NFL Draft Preview: Baraka Atkins

Baraka Atkins came to the University of Miami with big expectations. After a redshirt year in 2002, Atkins cracked the starting lineup as a freshman in 2003.

Shortly after being named the MVP of the University of Miami summer camp in 2001, Baraka Atkins received a scholarship offer from the Hurricanes. He committed prior to his senior season.

As a senior at Sarasota Booker High, Atkins finished the season with 78 tackles and 25 sacks. rated him as the nation's No. 14 defensive end prospect.

Atkins redshirted his first year at UM before becoming a fixture at defensive end in 2003. He finished his first year with 43 tackles and five sacks. His best performance came against Florida that year when he had eight total tackles.

As a sophomore, Atkins started the first eight games of the season at defensive end before getting switched to tackle for the final four games of the 2004 season. He finished the year with 33 tackles and 6.5 sacks.

He stayed at tackle for his junior season and ended the season with 50 tackles and 2.5 sacks -- having started all but one game that year.

As a senior in 2006, Atkins split time with some other defensive ends.

Following the season, Atkins checked in at 6-foot-4 1/2 and 271 pounds at the NFL Combine last month. His 4.69/40-time was very impressive. Draft Expert and long-time NFL Scout Tom Marino was asked for his thoughts on Atkins.

"(He has) size and speed," Marino said. "Pro body and runs well in his pads."

Marino spoke about some of the things the NFL may not like about the former Hurricane defender.

"Non Productive (1 solo tackle thru the first four games of 06)," he said. "Late off the football consistently. Plays too high, gets driven off (questionable lower body strength). Limited instincts and ability to locate the ball on the inside. Rush skills were once again disappointing. Doesn't vary rush moves or force separation on his bull rush. Didn't play with a lot of emotion."

After a solid, yet unspectacular college career, Atkins is projected to be drafted late in next month's Draft.

"(He) looks good coming off the team bus and will likely work out well in individual workouts, but it pretty much ended there," Marino said. "The light just hasn't come on. Wouldn't want to put my job on the line waiting on this player. Late round flyer only."

Look for Atkins to be drafted in the later rounds. While he's not a big time prospect, he'll still enjoy the big pay check he'll be receiving after next month's draft.

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