Five Canes Drafted

The most NFL-friendly college football program over the last quarter century put five more into the pro ranks this weekend.

The Hurricanes continued its stretch run in recent years as the premier college football program for putting players into the NFL.

While the Canes have struggled on the field in recent years, including a 7-6 season in 2006, there's been no shortage of talent on this football team -- especially on the defensive side of the ball.

Two Hurricane defenders and one offensive player were selected in the first round on Saturday. Safety Brandon Meriweather was picked 24th overall by New England. Outside linebacker Jon Beason was picked 25th by Carolina. Tight end Greg Olsen was picked 31st by the defending NFC Champion Chicago Bears.

Then on Sunday, Seattle made defensive end Baraka Atkins the 120th overall pick (4th round) and New England made defensive tackle Kareem Brown the 127th overall pick in the same round.

"He's played some corner," Bill Belichick said. "He's played some inside nickel position in their sub-defense, played safety, both down and back. I think he's a real intelligent football player. He has a real good understanding of concepts and some versatility at a high level of competition." (

Beason, a high school safety, has only played linebacker for a couple seasons and most people believe his best days are way ahead of him.

Olsen continues a tremendous streak of tight ends coming from UM in recent years. Bubba Franks, Jeremy Shockey, Kellen Winslow, and now Olsen have all been first round picks in recent years.

Atkins went back and forth between end and tackle during his career at Miami while Brown's 20.5 sacks were the second most ever for a defensive tackle at the University of Miami.

Several other Hurricanes will now try getting free agent contracts. The most likely candidate to make an NFL roster for players not drafted is Ryan Moore, a former five-star recruit who had an up-and-down college career.

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