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SOTU: Draft Central

The path to the draft has begun for several Canes

Russell Athletic Bowl - Miami v West Virginia Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The college regular season has officially concluded. A buzz grows around the draft stock of several Canes eligible for the 2017 NFL Entry Draft happening in Philadelphia, Pa on April 27.

The U has a rich history of producing first round talent, players that contribute immediately, repping the program proudly at the highest level. From Artie Burns stellar season with the Steelers, Frank Gore climbing the all-time rushing list and Olivier Vernon improving the Giants run defense, Miami continues to be that feeder school to the NFL.

Remember when Miami had 14 consecutive years of producing first round selections between 1995 and 2008 . It remains a badge of honour to see Canes excel on one of the grandest stages of sport.

This upcoming class is made up of a cornerback that was converted from running back, a safety that missed 2014 with back injury, and a wide receiver that runs tea kettle hot and Momma's cut-eye cold.

The headliners of the class are obviously most of the underclassmen that declared for the draft a month ago. Led by who else, quarterback Brad Kaaya, the arm that steadied the ship for three years.

The Prospects

  • QB Brad Kaaya
  • RB Joseph Yearby
  • WR Stacy Coley
  • TE David Njoku
  • G Danny Isidora
  • DB Corn Elder
  • CB Adrian Colbert
  • S Rayshawn Jenkins
  • S Jamal Carter
  • P Justin Vogel
  • FB Marquez Williams
  • FB Gage Batten
  • DE Al-Quadin Muhammad*
  • LB Jermaine Grace*
NCAA Football: Virginia Tech at Miami
AQM peers into the backfield against VT. His sights nowadays are set on making it in the NFL
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

*The last two names on the list are eye-openers. Heck, I forgot all about Jermaine and AQM after the season until I noticed their names showing up at the end of positional rankings. They did not play last season, especially AQM who has been suspended multiple times during his tenure as a Cane. However, I truly hope that they're able to turn the disappointment into a positive outcome through hard work, honesty and football acumen.

Joseph Yearby declared for the draft weeks ago based upon personal reasons, among them frustration with his role towards the tail end of the season with Mark Walton firmly entrenched as the starter and Gus Edwards leapfrogging him on the depth chart to become the No. 2 back. We've looked on just about every draft-related site, and seen little interest or buzz around his stock. There is a high probability that the 5 foot 9 inch, 207 lbs. back goes undrafted in a class that is top-heavy at the running back spot.

David Njoku is the alpha prospect for the 2017 class. Njoku in early projections is forecasted as the only Miami player with a good shot at being selected round one. He could also slide down to Day Two, which would put him in the round 2-3. Months ago it was reported that during a conference call that ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper advise Njoku to spend another season on campus to shore things up. Easy advice to shell out when you're not a college student. It would've been intriguing to witness the family reunion at Greentree when younger brother Evidence joins the team in 2017. With his stock at an all-time high it made sense that he capitalize on a tremendous opportunity. He’s now be mocked by some as the 1st TE to come off boards.

No football player gets more praise and blame than the quarterback. It's only fitting that no player has been speculated upon more than Kaaya, as it feels that there is new projection, or update on his indecision every couple hours. Kaaya's stock certainly has taken a hit compared to the draft projections he's receiving at this point in time. Both Mel Kiper and his hair had Kaaya ranked as his 13th best prospect and highest ranked QB in the preseason. SB Nation's Dan Kadar mocked Kaaya being the saviour in NYC, being the 15th pick for the Jets. Those projections have now gone 0-100, or 100 back down to 0. Brad is now looked at as Day 2 selection -at best-, projected behind 1 year starter Mitch Trubinsky, DeShone Kizer whose team will be sitting by a warm fire in South Bend and Deshaun Watson coming off of National Title victory sure to propel his stock.

There's just no guarantees in the sport of football. It's not a lock that UCLA QB Josh Rosen would not be evaluated higher than Brad in 2018, even with four seasons of game film in his back-pocket. There's no handshake with the Cowboys insuring if David Njoku getting hurt next year that he'll be a Day One or Two selection. The mortality of a football career is short in context of other careers, even in comparison to other sports. So whatever decision is made, examining both sides is critical in the decision, even if most of are simply looking at the fish tank from the dry side.

With numerous sources and sites related to draft coverage your head might be spinning like you just watched an episode of Westworld. Here is a table with the round projections from some of the well-respected sources who cover the NFL Draft annually. Not every publication has a full-7 round mock up, but when they do we'll be sure to update the table.

Canes Draft: Positional Rankings

Player ESPN Bleacher Report Daniel Jeremiah SB Nation Mike Mayock CBS Walter Football
Player ESPN Bleacher Report Daniel Jeremiah SB Nation Mike Mayock CBS Walter Football
Brad Kaaya N/A 5th* N/A N/R N/A 5th 7th
David Njoku N/A 2nd 1st N/R N/A 2nd 2nd
Corn Elder N/A 11th N/A N/R N/A 18th 20th
Stacy Coley N/A 25th N/A N/R N/A 19th 31st
Rayshawn Jenkins N/A 28th N/A N/R N/A 6th 23rd
Danny Isidora N/A 16th N/A N/R N/A 10th 10th
Jamal Carter N/A N/R N/A N/R N/A 28th N/R
Joseph Yearby N/A 26th N/A N/R N/A 30th 26th
Stan Dobard N/A N/R N/A N/R N/A N/R N/R
Adrian Colbert N/A N/R N/A N/R N/A N/R N/R
Malcom Lewis N/A N/R N/A N/R N/A N/R N/R
Justin Vogel N/A N/R* N/A N/R N/A 3rd 3rd
Jermaine Grace N/A 23rd N/A N/R N/A 55th N/R
Al-Quadin Muammed N/A 39th N/A N/R N/A 36th N/R
Marquez Williams N/A N/R N/A N/R N/A 9th N/R

Canes Draft: Round Projections

Player ESPN Bleacher Report Daniel Jeremiah SB Nation Mike Mayock CBS Walter Football
Player ESPN Bleacher Report Daniel Jeremiah SB Nation Mike Mayock CBS Walter Football
Brad Kaaya N/A 2nd N/A N/A N/A 3rd 3rd-5th
David Njoku N/A 2nd 1st N/A N/A 1st-2nd 2nd
Corn Elder N/A 3rd N/A N/A N/A 4th-5th 4th-6th
Stacy Coley N/A 5th N/A N/A N/A 4th-5th 4th-6tH
Rayshawn Jenkins N/A NR N/A N/A N/A 4th-5th 4th-6th
Danny Isidora N/A NR N/A N/A N/A 4th-5th 3rd-5tH
Jamal Carter N/A NR N/A N/A N/A NR NR
Joseph Yearby N/A 6th N/A N/A N/A 7th-FA 7th-FA
Stan Dobard N/A NR N/A N/A N/A NR NR
Adrian Colbert N/A NR N/A N/A N/A NR NR
Malcom Lewis N/A NR N/A N/A N/A NR NR
Justin Vogel N/A NR N/A N/A N/A 7th-FA 6-FA
Jermaine Grace N/A NR N/A N/A N/A NR NR
Al-Quadin Muammed N/A NR N/A N/A N/A NR NR

Draft Notes

  • Last weekend was the East-West Shrine Game that took place in Tropicana Field in St.Peterburg, Florida. After accepting an invitation to play earlier in the season, Coley later declined the event. That was the only all-star event that Coley was scheduled to be part of. He will likely put his focus on impressing teams in Indianapolis at the NFL Scouting Combine.
  • Jamal Carter did play in the East-West Game, although he registered just a tackle while rotating in at safety every 3 drives, he did get a chance to play plenty of special teams, which is where he can earn a spot on an NFL roster next season.
  • CB Adrian Colbert and FB Marquez Williams took part in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl at the Stubhub Center in L.A. last Saturday

In the week before Super Bowl LI where you'll be bombarded with facts, stats and nuances of the Falcons and Patriots weeks before kickoff another Super Bowl of sorts will take place this Saturday. The Reese's Senior Bowl is regarded as the mecca of college all-star games before the draft. How else could you explain how why NFL Network would televise practices during the day -aside from providing content-. There will be a preview of the game later this week as it will feature plenty of Canes: G Danny Isidora, S Rashawn Jenkins, and CB Corn Elder.

There could be anywhere from 7-9 Canes drafted this spring. With strong impressions during workouts and good interviews behind the scenes it's quite possible that these early projections will be turned on their head as we inch closer to draft day.