Thursday, April 24, 2008

Can Canes Keep First Round Streak Alive?

The Miami Hurricanes have had at least one first round selection in the NFL Draft in the last 13 seasons. This year that streak, a source of uncontained pride for most Canes fans, is in jeopardy. None of their seniors or early-departing juniors (Kenny Phillips and Calais Campbell) stood out last year.

Their best hope at perpetuating the streak lies in the 6-2, 212 lb. free safety Phillips, of Miami Carol City High School. Most draft gurus have him as the best available position at his position, but that position has rarely seen such scant pickings. In other words, he is a light, not necessarily shining, at a notoriously weak (for this year) position. But Canes fans will take it anyway they can get it. Phillips said he had three goals for his Hurricane career - to lead his team in INT's, to be an All-American, and to win a national title. He accomplished the first two, but never came close to achieving the last. Everyone knew that he possessed impressive speed, great coverage skills, and a penchant for hard hitting. But what NFL GM's have been most pleasantly surprised by is his intelligence. Kenny says he studies film for 3-4 hours a day. He is highly coachable and has all the innate ability in the world. He will likely go in the late 1st round.

Calais Campbell is a hulking physical specimen at defensive end. He is 6"8 and 283 lbs, and whichever team lands him will get an A-grade "character guy" who puts his all into each snap. After the 2006 season, most draft experts were projecting him as a top-10 pick. He had 10 1/2 sacks and 20 1/2 tackles that year. His sack total was down to 6 in 2007, and honestly he was a non-factor in most games. Additionally, he has tested poorly in the combines this spring, posting a 5.03 forty yard dash and only completing 16 bench press reps at 225 lbs. Mel Kiper projects Campbell as a late 1st round, early 2nd round pick.

My 2008 draft sleeper is linebacker Tavares Gooden. He will not be picked in the 1st round, but there's a chance he'll slip into the 2nd. He is most likely a 3rd or 4th rounder. Gooden has insane speed (he clocked last year at 4.47 in the 40 yard dash) and improved drastically in 2007, after missing 2006 due to injury. Look for him to start in the NFL one day.

As for the Hurricane Baseball team, they fell (quite embarrassingly) to FIU last night 6-3 at Mark Light Field. Losses happen. But FIU was 13-29 entering the game, and that was against relatively woeful competition. The Canes, who are now 33-5 on the season, have played with fire many a time this season, seeming to take pride in getting down early and needing heroics to eke out victories. They have all of the pieces in place for a national title run, but their worst enemy is themselves, as they exhibited last night. After taking 2 of 3 from FSU in Tallahassee, they had no business losing to the Golden Panthers on their own home field.'ve gotten your wake up call.

1 comment:

Jay Warman said...

The Canes have 5 losses this season. FAU and FIU are responsible for 2 of them.

Sun Belt Power!