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ProCanes: Pick by Pick Analysis of Hurricanes in the 2017 NFL Draft, Part 3

How The New ProCanes Fit In With Their New NFL Teams

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell Press Conference Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images

A total of 8 Miami Hurricanes were picked in this year's NFL Draft, the most since 7 were selected in 2015. While the majority were selected on the draft's third day in Rounds 4-7, there is cause for optimism that the long NFL success legacy of the ProCanes is still going strong.

Several other players were snapped up as undrafted free agents (UDFA) or offered pro tryouts.

Let's take a look at the new ProCanes, with pick analysis and how the players fit in with their new teams.

Part 3 of 3, UDFA’s and Pro Tryouts

UDFA Signings

Atlanta Falcons - LB Jermaine Grace

Jermaine Grace, FSU


The Falcons continue to remake their linebacking corps with the addition of Jermaine Grace. Last season the Falcons revamped their LB’s to emphasize speed and athleticism, building a group of ‘backers who in Coach Dan Quinn’s words, “can run and hit.” The results of adding 2016 rookies Deon Jones and De’vondre Campbell were tangible. The defense showed marked improvement and the Falcons reached the playoffs. This year the reload has continued with additions of Grace, who in 2015 was considered the Hurricanes fastest player and was their leading tackler, and 75th overall pick Duke Riley from LSU.

How He Fits In

Special Teams and Backup WLB, or Practice Squad. Depth behind Jones and Campbell was an issue for the Falcons entering this offseason. Both are 3 down LB’s in the Falcons’ Seattle-type defensive scheme. Spots are open for a strong side linebacker and a backup LB for special teams duty. Riley was drafted to address the first need, and Grace will join the open competition for the second. The Falcons let go of 3 LB’s in the offseason, so the opportunity is there. Grace fits the Falcons desired traits for speed, athleticism, and tackling. Following his 2016 suspension, he showed great dedication by continuing to graduate from The U and prep for the NFL. It should be no surprise to see Grace impress in preseason and make the roster.

Denver Broncos - S Jamal Carter

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports


In a draft where 50 (!) Defensive Backs were chosen, somehow Safety Jamal Carter slipped through the cracks. The Broncos quickly snapped up Carter, who was rated the #22 Safety prospect in an extraordinarily deep DB class. Carter was signed to a contract including $20,000 guaranteed, which is a significant amount for an UDFA. It shows Denver is serious about his chances of making the roster.

How He Fits In

Special Teams and possible backup Safety. Carter is big, athletic, hard-hitting, and fast - all great traits for an NFL Safety. He’ll compete with fellow UDFA Orion Stewart of Baylor, and 2016 draftees Justin Simmons and Will Parks for backup roles behind starters T.J. Ward and Derian Stewart. The Broncos definitely see something in Carter, who led the Canes defense last year with 85 tackles, and he’ll be given every opportunity to compete for a 53 man roster spot.

Green Bay Packers - P Justin Vogel

Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images


The Packers snatch up 2nd team All-ACC punter Justin Vogel. Vogel averaged 43.8 yards per punt in 2016, and capped off his season with a fantastic NFL combine performance where he showed off rare athleticism for a punter. His skill in directional punting and for clutch kicks also caught the eye of Packers GM Ted Thompson. The Packers are historically one of the best NFL teams in mining undrafted talent and giving them a chance to make the roster.

How He Fits In

Competing for the Punter job. Vogel says he chose the Packers over offers from 4 other teams because it was the best opportunity. He was told he’d have an equal chance to compete against incumbent P Jacob Schum. Schum is a 3rd year player who averaged 43.2 yards per punt last season. He was inconsistent throughout the regular season before rebounding with a strong playoff punting performance. If Vogel shows the ability he displayed in his senior season at The U, he could join fellow Cane punters Pat O’Donnell and Matt Bosher in the NFL this year.

Miami Dolphins - WR Malcolm Lewis

Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images


The Dolphins take a chance on the potential of Wide Receiver Malcolm Lewis. Lewis, who flashed great ability before going down with a gruesome injury in 2012, continues his Rocky-like comeback story by heading to a NFL training camp. Lewis attended Miramar High School and grew up a Dolphins fan. He says this opportunity is a blessing and the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. It’s hard not to root for a guy like that to make the squad.

How He Fits In

In competition for the final 2 WR spots, Special Teams. The Dolphins have 9 WR’s on the depth chart, and the top 3 spots are locked down. This leaves Lewis to compete against a group including 2016 draftees Leonte Carroo and Akeem Grant, 2016 UDFA and former Cane Rashawn Scott, and 2017 draftee Isaiah Ford of Virginia Tech. Lewis will need to show the ability to separate from DB’s, reliable hands, and valuable special teams contribution as a returner or gunner to stick on the roster. Based on his ability to come back from what could have been a career-ending injury, it would be unwise to count Malcolm Lewis out in this competition.

Pro Tryouts

San Francisco 49ers - RB Joseph Yearby, RB

Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images


Sadly, Yearby is the poster boy for “should have stayed in school”. Disappointed by lack of playing time, he elected to declare for the draft. Most draft observers noted his lack of NFL-characteristics in speed, cutting ability, and size. As expected, he went undrafted, and also unsigned as an UDFA. According to the Miami Herald, he has accepted a Pro Tryout with the San Francisco 49ers.

How He Fits In

Free Agent. Yearby bombed his pro day, appearing slow and not up to NFL caliber. Unless he’s one of those rare players who only shows up on game day, it’s unlikely he’ll impress enough at his tryout to crack the training camp roster. Yearby does have a slim chance, because the 49ers have been turning over the backup Running Back position this offseason. The best and most likely outcome for Yearby is to put together some quality tape and try to latch onto the practice squad of a team with shallow RB depth.

Seattle Seahawks - TE Stan Dobard

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports


Stan Dobard, who played both TE and DE during his time at The U, goes undrafted and is offered a pro tryout by the Seahawks. He reunites there with his former TE Coach Brennan Carroll, who is now the assistant offensive line coach for the Seahawks. Dobard offers size, athleticism, and positional versatility. He was eclipsed at TE by greater talents at Miami like David Njoku and Chris Herndon, but proved a capable blocker and receiver when given the chance.

How He Fits In

Training camp body, Position TBD. It’s easy to see Dobard making a camp roster at some position, but which one? With Carroll on the coaching staff, TE is the logical choice. However, Seattle has had success with converting players to the Offensive Line. At 6-4, 252 lbs with quick feet, Dobard could conceivably put on weight and convert to guard over the course of a season on the practice squad. The most likely scenario is that he puts together some good tape playing TE in Seahawks camp but is released in the first round of cuts.

State Of The U wishes all the future ProCanes continued success and looks forward to seeing them play on Sundays - Go Canes!!!