The offensive line, originally considered a strength coming into the season, has been a disappointment thus far. Sources have told us Eric Winston, the Hurricanes highly rated left tackle, is not yet 100% off the knee injury he suffered last October. Winston has put on weight, though it has been characterized as "good weight". As a result his run blocking has improved. Yet Winston's pass blocking has suffered and those close to the program told us the athletic blocker has lost some quickness to his game.
Guard Tyler McMeans has really struggled. It was hoped the 25-year old former U.S. Marine would be a dominating presence in a starting role yet McMeans has gotten beat a number of times this season. His inability to handle the speed of college competition has NFL-scouts concerned.
Though highly rated by several NFL-scouting sources over the summer receiver Sinorice Moss has not stepped up his play the way scouts had hoped. Moss has a stout, strong build and game-breaking speed but the NFL wants Sinorice to be the type of consistent, offensive threat his older brother Santana was.
Ryan Moore significantly stepped up his play and has many forgetting about his tepid results from last year. Coaches attribute Moore's success to improved work ethic and an intense off-season conditioning program. Already in the program four years and on pace to graduate, Moore is set to opt for the NFL after this year. Scouts are concerned with his maturity level yet love the physical presence the redshirt junior brings to the receiver position.
On defense most scouts and sources we spoke with are not very pleased.
Hopes were high for Orien Harris coming into the season after a disappointing junior campaign. Yet the level of his play remains unchanged and many now consider Harris a liability against the run. Rather then being a potential first round selection and a player teams build around in the middle of the line, the feeling today is Harris would be a nice second tackle who must line-up next to a stud if he's to produce on a consistent basis.
Outside linebacker Roger McIntosh has watched his draft stock fall significantly due to injuries as shoulder and back ailments have plagued him. At one time considered top 60 material, McIntosh could drop out of the draft's first day when the medical red flags are elevated.
Leon Williams has been called a "bust" by sources in the program as the linebacker continues to blow assignments and make mistakes. Another player the coaching staff is genuinely displeased with is safety Greg Threat who will see his playing time diminished the rest of this year and as a result, his draft grade will fall.
Cornerback Devin Hester has also been a disappointment of sorts. A tremendous athlete with great skills as a return specialist, many are discouraged Hester has not shown much progress at cornerback, Coaches question whether the light has gone on for Hester and if he mentally understands what needs to be done. Things come easily to Hester who makes up for mistakes with great speed, but scouts and coaches feel his cornerback techniques are terrible. There is a consideration to move Hester to free safety or possibly receiver, a position he has experience with. The UM staff feels there is no way Hester enters the draft at this point.
There has been some good news out of the Miami camp.
Scouts have been impressed with the play of Kelly Jennings. The cornerback improved the physical nature of his play and cut down on mistakes. He did suffer a significant shoulder injury in practice the week prior to the Clemson game yet those familiar with the program are impressed the way he's "toughed" it out. A senior available in next April's draft, scouts feel Jennings has solidified himself as a top 75 choice.
Safety Brandon Meriweather has also caught the eye of pro-personnel people in the NFL. More then anything else Meriweather has shown a great deal of consistency this season and does not disappear for long stretches, the way he has in the past. A third-year junior, it is unlikely at this point Meriweather opts for the draft