In preparation for the 2013 NFL Draft, NFLDraftScout.com will profile the top draft-eligible prospects from FBS-level programs. This summer series will run until the start of the college football season.
NFL Draft picks the last five years: 22
2012 NFL Draft picks: 6 – DE Olivier Vernon (3rd round, 72nd overall), LB Sean Spence (3rd round, 86th overall), RB Lamar Miller (4th overall, 97th overall), WR Travis Benjamin (4th overall, 100th overall), WR Tommy Streeter (6th round, 198th overall), G Brandon Washington (6th round, 200th overall)
Since 2000, only one team (Ohio State – 82) has produced more NFL Draft picks than Miami (81), although the Hurricanes do hold the top spot for first rounders over that same period (26). From 1995 through 2008, the Hurricanes set a NFL-record with at least one first round NFL Draft pick in 14 straight years. But Miami hasn't had a first rounder in the past four NFL Drafts and there is a good chance that streak will extend to five next April.
While they haven't had the same success on the field in recent years, Miami continues to groom players for the next level as they lead the ACC in draft picks over the last five years. There is no shortage of talented athletes in Coral Gables, but the Hurricanes' roster is also full of former top recruits whose hype has outweighed the production. So far.
Top-five prospects for the 2013 NFL Draft
1. FS Ray Ray Armstrong (6-4, 215)
If ever a player was ready to break out as a senior, it's Ray Ray Armstrong (pictured above). But then again, Hurricanes' fans and coaches have been waiting for the senior safety to reach his potential since he arrived in Coral Gables as one of the top recruits out of the prep ranks four years ago. Armstrong's development was stunted by a suspension last season that lasted five games, which just happens to be the same number of career starts under his belt, a stat Matt Hinton points out in his “Coming Attractions” blog. Armstrong saw significant playing time as a true freshman with 21 tackles over 10 games, including one start. He started three games as a sophomore, recording a personal-best 79 tackles and tying for the team lead in interceptions (3). Armstrong was expected to take another step forward as a junior, but he missed the first four games in 2011 because of improper dealings with a booster, followed by a one-game suspension for a violation of team rules. Once he returned to the team, Armstrong showed obvious rust and spent the rest of the season playing catch-up, finishing with just 34 tackles and one interception in seven games. He is a big, aggressive athlete with the speed and range to cover both sidelines, flashing first round ability. And if reports are true, Armstrong has been working his tail off during the offseason as he enters the 2012 season as an expected starter. But whether or not he will ever reach his full football potential has yet to be seen.
2. SS Vaughn Telemaque (6-2, 210)
Miami returns 10 starters from last season, but no one on the roster has more starts on his resume than Telemaque. However if spring ball is any indication, he might be coming off the bench in 2012; Kacy Rodgers passed him on the depth chart at strong safety. A California native, Telemaque was one of the top defensive back recruits out of high school, choosing the “U” over USC, Oregon and Michigan. After he redshirted in 2008 because of injury, he started 24 games over his first two seasons, combining for 106 tackles and three interceptions as a freshman and sophomore. Telemaque started every game last season and finished fourth on the team with 59 tackles, adding one interception. He is a strong tackler and doesn't let too many ballcarriers out of his grasp when he's in the area, but needs to be more consistent with his angles and awareness to put himself in position to make plays. Telemaque is a rangy player has pro potential, but needs to work his way back onto the first-team defense before he can start thinking about the NFL.
3. CB Brandon McGee (6-0, 190)
Just like the previous two prospects on this list, McGee is another member of the Hurricanes' secondary who was a top recruit out of high school, but has yet to live up to the lofty expectations. Ranked as the top cornerback recruit out of the state of Florida four years ago, he spent his first two seasons in Miami as a reserve defensive back, recording just 17 tackles. McGee became a starter last season as a junior (12 starts), but didn't have the season most thought he would, finishing with 38 tackles and one interception. Although he spent some time on the second-team defense in spring practices, he is expected to return as a starter in 2012 as a senior. Coaches, including defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio, rave about his natural athleticism and football ability, but they expect more out of McGee and the Plantation product agrees. His senior year will go a long way to telling NFL scouts whether he's worth a top-100 draft pick or simply a late round prospect.
4. OT Seantrel Henderson (6-8, 350)*
One of the largest human beings in the game of football (college or professional), Henderson is another Hurricane who arrived in to Coral Gables with much fanfare. But so far, and for various reasons, he has mostly been a disappointment. Henderson is a tough prospect to project right now because he is extremely talented for a player of his size and strength, but the potential hasn't necessarily translated to the field. Three years ago, he was a five-star high school recruit and widely believed to be one of the best offensive linemen to enter the college ranks in recent years. Henderson chose to play at Southern Cal, but changed his mind once the Trojans were slapped with a two-year postseason ban, deciding instead to enroll at Miami. He started nine games as a true freshman at right tackle for the Hurricanes, earning Freshman All-American honors. Henderson was suspended for the season opener in 2011 for violation of team rules and missed several other games because of offseason back surgery. He started only a pair of games last season, both at right tackle, but is expected to return healthy and as the starter on the right side in 2012. Henderson is a mountain of a man and has enough foot quickness to hold his own on the edge, but must become much more football-focused before NFL scouts will consider him to be a first-round player.
5. OLB Ramon Buchanan (6-1, 220)
Last year was supposed to be a breakout season for the Melbourne product, but a serious knee injury ended Buchanan's senior season and almost ended his career at Miami. However, he received a medical hardship waiver from the NCAA and will return to the Hurricanes for one final season in 2012. Buchanan was considered one of the top defenders out of the state of Florida as a recruit, choosing Miami over Florida, Florida State and LSU. He saw playing time as a freshman and sophomore, but mostly on special teams and as a back-up. Buchanan became a starter in 2010 as a junior strongside linebacker (10 starts), finishing fifth on the team with 55 tackles and 8.0 tackles for loss. He was one of the defensive leaders in 2011, starting the first four games, but a knee injury put him on the shelf. Buchanan was awarded the medical waiver in January 2012, giving him one more season of eligibility. He is an outstanding athlete with excellent playing speed to drop in coverage and cover both sidelines against the run. Buchanan has a lean frame and struggles to shed blocks, but has the quickness and range to at least fight for a spot on special teams coverage at the next level. If he proves to be fully recovered from his knee injury, Buchanan should be a later round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.
RB Mike James
OT Ben Jones
G Brandon Linder
DT Darius Smith
CB Davon Johnson
Photo credit: US Presswire