Mark Walton and his former Hurricanes teammates will work out at Greentree Practice Fields for NFL scouts on March 28, a UM spokesman said Monday.
Walton is one of nine Hurricanes invited to partipate in the NFL combine, which runs Friday through Monday in Indianapolis.
The running back from Miami-Booker T. Washington High declared for the NFL draft after his junior season. Two defensive tackles, RJ McIntosh and Kendrick Norton, also left before their senior seasons.
Six Miami seniors were invited to the combine: defensive tackle Chad Thomas, wide receiver Braxton Berrios, tight end Chris Herndon, offensive lineman Kc McDermott — listed by NFL.com as a guard, rather than a tackle — cornerback Dee Delaney and kicker Michael Badgley.
With nine players invited, UM is tied with Florida State for the most in the ACC.
Lance Zierlein projected Thomas a second- or third-round pick “based much more on projection than production.” An AFC East scout told the website that Thomas will “be a very good NFL player or a bust” and questioned his passion for the game. “He’s really talented but hasn’t improved like he should have.”
Walton, Zierlein believes, will be a fourth-round pick. ” Walton has the ability to become a solid backup who can handle a heavier touch load over smaller stretches if needed,” he wrote. An AFC scouting director told the website that a surplus of draft-eligible running backs may cause Walton’s stock to fall.
Zierlein had Herndon as a fourth- or fifth-rounder, saying he had “pedestrian” production in college and is “still very raw.” An AFC executive told NFL.com Herndon is “a good athlete and has ability to make big plays which is what I care about. He’s not a soft blocker either. He’s just really raw with everything. I’m OK with that. You take those guys later and you let your coaches develop them.”
Calling him “a little stubby and tight-hipped,” Zierlein projected Berrios as a sixth- or seventh-rounder. “He has explosive characteristics and shows the ability to uncover and the toughness to make contested catches look easy. Berrios may appeal to teams looking for a slot receiver who can work the middle of the field and attack with intermediate routes. His ability to return punts simply adds to his roster value. Getting caught up with what he can’t do rather than what he can do would be a mistake.”
NFL.com sees McDermott as a seventh-rounder or priority free agent. “He plays with some tenacity, but there are too many snaps where he can’t get his blocks secured or where he struggles to sustain utilizing desired body control,” Zierlein wrote. “He looks the part of narrow tackle, but he’s missing the foot quickness to survive there. Without better technique and body control he is likely to struggle against the quickness and power he will see in the pros.”
Zierlein had Badgley as a priority free agent, calling him an “experienced kicker with decent accuracy under 50 yards, but troubling accuracy beyond that mark” and saying his “inability to hammer kickoffs with consistent leg strength will also hurt his cause.”
Also a priority free agent: Delaney, “who looked overmatched” for much of his year at UM, Zierlein wrote: “While he’s an aggressive, willing tackler against the run, he may lack the requisite cover talent to make it in the league.”