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Biggest NFL Draft busts in Miami Hurricanes football history

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With the NFL Draft on Thursday, April 23rd let’s look at Miami’s biggest busts.

Penn State v Miami Hurricanes

The Miami Hurricanes have been an NFL Draft mainstay since the 1987 NFL Draft produced seven picks including three first round choices. Since ‘87, Miami has produced legendary NFL talent like Michael Irvin, Ray Lewis, Frank Gore, Edgerrin James, Reggie Wayne, Warren Sapp, Vince Wilfork, Ed Reed, Cortez Kennedy... the list goes on and on. Miami might as well be called Hall of Fame U at this point, forget those cheesy position group only lists.

However, even the Hurricanes have had some busts along the way. Some were because of talent, and others because of injury, but busts none-the-less. Let’s dive into Miami’s biggest 1st round NFL Draft busts, starting with an all-time U favorite Randal “Thrill” Hill.


Randal “Thrill” Hill, 1st round- 23rd overall, 1991 NFL Draft

Randal Hill was a dynamic starting wide receiver on the 1989 and 1990 Miami Hurricanes football teams and won two national championships at Miami in 1987 and 1989. In three years of duty at Miami, Hill caught 11 touchdowns and averaged 21.6 yards per kick return in the orange and green.

Hill played in 103 games in the NFL, starting 60, but only scored 14 touchdowns over a seven year career that saw him play for five NFL teams.

Hill was picked before defensive tackle Ted Washington, Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre, Super Bowl winning running back Ricky Watters, and NFL mainstays in offensive tackle Erik Williams and cornerback Aeneas Williams.


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Bill Hawkins, 1st round- 21st pick overall, 1989 NFL Draft

Bill Hawkins was a three-year starter at Miami on the defensive line, and at six-foot-six, 269 pounds was expected to be the next great ‘Canes defensive end in the NFL. Hawkins was a consensus All-American in 1988 and a national champion in 1987.

Hawkins was drafted by the Rams with the 21st overall pick in the 1989 NFL Draft. After an All-Rookie campaign in the NFL in 1989 the injuries started to pile up. Hawkins injured both knees and his calf throughout his short NFL career. Hawkins left the NFL with only five career sacks in 42 games with eight starts.

Hawkins was selected before wide receiver Andre Rison, safety Louis Oliver, fellow Hurricane Cleveland Gary, guard Steve Wisniewski and safety Carnell Lake.


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Jerome McDougle, 1st round- 15th overall, 2003 NFL Draft

McDougle was named a first-team All-American in 2001 after the Hurricanes won the 2001 BCS National Championship. The Philadelphia Eagles selected the six-foot-two, 264 pound McDougle with the 15th overall pick in the 2003 NFL Draft.

Before his first training camp, McDougle was sadly shot in the abdomen which couldn’t have helped his NFL career. McDougle played four seasons, three with the Eagles and one with the Giants, before calling it quits. In those four seasons he played in 37 games with no starts and only three sacks.

McDougle was picked ahead of Super Bowl winning safety Tory Polamalu, teammate and running back Willie McGahee, wide receiver Anquan Boldin and tight end Jason Witten.


Yatil Green, 1st round- 15th overall, 1997 NFL Draft

Yatil Green played for the Miami Hurricanes during some of the U’s transitional seasons from 1994-1996. Green caught 10 touchdowns while averaging 17.6 yards per catch as a deep threat for Frank Costa, Ryan Collins, and Ryan Clement. After three seasons at Miami, Green departed early for the 1997 NFL Draft.

Green was selected 15th overall by the hometown Miami Dolphins in ‘97. Green’s bust story is one of the injury variety as on the first day of training camp he tore his quadricep muscle and ACL in his right knee, then again the following season. Green didn’t play in a game until his third year in the NFL, and caught only 18 career passes with one start and no touchdowns in the NFL.

Green was picked ahead of teammates and defensive ends Kenard Lang and Kenny Holmes, tackle Tarik Glenn, running backs Tiki Barber and Corey Dillon, cornerbacks Sam Madison and Ronde Barber, and Hall of Fame former NFL teammate defensive end Jason Taylor.


Steve Walsh, 2nd overall pick of the 1989 NFL Supplementary Draft

Steve Walsh was the starting quarterback for the Hurricanes from 1987-1988, guiding Miami to a national championship and undefeated season in 1987. Walsh was a consensus All-American in 1988 after throwing 49 career touchdowns in two seasons forJimmy Johnson’s Hurricanes. When Johnson left for the Dallas Cowboys, Walsh shortly followed.

Walsh was not a part of the regular 1989 NFL Draft but later took part in the Supplementary Draft which happens after the typical rookie draft and counts against the 1990 Draft selections. Walsh cost Dallas their 1st round pick in 1990, but did start five games in 1989 winning Dallas only game in a 1-15 season playing ahead of Troy Aikman who later beat Walsh out for the starting job.

Johnson then traded Walsh to the New Orleans Saints for a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd round pick. Mr. Walsh has been quite the expensive draft selection costing two franchises two 1st round picks, including Dallas a first overall selection in 1990. Walsh only started 38 games over his 11 seasons while playing for six teams in the NFL. By the end of his career Walsh threw only 40 touchdowns and 50 interceptions without making a Pro Bowl appearance, and only two playoff appearances (1990 and 1994) as a starting QB in the NFL.

The Walsh pick, being a Supplementary pick, convolutes the “picked ahead of” game I’ve done for other players. However, had they picked first overall for the second consecutive season, they could’ve selected Hall of Fame defensive tackle and former Walsh teammate Cortez Kennedy, Hall of Fame linebacker Junior Seau, offensive tackle Richmond Webb, and safety Mark Carrier. Dallas did trade their way into the 1st round in a deal with Pittsburgh to select future Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith- so the 1990 Draft wasn’t a total bust for the Cowboys.