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Replacing Miami’s New NFL Players, Part I

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Where the Hurricanes will look to replace four players taken in NFL Draft

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 30 Miami at Duke
Miami Hurricanes running back Cam’Ron Harris (23) scores a touchdown in Miami’s loss to Duke on November 30, 2019.
Photo by John McCreary/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Last Saturday marked the beginning of a professional football career for several former Miami Hurricanes.

Four former players were drafted on the final day of the NFL Draft on Saturday and a handful of others signed contracts over the weekend with franchises as an undrafted free agent.

Miami, like many other programs, lost most of its spring practices due to the COVID-19 disruption.

So how will the Hurricanes replace these players no longer with the program? The jury is still out on the 2020 Hurricanes as of now thanks to Miami being able to practice just four times in the spring.

Keep reading for a look at what options the Hurricanes have to replace the four players taken in the NFL Draft. Check back later this week for a breakdown of how Miami can replace its undrafted free agents.

Shaquille Quarterman

New Team: Jacksonville Jaguars (Round 4, Pick 140)

Likely Replacement: RS Sr. Zach McCloud

Darkhorse Candidate: Soph. Sam Brooks

Analysis: Quarterman was the first Hurricane drafted and will begin his professional career in his hometown of Jacksonville. McCloud opted to redshirt after participating in four games in 2019 in large part to help Miami deal with the loss of Quarterman, Michael Pinckney and Romeo Finley. McCloud has 31 starts (at outside linebacker) in his Hurricane career and brings experience to the table that Miami greatly lacks at this poistion. Brooks played in eight games last season for the Hurricanes as a true freshman and started the Walk-Ons Independence Bowl. McCloud’s experience and ability to lead a young linebacking core will be needed in 2020.

DeeJay Dallas

New Team: Seattle Seahawks (Round 4, Pick 144)

Likely Replacement: Jr. Cam’Ron Harris

Darkhorse Candidate: Fr. Jaylan Knighton

Analysis: Dallas will be joining former Hurricane and friend Travis Homer and playing for Pete Carroll and the Seahawks in 2020. Harris was Robin to Dallas’ Batman in the 2019 season for Miami as he rushed for 576 yards and five touchdowns in limited duty. Miami has always had a talented player waiting in the wings to replace a running back that declared early for the NFL Draft and Harris is no different. The Carol City High alum will get every opportunity in practice to earn Miami’s feature back role and most expect him to be the starter. According to reports from Miami’s four spring practices, Knighton was impressive and reminded some of former Hurricane great Duke Johnson in style. Knighton is a smaller and quicker back than Harris and may need some time to build his frame in the weight room to a place where can be an every down back in the ACC. Expect Harris to lead this group in 2020 and have a very similar transition like Homer and Dallas did in 2019.

KJ Osborn

New Team: Minnesota Vikings (Round 5, Pick 176)

Likely Replacement: Sr. Mike Harley

Darkhorse Candidate: Jr. Mark Pope

Analysis: Osborn was Miami’s leader in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns in 2019 so his presence in the offensive huddle will be missed. Who will Miami’s leading wide receiver in 2020 be? This is a tough answer to predict with new offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee changing the Hurricanes’ scheme and Osborn and fellow veteran Jeff Thomas not coming back for 2020. Harley is Miami’s leading returning receiver as he compiled 485 receiving yards and three touchdowns last season. He is the lone senior in the wide receiver room and is probably most poised to take over Osborn’s leadership duties. Can he have a Braxton Berrios-type senior year in Miami’s new up-tempo offense? Pope is a former 5-star recruit who has the talent to make a huge leap under Lashlee. Miami hasn’t gotten much consistency out of Pope but that could change in a new offense. The Hurricanes need both of these players to have the best season of their careers in 2020 to help take Miami’s passing game to another level.

Jonathan Garvin

New Team: Green Bay Packers (Round 7, Pick 242)

Likely Replacement: Rs. Sr. Quincy Roche

Darkhorse Candidate: Rs. Jr. Jaelan Phillips

Analysis: After declaring for the draft with a year of eligibility remaining, Garvin was one of the last 15 players selected and is not a shoe-in to make Green Bay’s roster. The Hurricanes were well-prepared for Garvin’s early departure however and some say they even upgraded at his position. Roche had a standout career at Temple (137 tackles and 26 sacks in three seasons) before transferring to Miami as a graduate transfer early in 2020. He was named American Athletic Conference defensive player of the year after amassing 13 sacks in 2019 and is penciled in to start at defensive end. The impact he can potentially have with Gregory Rousseau attracting as much attention from pass blockers as he does should be very exciting for Hurricane fans. Past Roche, Phillips is another transfer who figures to help replace Garvin. The former No.1 overall recruit in 2017 has not played a game since the 2018 season at UCLA because of injuries. If Phillips is fully healthy, Miami has another defensive end capable of replacing Garvin.

Poll

Which player taken in the 2020 NFL Draft will Miami miss the most?

This poll is closed

  • 58%
    Shaquille Quarterman
    (192 votes)
  • 19%
    DeeJay Dallas
    (64 votes)
  • 21%
    KJ Osborn
    (70 votes)
  • 1%
    Jonathan Garvin
    (5 votes)
331 votes total Vote Now