Talking NFL Draft

With the NFL Draft just a few weeks away, there's a lot happening with former Hurricanes trying to impress pro scouts. CanesTime talked to former NFL Scout Tom Marino to discuss a variety of topics.

Greg Olsen is Miami's top prospect. The talented tight end is projected to go somewhere in the middle of the first round.

Linebacker Jon Beason is projected to be a late first rounder while safety Brandon Meriweather is being projected somewhere in the second round.

After those three, there's a big dropoff with the Hurricanes this year. Defensive linemen Baraka Atkins and Kareem Brown will likely get picked in the later rounds but after that, there are no guarantees.

With the number of first round prospects and overall draft prospects still down in recent years compared to what Miami is used to, I asked longtime NFL Scout Tom Marino, who now works for, for his thoughts.

"I would have to say that recruiting has been down as of late," Marino said. "They've lost some good in-state players and have made some mistakes on others -- on character and on talent."

While recruiting wasn't nearly as strong under the Larry Coker era as it was during the Butch Davis regime at UM, there are still some major attractions, led by Olsen.

"Olsen's a great talent," he said. "I don't think he had the surrounding cast or the quarterback (like previous Miami tight ends had). He has a very long way to go at the point of attack (blocking) but his speed and receiving skills make him a player with a very big upside."

Having played safety in high school, Beason's ability to play the pass has really helped his stock in the eyes of NFL scouts.

"Anytime you don't have to substitute on defense that is a major plus," he said. "I don't think he runs as well as (former Hurricane) Rocky (McIntosh), but I like his playing instincts."

Meriweather's stock was in question after some incidents during his senior season at Miami but his talent speaks for itself.

"The brawl and what about the shooting in the summer," he said. "I'm sure it will be a factor with some clubs. Then again, if Ted Bundy could run, catch or throw, some clubs would over look the rest. He played corner up at UNC but I don't know if he has the juice you want out on a wing. He's a good prospect."

With just three major prospects for the Hurricanes coming off a 7-6 season, something has been missing in Coral Gables lately. Marino thinks he knows what it is.

"I don't think the talent level is anywhere near as well as it had been in South Florida," he said. "Plus, there have been too many distractions off the field and they need a new football facility."

The Hurricanes have had more players selected in the first round of the draft over the last 20 years than any other program in college football.

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