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2023 ProCanes NFL Draft Recap

With the 2023 Draft in the books, the Canes send seven to the NFL

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: FEB 02 Reese’s Senior Bowl Practice Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

On the heels of a disappointing 5-7 2022 season, the Miami Hurricanes capped off the calendar year this past weekend at the 2023 NFL Draft by sending seven players to NFL programs.

That is, Miami had three players drafted on Friday and Saturday but also had four players sign that went undrafted. There are several other draft-eligible guys who are looking to join a franchise. Three other former Canes (transfers) received exciting news this weekend.

ProCane Draftees:

CB Tyrique Stevenson Chicago Bears, 56th Overall (2nd Round): Stevenson was expected to be the first 2023 Cane drafted after his phenomenal pre-draft process that included an eye-popping Senior Bowl and quality combine. That held true as the former five-star was selected by the Bears in the latter half of the second round at 56th overall. With natural athleticism and versatility across the secondary, Stevenson should be able to compete for reps pretty quickly, and could actually become a starter early on. He joins former Canes Adrian Colbert and Travis Homer on Chicago’s roster.

TE Will Mallory Indianapolis Colts, 162nd Overall (5th Round): Similar to Stevenson, Mallory had a strong pre-draft process at the Senior Bowl and led a talented tight end class with the fastest 40-yard dash at the combine. Predominantly known as an inline tight end who could work on his blocking prowess, Mallory should also get early reps in a young, but crowded, tight end consisting of Mo-Alie Cox, Kylen Granson, and Jelani Woods. Mallory will have the opportunity to work with a rival rookie quarterback who is originally from the Miami area, quarterback Anthony Richardson.

CB DJ Ivey, Cincinnati Bengals, 246th Overall (7th Round): The surprise of draft weekend for Miami fans came in the final hour as Ivey had his name called by the Bengals. Ivey had a decent pre-draft process as he impressed at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl showcase and recorded a 4.46 40-yard dash and 39’ vertical jump at Miami’s Pro Day. The Miami native (South Dade HS) had an up-and-down career with the Canes, which included susceptibility to broken plays in the secondary this past season (i.e. Middle Tennessee State and FSU tape). That being said, Ivey may be able to surprise and stick on an NFL roster as he has a long and athletic frame and recorded 127 tackles and 6 interceptions during his Miami career.

Undrafted ProCane Signings:

P Lou Hedley, New Orleans Saints: A player who absolutely deserves a chance in the NFL is Hedley. A team leader since day one, Hedley was the Ray Guy runner-up in 2020 behind Steelers punter, Pressley Harvin III. Hedley will compete with Blake Gillilkin, who has been reliable, but has had an injury history.

OG DJ Scaife Jr., Miami Dolphins: Scaife was another steady presence in Miami - and is a native (Miami Southridge) as he started 51 games during his five-year career. He’ll continue his career right at home with the Fins who could use some offensive line depth, and will join former teammate, Jaelan Phillips and Braxton Berrios.

LB Mitchell Agude, Miami Dolphins: Speaking of Phillips, Agude follows directly in Phillips’ footsteps as he transfers from UCLA to Miami and then joins the Dolphins. Agude will look to carve out a role on the roster featuring his backfield presence as he recorded 21.5 tackles for loss during his three-year career, including 4.0 sacks in his final season.

LB Caleb Johnson, New York Jets: Similar to Agude, Johnson transfers from UCLA to Miami after two seasons and now looks to find an opportunity in the AFC East. The off-ball linebacker is a sure tackler as he recorded 137 tackles during his three-year career.

Other draft-eligible Canes, Antonio Moultrie, Waynmon Steed, Devon Perry, Lucious Stanley, and Justice Oluwaseun have yet to be picked up.

ProCane Transfers to the NFL:

LB DJ Johnson Carolina Panthers, 80th Overall (3rd Round): Johnson only played one year with the Canes mostly as a special teams guy and then transferred to Mario Cristobal’s program at Oregon. Johnson had a breakout sixth-year where he recorded 6.0 sacks and has the natural athleticism to compete in the NFL. He’ll have a quality on-field mentor in Brian Burns, and an off-field mentor in Carolina’s assistant GM and Canes’ legend, Dan Morgan.

DT Nesta Jade Silvera Las Vegas Raiders, 231st Overall (7th Round): Another Miami native (American Heritage), Silvera was widely regarded as one of the nation’s top defensive tackles in the 2018 recruiting class. Silvera had a decent career at Miami where he recorded 106 tackles, including 8.0 tackles for loss in 2020, but he really broke through during his graduate season at Arizona State where he had 56 tackles, a forced fumble, and three passes defended. He’ll join former teammate Jaquan Johnson and former Cane, Phillip Dorsett.

QB N’Kosi Perry Chicago Bears Mini-Camp Invite: Perry had a great performance in relief duty for D’Eriq King during the 2020 Cheez-It Bowl, where he nearly led the Canes back against Oklahoma State. Down the street at FAU, Perry has quietly been impressing in Conference-USA. Of note, Perry has recorded 5,483 passing yards, 45 touchdowns (to 12 INTs), as well as 10 rushing TDs during his two years with the Owls.

An Eye on 2024:

In the way-too-early 2024 NFL Mock Drafts, DT Leonard Taylor, S Kam’ren Kinchens, and OG transfer Javion Cohen, are getting some first round love. I would also keep an eye on the following players in next year’s draft, generally:

• C Matthew Lee
• WR Colbie Young
• WR Xavier Restrepo
• S James Williams
• QB Tyler Van Dyke
• OT Zion Nelson