Commentary: Olsen, Meriweather highlight UM class of ’07

Not even a 7-6 season is reason enough for NFL scouts not to have their eyes light up when it comes to evaluating talent from The U.

The 2007 National Football League (NFL) draft is fast approaching. The two-day extravaganza is like Christmas for NFL organizations and fans. The idea that Player X could be the guy to build a franchisee around or Player Y could be the final piece to getting to the Super Bowl has NFL player personnel arranging and rearranging their draft boards.

For each team there is someone different, based on team needs, player workouts and pure talent, but the one thing all these NFL teams have in common is the fact that, despite this year’s team record, they are keeping one eye on South Florida. And why not?

With University of Miami players tearing it up on the field, why wouldn’t scouts be interested in players coming out of The U?

Miami has produced players like Warren Sapp, Ray Lewis, Ed Reid, Edgerrin James, Willis McGahee, Clinton Portis, Shawn Taylor, Dan Morgan and a laundry list of others, and this is only in recent years.

This year will be no different. Scouts have taken fancy to tight end Greg Olsen, linebacker Jon Beason and safety Brandon Meriweather. As for Olsen, NFL scouts have him ranked as the No. 1 tight end in the draft, while Beason and Meriweather are in the upper echelon of players, at their respective positions.

All three of these guys have a legitimate shot of being drafted in the first round, and they will all but certainly be off the draft board by the end of the second round. Olsen probably has the best shot of getting drafted in the first round, but depending on what team is drafting, who has been taken off the draft board and where they are in the draft will have a big impact on where each of these guys gets drafted.

If all goes according to plan, there could be three Hurricane names called by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, by the end of the first round. As for the Hurricanes’ football program, this would be an exciting outcome, but even if and as long as one ‘Cane is drafted in the first round of this year’s draft, the Hurricanes would extend their NCAA record to an unprecedented 13th straight year with a first-round selection.

Miami currently own a streak of 12 straight years where at least one Hurricane has been drafted in the first round. A distant second is the Florida Gators, who had nine straight seasons, from 1983-1991, where a player of theirs was selected in the first round.

The Hurricanes will surely be looking to extend their streak, as it stands as a testament to the talent and abilities of players who come to and play for the University of Miami, the standards that these athletes are held to and the great coaching from their coaches.

Other Hurricanes who will look to hear their names called in this years draft are Baraka Atkins, Kareem Brown, Brian Monroe, Ryan Moore, Tyrone Moss, Jon Peattie, Alex Pou and Anthony Wollschlager.

These players will look to continue a trend of excellence and superiority that former Hurricanes players have established when it comes to Hurricanes translating into NFL players. The bar has been set high, but if there are players from any university ready to hurdle over the bar, it is a player from The U.

Pravin Patel may be contacted at