There is no better ambassador for Miami Hurricanes football than wide receiver Braxton Berrios. From diving for passes that are well out of his range, to fielding questions both pre- and post-game, one can’t help but walk away from a social interaction with the senior wide receiver without rooting for his success, followed by self-analyzing yourself as to why there are not more human beings like him.
No player on Miami’s roster in 2017 was more integral to the program than wide receiver Braxton Berrios. Whether it was as a returner, wide receiver or team-elected captain, the Raleigh, North Carolina, native leaves it all on the field whenever he suits up. Since coming to Miami, the five-foot-nine receiver has heard the criticisms. He’s just a slot receiver, he’s destined to be a New England Patriot, he’s not fast enough. In his four years at Miami, Berrios illustrated that he is more than the sum of what he lacks. When Berrios ended his career at UM, he was named the Offensive Player of the Year, The Mariutto Family Scholar-Athlete Award and was a finalist for the Campbell Award which is given to an athlete who performs well academically, is involved in the community and has great on-field performance. A Finance and Entrepreneurship major with a 3.96 GPA, Berrios has excelled in every walk of life in regards to being a student athlete.
Berrios finished the 2017 season with a team-high of 679 receiving yards, 55 receptions and nine touchdowns. For the Hurricane fans who have watched Berrios grow up the past four seasons, few doubt the receiver’s inclination to grind toward success in the NFL or in any other of life’s pursuits that he chooses.
Measurables and Path to the Draft
Weight: 184 pounds
Arm Length: 28 inches
Hand Size:9 1/4 inches
High School: Leesville Road High School
Hometown: Raleigh, North Carolina
Best Game Film: Florida State (2017)
It goes without saying that to be a good receiver at any level of the game, you need to be able to catch the football on a consistent basis. In 2017, Berrios was the Hurricanes’ most reliable receiver by a large margin. His numbers would be more robust should Miami have gotten consistent QB play. No matter the down and distance, Berrios appeared to not only make the catch, but find his way past the sticks for the first down. Pro Football Focus points out that Berrios has four drops compared to his 55 receptions in 2017.
Familiarity Playing in the Slot
The prototypical size, speed and maneuverability that one would expect from an NFL slot receiver, Berrios will be familiar playing in space when he gets to the next level. PFF summarizes Berrios lining up in the slot 97.5% of his snaps in 2017,while also accumulating 680 receiving yards and all nine of his TD receptions from the middle of Miami’s offensive formation.
Being one of the most astute players to come through Miami Football, the learning curve should be relatively short for Berrios in comparison with his peers. With NFL offense relying more on three and four wide receiver formations, it means that Berrios should be able to see the field shortly after diving into the team’s playbook.
Efficient Route Runner
Whether it’s short slants, drags or options routes, Berrios is more than capable of executing each with precision and no wasted motion. Illustrating an ability to create seperation on underneath routes, Berrios has the potential to be a yards-after-catch monster in an ideal scenario. On deep passes (20+ yards in the air), Berrios caught eight of what PFF considers 10 catchable targets his way for 217 receiving yards with only two drops.
All-Or-Nothing Mentality on Every Reception
On the surface this does not sound like much of a negative, but that comes down to the eye of the beholder. Selling out for receptions is admirable in college, but at the pro level that type of play becomes a business decision.
“Miami’s Braxton Berrios showed me he’s the ultimate slot receiver. While he’s a little undersized, he has exceptional short-area quickness and burst. He has a knack for getting open. He’s fearless over the middle of the field, and you see that in drills. In the right system, he could be a headache because he has enough stop-start quickness and savvy to be a tough matchup for nickel corners.
I think he’s a more explosive version of Cole Beasley”
Bucky Brooks NFL Media Analyst
“Berrios can play all over the field and makes tough catches look easy. I love what he brings to the table. He looks capable of being the next Danny Amendola or Julian Edelman. A lot of scouts focus on what players can’t do, but if they look at what he can do, they’ll be pleasantly surprised. Berrios is certainly deserving of an opportunity. Plus, you know 89 always rolls with the 5’10”-and-under crew”
Steve Smith Sr. NFL.com Analyst
“While Berrios is a little stubby and tight-hipped, he has explosive characteristics and shows the ability to uncover and the toughness to make contested catches look easy. Berrios may appeal to teams looking for a slot receiver who can work the middle of the field and attack with intermediate routes. His ability to return punts simply adds to his roster value. Getting caught up with what he can’t do rather than what he can do would be a mistake.”
Lance Zierlein NFL Analyst
“Braxton Berrios is a typical Bill Belichick guy—a quick intermediate and middle-of-the-field route-runner. Shows exceptional quickness and burst while catching the ball in traffic. Size and durability will be huge question marks for Berrios in the draft. Getting injured at the Senior Bowl after constantly being on the ground may have hurt or helped his stock, depending on who you ask.”
Matt Miller Bleacher Report
Whether it’s the Patriots or another NFL franchise, some team will be getting one of the most intelligent, athletic, passionate and reliable players the Hurricanes have produced in quite a while. It is possible, in a worst-case scenario, that Berrios would spend a couple seasons primarily in a special teams capacity. However, I expect there are teams that will see Berrios as an solid candidate to compete as a slot receiver from the day he first enters their team facilities. Berrios should be a fixture on some offense during the 2018-’19 NFL season.
Draft Projection: Third-Sixth Round Selection
Good Luck Braxton!