~ The following article was contributed by beloved Eye of the Hurricane blogger, DZ8 ~
Olivier Vernon, OLB/DE – After missing the 1st 6 games of this past season, Vernon leaving early was a bit of a surprise. His lack of a record and disappointing work out at the NFL Combine didn’t do enough to get him into elite consideration at his position. At this point in time he is about a 6’2″ 260 lb player with a limited skill set consisting of only a bull rush. I have seen enough games and know he is a great athlete so I do expect him to have a productive NFL career. He was a highly-rated recruit and Nick Saban made a big push to get him planning to use him in an “Elephant” role at Alabama similar to what Jason Taylor had success with at the Dolphins. Teams like Pittsburgh, Green Bay, or darn it Esteban, New England would be possible homes for him late in the 4th round.
Marcus Forston, DT – Oh Marcus, we hardly knew you. One of the top-rated defensive tackle recruits in the country is leaving our Canes after an injury-plagued career. You can’t really blame the guy, as another injury could put any NFL career in doubt. Limited lack of tape would make his medical report all the more important for teams needing help on the inside of their defensive line. The talent is there and the professional work outs and nutrition at the next level could easily make Forston a mainstay on any teams line for a decade. The injury risk factor keeps his ceiling in the 4th round to teams like Denver, San Diego or Cincinnati.
Tommy Streeter, WR – Another Cane with a brief playing career at The U, Streeter needed a new coach to get out of the doghouse that kept him on the bench. When he did get to play, he did very well and has an impressive physical resume. The receiver out of Georgia Tech, Stephen Hill, had an amazing combine performance and pushed Streeter’s stock down as the best height-weight-speed receiver prospect in the draft. Body catching will need to be worked on at the pro level and will keep Streeter from contributing right away. I could easily see him going in the 5th round to a team like Pittsburgh who has had better luck developing their receivers later in the draft than picking them early. Tennessee and Houston also come to mind and Green Bay could draft him if he falls to them. In homage to Al Davis, the Raiders should draft him as that was exactly what Al Davis liked, the biggest and fastest wearing the silver and black.
Travis Benjamin, WR – Another favorite of mine who almost single handedly won the 2009 FSU game for us, Travis Benjamin made our offense electric… in spurts. Whether that was because of poor coaching or the player not stepping up can be debated (as can the claim that all those INTs weren’t Jacory Harris’ fault but on Travis Benjamin, eyes rolling-head shaking), but he does bring the ability to “take the top off” a defense. His slight frame and hair cut reminds me of Marty Gillyard who went in the mid rounds to St Louis a few years ago and I could see Benjamin in a similar position. He will bring value as a situational receiver for certain routes and end around plays, as well as in the return game. Washington and Chicago could be homes for him in the 5th round.
Laron Byrd, Aldarius Johnson, Tyler Horn, Adawale Ojomo and Jacory Harris all have the potential to be drafted late but I don’t think they will. Byrd has a better chance at making a roster than Johnson while Horn could be a developmental candidate on a practice squad next fall. If I remember correctly, I think he was pretty smart and might just go to medical school instead. Ojomo plays like a defensive end but has outside linebacker size so his “tweener” status could put a future NFL career in doubt.
Did I miss anyone? Oh yeah… Jacory. “His passes float through the air like gentle butterflies being chased by playful children”. Jacory will probably be a graduate assistant at Miami next year giving fashion advice to Canes Quarterbacks.
DZ8-checking out. 🙂