Miami Football: NFL Draft Projections for Every Former Hurricane

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Miami Football: NFL Draft Projections for Every Former Hurricane
USA TODAY Sports
Former Miami QB Stephen Morris and OL Brandon Linder

The 2014 NFL draft is rapidly approaching, and a handful of Miami Hurricanes may be selected when the day arrives.

Miami does not have a prized prospect in the upcoming draft, but some former 'Canes are projected to hear their respective names called from the podium at Radio City Music Hall.

While 'The U' has a rich tradition of sending players to the NFL, these former Hurricanes are unlikely to be chosen until the third day of the draft.

Nonetheless, being picked in the late rounds is still an exciting moment, and a few Hurricanes will have the privilege of answering the phone call.

Note: Projections reflect latest release of Bleacher Report NFL Draft Lead Writer Matt Miller.

 

Seantrel Henderson, Offensive Tackle

Following a mediocre combine performance and somewhat controversial pro day, Seantrel Henderson's proverbial draft stock has been plummeting.

He checked in eight pounds heavier and left the workouts early because, per Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald, the lineman's agent said Henderson felt dehydrated and stick.

Salguero also discussed how the tackle failed to develop into the dominant player he was expected to be coming out of high school.

"[Henderson] never lived up to his reputation at Miami," Salguero said. "He was suspended multiple times. He was often out of shape. And he failed to solidify himself as the dominant linemen his physical gifts suggested he could become."

Charlie Campbell of Walter Football (h/t Bleacher Report's Scott Carasik) notes Henderson has been linked to the Atlanta Falcons.

Additionally, Carasik said "for a prospect with such great potential, he is as raw as an uncooked steak.

"He could slip a good bit in the draft due to character concerns," Carasik said. "However, the right coach will be willing to work with him and try to develop him. If he turns it around in the pros, we could be looking at one of the all-time greats to ever play the position."

Henderson undoubtedly has the physical gifts and elite potential, but his lackluster on-field performance, off-field questions and unimpressive film will cause him to drop during the draft.

Matt Miller Projection: Round 4, 120th Overall (Arizona Cardinals)

Draft Selection: Round 7, 237th Overall (Buffalo Bills)

 

Brandon Linder, Offensive Guard

Whichever team tabs Brandon Linder will acquire a versatile player on the offensive line. At Miami, Linder was able to contribute at tackle, guard and center, starting 42 games for the Hurricanes.

Unfortunately, Linder is not an elite player at any position, causing him to slide down draft boards around the league.

According to Bleacher Report's Alex Dunlap:

Linder walks into a room and already looks like an NFL player. On tape, he has good feet, versatility, a natural flexibility through his core and generally athletic attributes. His issues with balance and technique as well as his weaknesses in countering and anticipating defenders stunting from free space will be the main question marks evaluators will have. 

Linder's tough week in Mobile for the Senior Bowl showed his continuing issues with leg drive, overextension and general tentativeness on the big stage. He will come into the NFL as a work in progress. 

Linder had been projected to be picked in the seventh round, so moving up into the last pick of the previous round may be deceptive, but it's a slight increase nonetheless.

Matt Miller Projection: Round 6, 215th Overall (Pittsburgh Steelers)

Draft Selection: Round 3, 93rd Overall (Jacksonville Jaguars)

 

Stephen Morris, Quarterback

Under the mentoring of Jedd Fisch, Stephen Morris had an excellent junior campaign in Coral Gables, Fla, and the hype train started moving.

In August 2013, ESPN's Mel Kiper (subscription required) listed the gunslinger as his third-best prospect under center, and NFL.com's Bucky Brooks said Morris had the look of an NFL franchise quarterback.

But between the conclusion of the 2012 season and beginning of the 2013 campaign, Fisch was offeredand acceptedthe offensive coordinator position with the Jacksonville Jaguars. James Coley took over in Miami, and Morris wasn't the same.

Comparing Morris' 2012 and 2013 Seasons
Season COMP ATT PCT YDS TD INT YPG
2012 (JR) 245 421 58.2 3345 21 7 278.75
2013 (SR) 198 344 57.6 3028 21 12 232.92

Sports-Reference

Whether it was difficulty adapting to Coley's coaching or flat-out regression, Morris struggled as a senior.

His decision-making, short-to-intermediate accuracy and ball placement were not as crisp as the previous season, causing the prospect to fall far from being a top pick.

Based on previous performance, the two-year starter is worth a flier in a late-round position. But if he is going to develop into a serviceable NFL player, there must be a great quarterback coach willing to refine Morris' skills.

Matt Miller Projection: Undrafted

 

Other Notable Projected Undrafted Players

Allen Hurns, Wide Receiver

As a senior, wide receiver Allen Hurns broke the program mark for single-season receiving yards with 1,162 while topping the 100-yard mark a school-record six times.

However, at the 2014 NFL combine, he was strictly average in strength tests (such as bench press and vertical), and his speed drills (40-yard dash, three-cone drill and 20-yard shuttle) were well below the position average.

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While the receiver may be extended an invitation to training camp somewhere, going undrafted is the likely result for Hurns.

 

Pat O'Donnell, Punter

Typically only a few punters are chosen in the draft, but Pat O'Donnell is talented enough to be selected. He absolutely blasted kicks during his only season with Miami, averaging a school-record 47.1 yards per attempt.

O'Donnell's skill set translates to the NFL, and a team in need of a punter could use a late-round pick on the All-American.

Draft Selection: Round 6, 191st Overall (Chicago Bears)

 

Erik Swoope

Lastly, former Miami athlete Erik Swoope might just hear his name in a late-round situation. Former athlete, of course, because the 6'5", 220-pounder was a member of the Hurricanes' basketball team.

Nati Harnik/Associated Press
Swoope needs many hours of coaching to become an NFL-caliber tight end.

Michelle Kaufman of the Miami Herald notes he is learning the tight end position with the help of Madden 25, and Bleacher Report's Ty Schalter asks if Swoope can be the next college hoops to NFL star.

Strangely enough, save for Morris and Henderson, Swoope may have the best chance of any former Miami player to get drafted because of his potential upside.

 

Miller Big Board and Positional Rankings

2014 NFL Draft Miami Prospects Rankings
Player Position Positional Rank Overall Rank
Seantrel Henderson OT 13 130
Allen Hurns WR NR NR
Brandon Linder OG 17 259
Stephen Morris QB 17 256
Pat O'Donnell P 3 337
Erik Swoope TE NR NR

Bleacher Report

 

Follow Bleacher Report CFB Writer David Kenyon on Twitter: @Kenyon19_BR.

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