Several Miami Hurricanes ranked in top ten at position for NFL Draft

TALLAHASSEE OCTOBER 7: Running back Mark Walton
TALLAHASSEE OCTOBER 7: Running back Mark Walton /

The Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller has ranked several Miami Hurricanes in the top ten at their position ahead of the NFL Draft. Nine UM alums will have a chance to show their talent at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis beginning next week.

The highest ranked Miami Hurricanes player is running back Mark Walton. Walton missed most of the 2017 season with an ankle injury. He also decided to forego his Senior season to enter the NFL Draft.

Miller has Walton as the sixth-ranked running back. Walton and tight end Christopher Herndon are rated as the biggest sleepers at their position by Miller. Miller has four Miami Hurricanes in total ranked in the top ten players at their position entering the NFL Draft.

Miller’s other Miami players ranked in the top ten players at their position are on the defensive side of the ball. Defensive tackle R.J. McIntosh is ranked as the tenth per Miller. He also ranks McIntosh as the biggest question mark among the defensive tackles. Defensive end Chad Thomas is ranked eighth at his position.

Walton was heading towards a career year before he suffered the season-ending injury against Florida State. Walton ran for 428 yards and three touchdowns and caught seven passes for 91 yards in four games before suffering the injury.

Walton’s previous career high average came in 2016. He averaged 85.9 rushing yards per game in Mark Richt’s first season. He also averaged about 25 total yards per game more per game in 2017.

Herndon was the Miami Hurricanes second-leading receiver across the board in 2017. He finished the season with 40 receptions for 477 yards and four touchdowns. Herndon established career highs in all three categories.

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  • McIntosh and Thomas tied for the team lead with 12.5 tackles for loss. McIntosh also led all Miami Hurricanes defensive lineman with 52 tackles. He was second on Miami with seven passes defended and added 2.5 sacks. Thomas had a career-high with 41 tackles and the 12.5 TFL and tied his career with 4.5 sacks.

    Travis Homer did a great job replacing Walton this past season. He ran for 966 yards, despite only starting nine games. Replacing Herndon and McIntosh are going to be more difficult than replacing Thomas and Walton.

    Homer returns with his backup DeeJay Dallas. Miami also adds five-star running back Lorenzo Lingard and four-star Camron Davis.

    Joe Jackson and Demetrius Jackson will step into the defensive end spots vacated by Thomas and fellow Senior Trent Harris. Replacing McIntosh inside will be difficult. Gerald Willis will definitely be at one tackle. The other starting defensive tackle will likely be a battle between returnees Pat Bethel and Jon Ford and incoming Freshman Nesta Silvera.

    Next: Will Michael Irvin II emerge as next great Miami Hurricanes tight end

    Tight end is Miami’s most inexperienced position entering 2018. Freshmen Brevin Jordan and Will Mallory are expected to get the bulk of the playing time. Returnees Michael Irvin II and Brian Polendey will also have a chance to challenge.