In his latest mock draft released Wednesday, ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. has Phillip Dorsett, the former Hurricanes standout wide receiver, going 31st overall to the defending NFC champion Seattle Seahawks. He is one of three UM players Kiper projects to go in the first round, along with offensive tackle Ereck Flowers (16th overall, Houston Texans) and inside linebacker Denzel Perryman (28th, Denver Broncos).
Kiper’s reasoning for his Dorsett-to-Seattle projection:
Another player who shined in Mobile at the Senior Bowl, Dorsett would offer Seattle something they simply don’t have on the roster right now, which is a player who can consistently create space with quickness in the passing game. The Seahawks are simply far too reliant on Russell Wilson’s ability to extend plays and allow wide receivers time to get open, and Dorsett is a Porsche in terms of acceleration and the ability to start fast and stop quickly. He also can beat you deep if you let him to run in a straight line. Remember that Paul Richardson will be coming off an ACL surgery recovery period as the 2015 season starts, so an already thin wide receiving corps isn’t a given to be better without any additions.
Dorsett, from Fort Lauderdale-St. Thomas Aquinas, led UM with 871 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns as a senior and averaged 24.19 yards per catch, the best among non-College Football Playoff FBS teams.
Kiper’s reasoning for his Flowers-to-Texans projection:
Analysis: This is a spot where I can see the Texans going in a few directions, and I like the fit of a cornerback here as well. And while taking a high-upside talent at tackle isn't a flashy pick, I think it fits a pattern of taking the best player available. Flowers has emerged as a potential top-12 pick and a challenge to some of the more well-known tackles available in this draft -- and depending on free agency, it's a possibility the Texans will be looking for a rookie to come in and take over starting duties at right tackle. Flowers plays with an edge, is a coachable kid who could get better quickly, and could become an elite pass protector if he can be better with his hand placement. (As to the cornerback possibility: I'm not sure they go after Peters if Waynes is off the board.)
Kiper’s reasoning for his Perryman-to-Broncos projection:
Analysis: The Broncos were solid along the defensive line last year and made important additions in the secondary before 2014 in the secondary. Perryman could be an immediate help as an inside linebacker, an area where they could use it as a team that remains in "win now" mode, assuming No. 18 is back under center. And even if Peyton Manning isn't back (I assume he will be at this point), it's not like they're looking for a replacement at this point in the draft.
The Hurricanes haven’t produced three first-round picks in a single draft since 2007, when Brandon Meriweather (24th), Jon Beason (25th) and Greg Olsen (31st) were chosen late on opening night.
The last Cane to be selected in the first round was Kenny Phillips (2008). That streak, UM’s longest first-round draft drought since 1960-67, will almost certainly be broken this year.
The Hurricanes had 14 consecutive first-round picks from 1995-2008. UM has had at least one player drafted every year since 1974.