Ladarius Gunter

Ladarius Gunter playing his way onto Packers' 53-man roster

The Green Bay Packers spent their first two picks in this year's draft on cornerbacks. With the 30th-overall selection the Packers took Damarious Randall out of Arizona State; a round later they picked up Miami (Ohio) product Quinten Rollins.

And yet it's an undrafted rookie who has stood out the most at the cornerback position, so far. Through two preseason games, former Miami Hurricane Ladarius Gunter has earned a higher Pro Football Focus grade than any other player on the Packers' roster (+3.3), according to Ryan Wood of Press-Gazette Media.

Gunter, 23, may have started out as a long shot to make the team, but his play has been impossible to ignore. He has defended four passes, including one he intercepted, through two preseason exhibitions.

If Gunter keeps up this level of play, he'll make the Packers' 53-man roster for the 2015 season.

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Ladarius Gunter getting "real shot" with 1st-team defense thanks to CB rating system

Green Bay — The cornerback hierarchy for the Green Bay Packers is designed by coach Joe Whitt Jr. to be something of a meritocracy: Those who perform the best against tougher competition will be rewarded with increased playing time.

The concept reveals itself in a grading scale created by Whitt, the cornerbacks coach, who allows his players to view the results and see a numerical explanation for their spot on the depth chart.

The star system, as he calls it, rates each one of the Packers' offensive players based on talent, with a 5-star player sitting atop the list. From there, Whitt takes into account the star rating of 1) the quarterback throwing a pass and 2) the receiver catching it. Those two numbers are added together to form a point total for one particular play.

"Aaron (Rodgers) is a 5-star; Jordy (Nelson) is a 5-star," Whitt said. "So if you make a play on that, that’s a 10-star play. That’s how it’s all evaluated. You’ve got to make some of those 10-star plays; don’t make a lot of those 4-star plays.

"It's an accurate picture of why certain people are getting reps ahead of you or why you’re getting more reps than this person. At the end of the day, I don’t want them to say, ‘I didn’t get a shot. I didn’t get a fair shot.’ Well, here it is. Look at it. You might have had five pass breakups but they were 4-star (quality). This guy had three 8-star (plays). There’s a huge difference in that."

On Thursday, undrafted rookie LaDarius Gunter earned an opportunity to work with the first-team defense, which is a clear indication that his scores on the star system are trending up. Gunter, who has two interceptions of Rodgers in practice and the team's only interception against the Patriots, played alongside veteran Sam Shields for the majority of 11-on-11 reps.

Rookies Quinten Rollins and Damarious Randall followed behind.

"If I’m going to truly give Gunter a chance, well he has to get out there with the 1s," Whitt said. "Earlier this week I think I had Quinten (Rollins) out there most of the time. And (Damarious Randall), he’s just coming back (from a groin injury). Last week it was Randall (with the first-team defense).

"I’m giving those three guys an opportunity to get a look, and the best guy will win it. If I’m going to give (Gunter) a real shot, he has to go with the 1s."

Though Whitt only uses his system to grade practice — "I don't put stars on those (other) guys,” he said — the weekly totals have a major influence on playing time during the exhibition season. On Friday, Whitt will calculate each cornerback's star totals from the entire week and the players with the best scores will receive more reps against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The players can see their scores and know exactly where they stand.

"The ones that practice the best this week will enter the game," Whitt said. "I told them whoever practices the best this week, that will be the entry into the game."

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Undrafted Ladarius Gunter gains support of Elliott

The Packers’ penchant for utilizing undrafted free agents is beyond compare.

Jayrone Elliott went from a no-name camp body to the final 53 last year and sees the same potential in this year’s camp MVP: LaDarius Gunter.

“He is a special talent,” Elliott said. “Very long guy and I’m trying to tell him that he can do very good on defense but at the same time to make the squad you have to go on special teams.”

Gunter’s practice exploits transferred to the preseason playing field with an interception last week.

“It was big for me to get a lot of exposure and a lot of confidence,” Gunter said. “It was a confidence builder for me. I’m just looking to carry that momentum into this week.”

“I was talking to him and he was telling me his phone was going crazy,” Elliott said. “And I told him that this is only the beginning. You haven’t done anything yet but it may seem like it but there still three (preseason) games left.”

Gunter has made plays day after day in practice, and had a good preseason debut, but he knows that his work towards making the final 53 is just getting started.

“I kind of don’t think about that right now because it’s not over so when it’s over then we’ll see where it’s at,” Gunter said. “Anything is possible and that they do like free agents and they let the best guys play so I’m just trying to come out here and contribute.”

And Elliott is Gunter’s biggest fan.

“I’m trying to be the best leader I can be and these guys look up to me because not many undrafted guys make it so if I can be a big brother to these guys I’ll take advantage of it,” Elliott said.

“Every day he always comes to work with a smile on his face and says let’s go got let’s do this let’s do that so we kind of gets me going,” Gunter said.

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LaDarius Gunter shows promise with pick

Foxborough, Mass. — The play panned out as something of a recreation from the first day of a training camp, an unexpected glimmer from an unknown player, although his exploits have become more and more routine.

It began with a play-action fake near midfield, a backup quarterback working through reps the New England Patriots hope will prepare him to replace the potentially suspended Tom Brady. Jimmy Garoppolo feigned a handoff to the running back, turned to face the field and zipped a bullet toward the left sideline.

The pass arrived with four hands there to meet it, two from intended receiver Josh Boyce and two more from LaDarius Gunter, a cornerback for the Green Bay Packers. Leather of ball met leather of gloves in an entangled heap. The ball squirted free.

Gunter pounced, just as he has done all throughout training camp, and with two hands he secured the first Green Bay Packers interception of the 2015 season. A 28-yard return set up the go-ahead score one play later, and the Packers exited Gillette Stadium with a 22-11 win thanks in large part to an impressive performance from a pair of young corners. Their efforts, buoyed by a stout defensive effort across the field, limited Brady and Garoppolo to less than 170 passing yards combined.

"We're getting our hands on a lot of balls," coach Mike McCarthy said. "As a secondary, it's happening a lot more this year. You can see it in the practices and it definitely carried over to the field."

With the cornerback position an obvious area of need following the off-season departures of Tramon Williams and Davon House, the Packers opted to solve the problem with youth. Their top two draft picks were used on corners, with Damarious Randall chosen in the first round and Quinten Rollins taken in the second.

Rollins began training camp on the physically unable to perform list, which enabled Randall to take a heavy dose of reps early on. Randall, who played safety at Arizona State, adjusted well to both the slot and outside positions, and within days he was the third corner on the perimeter behind veterans Sam Shields and Casey Hayward.

But a nagging groin injury that pulled Randall out of practice on two occasions prevented him from traveling to Massachusetts this week. The roles reversed, and Rollins was a mainstay on the edge Thursday night.

"It was fun to actually get out there and go against some guys we haven't seen since we got here in May," Rollins said. "It was fun to go against a different opponent, get a different look."

His enjoyment was undoubtedly enhanced by a sterling introduction to the NFL. Rollins, playing in the second unit, excelled as he deployed a physical brand of football predicated on challenging for the ball in the air. Twice he nearly intercepted passes from Garoppolo, and twice more he made impressive leaps to contest alongside a receiver.

He prevented four catches in the span of two drives during the second quarter alone.

"First time into action he got his hands on a couple balls," Hayward said. "He was a little disappointed. He should have caught both. I told him don't worry about it. He was in good position. This is preseason ball. We're going to drop some. I have dropped plenty since I've been here. I told him it's not going to be his last time. I thought he played pretty well."

With Randall injured, the remainder of a beautiful Massachusetts night belonged in many ways to Gunter, an undrafted free agent from Miami. Gunter made headlines on the opening day of training camp when he logged the first interception of Aaron Rodgers during 11-on-11 drills. His extremely physical play throughout camp — cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt Jr. said Gunter excels with hand placement at the line of scrimmage — bothered some of the Packers' most veteran receivers.

Gunter surfaced again with his team trailing 11-9 early in the third quarter when he made a mid-route adjustment to intercept Garoppolo. What he initially believed to be a "go" route morphed into a quick stick along the sideline. Gunter stopped, broke back toward the line of scrimmage and thrust his hands into the midsection of Boyce.

Using the same hand strength that enables him to jam receivers, Gunter inadvertently launched the ball into the air in front of the Patriots' bench. He snagged it at waist height and bolted the other way.

"I just tried to sit down when he sat down," Gunter said. "I actually went to bat the ball down, and it popped up in my hands."

A lengthy runback moved the ball deep into Patriots' territory. Tailback Alonzo Harris bounced outside for a 25-yard touchdown on the very next play to put the Packers in front.

An unexpected glimmer, indeed.

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LaDarius Gunter Picks Off Another Aaron Rodgers Pass

The training camp legend of LaDariusGunter carried over into another week. Gunter, an undrafted free agent out of Miami, raised eyebrows during the first practice of the season when he intercepted quarterback AaronRodgers on a pass intended for JaredAbbrederis. Since then, Gunter has established himself as a legitimate player in the cornerback rotation thanks to a physical brand of football that, according to cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt Jr., is predicated on winning with his hands at the line of scrimmage. On Thursday, Gunter notched his second interception of Rodgers when he picked off a deep ball down the right sideline intended for receiver JeffJanis. "I think Gunter has done some good things," coach MikeMcCarthy said. "He's aggressive. But he's got a lot to learn, particularly on special teams."

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LaDarius Gunter has a mentor in Sam Shields

Green Bay — Tramon Williams is gone, but life goes on for Green Bay Packers cornerback Sam Shields.

Same meeting room, same Joe Whitt, same defense.

"I still sit in the same seat, coach still talks the same," Shields said.

The difference is that Shields, 27 and in his sixth year, is the oldest player in the room. The young guys look to him for guidance, not to the venerable Williams.

The only thing is Shields isn't a big talker in meetings.

"When I see something on film, I'll put my input in," he said. "Coach likes that. I'm not a real loud guy, I'll just pull them aside (to say something)."

Someone Shields has had a natural bond with is rookie LaDarius Gunter, who joined the Packers as an undrafted free agent out of Miami just as Shields had. Gunter signed in part because of Shields' story.

The 6-1½, 201-pound Gunter had a pretty good spring and was rewarded with an elevated position going into training camp. With second-round pick Quentin Rollins missing the first three days with a hamstring injury, Gunter worked as the No. 4 cornerback behind Shields, Casey Hayward and first-round pick Damarious Randall.

Gunter probably didn't get drafted because he ran a slow 4.65-second 40-yard dash, but he thrived at Miami by being physical at the line of scrimmage. His long arms and strong hands have given even Jordy Nelson trouble at the line.

"He's long," Shields said. "He's long and strong. People have trouble getting off the line with him. I just say use that to your strength."

Shields said he also told Gunter he had to perform on special teams. Rookies don't make the team unless they can play special teams. He said Gunter takes everything he says to heart.

"He's quiet," Shields said. "All he does is listen. He don't talk back. When he listens, he corrects his mistakes. That's something that being an undrafted free agent, you have to do that. You just bite a lot of bullets and keep working."

As for Shields' season, he has plenty of things to work on. He has gotten away with a few bad habits because he's so fast. He needs to be more consistent. He could work on playing run defense a little more, too.

Because he's the best corner the Packers have, he occasionally may follow the other team's best receiver around the field, something Williams did some in his prime.

"I'm very comfortable (doing that)," Shields said. "I did it before, just for a little bit. Not too much, but it's nothing I haven't seen before. I've been out there to guard those type of guys before."

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Sam Shields taking leadership role in stride

GREEN BAY – As suddenly the Packers’ oldest veteran cornerback with a number of young prospects looking up to him, Sam Shields knows his every move is being watched.

It’s how he felt five years ago as an undrafted rookie, but for a completely different reason.

“When I came in, it was like that. I couldn’t make a mistake, or I was going home,” Shields said.

Shields isn’t going anywhere now except across from the opposing team’s top receiver. He embraces both the accountability and the leadership role that come with the duty, carrying on the mentoring he received from veterans such as Charles Woodson and Tramon Williams.

There are plenty of young guys looking to Shields, beginning with Green Bay’s first two draft picks, Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins. After missing the first three practices due to a hamstring issue, Rollins took the field for the first time Monday, easing back into things.

Randall was the one making the big-splash play, intercepting a throw from Aaron Rodgers intended for Davante Adams in the back of the end zone, ending the No. 1 offense’s crack at the two-minute drill.

“That’s what the coaches are looking for, plays like that, so he can get the trust from the coaches, and from the older guys, too,” Shields said. “That was a good one.”
A handful of other first- and second-year corners are in the competitive mix as well, none more impressive so far than LaDarius Gunter. Undrafted from Miami, just like Shields, the quiet Gunter does far more listening than talking, the same approach Shields took back in 2010.

“Being an undrafted free agent, you have to do that, just bite a lot of bullets and keep working,” Shields said.

With Monday’s practice focused on red-zone work, Shields’ day mirrored the up-and-down play of the defense as a whole. The offense got the best of things early before the defense rose up later.

In one period, Shields was juked in the open field after a short catch by rookie receiver Ty Montgomery, and then Jeff Janis out-fought Shields for a jump ball in the end zone.

Later, though, Shields batted away a pass from Rodgers to Jordy Nelson, and he broke up a quick hitch to Janis.

“They caught balls, I made plays, but that’s how it goes,” he said. “You’re one-on-one out there. It’s me or him.”

 It’s the type of message he delivers to the young corners, never to get too hyped about a good play or too down about a bad one. Such is life at the position.

“I’m doing more talking, not out loud, but taking a guy one-on-one, helping him out, like ‘Wood’ did me,” Shields said.

Rollins didn’t take any team (11-on-11) snaps on his first day, but he hopes to do more on Tuesday.

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Ladarius Gunter continues to impress at Green Bay Packers camp

There was a lot of attention on the Green Bay Packers first two draft picks from this past spring. Quinten Rollins and Damarious Randall were, and still are, expected to play major roles in the defense but if they’re not careful they could see a portion of their snaps being given to an undrafted free agent. LaDarius Gunter followed up his strong work in the off-season during mini-camps and OTA’s with another strong practice on the first day of an NFL training camp.

Early in the team portion of practice, Gunter mirrored second year wide receiver Jared Abbrederis on a fade route and came down with an interception off of the reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers throws interceptions in practice just as often as he does in games (rarely) so it’s fairly notable that the undrafted cornerback out of Miami (FL) was able to make a play at the expense of one of the best players in the league.

It’s just one play on the first day of camp so excitement has to be tempered a bit. In fact, Gunter got a lesson from Rodgers later in practice when he threw a dime past Gunter on a seam route to 3rd year wide receiver Myles White. Head coach Mike McCarthy also noted that it’s only day 1 but likes what he’s seen from Gunter and said “He’s done some good things. I think he’s gone in there and competed well. Like a lot of our young guys, he’s flashed. But we’re in day 1.”

LaDarius Gunter was well thought of for his skills as a corner but many questioned whether or not he would be able to transition to the NFL due to his lack of athleticism. Out of all cornerbacks at the NFL Combine last February, Gunter ran the slowest with a 4.64. He certainly has the size at 6’2″ that a lot of teams are looking for and his ability to play press-man coverage was among the best in last year’s class.

Fellow cornerback and Hurricane alum Sam Shields made the team as an undrafted free agent for Green Bay in 2010. He did so by making plays nearly every day in training camp. It’s very early but the body of work between the off-season and after the first day of training camp are promising for Gunter and he’s going to be hard to keep off the field if he continues his level of play.

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Ladarius Gunter is biggest surprise of Green Bay Packers' young CB trio

The Green Bay Packers are looking for a cornerback to start opposite 2014 Pro Bowler Sam Shields. There are three young corners in the mix for the job, and Ryan Wood of Press-Gazette Media describes undrafted rookie Ladarius Gunter as the competition's "biggest surprise."

With Casey Hayward sidelined by a foot injury, Gunter is splitting first-team reps on the outside with 2015 first- and second-round selections Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins, Press-Gazette Media reports. Cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt Jr. outlined what each rookie does best.

"D (Randall) is probably the most talented of those three, but Q (Rollins) has great instincts. He's probably the most instinctual, and Gunt probably has the most technique right now, but they all have a long ways to go," Whitt told Press-Gazette Media.

Whitt went into more detail on Gunter's play, detailing the typical characteristics of a shutdown corner.

"He's shown to me that he deserves an opportunity to be in the conversation with those other two guys with how he's played. So he's going to be given that opportunity," Whitt said, per Press-Gazette Media. "… He hasn't been giving up completions. He's just done a nice job. He has a long ways to go, too."

Gunter has decent size at 6-foot-1 and 202 pounds, but he put up nondescript numbers at the NFL Scouting Combine and did not actualize his mid-round draft projection. The Miami product is a gamer that could come to life in Green Bay's cornerback competition this summer.

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Ladarius Gunter Getting First Team Reps

LaDarius Gunter, cornerback, Green Bay Packers.

That’s who LaDarius Gunter is.

Gunter was signed as an undrafted free agent out of Miami, this year. And with the Packers having drafted cornerbacks with their first and second-round picks, Gunter clearly has no shot of making the roster.


Not according to cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt.

With Casey Hayward sidelined and Micah Hyde, for some reason, playing only safety, the Packers have been giving plenty of work to their young cornerbacks through OTAs and minicamp. Whitt says three of them have stood out — the two guys you’d expect to stand out and Gunter.

“That group in particular,” Whitt said, “has sort of separated themselves from the group of eight young guys. Now, one of those three got to separate themselves from those three guys, which who that’ll be, I don’t know. They all have talent.

“(Damarious Randall) is probably the most talented of those three, but (Quinten Rollins) has great instincts. He’s probably the most instinctual, and (Gunter) probably has the most technique right now, but they all have a long ways to go.”

Gunter played two pretty nondescript seasons at Miami, where his career totals were 55 tackles and three interceptions. While he has the size (6-2, 202) that no other cornerback on the Packers roster has, Gunter was hurt by a dreadfully slow (for a cornerback) 4.69 40 time at the combine.

That appears to be the primary reason he wasn’t drafted. Some talent evaluators had him pegged as a possible fourth-round pick.

Now, we don’t legitimately think Gunter could be a starting corner for the Packers this season, but he’s already making a case for a roster spot.

“He’s shown to me that he deserves an opportunity to be in the conversation with those other two guys with how he’s played. So he’s going to be given that opportunity,” Whitt said. “… He hasn’t been giving up completions. He’s just done a nice job. He has a long ways to go, too.”

Who knows.

Maybe we’re looking at the next Sam Shields here.

On the flip side, this is not good news for Demetri Goodson.

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History with Shields, Williams led CB Gunter to sign with Packers despite logjam

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Some undrafted players don't have much of a choice when it comes to where they sign. Those are the players who are just happy to get an opportunity anywhere. For priority undrafted free agents, however, the decision that follows the disappointment of not being selected is the most important one of their young football careers.

The Green Bay Packers boast -- at least through their own independent study -- the NFL's best opportunity for undrafted players to make the 53-man active roster. It's a significant part of their sales pitch to the best of the best players who don't hear their names called.

Aside from the raw research data of success rate, undrafted players also need to have a strong grasp on the depth chart of each team that's interested in them, especially at their position. It's for that reason that some might question why cornerback Ladarius Gunter would decide to join the Packers.

Gunter watched as Green Bay picked Damarious Randall in the first round, with the team quickly making it clear that it viewed the Arizona State defensive back as a cornerback rather than a safety. Then, Gunter saw the Packers go with another cornerback in the second round, Quinten Rollins. That's in addition to Green Bay already having Sam Shields, Casey Hayward, Micah Hyde and Demetri Goodson under contract at that spot.

Gunter, projected by as a sixth-round pick, didn't let any of that deter him from signing with the Packers.

"I'm a competitor," Gunter said frankly.

It was obvious that Gunter did not care who he'd have to beat out for a job. The three-year starter at the University of Miami was determined to find a way to make it in Green Bay.

But it's not like Gunter blindly went with the Packers. He shares an alma mater with Shields, who signed with Green Bay as an undrafted cornerback in 2010 and is now working under a $39 million contract. The Packers also helped turn Tramon Williams from a 2006 undrafted cornerback into a player now entering his 10th NFL season.

"I had watched those guys and watched where they came from, and see how Green Bay had worked with them and put them in good situations," Gunter said.
Gunter added that the development of Shields and Williams "played a big part in it."

Gunter didn't specify how many contract offers he received following the draft, saying only that it was "a lot of teams." Still, it didn't take him much thought before agreeing to terms with Green Bay.

"I felt it was the best fit for me," Gunter said. "I knew that if I came in and competed that it would give me a chance."

Cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt had that exact message midway through draft weekend after the Packers had selected Randall and Rollins. Draft position means nothing to Whitt when deciding who should be on the field and who should be on the bench.

"If it's a first-rounder or a free agent, if you play well, you'll play," Whitt said. "If you don't, you'll sit there and watch. I hope both of these guys (Randall and Rollins) don't think they're going to come in just because of their pedigree that they're going to necessarily play in front of anybody else. That's not how it works in our room. The best guys play."

That bodes well for Gunter if he comes out strong in training camp.

Whitt's work since being promoted to his current position in 2009 is also beginning to enter the equation for undrafted cornerbacks.

"Joe Whitt is excellent," head coach Mike McCarthy said. "His reputation of what we've done here in the past with our young corners speaks for itself. So, the culture is set, there's a blueprint there of taking young guys and getting them ready."

Standing nearly 6-foot-2 and weighing 202 pounds, Gunter finds himself as the biggest player in Green Bay's cornerback room. Randall, Rollins, Hayward, Shields and Goodson are all 5-11.

"With faster guys I can get my hands on them and slow them down," Gunter said. "Bigger guys, I can use my body to jump and play with those guys. (Size) plays a role in both situations."

Gunter's size led to 50 percent of the NFL teams he spoke with during the draft process to view him as a safety. The Packers weren't one of those teams, but it doesn't mean they couldn't give that a shot at some point in an attempt to make Gunter more versatile -- and therefore, valuable -- to the defense.

Gunter doesn't have the speed of Randall and Rollins. Gunter ran a 4.69 40-yard dash at the Scouting Combine, slower than both Randall (4.46) and Rollins (4.57). Gunter insisted that he plays faster than his timed speed, though.

"Some people are fast in a straight line," he said. "I feel I'm just a football player. I'm not a track star. I play fast on the football field."

It remains to be seen whether there's enough room on the Packers defense for Gunter to join fellow rookies Randall and Rollins on the active roster. But if there's one NFL team on which it might be possible, it's Green Bay.

"The best players play, the next guys watch," Whitt said.

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Ladarius Gunter Could Push Damarious Randall, Quinten Rollins For Playing Time

Green Bay Packers cornerback Ladarius Gunter may have been passed over 256 times during the 2015 NFL Draft, but now that the annual rookie selection process is over, that means little for his NFL future.

Gunter, 6-foot-1, 202-pounds, has prototypical size for the corner spot in the NFL and performed very well at the Senior Bowl. He finished 2014 at Miami with 28 tackles, six pass break ups and two interceptions.

Despite his physical talents and quality production, a 4.69 40-yard dash at the NFL rookie scouting combine likely helped push Gunter down and completely off most draft boards.

Now a Packer, Gunter seems to enter a crowded secondary field after Green Bay GM Ted Thompson spent the team's first two picks on safety/cornerback Damarious Randall and safety/cornerback Quinten Rollins.

While Gunter seems unlikely to crack the active lineup his first season, with the Pack planning to have Randall and Rollins start their NFL careers at corner - they played mostly safety in college - should either player stumble, Gunter may actually have the inside track on one of the Packers 53 roster spots.

"Given both players' potential issues at converting to new positions, Gunter could have the opportunity to stand out during training camp and the preseason to earn a roster spot. It won't be easy, but Gunter has a shot at winning the final corner spot on the Packers' roster," writes Charlie Campbell of Walter Football.

With Davon House and Tramon Williams defecting to new NFL homes in free agency, Thompson and the Packers focused their draft efforts on the secondary in order to plug the holes left by their veteran departures.

While Randall and Rollins will get the first few shots at securing starting jobs, if Gunter can show the same kind of playmaking ability he did at Miami, he has a better shot at playing right away than his undrafted status would suggest.

Still, as Campbell notes, the knock against Gunter has and will continue to be his speed.

"Teams aren't confident that Gunter can run with receivers and will be limited to only being a press-man corner against bigger, slower receivers. There were doubts that Gunter would be able to run with NFL receivers and prevent separation," writes Campbell.

Despite concerns over his quicks, some, like's Lance Zierlein pegged Gunter as a likely fourth or fifth-round pick.

"Has the desired size, length and playmaking qualities to be a starting cornerback but his perceived lack of play speed and inconsistency in man coverage could cause teams to peg him as a zone corner, which might drop him by a round."

Thompson and the Packers are consistently lauded for their ability to mine gems from the latter portion of the draft - if Gunter develops, he could prove the latest success story in Green Bay and, more importantly, potentially find himself making an impact on the team from Day One, perhaps in place of his more heralded new Packers teammates.

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LaDarius Gunter Has Chance to Make Roster at Crowded Position

Defensive back LaDarius Gunter, who signed with the Green Bay Packers as an undrafted free agent, has an uphill battle in his fight to make the 53-man roster. 

However, it's no secret that undrafted free agents have experienced an abnormally high level of success in Green Bay. In 2014, Packers undrafted rookies played more than double the snaps of other teams' undrafted rookies, per a study the team conducted, via Paul Imig of 

In each the last five seasons, Green Bay has signed at least three undrafted free agents to the roster. 

Given this pattern, a few of the Packers' 17 undrafted free agents in 2015 can expect to make the final roster, or at the very least the practice squad, at the conclusion of training camp. And though his position has gotten crowded, Gunter is talented enough to be one of them. 

Gunter played three seasons at the University of Miami, starting 30 games and playing in 37. He leaves Miami with 111 tackles, three tackles for loss, a forced fumble, 18 pass breakups and six interceptions. 

Though Gunter's production seemed to dip in his final season, in which he had 26 tackles in 12 starts and two interceptions, this is largely attributable to the fact that opponents simply didn't want to throw to him. 

"Having established himself as one of the better and more physically imposing corners in the ACC, opponents elected to largely ignore his side of the field in 2014," Rob Rang and Derek Stephens of wrote. 

Analysts were impressed by the 6'2", 202-pound prospect prior to the draft.'s Lance Zierlein had him ranked as a Round 4-5 talent.

"If he impresses in workouts and interviews, Gunter is likely to hear his name called on Day Two of the draft," Rang and Stephens projected. 

So why did Gunter go undrafted? He certainly impressed at the Senior Bowl, where he had four tackles—the most of any cornerback—per Patrick Magee of the Biloxi (Miss.) Sun Herald via 

He also had a flashy diving interception in the end zone for the South squad. 

At his pro day, Gunter improved on his measurables from the NFL combine. He improved his 40-yard dash times to 4.66 and 4.64 seconds after recording a 4.69 in Indianapolis. His three-cone shuttle time fell from 7.18 seconds to 6.91 seconds. 

It's possible Gunter's 40-yard dash time forced teams to look elsewhere, as teams hoping to bring him in to compete for a starting job might have written him off as a zone corner. However, Gunter proved at Miami that he has the ball skills and size to be a successful press corner, as well. 

The secondary, which was looking a little depleted after Tramon Williams, Davon House and Jarrett Bush departed in free agency, is certainly looking replenished now. In 2014, the depth chart included six corners: Williams, Sam Shields, House, Casey Hayward, Demetri Goodson and Bush. 

Now, in addition to Shields and Hayward, who are locks to make the 53-man roster, six other players will compete for a spot: first-round pick Damarious Randall; second-round pick Quinten Rollins; practice squad holdover Tay Glover-Wright; 2014 rookie Goodson; and 2015 UDFAs Bernard Blake and, of course, Gunter. 

Further complicating the expected roster spots in the secondary is the number of players on the roster who are defensive backs. Though the Packers list Gunter as a corner currently, he could be considered among these given his experience at safety, as well as Micah Hyde and free-agency addition Kyle Sebetic.

If these players make the roster, do they count themselves among the safety group, which sees starters Morgan Burnett and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, as well as Sean Richardson and Chris Banjo, returning?

All in all, the secondary comprised 11 spots on Green Bay's depth chart in 2014: six cornerbacks and five safeties. The odds are certainly more difficult for Gunter, but he brings something to the roster no other cornerback currently does: size. 

Gunter is currently the only cornerback/defensive back on Green Bay's roster listed at over 6'0"—and quite a ways over, at 6'2". That size gives him an advantage, as right now the Packers' two likely starting corners, Shields and Hayward, are both 5'11".

Gunter is "blessed with an exciting combination of height and fluidity," Rang and Stephens write. "Sports a long, tapered frame with broad shoulders and long arms, making him well-suited to handling coverage against today's behemoth receivers."

He also has a nose for the ball. He had six career interceptions and 151 yards in returns at Miami, but also had 18 pass breakups. 

ESPN's Mel Kiper is impressed with Gunter's combination of size and ball skils. "He is actually a guy that can be a number two corner in the league," Kiper told Devin Dae Tucker of SB Nation. "He is a big and physical guy, someone teams are really looking for. I love the way he runs and turns, and has good ball skills."

That physicality could be Gunter's ticket to a roster spot in Green Bay, or at the very least the practice squad. 

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Draft picks don't scare Packers undrafted rookie corner LaDarius Gunter

GREEN BAY, Wis. – LaDarius Gunter knows the Green Bay Packers picked cornerbacks in the first and second rounds of last week's NFL draft.

And he doesn't care.

If he did, the former University of Miami cornerback would have taken one of the many other offers he received from teams after he went undrafted rather than signing with the Packers, who picked Arizona State's Damarious Randall in the first round and Miami of Ohio's Quinten Rollins in the second.

But that's not the path Gunter chose.

"I'm a competitor," he said Saturday after the Packers rookie camp practice.

Gunter has at least one advantage over Randall and Rollins – height. He measured 6-foot-1½ at the scouting combine, making him nearly two full inches taller than Randall and more than an inch taller than Rollins.

He's the tallest cornerback on the Packers' roster, which can't be a bad thing considering they face the likes of Calvin Johnson (6-5) and Alshon Jeffery (6-3) twice a year.

"With faster guys, I can get my hands on them and slow them down," Gunter said. "With the bigger guys, I can use my body and jump to play with those guys as well. [Height] plays a role in both situations."

That could help Gunter make up for his lack of speed. He ran a 4.69 40-yard dash at the combine, the slowest time among all corners tested in Indianapolis. Gunter had just six interceptions in three seasons at Miami, the last two of which he was a full-time starter.

"Some people are fast on a straight line," he said. "I feel like I'm just a football player. I'm not a track star. I'm a football player."

Gunter wouldn't be the first undrafted player to make it as a cornerback in Green Bay. Tramon Williams and Sam Shields, the Packers' regular starters since 2012, both entered the league that way. In fact, Shields did so out of the same school when he came out of Miami in 2010.

"I just thought it was the best fit," Gunter said of the Packers. "And I knew Sam Shields' story, so I felt like I could get the same chance, the same opportunity he was given."

Despite how the depth chart might look with the additions of Randall and Rollins, coach Mike McCarthy insisted there's a chance for a player like Gunter.

"Absolutely, there's opportunity not only for defensive backs, but I think you really have to go into this with an open mind," McCarthy said. "Stick to your philosophy, and that's really to build your best 90-man roster."

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Latest proCane Draft Buzz

It’s likely that Ereck Flowers will be the first Hurricanes player chosen in the NFL draft, which begins April 30.

It’s clear the Carolina Panthers, who own the 25th pick, really, really like him.

Flowers, the 6-foot-6, 324-pound offensive tackle who left UM after his junior season, fills an immediate need for the Panthers on the right side and could eventually move to the left side. He interviewed with Carolina at the NFL combine, visited the team and worked out for top brass. The team also sent several representatives to watch him at the Hurricanes’ April 1 pro day. The Charlotte Observer even flew their beat writer to do a profile on him (though as usual, Flowers didn’t talk).

If he’s available when Carolina picks, he’ll probably join Cam Newton and Kelvin Benjamin. But several analysts think he might not be.

In the slew of mock drafts we found online, Flowers is slotted as high as No. 9 overall.’s Peter Schrager has him going at that spot, to the New York Giants.

Click here to read what Schrager, who has no other Hurricanes in his two-round mock, wrote about Flowers as well as the rest of the proCane potential draft picks by Matt Porter of the Palm Beach Post!

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proCane Pro Day On Wednesday, Who to Watch

Who to watch: Offensive tackle Ereck Flowers will headline a talented group of Miami players on Wednesday in Coral Gables. Flowers recorded 37 repetitions of 225 pounds on the bench press at the NFL Scouting Combine, the most of any player, and is projected to be a first-round pick. Wide receiver Phillip Dorsett was expected to be in the running for the fastest 40-yard dash time at the combine, but he finished in third with a 4.33. Dorsett has been clocked as fast as 4.18.

Also keep an eye on: RB Duke Johnson, TE Clive Walford, LB Denzel Perryman, DE Anthony Chickillo, CB Ladarius Gunter and G Jon Feliciano.

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Ladarius Gunter Will Use Pro Day To Improve 40 Time

They're just numbers. Everything gathered at the combine—the 40, the jumps, the change of direction drills. Just numbers. They can't and don't tell the entire story on any draft prospect.

However, if a prospect fails to meet expectations at the combine or flat-out bombs the workout, those numbers become something more. They become questions.
When a prospect runs a slow time or fails by some other grading tool, teams have to know why. And that means scouts need to do more homework. The question raised needs to be answered in the scouting report before a team can finalize its draft board.

"When you grade tape, you always have in your mind a 'play speed,'" former Chicago Bears Director of College Scouting Greg Gabriel explained. If on tape, a prospect looks like he's running the equivalent of a 4.45, that's his play speed. But if he then runs a 4.62 at the combine, Gabriel said, teams think, "Wait a minute, he's not the athlete I thought he was. I have to go back and watch more tape."

Along with TCU's Paul Dawson, I would also mention Michigan wide receiver Devin Funchess (4.70), Miami cornerback Ladarius Gunter (4.69) and TCU safety Chris Hackett (4.81). I watched all these guys on tape. Those are all good football players, even if they didn't test well in Indy. They will play in the league.

I saw Gunter up close on the practice field at the Senior Bowl. He isn't afraid to compete, and he found the ball all week, against some of the best talent in the country. He passed the test in pads.

Scouts know it would be a mistake to go back and change a prospect's grade based on a poor 40 time after months of studying tape. They know the combine is a stressful environment and not every prospect is going to run his best time at the end of a long week in Indianapolis.

That's the message I've gotten from the scouts I've spoken to this week.

I've been there as a player. The gauntlet of testing at the combine is exhausting, and you are worn out by the time you complete the 60-yard shuttle run to wrap up the drills. This thing is brutal. That's the best way I can describe it.

Now, we would be lying if we said the times, the testing numbers didn't matter. They do, to an extent, and scouts want to see results that somewhat mesh with the tape. But a poor workout doesn't close the book on a kid. This is why Gabriel used to encourage every prospect to run in Indianapolis.

"If you go to the combine, and if you don't have a good workout for whatever reason, then you have a chance to redeem yourself at a pro day," Gabriel said. "But if you don't go to the combine, and if you wait till your pro day and you bomb, you're done."

Dawson, Funchess, Hackett, Gunter and any other prospect that didn't quite meet the bar at the combine can change the narrative, improve their times and put to bed the questions about speed, movement skills and flexibility when they run on campus.

The pro day is a great tool, and the comfort level of these prospects will rise when they run on campus. Just think about it: You dress in your own locker room, warm up with your college strength coach and test with your teammates. It's a beautiful thing compared to the stale environment of Indianapolis. You are much more relaxed, and the times usually reflect that.

Gabriel mentioned Devin Hester as an example of how times will improve back on campus. Hester ran in the 4.4 range (a very solid time) at the combine, but he wasn't "Devin Hester fast," according to Gabriel. Then when Hester ran at Miami on his pro day, he posted a 4.35 time—on grass.

NFL teams can average the two times together, and it's up to the top decision-maker on the time they will use for the scouting report, but the majority of scouts I talked to said they take the best time—regardless of where the prospect runs.

"I always took the best time. Some people average them out. But when you average them out, you're talking different surface, different time, different place," Gabriel said. "Look at it this way, does Usain Bolt run a 9.6 100 meters every time he runs?"

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8 Future NFL proCane Headed To Combine

Eight Miami Hurricanes are making the pilgrimage to Indianapolis this week — eight players eyeing future dreams and envisioning the performances of their lives at the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine.

“It’s amazing to have seven guys who are my brothers competing with me in one place and representing our school,” said receiver Phillip Dorsett, who hopes to shatter Chris Johnson’s NFL Combine 40-yard-dash record of 4.24 seconds, set in 2007. “I’ve watched the scouting combine every year and always dreamed of being there. Now, I’m ready to perform.’’

Despite UM’s 6-7 record, the Hurricanes had enough talent for their eight standouts — defensive end Anthony Chickillo, wide receiver Phillip Dorsett, offensive linemen Jonathan Feliciano and Ereck Flowers, cornerback Ladarius Gunter, running back Duke Johnson, linebacker Denzel Perryman and tight end Clive Walford — to be invited to the Combine most coveted by players and NFL executives alike.

Last year, of the five Hurricanes invited (Seantrel Henderson, Allen Hurns, Brandon Linder, Stephen Morris and Pat O’Donnell), three were drafted. This year’s NFL Draft is April 30-May 2.

“I’m really excited to go up there and show the NFL what I can offer,” said Feliciano, who said he has “slimmed down” from 335 to 325 pounds and has gotten stronger in the process. “I want to run faster and look good for the NFL scouts.”

Feliciano and projected first-round prospect Flowers leave Tuesday for Indy, as athletes by position groups are staggered throughout the week and undergo medical exams, team interviews, psychological testing and an array of performance drills.

Dorsett, a Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas graduate who was projected by analyst Mel Kiper Jr. to be drafted late in the first round, said he will run the 40 on Saturday, with the NFL Network providing live TV coverage.

“I don’t really have a goal,” said the speedster, who posted single-season career highs of 871 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns in 2014 and has been timed as low as 4.21 in the 40. He noted that the 4.21 was timed by hand-held stopwatches as opposed to the NFL’s more sophisticated electronic timers — “so, it doesn’t really count. I’m going to run my fastest and whatever happens, happens.’’

Johnson, UM’s all-time rushing leader with 3,519 yards, said his combine goal is “to be myself, have fun and show who I am on and off the field — not only in football but when it comes to interviews.

“We have to enjoy the experience because everybody doesn’t get a chance to do it.’’

Johnson, Dorsett and Perryman have continued training at UM with strength and conditioning coach Andreu Swasey — and a bevy of other Hurricanes, including former Canes and NFL players such as Andre Johnson, Jimmy Graham, Lamar Miller, Olivier Vernon, Travis Benjamin and Brandon Harris.

“Why work out here? Because I feel really great about myself and Coach Swasey is the reason why,” said Perryman, a first-round projection who lost seven pounds, and now weighs 238. “I’ve been working out with him for four years. My body, my speed, my strength have changed for the better because of him.”

Several other Canes seniors, who weren’t invited to the NFL Combine, will compete on April 1 at UM’s Pro Timing Day. Those include quarterback Ryan Williams, center Shane McDermott, defensive tackle Olsen Pierre and linebacker Thurston Armbrister. But for the chosen eight, the fun begins this week.

“It’s real important,” Perryman said. “You’re on national television. You have all the scouts, head coaches and general managers out there seeing what you can do. But there’s no reason to get nervous.

“Like I said, I feel great about myself.”

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Eight proCanes Invited to NFL Combine

Eight future proCanes received invitations to the NFL Scouting Combine, the Post learned.

Among them are six seniors – defensive end Anthony Chickillo, wide receiver Phillip Dorsett, offensive lineman Jon Feliciano, cornerback Ladarius Gunter, linebacker Denzel Perryman and tight end Clive Walford of Glades Central High – and two underclassmen who declared for the NFL draft.

Running back Duke Johnson and offensive tackle Ereck Flowers, both juniors, will be in Indianapolis from Feb. 17-23.

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Ladarius Gunter boasts good instincts, nose for ball

Miami senior CB Ladarius Gunter "has good instincts and is always around the ball," wrote ESPN's Todd McShay.

"I don't know if Gunter has elite top-end speed, but he has really good burst when closing on the ball," McShay wrote. "His strength and physicality really stand out, as he's willing to come up in run support and he excelled in red-zone drills (he stuck with his receivers and made a great play on a quick slant thrown to his teammate Dorsett, the most explosive receiver here)." The 6-foot-1 3/8, 200-pounder was "the most physical defender on the boundary" at the Senior Bowl, observed CBS Sports' Rob Rang. Gunter fits with the NFL's increased desire to find big corners to combat jumbo-sized receivers.

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3 Future proCanes Named In ESPN's Top 10 Senior Bowl players

1. Phillip Dorsett, WR, Miami (FL) Hurricanes
He was the fastest player in Mobile this week -- by a lot -- and he might be the fastest player in the 2015 class. His ability to accelerate off his cuts is a trait he shares with all of the NFL's elite speed threats (I compared it Wednesday to in-his-prime Chris Johnson). But it's about more than just speed with him. He plays under control, getting in and out of his breaks quickly to create separation, and he has very good ball skills.

3. Clive Walford, TE, Miami (FL) Hurricanes
This isn't a great class of tight ends, and Walford has a chance to capitalize by being one of the first ones to go off the board. Speed was a question mark entering this week, but he showed plenty of it to go with very good athleticism, size (6-4, 254 pounds) and ball skills. Moreover, he can hold his own as an inline blocker, adding to his versatility.

10. Ladarius Gunter, CB, Miami (FL) Hurricanes
I don't know if Gunter has elite top-end speed, but he has really good burst when closing on the ball. His strength and physicality really stand out, as he's willing to come up in run support and he excelled in red-zone drills (he stuck with his receivers and made a great play on a quick slant thrown to his teammate Dorsett, the most explosive receiver here). He has good instincts and is always around the ball.

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Ladarius Gunter makes strong showing at Senior Bowl

MOBILE - In a Senior Bowl where University of Miami players were more likely to find their names on the injury report rather than the stat sheet, Hurricanes cornerback Ladarius Gunter made a big impact in the secondary for the South squad on Saturday.

Gunter had the best statistical performance of any of the corners, North or South, and answered the bell each time he had to make a tackle in the open field. Gunter registered four tackles, the most of any of the corners.

Gunter entered the game as potentially a fourth-round draft pick, but he might have improved his standing by again showing how physical he can be at 6-2, 198 pounds.

He provided one of the biggest defensive plays of the game for the South on the final play of the first half. Gunter was called for pass interference on the previous play on a throw intended for Ohio State receiver Devin Smith to give the North a first-and-goal at the South 1.

Instead of trying to punch it in, the North chose to throw it, and Oregon State quarterback Sean Mannion tossed the ball out wide to Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah. Gunter made Mannion pay for the poor choice, and Abdullah was immediately put to the ground by Gunter short of the goal line.

Time ran off the clock, and Gunter’s tackle kept the North’s lead at 10-7 at halftime.

Abdullah ended up being the game’s MVP with seven carries for 73 yards as the North won 34-13 at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.

The only other UM player to suit up Saturday was tight end Clive Walford, who had one catch for 10 yards in the first half.

Walford’s day didn’t last long after he sustained a hip pointer that sent him to the locker room. He watched the rest of the contest from the sideline in a sweater and baseball cap.

Even though he didn’t get much action Saturday, Walford left pleased with his week in Mobile after taking part in each of the practices.

“I showed my versatility, being able to be an every-down tight end, catch the ball and block,” Walford said.

Walford was UM’s leading receiver this season with 44 catches for 676 yards and seven touchdowns.

The Hurricanes’ leader in receiving yardage, Phillip Dorsett, didn’t play at all on Saturday after pulling in 36 catches for 871 yards and 10 touchdowns for coach Al Golden this season.

Dorsett didn’t play Saturday because of a knee injury, according to a Senior Bowl spokesman.

He was joined on the injury report by Miami linebacker Denzel Perryman, who was inactive because of an abdominal strain.

Dorsett’s absence in Saturday’s game likely won’t hurt him in the eyes of scouts. He was labeled the fastest player at Senior Bowl practices last week and could be the fastest player in the entire draft.

Walford and Perryman are both projected as possible second- or third-round selections.

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Ladarius Gunter brings phyiscal play to Senior Bowl

Miami senior CB Ladarius Gunter has unquestionably been "the most physical defender on the boundary" at the Senior Bowl, observed CBS Sports' Rob Rang.

"At 6-foot-1 3/8, 200 pounds, Gunter is more vulnerable to smaller, quicker receivers and he was beaten on occasion by them, including by [Phillip] Dorsett, his former teammate, and Kansas State's speedy Tyler Lockett," Rang wrote. "When able to latch on to receivers, however, Gunter showed off the strength and tenacity that is sure to intrigue teams looking for press corners. Gunter locked up Central Arkansas' Dezmin Lewis (6-foot-3 1/2, 215) and UNLV's Devante Davis (6-foot-3, 220), barely allowing either of them to even get off the line of scrimmage." Gunter fits with the NFL's increased desire to find big corners to combat jumbo-sized receivers and the Seahawks' paradigm of length and physicality.

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Miami Hurricanes are thriving at Senior Bowl

MOBILE, Ala. -- It was no secret in South Florida that the Miami Hurricanes had talented football players.

Despite their 6-7 record, those who follow the program knew there were many high-caliber athletes on the team. Yet, something wasn’t right with the team, whether it was inconsistent coaching or overall team chemistry.

This week at the Senior Bowl, the Hurricanes' talent is shining through. Hurricanes receiver Phillip Dorsett, tight end Clive Walford, linebacker Denzel Perryman and cornerback Ladarius Gunter all had their "wow" moments in practices this week and are generating a buzz at the Senior Bowl.

Perryman and Gunter made plays defensively for the South team on Tuesday, while Dorsett and Walford were the stars of Wednesday’s practice with big receptions. After a disappointing year at Miami, the four are doing all they can to improve their draft stock.

So how do you explain Miami’s losing record in 2014? The program continues to have solid recruiting classes but is far removed from its glory days when the Hurricanes competed for and won national championships. Things bottomed out last season as Miami finished under .500 for the first time since 2007.

“A lot of things didn’t go our way last year. I can say that,” Dorsett said. “A lot of things went the wrong way. We just got to get guys to really buy in. It’s not on the coaches, it’s on the players. Coaches coach and players got to go out there and play. That’s all I can really say about it.”

Perryman, a team captain at the University of Miami, had the same sentiments.

“For me, I feel like just a lot of miscommunication and not executing the game plan,” Perryman said. “That’s where I feel we fell short, both on offense and defense.”

Multiple teams, including the Dolphins, have interviewed Hurricanes players this week to get to know them better. The Dolphins have specifically interviewed Dorsett and Perryman at the Senior Bowl. That’s not a surprise considering their need for a speedy receiver and a take-charge linebacker.

Overall, the Hurricanes are fitting in well with some of the college talent from around the country -- both on and off the field.

“[It's] pretty cool,” Walford said of Senior Bowl week. “Ifeel like I’m at home. Idon’t feel like I’m in Alabama at all.”

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Ladarius Gunter impresses former NFL defensive back

I spoke with seven-year NFL veteran and current Bleacher Report and Chicago Tribune analyst Matt Bowen about the defensive backs here in Mobile. One player he said really impressed him today was Miami’s Ladarius Gunter.


At just over 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds, Gunter fits the physical mold of what the Kansas City Chiefs look for in a cornerback.

He spent two years at Fort Scott Community College before heading down to Miami.

If he catches the eye of Bowen, a former NFL cornerback and one of the top analysts out there, he’s definitely a player to keep an eye on the rest of the week.

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Hurricane watch during Senior Bowl South practice

The Miami football program has been mediocre in recent years, but the Hurricanes continue to pump out NFL talent, including tight end Clive Walford, wide receiver Phillip Dorsett, cornerback Ladarius Gunter and middle linebacker Denzel Perryman on the South squad at the Senior Bowl. And during Wednesday's practice, that talent shined bright.

A prospect who stole the show during South practice, Walford routinely drew praise from the Jaguars coaching staff for his routes, athleticism and ability to finish at the catch point. He has an easy release off the line of scrimmage with the route acceleration to threaten the seam and be a downfield target. Walford doesn't have an elite frame for the position, but he knows how to use his size to shield defenders from the ball and create mismatches down the field. Walford entered the week in contention to be the No. 1 senior tight end drafted and he's only helped his chances of that happening through two practices in Mobile.

He has looked “as advertised” from his Miami game film.

The favorite to run the fastest 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine next month, Dorsett has “blur” speed to make defensive backs look silly. He has shown that sudden footwork at the line of scrimmage to beat press and the instant acceleration to win vertically downfield. Dorsett routinely won 1-on-1 drills against the South defensive backs, including his former teammate Gunter.

However, there is such a thing as playing too fast and Dorsett will do that at times, losing footing or getting wild in his breaks. Nonetheless, he has the game-changing speed to not only make an impact on offense, but also as a return man once he adds seasoning and polish to his game.

Gunter is one of the bigger corners in Mobile this week at 6-1 and 200 pounds with 32-inch arms, but he's shown the foot quickness that match much smaller players, moving very well for his size. He uses his length to contest any pass in his area code, blanketing receivers and impressing with his cover skills. Like most bigger cornerbacks, Gunter does need some refinement with his transitional technique, but overall, he has showed scouts more positives than negatives this week.
Unfortunately Perryman had to pull out of the Senior Bowl after a strained abdomen muscle on Wednesday. But his performance on Tuesday was enough to create a little buzz in the bleachers among scouts.

Miami finished with a 6-7 record in 2014, but after Anthony Chickillo, Jon Feliciano and Shane McDermott played well at the East-West Shrine Game last week and these four Hurricanes in Mobile, its clear there was more talent in Coral Gables than the record gives them credit. And that doesn't include Miami's top two prospects in the 2015 NFL Draft class – underclassmen running back Duke Johnson and offensive tackle Ereck Flowers.

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Mel Kiper Talks About proCane Draft Picks

According to PalmBeach Post writer Matt Porter, Mel Kiper had the following things to say about this year’s potential proCane draft picks. Follow Matt on twitter here and read his blog here.

Kiper said Flowers is “solidly in round one,” and has him slotted 19th overall to Cleveland.  “Flowers leaving early, people maybe didn’t expect that during the season,” Kiper said (note: outsiders, perhaps; within the program, Flowers was long seen as a three-year guy). “But he’s a kid who’s got enormous talent, decent feet, versatility to play left tackle or right tackle.”

Kiper’s top two running backs are Todd Gurley and Melvin Gordon, but he has Johnson right behind them. “Duke can run outside, he’s got that burst,” Kiper said. “He can catch the ball. A heck of a player. I think he’s a second-round talent you might be able to get in the fourth round.”

Dorsett will be a a second- or third-round pick because he “can fly,” Kiper said. “He’s a vertical stretch receiver.” He said he thinks Perryman will be a second-round pick.

Kiper on tight end Clive Walford: “I have him as the fourth highest-rated tight end. He can get down and stretch that deep middle area, which he showed in some games this year. Caught the ball well. He’s not going to have the great, great 40 time that some of these other guys will, but he plays faster and he’ll test [well].

“I think he’s a guy you get into … early- to mid-day three, he’ll make somebody look good at that point, I believe. I think he can be a No. 2 tight end. He’ll contribute. I think Walford’s got a chance to play in this league.”

Asked if cornerback Ladarius Gunter, center Shane McDermott and offensive guard Jon Feliciano could sneak into the late rounds, Kiper said: “Those are some of the names. McDermott right now I have as the seventh or eighth center. That’s a late-round, free-agency guy. Feliciano, same thing.”

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Several Future NFL proCane Draft Projections

The highest-rated prospect is Ereck Flowers, UM’s former left tackle who skipped his senior season to turn pro. WalterFootball is high on Flowers, projecting him ninth overall to the New York Giants and the second offensive lineman taken. A website called Great Blue North Draft Report believes Flowers will go 14th to the hometown Dolphins. Flowers is projected 21st overall by CBS Sports’ Rob Rangand by FootballsFuture. CBS’ Dane Brugler projected Flowers 30th to Denver.

Perryman is a projected as a first-rounder per Sports Illustrated, the 21st overall pick. He also snuck into the first round of’s latest mock draft, going 30th to Denver.

Duke Johnson was a second-rounder on WalterFootball’s four-round mock draft, going 45th to Minnesota. WalterFootball listed third-round projections for Dorsett (82nd to Houston) and Walford (87th to Pittsburgh).

Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller has Flowers, Perryman and Johnson as second-rounders.

The website DraftTek did a seven-round mock draft that included eight Hurricanes, led by Perryman (second round, 42nd to Atlanta). Flowers (65th to Tampa) and Johnson (73rd to Atlanta) were third-round picks. Also projected to be drafted: Walford (fourth round, 125th to Green Bay), Gunter (fifth round, 132nd to Oakland), Dorsett (seventh, 194th to Tampa) and Pierre (seventh, 212nd to Philadelphia). The site also listed junior Tracy Howard (sixth, 183rd to Pittsburgh), who has not declared for the draft.

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Future proCanes in Post Season All-Star Games

Anthony Chickillo, Jon Feliciano and Shane McDermott will play in the East-West Shrine Game (4 p.m. Saturday, NFL Network). Feliciano and McDermott (of Palm Beach Central) will play for the East team, while Chickillo is on the West roster.

Olsen Pierre will play in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl as will UCLA’s Malcolm Bunche, a former Cane (4 p.m. Saturday, ESPN2). Team practices will be televised Wednesday and Thursday on ESPNU.

Phillip Dorsett, Ladarius Gunter, Denzel Perryman and Clive Walford (Glades Central) will play in the Senior Bowl (4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 24, NFL Network).

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Six proCanes Projected in First Four Rounds of 2015 NFL Draft

The 2015 NFL Draft is still several months away, but with the Miami Hurricanes’ season complete it can’t hurt to take a peek at some of their intriguing pro prospects.

The Canes might’ve finished the season with a subpar 6-7 record, but it appears there’s a solid crop of incoming NFL talent coming out of Coral Gables. Six players are projected to go in the first four rounds, according to CBS Sports rankings, which is run by NFL Draft Scout.

Rounds 1-2: Ereck Flowers, Offensive Tackle
Round 2: Duke Johnson, Running Back
Rounds 2-3: Denzel Perryman, Linebacker
Rounds 2-3: Clive Walford, Tight End
Rounds 3-4: Phillip Dorsett, Receiver
Round 4: Ladarius Gunter, Defensive Back

It also wouldn’t be a surprise to see a player like Dorsett, blessed with superhuman speed, climb up the draft boards after what should be a dynamic performanceicon1 at the NFL Combine or Miami’s Pro Day.

Defensive end Anthony Chickillo, center Shane McDermott, and offensive guard Jon Feliciano are projected to go in the sixth round or later, while many scouting services expect 9-10 Canes to get drafted overall. In Todd McShay’s first mock draft on ESPN, he projected both Flowers and Perryman to go in the first round.

For comparison’s sake, projections were pulled for in-state ACC rival and powerhouse, Florida State. They’re expected to have 10 players go in the first four rounds, but this figure assumes undecided underclassman Eddie Goldman, Ronald Darby, and Roberto Aguayo declare for the draft.

So although the Canes aren’t expected to churn out quite the same quality and quantity of NFL players this season as the Noles, talent is not as much of a scarcity as Miami’s 6-7 record would seemingly indicate.

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Four Future proCane Invited To The Senior Bowl

It looks like four Hurricanes will be heading to this year's senior bowl: linebacker Denzel Perryman, cornerback Ladarius Gunter, receiver Phillip Dorsett and tight end Clive Walford.

Eric Galko, an editor at Optimum Scouting who also provides content for the Sporting News and the National Football Post, tweeted the news out Wednesday evening. projects all four players as draft picks for the Hurricanes with Perryman currently tabbed as the best of the senior group at 58th overall (2nd round) -- seven spots behind junior tailback Duke Johnson, considered UM's top draft prospect. 

Walford, who is enjoying a stellar senior season, has seen his draft stock rise over the last couple weeks and is now tabbed as the second-best available tight end, and the 74th best prospect (2nd or 3rd rounder). Junior left tackle Ereck Flowers is also receiving a lot of love after his stellar performance against FSU two weeks removed from knee surgery. Flowers is tabbed the 77th best prospect and the ninth best draft-eligible offensive tackle (2nd or 3rd rounder).

Truth is, though, Flowers could soar even higher -- maybe into the first round.

"I think he'll go first round or early second," an NFL scout who spoke on the condition of anonymity told me by phone Thursday. "I haven't watched the [FSU] tape yet. But I don't have to. He's a big, physical, good player. And he's tough as hell."

In article by's Rob Rang on Wednesday Flowers was been tabbed the 30th best prospect overall.

30. Ereck Flowers, OT, 6-5, 322, 5.26, Jr, Miami: Flowers returns to the Big Board after a very impressive performance against Mario Edwards, Jr. and Florida State. He dropped off the list after undergoing knee surgery in late October but certainly looked no worse for wear against the defending champs. Flowers is light on his feet and balanced in pass protection. He is aggressive and active as a run blocker, including looking for defenders in pursuit. If Flowers checks out medically, he's a likely first-round pick.

Gunter is tabbed as the 18th best available cornerback in the draft and projected to go in the fourth round along with Dorsett, ranked the 20th best receiver.
Senior defensive end Anthony Chickillo, now expected to play at Virginia on Saturday and make his 45th consecutive start, is rated the 18th best defensive end and is given a 4th or 5th round grade. Other Hurricanes seniors on's projected board include outside linebacker Thurston Armbrister (210th overall, 6th round), defensive tackle Olsen Pierre (228th overall, 6th-7th round), guard Jon Feliciano (234th overall, 6th-7th round), and center Shane McDermott (298th overall, 7th round-free agent).

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