'06 NFL Draft Watch: Miami Hurricanes

In a rare occurrence, the Miami Hurricanes did not play in a New Year's Day Bowl game last year. Their return to prominence and ability to win the ACC Conference this season could rest on the consistency of a new quarterback. This team has tremendous talent and numerous NFL prospects on both sides of the ball. 

Scouting the ACC : Miami-Florida 

Offensively the team is loaded on the line.

  Tackle Eric Winston was set to enter last year's draft and become a top-10 selection until he blew out his knee early in October of '04.  A former tight end, Winston is an athletic blocker who does an outstanding job in pass protection, displaying flashes of dominance as a run blocker.  Possessing a great amount of upside potential, Winston could well be one of the initial eight players selected in 2006 if he returns to form and the health of his knee is cleared at combine exams next March.

  Rashad Butler did an excellent job filling in for Winston on the blind side last year and now moves to the right tackle slot.  Blocking with leverage and keeping his feet moving throughout the action, Butler is strong and a solid position blocker.  Lacking adjustment and a bit stiff, he does more stepping than sliding in pass protection and lacks top footwork.  Butler has growth potential and could ultimately be kicked inside to guard in the NFL.

  Tony Tella is a powerful blocker who displays quickness in all aspects of the game.  Tella gets movement from run blocks or anchors in pass protection.  Not a leverage blocker, Tella lacks adjustment and is a late-round prospect that can only play in certain NFL schemes.

  A former US Marine, Tyler McMeans moves into the starting lineup at guard.  A nasty blocker with outstanding size, McMeans is 25 years of age and needs a good season to move into the draft's late rounds.

  The squad has a pair of prospects to watch at receiver, starting with Ryan Moore.  A nice-sized pass catcher, Moore displayed flashes of brilliance as a sophomore yet watched his play slide significantly  during his junior campaign last season.  He has the build and skills to be a possession wide out at the next level yet must quickly pull all the pieces together and prove '04 was a fluke.

  Sinorice Moss offers home run-hitting speed yet has not been a consistent pass catcher on the field.  Moss is significantly undersized, yet several scouting combines have him rated as one of the top three senior receiver prospects in the nation, something we disagree with.

  Running back Tyrone Moss has good size and ball-carrying skills on the inside.

  Fullback Quadtrine Hill is a triple threat player aggressive in all aspects.  Hill lacks true fullback size yet could be a number two fullback brought onto the field during passing situations.

Miami has tremendous talent on the defensive line as well as in the secondary and offers good prospects at linebacker.  Up front Orien Harris is a quick, athletic tackle who forces the action up the field yet quickly changes direction and displays good lateral movement skills.  With a burst of closing speed, Harris effectively stuffs the run and at the same time shows ability as a pass rusher.  Not decisive or instinctive, he is slow locating the ball and must shed blocks quicker.  Harris is coming off a mediocre junior campaign yet has first-round potential if he can consistently play to a high level as a senior.

  Baraka Atkins is another solid athlete that's been used at both tackle and end.  Displaying a good inside move, he has a solid change of direction and is fast off the edge.  Needing to improve his overall body strength, Atkins is handled at the point by single blockers and must add bulk to his frame.  Like his teammate, Atkins' draft grade would significantly improve with a productive senior campaign and a good result will put him in the top 60 choices.

  Thomas Carroll, another senior, is a terrific athlete who covers a lot of area on the field.  Collapsing laterally, Carroll chases hard to get involved in the action and plays with leverage.  Immediately altering his angle of attack, he can flatten then pursue from the backside.  Another who needs to improve his playing strength and add bulk to his frame, Carroll is built more like a linebacker and could stand over tackle in a 34 defense.

  Junior Bryan Pata is a leverage lineman who also makes plays in pursuit.  Adjusting to the initial block to get to the play, Pata displays quickness in all areas of his game.

  Finally, Javon Nanton would start for most schools yet is a backup because of depth on the Hurricane defensive line.  Another athletic yet undersized pass rusher, Nanton quickly gets off the snap with a good first step and wedges between blocks on the inside.  Giving top effort, he is significantly smaller than opposing blockers and must take wide angles to avoid being pushed from the play.

  At linebacker Rocky McIntosh is an explosive athlete who displays good range.  Getting depth on drops, McIntosh easily runs downfield with opponents in coverage and is fast enough to recover from mistakes.  Not the most instinctive defender, McIntosh is a late reactor and over pursues the action.  Sustaining a herniated disc at the end of last season, McIntosh physically grades out as a top 60-selection yet he must be more productive and consistent on the field to be chosen early next April.  Leon Williams does a solid job on the inside, making plays against the run and pass.  Like his teammate, consistency is key for Williams to improve his draft grade for next April. 

Four players in the Hurricane secondary are legitimate prospects and most carry first-day grades.  Junior Devin Hester could be the first cornerback selected next April if he enters the draft.  Displaying great ball skills, Hester is fluid in all his movements, displaying great body control and balance.  An explosive defender, he has a quick burst to the play and does an outstanding job positioning himself to break up the pass.  Factor in Hester's ability to be devastating return specialist and he is a prospect with unlimited upside potential.

  Kelly Jennings is also another athletic cornerback with excellent playing speed.  Quickly transitioning to run with opponents, Jennings nicely times his pass breakups and displays a good amount of awareness on the field.  Not a physical defender, he gives marginal effort defending the run and is not always willing to mix it up in coverage.  Jennings' play has been up and down, yet he possesses the physical tools to be a top-45 selection.

  Greg Threat is a terrific run-defending safety and a hard hitter who goes for the knockout blow. Threat is always willing to mix it up yet has marginal ball skills and lacks a feel for coverage.

  Brandon Meriweather flashes skill defending the run as well as the pass and is another physically talented prospect with good upside.

  Finally junior Brian Monroe is a big-legged punter who drives the ball off his foot and gets great hang time.  Also used to kick off, Monroe must be watched the next two years.

Miami-Fl Prospect List

 Name Pos # Yr
Baraka Atkins DT 98 4Jr
Rashad Butler G 64 5Sr
Thomas Carroll DE 90 5Sr
Orien Harris DT 92 5Sr
Devin Hester CB 4 3Jr
Quadtrine Hill FB 23 5Sr
Kelly Jennings CB 22 5Sr
Rocky McIntosh OLB 50 5Sr
Tyler McMeans G 68 4Sr
Brandon Meriweather S 19 3Jr
Brian Monroe P 39 3Jr
Ryan Moore WR 85 4Jr
Sinorice Moss WR 83 4Sr
Tyrone Moss RB 30 3Jr
Javon Nanton DE 57 4Sr
Bryan Pata DE 95 3Jr
Tony Tella G 61 5Sr
Greg Threat S 5 4Sr
Leon Williams ILB 44 5Sr
Eric Winston T 74 4Sr


Scout NFL Network Top Stories