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NFL Draft Analyst Predicts Five Hurricanes to be Drafted in the 2019 NFL Draft

Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller projects five Canes in his post-Super Bowl mock draft.

NCAA Football: Miami at North Carolina Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

In his latest mock draft, Matt Miller of Bleacher Report released his seven-round mock draft. He predicted that we’ll be hearing the names of lots of Hurricanes called over the three-day event in Tennessee this April.

Below are the future ProCanes that Miller has hearing their names this spring when the selection process officially gets underway.

Second Round

Third Round

Fourth Round

Fifth Round

Seventh Round

Let me frame this by saying that the selections in the fifth round do not have an overall number beside them based on the compensatory pick allotment given to NFL franchises due to the fallout from free agency in 2018.

The first point you’ll notice from this mock is that there is no Hurricane projected to be selected in the first round. Sadly, I don’t see that scenario changing as the months roll on. A strong performance at the NFL Scouting Combine and at UM’s Pro Day would help, but for many teams, game film accounts for most of their evaluation on a prospect.

In this mock, Joe Jackson was the first Hurricane to be selected and that very well could be the case come draft time. While the defensive interior has seen the overall value of the position rise, there are still teams that put an emphasis on finding edge rushers through the draft who are the right age, will make cap-friendly deals and have a potential for production. As far as the race for the first Hurricanes to be drafted, the early contenders for that honor come down to Joe Jackson, Gerald Willis III and Jaquan Johnson, at this point in time.

If you notice, Miller has Sheldrick Redwine listed as a cornerback. Canes fans know that Redwine did his best work at safety in his last two seasons at UM. However, the more you can do, the better a chance you have of sticking with a team. Moving to corner is well within his skill set, given the Miami Killian grad’s collegiate tenure started at corner. Redwine thrives at pressing his man, where he can impose his physical might close to the line of scrimmage. With the NFL allowing contact within the first five yards, he could use this rule to his benefit. However, Redwine will need to improve on his recovery after getting beat if he wants to find substantial playing time at the next level.

Last year, Michael Jackson Sr. was considered one of the better corners in the country after a stellar 2017 season that saw him intercept four passes, tally 43 tackles and break up five passes. MJ’s numbers dipped in 2018, yet some in the scouting community believe that he still projects to be a viable contributor in the pros. Going in the fifth round could provide the chip on the shoulder for Jackson Sr. that saw him make a drastic improvement from when he enrolled at Miami to the day that he graduated.

Miami v Georgia Tech
Gerald Willis III being projected for the third round baffles us as much as it does the player.
Photo by Mike Comer/Getty Images

Among all the Hurricanes projected in this draft, the name on the list that should go higher than what Miller has listed out is Gerald Willis III. The recipient of the Harding Award, given to the Most Valuable Player on the team, G has been a consummate professional since his arrival to Coral Gables. As mentioned in other articles, the questions surrounding Willis will revolve around his time at the University of Florida and the reasons behind him transferring out of the program. Interested employers will likely have completed their own background check on what happened, but how Willis handles those queries and what he has accomplished since that time could make or break his chances in the interview process.

Jaquan Johnson is the other candidate that could work his way into a top-100 selection. After a superb performance in the Reese’s Senior Bowl last month, the Canes’ strong safety is looking to parlay that performance into more good fortune down the home stretch.

The biggest talking point about most mocks are the omissions. Is it possible that RB Travis Homer could really go undrafted in 2019? I’m not sure. No one has a good read on the RB group as a whole outside of a few names. However, at this point in time, the West Palm Beach native has the biggest variable of any Hurricane in the 2019 draft.

At this time, all of this is just speculation. One major factor that could change plenty of boards is NFL Free Agency. However, with the off-season, now’s the time to start projecting and overanalyzing before we get back to the actual game. Oh, football, we miss you.

IT’S ALWAYS ABOUT THE U!