Six Miami Hurricanes football players got their dream call last weekend and were drafted to a team in the NFL. Though each of them will be missed on the team, you can’t help but be happy to see them reach a life long goal. Here’s a highlight on three of the Hurricane programs alumni and newest NFL rookies.
One of the most core players in the Hurricanes program has finally spread his Ibis wings and left the school. All the way to easy, breezy, beautiful, New England. It may come as no surprise to New England Patriots fans that they pocketed another fast, gritty, under 6-foot wide receiver. Berrios is about to join a long lineage of Patriots receivers, who’ve made their career off of being fearless catchers for Brady. Berrios is a smart and hard-working (Academic All American and Valedictorian of the business school) player, who also fits the Patriots mold physically. He’s a hybrid of some of the best receivers in Patriots recent history: he’s got Edelman’s athletic leaping ability, Welker’s size, and Amendola’s quickness. He ran a 4.44 40-yard dash, faster than all of them, he also has deceptively dependable hands, dropping only four passes his senior season. He certainly has the characteristics to be a great slot receiver, but he’ll have to earn his stripes, the position isn’t exactly wide open for the 210th pick. Berrios compete for his spot with already seasoned players: Chris Hogan, Julian Edelman and Matthew Slater, who are locked in. Amongst that he has his fellow draft class of receivers: Phillip Dorsett, Malcolm Mitchell, Cody Hollister, Kenny Britt, Chris Lacy, Jordan Matthews, Riley McCarron, and Cordarrelle Patterson. Fans will have to wait and see how the Hurricanes golden boy fairs in The League.
Picked #67 overall by the Cleveland Browns, Thomas was the highest drafted University of Miami player this year. It’s no secret that the Browns suffered in defense this year (and basically every other part of professional football). This gives Thomas an opening to get some playing time this year. His grand stature of 6’5 and 281lbs makes him a versatile player to the whole defensive line. He’s a natural athlete that looks like he was born to be on the field, and his long, but strong 34.5 inch arms keep tackles well separated from him. Thomas is a great 4-3 defensive end prospect for the Browns, his athleticism and size are his strengths. However, he will have to learn better body control if he wants to try for a starting position, he lets his chest get fall over his feet, stumbling and lunging too much into blockers. This tactic may be decent now, but will hurt his body and athleticism in the long run. He could also have sharper angles to the ball, and he has to realize his size will prevent him from “disappearing” into runs like he does. Don’t let these weaknesses fool you though, Thomas is one of the best DE’s to come out of Miami in recent history, and the Browns need all the help they can get.
Regardless of missing most of his junior season to a serious ankle injury, Walton was still drafted 112th overall by the Cincinnati Bengals. This came to a surprise for many Bengals fans, as a running back wasn’t a need for their team, it felt like Walton was another pair of shoes being added to a women’s closet.
But styles change, and spring cleaning inevitably happens.
Walton’s athleticism has been praised by many of the University of Miami coaching staff, before his injury he was averaging an amazing 7.6 yards per carry. In the game where he had his season-ending ankle injury (Miami vs Toledo), he carried on after the incident to rack up a career-high 204 yards. That’s a type of grit you don’t see in athletes everyday. At 5’9 and 205 pounds, he’s an explosive runner who’s probably never been “it” in a game of tag. Walton has learnt how to use his small size as an advantage to escape defenders, for a total of 2006 rushing yards in less than three seasons at Miami. With all of this and the mystery element of that his peak is still far from reach, the Bengals acquired a real diamond in the rough in this draft.