A comprehensive list of drafted players and undrafted rookie signees from the University of Miami, Florida International University and Florida Atlantic University.
The University of Miami continued its tradition of being an “NFL factory” seeing nine players get drafted this past week during the NFL Draft and another handful of others that signed as undrafted rookie free agents.
TE David Njoku – Round 1, Cleveland Browns
The Browns traded back into the first round to take “Air Njoku” – signaling that they have big plans for him right out of the gate. The team even released veteran tight end Gary Barnidge to open the door even wider for Njoku to come in and become the team’s top target up the seams.
What they said: “He has the ability to make plays down the field,” said Browns coach Hue Jackson. “He’s a three-down tight end.”
S Rayshawn Jenkins – Round 4, Los Angeles Chargers
Rayshawn Jenkins joins former teammate Denzel Perryman in Los Angeles and should provide the Chargers with added secondary depth on their improving defense.
What they said: “It was great for us to get him,” Chargers cornerback Jason Verrett said. “When we drafted [Jenkins], I texted Denzel [Perryman] quick and asked what he thought about him. Denzel said ‘he was a dog’, so it was nice to get that addition there and add more depth.”
DB Corn Elder – Round 5, Carolina Panthers
North Carolina’s new favorite vegetable may become corn after the Panthers took Corn Elder in the fifth round. If he were taller, there’s little doubt that he would’ve been a much higher pick. But Elder’s game is big on talent and swagger.
What they said: “He’s smart and instinctive,” Carolina Panthers General Manager Dave Gettleman said. “He plays nickel and outside. He’s a tough, tough kid.”
OG Danny Isidora – Round 5, Minnesota Vikings
Arguably the Hurricanes’ best offensive lineman over the past three years, Danny Isidora goes to a good situation in Minnesota – with the ability to learn behind a couple of veterans before he’s thrust into a starting role.
What they said: “Minnesota has lacked an effective pull blocker for some time and Isidora can be that guy,” Drew Mahowald of Vikings Territory said. “It doesn’t appear as if he will compete for a starting job right away, but he will be in line to compete for a role when Joe Berger calls it quits.”
DE Al-Quadin Muhammad – Round 6, New Orleans Saints
Even though his career did not end the way he or UM fans wanted it to, AQM still oozes with football potential. Muhammad has all the physical tools to succeed at the pro, it’s a matter of him making sound decisions and taking the coaching he’ll receive in New Orleans.
What they said: “We spent a lot of time on campus, he was here,” Saints head coach Sean Payton said. “When you talk to people at the school, they had a strong opinion about him in regards to football make-up. He certainly made some mistakes, but there were ones that we were really comfortable with. You get into the rental car, what have you, this is a guy that loves football and we sat for a good round and a half waiting on this selection.”
QB Brad Kaaya – Round 6, Detroit Lions
Miami’s all-time leading passer did not get drafted as high as he would have liked, but his falling to the sixth round and going to a team like the Lions could be the best thing for him. Because former No. 1 overall pick – and Mark Richt protégé – Matthew Stafford is firmly entrenched as the starter, Kaaya can learn in the background and hone his skills with little pressure on him.
What they said: “Kaaya was groomed to be a quarterback from an early age, “Kaaya flashes the mechanics and intelligence of a player who has spent hours in quarterback camps,” NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein said. “However, he can be too mechanical and thinks too much rather than just flowing and responding to what the field offers him. He has the tools and intangibles to become an NFL starter. While he can work on his average arm strength, he must improve his accuracy and anticipation if he is to make a mark in the NFL.
WR Stacy Coley – Round 7, Minnesota Vikings
It looked like the Minnesota Vikings were out to overhaul its offense with what they did in the 2017 Draft. Bringing in Stacy Coley means that they wanted to add some more speed and special teams playmaking. It’s not foreign place for UM receivers to do well in the NFL – Coley may not be any different.
What they said: “Coley is another player with speed to burn,” Christopher Gates of the Daily Norseman said. “He also has some experience as a returner, having returned kicks and punts for the Hurricanes. He projects to be more of a slot receiver for the Vikings at this point.”
DB Adrian Colbert – Round 7, San Francisco 49ers
Even though Adrian Colbert only played one season with the Hurricanes, he showed – over the course of his collegiate career – that he can use his physical tools to be a solid cover man.
What they said: “We know he can play safety,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said in an interview with Comcast Sports Net-Bay Area after the draft. “We’re going to give him a go at probably corner first. Don’t want to speak for the coaches, but this is what we were thinking when we drafted him and know that he has safety versatility and is we believe going to be one heck of a special teams player as well. We’ve seen it on film. And so, we were kind of crossing our fingers that he stayed up there and he did and we jumped.”
FB Marquez Williams – Round 7, Jacksonville Jaguars
Fullback may not be the sexiest of positions, but Marquez Williams showed – in his three years at Mars Hill College, his one season with the Canes and during UM’s pro day – that he has a place in the NFL.
What they said: “Williams is a big-bodied player at 260 pounds who will create holes for Leonard Fournette and whoever else is in the backfield,” Black & Teal.com’s Luke Seals said. “Fournette, himself fluctuating up to 240 pounds at the NFL Scouting Combine, will burst through that hole from Williams and pummel opposing defenses.”
WR Malcolm Lewis – Undrafted, Signed Miami Dolphins
After an ankle injury derailed his freshman season, Malcolm Lewis has been working tirelessly to come back and show what he’s capable of when he’s healthy. He had a great pro day and should raise a lot of eyebrows with his hometown Miami Dolphins.
What they said: “He will compete with Leonte Carroo, Jakeem Grant, rookie seventh-rounder Isaiah Ford and former UM teammate Rashawn Scott, among others, for two roster spots.”
S Jamal Carter – Undrafted, Signed Denver Broncos
Jamal Carter definitely looks the part of an NFL safety. The Denver Broncos secondary needs an infusion of talented young players and Carter should benefit greatly from playing under former Dolphins defensive coordinator Vance Joseph, Denver’s new head coach.
What they said: “Carter has the muscular, well-proportioned build to draw oohs and aahs off the bus,” Lance Zierlein said. “He checks all the physical boxes scouts want to be checked. Plus athleticism with top speed to range over the top. Usually found at high safety, but has the ability to cover tight ends if asked. He is able to click accelerator and fire into top gear quickly. He can land a heavy blow as a tackler when he’s in position…offers early special teams help.”
LB Jermaine Grace – Undrafted, Signed Atlanta Falcons
Another former UM player that wasn’t able to fulfill all of his goals while in Coral Gables, Jermaine Grace could have a productive professional career because of his speed and athleticism. He’ll probably start out on special teams, but there’s no reason why he wouldn’t be able to work his way up from there.
P Justin Vogel – Undrafted, Signed Green Bay Packers
You could make the case that punter Justin Vogel was Miami’s most consistent player this past season. He routinely boomed deep punts and flipped field position. He will find a way to stick in the NFL.
RB Joe Yearby – Undrafted, Camp Invite San Francisco 49ers
While some felt that Joe Yearby would have been better served coming back to Miami – or even transferring to another school – for his senior year, you cannot knock a young man for chasing his dream and trying to support his growing family. If a team gives Yearby a legitimate shot, they could be pleasantly surprised.
Florida International Golden Panthers
Even though FIU fell on some not so pleasant times this past season, the Golden Panthers still had a player get drafted and had a couple others sign with teams shortly after.
TE Jonnu Smith – Round 3, Tennessee Titans
What they said: “I would just say that I respect the heck out of him. He wanted the mother to be a part of the child’s life, and he went through in detail with me. I would like to keep that between him and me, but he is a phenomenal, phenomenal young man.”
“I hope we can find someone as productive as Delanie,” Titans head coach Mike Mularkey said when discussing Smith. “I think Jonnu is a guy we feel can compete and play not just an F, we are going to see if he is going to be a point player, point blocker. Certainly, with his speed and his ability in the passing game, we hope that translates to what Delanie has done for us since he has been here.”
OL Dieugot Joseph – Undrafted, Signed Chicago Bears
Florida Atlantic Owls
Like its Conference USA cohort FIU, Florida Atlantic didn’t have the season it wanted to in its final season with Charlie Partridge at the helm. Still, the Owls had a drafted professional on its roster as well as a couple of others who will look to make their mark as undrafted rookie free agents.
DE Trey Hendrickson – Round 3, New Orleans Saints
What the said: “Trey Hendrickson, to me, is Rob Ninkovich,” ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. said on a teleconference after the draft. “He’s that kind of player.”
OL Dillion DeBoer – Undrafted, Signed Los Angeles Chargers
TE Tyler Cameron – Undrafted, Signed Baltimore Ravens
DT Shalom Ogbonda – Undrafted, Signed New York Jets