The 2020 NFL Draft will take place on Thursday, April 23rd and is one of the only sports events happening during the COVID-19 pandemic. All sports fan eyes will be on the draft, and the Miami Hurricanes have a slew of players that will be hoping to hear their names called on Zoom.
Over the years, the ‘Canes have dominated the 1st round of the NFL Draft, dating back to the 1987 draft and continuing on through the decades that followed. However, Miami has also had some steals slip into the later rounds because of injury or size that have wound up making the Hall of Fame, Pro Bowls, and the Super Bowl winners parade.
Even one first rounder makes the list because how a future NFL Hall of Famer and two-time Super Bowl Champion was taken after some of the duds drafted before him- we’ll never know.
Matt Bosher, 6th round, 2011 NFL Draft
Matt Bosher is one of my favorite Hurricanes of all-time. The kicker/punter out of Jupiter High School in Jupiter, FL was a dominating tackler on kick offs and punts for the Hurricanes and has even made big hits during his time in the NFL. Bosher was a two-time All-ACC specialist in 2009 and 2010 before entering the NFL Draft.
Bosher was selected in the 6th round, and the NFL Draft history of specialists has always been interesting. The Raiders infamous former owner Al Davis had selected both a kicker and punter in the first round, and guys like Jason Elam, Jason Hanson, Roberto Aguayo, and Mike Nugent have been selected high in the draft as well.
Bosher has averaged 45.7 yards per punt over his nine years with the Atlanta Falcons. Bosher has also handled kickoffs the majority of his career putting over half of his attempts as touchbacks.
Kevin Fagan, 4th round, 1986 NFL Draft
UM Sports Hall of Fame member Kevin Fagan was taken in the 4th round of the 1986 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers. Fagan was part of Miami’s 1983 National Championship team that knocked off the top rated Nebraska Cornhuskers in the 1984 Orange Bowl. Fagan stayed in Coral Gables through the transition from Howard Schnellenberger to Jimmy Johnson and left after the Hurricanes were upset by Tennessee in the 1986 Sugar Bowl.
Fagan sat out the entire 1986 season after injuring his knee in the Sugar Bowl, as he was cut blocked by a Volunteers running back. By 1987 Fagan was ready to play and eventually started 74 of his 83 career NFL games, all for the 49ers. Fagan logged 25.5 career sacks over seven seasons, stared 10 of 11 playoff games, and won two Super Bowls in San Francisco.
After a devastating knee injury, Fagan put together a solid NFL career. The 1986 Draft produced many of Tecmo Super Bowl’s greatest players but there were a slew of unheard of busts drafted before the two-time champion Fagan.
Chris Myers, 6th round, 2005 NFL Draft
Miami-Palmetto Senior High School alumnus Chris Myers was selected in the 6th round of the 2005 NFL Draft. Over his five years at Miami, Myers started at center, guard and tackle for the ‘Canes winning the 2001 BCS National Championship as a backup guard. Myers received few accolades in college before being drafted by the Denver Broncos to play offensive line in their zone scheme.
Myers played in 153 games in the NFL, starting 128 of them over his ten years between the Broncos and Houston Texans. Myers was selected to the Pro Bowl in both the 2011 and 2012 seasons for his work as a center while in Houston. In his eight years as a starter, Myers didn’t miss a single start and not a single game for nine of his 10 seasons.
Myers was drafted after busts like Cedric Benson, Mike Williams, and Mark Clayton.
Jessie Armstead, 8th round, 1993 NFL Draft
Jessie Armstead was the top rated recruit in 1989 before arriving at the University of Miami with much fanfare. Armstead was the star linebacker for the Dallas-Carter High School team that was featured not only in Friday Night Lights the book, but also the movie adaptation in 2004. Armstead was a three-time all-American before graduating from high school and Carter won the 5A state championship in Texas in 1988.
Armstead arrived in Coral Gables and was an immediate impact in 1989. However, Armstead then tore his ACL in 1990 and his future was put in limbo. By 1991, Armstead regained his starting role after Maurice Crum left for the NFL and Armstead became a two year starter at Miami.
Armstead entered the 1993 NFL Draft and was selected in the 8th round (the NFL Draft now only goes to seven rounds) by the New York Giants. His career started off as a 3rd down linebacker used in pass coverage and for pressure but eventually Armstead became a starter. Armstead was voted to the Pro Bowl five-times, was a four-time All Pro, and logged over 900 tackles with 40 sacks over his NFL career.
Snatching up Armstead in the 8th round was a hell of a steal considering the Seahawks wasted the 2nd overall pick on Rick Mirer, Washington and the Buccaneers took the Alabama defensive line duo of John Copeland and Eric Curry back-to-back at the 5th and 6th selections- neither of which made a single Pro Bowl. Armstead was even passed on for his teammates Lamar Thomas, Horace Copeland, Carlos Etheredge and Gino Torretta- none of which had Jessie’s impact on the NFL.
Ray Lewis, 1st round- 26th overall, 1996 NFL Draft
I realize that Ray Lewis was drafted in the 1st round of the 1996 NFL Draft, but when you look at who was taken before him, you’ll see why it was a steal. Lewis went on to have an NFL Hall of Fame career winning two Super Bowls as the middle linebacker of the Baltimore Ravens and logging over 2,000 tackles with 31 interceptions and 41.5 career sacks. Lewis was an Super Bowl MVP, 13-time Pro Bowler, seven time 1st team All-Pro, and two time NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
The guys drafted before him? Cedric Jones out of Oklahoma, troubled Nebraska running back Lawrence Phillips, tight end Rickey Dudley, and a bunch of other guys I don’t recall before Marvin Harrison went at 19 and Lewis at 26. The first four picks of the ‘96 draft were memorable with Keyshawn Johnson going 1st overall, linebacker Kevin Hardy going 2nd, Simeon Rice going 3rd and Hall of Fame tackle Jonathan Ogden going 4th overall. It was a star-studded draft that saw Terry Glenn, Willie Anderson, Walt Harris, Eddie George, Terrell Owens, Brian Dawkins, Lawyer Milloy, and Zach Thomas all drafted.