What will be deemed as a mild NFL Draft output from the University of Miami still turned out to be quite a gratifying weekend for several former Hurricanes.
After six UM football players were taken in the first round of last year’s draft, pundits labeled 2005 to be a down year for the program because only one player, cornerback Antrel Rolle, was expected to be taken in the first round. The critics were right, but the school was still well represented on Day One of the draft.
The Tennessee Titans had the sixth pick of the first round and were debating heavily between Rolle and Adam “Pac-Man” Jones of West Virginia, but they elected to go with the smaller, faster Jones, who had success as a punt returner as well. Rolle ended up going to the Arizona Cardinals two picks later.
Most mock drafts predicted Rolle to be Tennessee’s man, but they ultimately favored Jones for his return abilities. Rolle told The Miami Herald that he is a capable returner, but the presence of Roscoe Parrish on the team kept him from getting any reps, which left the Titans uncertain of his special teams abilities.
“I love punt returns,” Rolle said. “Unfortunately, we had Roscoe this year, so I didn’t get a chance to return punts. But at the next level, that’s something I’m definitely going to be looking into.”
Despite not being the first defensive back taken in the draft, Rolle was still thrilled to be chosen so early and has a potentially great situation developing in Arizona, who will likely make Rolle its top cornerback right away.
“It’s a dream come true,” Rolle told the Herald. “This is something I’ve been dreaming about since I was six years old. This is the only thing I ever really wanted to do.”
Parrish, who was fluctuating between the second and third rounds in most mock drafts, ended up being taken with the 55th pick by the Buffalo Bills. What makes this selection more interesting is that the Bills chose UM tight end Kevin Everett in the third round.
Both players are expected to contribute for Buffalo this season, with Parrish working as a slot receiver, possible deep threat and return specialist and Everett, who was listed as a wide out during the draft telecast, strengthening the team’s blocking ability and receiving corps.
Sentimental favorite Frank Gore, who has overcome two ACL injuries and his mother’s kidney ailment, was drafted with the first pick of the third round by the San Francisco 49ers. This could be a perfect fit for Gore, who will team with quarterback Alex Smith, the No. 1 pick of the entire draft, to form their backfield of the future.
Offensive lineman Chris Myers was taken in the sixth round by the Denver Broncos.
Fans of the Hurricanes will be sure to track the progress of each of these players as they try to adjust to life in the NFL.
Eric Kalis can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.