interior offensive line. It would not be a surprise at all if Washington was starting at guard for the Eagles in 2014, or maybe even before then.
Miami also had plenty of undrafted players, almost all of which will get picked training camp offers. Some have already signed with teams.
- LaRon Byrd (Atlanta Falcons): As a sophomore Byrd looked like a surefire draft pick, but his junior year was a wash and he rarely saw the field under Al Golden's staff. There was some buzz recently that he would be taken in the seventh round, but he'll still have an okay shot at making an NFL roster as a possession receiver with good hands and size.
- Chase Ford (Philadelphia Eagles): Ford never made much of an impact at UM, but he was reportedly impressive in pre-draft workouts, and he could be made into a decent pass catching option in Andy Reid's offense. Ford will have to get bigger and tougher, but this is a good fit for him.
- Marcus Forston (New England Patriots): Forston gambled and lost. After tearing his knee up last year, Forston decided to cut his losses at UM, but the lesson here is that if you're gonna come out of school after a major knee injury, you better be as good and productive as Willis McGahee. Forston, obviously, was not, but this isn't a catastrophic situation for him, as the Patriots routinely turn practice squad scrubs into valuable defensive starters. Regardless, Forston's career at UM was a massive missed opportunity.
- Harland Gunn (Dallas Cowboys): Gunn was a solid starter at UM, but he's really undersized for an interior lineman and likely will never get off a practice squad for any significant amount of time.
- Tyler Horn (Atlanta Falcons): Horn never had a shot of getting drafted, but he was a solid starter at UM and has a chance at some point of finding his way onto an NFL roster. It's not exactly likely, but centers don't exactly grow on trees.
- JoJo Nicolas (New York Giants): Nicolas was far from a standout at UM, and it's hard to see him ever making it in the NFL. He doesn't have the athleticism to play corner, nor the size to play safety.
- Adewale Ojomo (New York Giants): Ojomo had his career derailed at UM when he broke his jaw after being sucker punched by a walk-on, and didn't have any buzz as a potential draftee. The Giants have arguably the best defensive line in the NFL, and if anyone can get any value out of Ojomo it may be them.
- Micanor Regis (Atlanta Falcons): Regis was a solid, consistent starter at UM, but he's undersized for his position. Regis is too small to play every down in the NFL, and likely isn't good enough as a pass rusher to even be a situational player, though the latter isn't completely out of the question.