2017 NFL Draft: Mike Mayock sees Brad Kaaya as ‘developmental’ prospect, assesses Miami Hurricanes talent

Mark Richt, Brad Kaaya and Stacy Coley sort out strategy during UM's win over Florida A&M. (Allen Eyestone/The Palm Beach Post)

Mark Richt, Brad Kaaya and Stacy Coley sort out strategy during UM’s win over Florida A&M. (Allen Eyestone/The Palm Beach Post)

[Meet the contenders to take over as Miami QB]

[Coley, Elder, other Canes trying to prove themselves at NFL combine]

The last Hurricanes quarterback drafted by an NFL team was Ken Dorsey, a seventh-round selection in 2002. Brad Kaaya will certainly break that streak.

The last Hurricanes quarterback to escape the seventh round was Craig Erickson (fourth round in 1992).

Will Kaaya reach that bar? Unclear, at best.

In a conference call Monday, NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said he considers UM’s all-time leading passer among a group of quarterbacks best suited to playing behind an established NFL starter. Before the season, Kaaya was held in much higher esteem.

In response to several different questions about the quarterback draft class, Mayock referred to Kaaya as a “developmental, long-range” prospect. He described Tennessee’s Josh Dobbs in the same way. 

“Both of them have a lot of talent,” he said. “They’ve got size, talent, arm talent, athletic ability. They’re just not ready. What are they, third round, fourth round, I don’t know. I’d love to try to develop either of them.”

He name-checked North Carolina’s Mitch Trubisky, Clemson’s Deshaun Watson, Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer and Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes as those in “the first-round conversation.” He said California’s Davis Webb is another “guy he’d like to develop.”

Mayock is “not bullish on the quarterbacks this year because I don’t think any of them are ready day one,” he said. “I think they all have different issues.”

His extended take on Kaaya:

“I think he’s a talented kid. He’s got the prototypical size. He makes three to five throws per game that are awesome. That you sit back and go, ‘Yep, that’s it. That’s it. That’s NFL.’

“Then you watch the pocket mechanics break down, and I think he starts to panic a little bit when he sees a flash of color from the other team. He starts to hurry his throws and ends up with poor locations and poor decisions.

“When he has clear vision and clean feet, he’s really good. But it’s the pocket mechanics. I think it’s going to take him a little bit of time.”

Mayock said he was “bullish” on tight end David Njoku, who is widely projected as a mid-to-late first-rounder.

“Freaky kid that looks like a wide receiver, and you can’t believe that he’s actually as big as he is,” Mayock said. “Catches the ball well, can get vertical, and what I like is if you watch enough of his tape, he gets after some people in the run game. He’s not really a good run-blocker yet. But the key is he gets after it. And as long as you get after it and you have a willingness to do it, you can be taught.”

Mayock on other Miami prospects:

Wideout Stacy Coley: “I’m surprised Coley didn’t go to the East-West game. He declined the invitation. I thought he had a chance to shine there. He’s got skills as a returner and a receiver. He’ll probably go in the fourth round, fifth round, somewhere in there.”

Safety Rayshawn Jenkins: “I think it’s important for Jenkins to run fast. He’s a bigger safety that brings some thought. If he can run well, I think it will really help him.”

Cornerback Corn Elder: “Corn Elder beats people up. Tough kid. I hope he runs fast, because I think he can be a core special teams player also.”

Safety Jamal Carter: “Another tough guy. Big. Who was it? East-West game. He’s a little bit tight-hipped.”

Offensive guard Danny Isidora: “Isidora is a solid guard, third day he’ll get drafted.”

Cornerback Adrian Colbert: “There is another Miami kid who I loved. He’s not a combine guy. Another defensive back who is just tougher than nails. Really fast. [Colbert?] Yeah, I think he’s going to be a special teams demon. … I don’t know if he’ll be drafted. But he’ll be in camp and because of his height, weight, speed, he’ll end up having an opportunity to make a team.”

On defensive end Al-Quadin Muhammad, who was suspended for 2014 and dismissed before last season: “He didn’t play basically two of the last three years. He’s got a significant number of issues off the field. I think teams are intrigued by his athleticism, but I’d be surprised if he got drafted. I think he’s going to be a free agent.”

Punter Justin Vogel: “Yeah, we’ve got to move on here, and I don’t do punters. I don’t evaluate those guys. I let special teams tell me the week before the draft.”

 

 

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