Bye Coral Gables, hello Detroit.
It took a lot longer than a lot of people expected, but the Detroit Lions drafted former Canes quarterback Brad Kaaya with the 215th pick in the sixth round of the 2017 NFL Draft Saturday evening.
As picks rolled by and other quarterbacks were selected, folks began to question as to why Miami’s all-time leading passer continued to slip down the draft board.
Kaaya, who played and started for the Canes since his freshman season in 2014, broke multiple school records in 2016. In 38 starts, Kaaya took hold of the UM career records for passing yards (9,968), completions (720) and attempts (1,188).
Still, that wasn’t good enough to warrant a higher selection and made some second guess Kaaya’s decision to forgo his senior year and declare for this year’s draft.
Prior to the start of the 2016 season, the 6-foot-4, 216-pound Kaaya was projected by some NFL pundits to be a top five pick in April.
While he posted career highs in completions, attempts, yards and touchdowns this season, Kaaya’s stock slipped. Scouts nitpicked at his lack of mobility and the inconsistency of his accuracy.
Draft Analyst Tony Pauline was excruciatingly critical of Kaaya after the NFL Combine, saying that he felt it was a mistake for the California native to have left school.
“I had Kaaya as a fifth round pick before the combine, and I think he’s still a fifth round pick – maybe even a sixth round pick,” Pauline said during an interview on The Big O Show in March. “He has a lot of questions to answer. He is a long way from being NFL-ready. He should have stayed in school one more year.”
Oh well, Kaaya is a professional quarterback now.
The son of actress Angela Means – best known for her role as “Felicia” in the movie Friday – Kaaya goes to a Lions team that has an entrenched starting quarterback in Matthew Stafford, which should allow him to learn in the background.
Saints Take Muhammad
Even though he didn’t play any football this past season, the New Orleans Saints saw enough of former Miami Hurricanes defensive end Al-Quadin Muhammad to draft him with the 199th pick in the sixth round Saturday.
Muhammad was dismissed from the Hurricanes program before the start of the 2016 season for receiving improper benefits – use of luxury rental cars – but its hard to deny his natural gifts and untapped potential.
Standing 6-foot-4 and weighing 260 pounds, Muhammad has the requisite tools to be an imposing force coming off the edge. His last season with the Canes (2015), AQM registered 54 total tackles with 8.5 tackles for loss and five sacks.
Canes Trio Go In Seventh Round
Three more Canes had their football dreams realized during the seventh round of the NFL Draft, as wide receiver Stacy Coley, defensive back Adrian Colbert and fullback Marquez Williams all were selected in the final round.
Coley was the first pick of the seventh round, taken 219th overall by the Minnesota Vikings. Colbert went 10 picks later (229th overall) to the San Francisco 49ers and Williams was selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars with the 240th pick.
Colbert and Williams were “one-year rentals” for the Canes – both transferring into the program after spending much of their careers at other programs.
Williams came in from Mars Hill College and quickly carved out a role for himself in Mark Richt’s offense – both as a lead blocker and a receiver out of the backfield. While Colbert came to Miami as a graduate transfer from the University of Texas.
Williams likely performed his way onto the Jaguars’ draft board with the impressive testing numbers he put up during UM’s pro day – running a 4.6 time in the 40 and benched pressed 225 pounds 28 times. Jacksonville taking Williams signals the team going all in on helping its first round pick – LSU running back Leonard Fournette.
Coley, who went to Oakland Park Northeast High School before taking his talents to Coral Gables, finished his career at UM with 166 receptions for 2,218 yards and 20 touchdowns in 49 games.
The 6-foot-1, 195-pound speedster could do himself plenty of favors in the pros if he continues to prove himself to be a potent kick returner. Coley returned two kicks – one punt and one kickoff – for touchdowns at Miami and averaged 24 yards per kickoff return.
Coley won’t be the only former Hurricane making his way to Minnesota. The Vikings drafted former UM offensive guard Danny Isidora in the fifth round Saturday.