While the Miami Hurricanes have not yet turned their improved players into an elite record, it's hard to argue they aren't much more talented this season than the past few.
And the proof is in the pudding, as the NFL sponsored Senior Bowl has reportedly invited 4 'Canes to this year's event.
Phillip Dorsett, Clive Walford, Denzel Perryman and LaDarius Gunter receive Senior Bowl invites. Huge opportunity for all, especially Gunter— CanesInSight (@CanesInSight) November 20, 2014
All four are certainly excellent prospects and deserving of the invite.
But who of the group has the best shot at an early call come draft day?
Here are my breakdowns of each:
Denzel Perryman LB 6'0 242 - Projection, Rounds 1-3.
Perryman is a smart player, who rarely gets fooled. He is quick to the ball and brings a thump when he gets there. Is an above average blitzer, sheds blocks effectively, and is pretty good out in space as well on bubble screens or swings passes to backs. Sure tackler. Not overwhelming impressive out in coverage when he gets further down field. Overall though, an outstanding player because of his instincts and physicality. Very reminiscent of Jon Beason and/or Dat Nguyen, and could have similar success to those two at the next level.
Clive Walford TE 6'4 258 - Projection, Rounds 2-4.
Walford has really improved his stock in my opinion by becoming a much better blocker and getting more explosive in the passing game. He still has an occasional fumble or drop, but he has gotten much more consistent with his hands and as a route runner. Shows the ability to be a major weapon at the next level with clutch plays in the red zone, and nifty moves and speed after the catch. Also has gotten good enough at the point of attack to be potentially be an every down TE. Could be a Martellus Bennett/ Jermaine Gresham type at the next level.
Phillip Dorsett WR 5'10 195 - Projection, Rounds 2-5.
Dorsett has been a revelation this year, not because he is averaging close to 30 yards a catch, but because I can not think of one pass he has dropped all season. With a reported 4.21 40, who knows if an Al Davis type NFL executive might fall in love with him and even draft him in the 1st round? Dorsett's blazing, potentially historic speed make him a hot prospect. The fact he is mostly straight line runner with out too much wiggle, and his size, make him something of a question. As far as NFL comparisons, former Bear Johnny Knox, or on the high end, Dolphins wide out Mike Wallace come to mind.
Ladarius Gunter CB 6'2 198 - Projection, Rounds 4-7.
Count me amongst those who consider Gunter underrated. He's not exactly spectacular but he's pretty steady out there. Has above average ball skills and good size for the next level. His technique will need to be precise though, because he is not an exceptional athlete nor a burner. Probably needs a real nice week in Mobile to improve his stock. Because of that height, I see him as sort of a lesser Sean Smith (KC Chiefs) but again I too could be underrating Gunter.
The game will be held Saturday, January 24, 2015, 4PM EST and can be seen on NFL Network.