CORAL GABLES – ESPN NFL Draft analyst Todd McShay said he wouldn't be shocked to see as many as nine former Miami Hurricanes players selected next week, but "a safe bet" is seven.
McShay said on a conference call Tuesday he expects running back Lamar Miller, receivers Tommy Streeter and Travis Benjamin, linebacker Sean Spence, offensive lineman Brandon Washington, defensive tackle Marcus Forston and defensive end Olivier Vernon to be drafted.
He described defensive end Adewale Ojomo and defensive tackle Micanor Regis as "on the fringe," and listed receiver LaRon Byrd and tight end Chase Ford as "sleepers" late in the seven-round draft.
Miller is projected to be the first 'Canes player taken. McShay said on-air Tuesday that Miller would be a "steal" for the Denver Broncos at No. 57. Later, on the conference call, he noted, "Olivier Vernon of all those guys after Miller is most intriguing to me. … I think he's a better player than maybe the perception [of him]."
McShay said the 6-foot-2, 262-pound Vernon can play both end and outside linebacker in the NFL.
"He has some stiffness, there's no question," McShay noted. "He's not a great athlete and his production didn't always match up [to his talent]. And I've heard some things. Is he mature enough?
"But if he his focused and doing all the right things and working and 100 percent dedicated to football, he's well-built, solid, strong, shows some quickness off the line and he has a chance to make an impact as a pass rusher at the next level."
McShay said "there's a strong chance" Streeter will be drafted in the third or fourth round, but he personally would have a hard time drafting him in the first four rounds.
"There's a lot of interest because of his height, weight and speed and certainly he's a great athlete. He has more potential than we've seen him do at Miami," McShay said. "But the tape just doesn't match up with what I see."
McShay said he doubts quarterback Jacory Harris will be drafted at all.
"He showed some flashes this past year. I thought he would be better this past year, but the inconsistency jumps out," McShay said, citing turnovers. He added that there are concerns from NFL teams about Harris' durability because of his relatively thin frame.
"But he has enough arm talent, so it's not to say he won't one day land on a roster if he's able to continue to develop somehow. It's just tough to develop as a quarterback. There's nowhere to really go and get good from this point on."