On the eve of Hurricanes pro day, which should be a smaller affair than last year’s, here’s a bunch of questions and random projections for each of the 13 participants:
Artie Burns, CB: Is he a first-rounder? Burns (6-0, 196) is the marquee prospect at Wednesday’s event, and sure to draw every pair of NFL eyes at some point in the day. Last month ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. pegged him as high as a potential first-rounder, and he earned positive reviews at the NFL combine. He’ll be looking to make believers out of others. Projection: second-round pick
Deon Bush, S: Can he rise above the middle rounds? Bush (6-2, 203), UM’s second-highest-rated draft prospect, showed well at the combine. However, he also showed a great deal of inconsistency as a college player – he would look excellent some games, throwing hard hits and breaking up passes all over the field, and in other games opposing receivers would toast him. His physical skills and mental makeup will entice some team. But where in the draft? Projection: fifth-round pick
Dallas Crawford, RB: Can he play pro ball? Playing safety the last two years may not have been a good career move for Crawford, who had some nice moments as a running back in 2013. His representatives say he will try to make it as a running back, but if Crawford (5-10, 195) is going to find his way onto a roster, it will almost certainly be mostly a special-teamer. That’s where he shined brightest in college, but does he have enough size and speed to make it to the next level? Projection: will get a look in an NFL rookie camp
Calvin Heurtelou, DT: Is he an NFL player? Heurtelou had his moments, but his lack of impact in college likely won’t entice a team spending an NFL draft pick on him. Given his size (6-3, 310) and strength, he could hook on as a post-draft free agent signing. That’s a start. Projection: NFL free agent signee
Tracy Howard, CB: Can he be the latest underrated Miami player to shine? Once rated as the No. 1 cornerback recruit in high school, Howard (5-11, 183) did not have a marquee career under Al Golden. His interception totals, by year: 0, 4, 1, 0. He had a career-high 30 tackles as a senior, but is not seen as an NFL draft pick by any notable analyst. Projection: NFL free agent signee
Ufomba Kamalu, DT/DE: Is he more than a big body? Kamalu has NFL size at 6-5 and 295 pounds and showed versatility playing end and tackle in Miami’s 3-4 and 4-3 packages. He performed well at the combine, but likely needs to blow away scouts Wednesday to have a shot at being drafted. Projection: NFL free agent signee
Raphael Kirby, LB: How’s the knee? Kirby didn’t run at the NFL combine, but finished second among linebackers in the bench press (27 reps of 225 pounds). If he is able to move, the 6-foot, 236-pound inside linebacker prospect could open eyes. He was a Butkus Award preseason watch list candidate and Miami’s leading tackler before tearing his ACL as a senior. He had surgery last October. Projection: NFL free agent signee
Tyriq McCord, LB/DE: Is a flashback coming? McCord (6-3, 245) battled knee and hip injuries his senior year and rotated between linebacker and defensive end. The affable Tampa native wanted to show his versatility, but made highlight-reel plays attacking the quarterback (hello, Jeff Driskel and Justin Thomas). If McCord can show off that side – explosive and agile – on pro day, he might make himself some money. Projection: sixth-round pick
Rashawn Scott, WR: How fast is he? Scott (6-2, 203) did not run the 40-yard dash at the combine, but showed his strength by tying for fifth among receivers in the bench press (17 reps). He’s physical, but scouts probably want to see how well he moves. His health (three major shoulder/collarbone injuries) and decision-making (three team-issued suspensions) may be a concern for some. Projection: quickly signed after the draft
Herb Waters, WR: Can he wow anyone? Waters (6-2, 197) has put up 4.4 and 4.5 times consistently in UM’s testing. He had a quiet but consistently productive career – 1,534 yards and nine touchdowns on 99 catches, good for a very respectable 15.49 per catch average – but is viewed by analysts as undrafted. Maybe it’s the lack of touchdown catches. Maybe it’s that he was stuck behind Phillip Dorsett and Allen Hurns and Clive Walford. Maybe some team sees something special Wednesday. Projection: quickly signed after the draft
Michael Wyche, DT: Can he move? Listed at 6-4 and 325 pounds, Wyche played in a two-gap system and wasn’t asked to do much but take on blockers. That also means he had few opportunities to showcase whatever agility he has. This is his chance to show it. In meetings with teams, he’ll probably be asked about the arrest and indefinite suspension that ended his college career. Projection: will get a look in rookie camp
Others participating in pro day:
Collin Alford, RB: Alford (5-9, 210), the nephew of rapper Flo Rida, attended Miami-Columbus and played at Fairmont State before transferring to UM. He appeared in one game for his hometown school, according to CFBStats.com.
Joseph Rogers, TE/WR: Rogers, 6-foot-2 and 238 pounds, is from Miami Sunset High. UM has no record of him appearing in a game, but CFBStats.com said he played in three.
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A few notes, according to UM:
The event will be aired from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on ESPN3.com and the WatchESPN app. Broadcasters Joe Zagacki and Don Bailey, Jr. will call the action.
More than 150 NFL personnel representing all 32 NFL teams are expected to attend.
The day begins at 8:30 a.m. with testing and interviews with coaches and scouts. Physical testing begins at 10:45 a.m. inside UM’s weight room.
The only portion that is viewable to the media is outside on UM’s practice fields. Participants will run through the 40-yard dash, 20-yard shuttle, 60-yard shuttle and three-cone drill, in addition to position-specific workouts.