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ESPN Draft Analyst Todd McShay gives his Thoughts on Miami’s 2019 Draft Class

A big endorsement for Gerald Willis, but questions surrounding Joe Jackson

NCAA Football: Miami at Georgia Tech Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports

With the Scouting Combine and Pro Days in the rearview mirror, we’re now on the homestretch to Draft Day. At a time when rumors and private team workouts are snagging headlines, finding tangible information is a noble quest to embark upon.

Fresh off the heels of his latest two-round mock draft, ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay hopped on a conference call to discuss some of the storylines entering the annual draft selections. Considering our vested interests here at State of the U regarding the Miami Hurricanes, I listened intently for any opinions regarding the 2019 class. After about an hour of questions about whether or not the Miami Dolphins should draft a QB this year and his thoughts on breaking down the tiers of talent along the defensive line, we got a few nuggets of information as it relates to UM.

Save for a few positives, evaluators are lukewarm on Miami’s class.

In the aforementioned two-round mock draft, the only player that McShay has projected going in the first 64 picks is DT Gerald Willis III at 64th overall to the New England Patriots. McShay breaks down why he felt Willis fits with the Pats:

Trey Flowers, Malcom Brown and Danny Shelton will go to free agency, so the champs will likely address defensive line this offseason. Willis has quick hands and lots of power at the point of contact.”

Willis, a 2018 Jack Harding Award Winner as Miami’s MVP, has been considered one of the better prospects from the Hurricanes in this draft class. One of the more disruptive forces on the defensive interior, Willis has the acceleration and power at the point of attack to make some noise at the pro level. During the conference call, McShay alluded to concerns that teams may have had regarding Willis’ past at the University of Florida as well as some personal issues. However, McShay was quick to point out that the Hurricanes’ coaching staff have vouched for the New Orleans, Louisiana, native’s character — a positive sign for Willis entering draft weekend.

ESPN draft analyst Mel KiperJr. projects Willis as a second-round selection of the Dallas Cowboys in his latest three round mock draft.

It’s good news for Willis, but not so much for the rest of Miami’s class. As mentioned, there’s plenty of depth in this draft along the defense… just not for the Hurricanes. Aside from heaping praise for top pass rushers DE Nick Bosa, LB Josh Allen and DE Jaylon Ferguson, McShay addressed players he believed were good day two — second to third round — prospects that would form ideal pairings within the draft. A notable omission from that group is Joe Jackson.

NCAA Football: Florida State at Miami Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

I’m of the belief that Joe Jackson’s 24 career sacks as a pass rusher will elevate him closer to the top of the ladder instead of holding on somewhere in the middle. What happened to Joe Jackson to have the analyst come down on him so critically? Honestly, there are just more flexible and dynamic edge rushers in the 2019 class. Jackson’s production is unquestioned based on his statistics, especially when you put them side-by-side with the top tier of this class. Yet, when you watch the film, you don’t see a player that is comparable to his higher-graded peers. That’s not to say that Jackson is pigeon-holed to have a poor career. The opinion of one analyst isn’t enough to bury Joe Jackson’s draft stock.

All a prospect needs to do is to convince one team to take a chance on them.

That goes for the remainder of the Hurricanes’ 2019 class that also weren’t mentioned during the conference call.

Everyone has their opinion, including us here at State of the U. Stay tuned in the coming days as we take a deep dive into the Draft.