Bolden, Rambo UM’s best bets to extend 1975 draft streak

Former Miami Hurricanes safety Bubba Bolden performs for scouts during pro day at the University of Miamis Carol Soffer indoor training facility in Coral Gables on Wednesday, March 30, 2022, before the 2022 NFL Draft.

Former Miami Hurricanes safety Bubba Bolden performs for scouts during pro day at the University of Miamis Carol Soffer indoor training facility in Coral Gables on Wednesday, March 30, 2022, before the 2022 NFL Draft.

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The 2022 NFL Draft takes place in Bubba Bolden’s hometown.

But the former Miami Hurricanes start safety and before that, the USC Trojan and first-team Parade All-Americans will bypass the glitz of Las Vegas to be with friends and family when the draft begins with the first round at 8 p.m. Thursday – televised from a purpose-built “Draft Theater” adjacent to Caesars Forum.

Bolden will have a bigger party on Saturday, the third and final day of the draft which includes rounds four through seven. At that time, he said he was confident he would be drafted and be on his way to the career he has had for most of his life.

Former Hurricanes star receiver Charleston Rambo, who will watch with his family in Dallas, said he was equally confident, ready to “make phenomenal plays for whoever picks me.”

But judging by fictional drafts and NFL Draft analysts, it’s a question of whether they’ll be drafted at all.

According to the so-called top experts, Bolden and Rambo are the only two hurricanes that should be written up – but by no means sure things. Most analysts also don’t expect them to go any earlier than the sixth round.

The others, such as former star quarterback D’Eriq King, UM record receiver Mike Harley Jr., defensive end/outside linebacker Zach McCloud, defensive end Deandre Johnson, running back Cam’Ron Harris, defensive tackle Jon Ford, safety Amari Carter and offensive linemen Jarrid Williams and Navaughn Donaldson are not included in the draft projections by top analysts.

The Hurricanes have had at least one player drafted since 1975, and Bolden and Rambo said they’re confident the streak will continue.

Bubba Bolden

Former Miami Hurricanes safety Bubba Bolden performs for scouts during pro day at the University of Miamis Carol Soffer indoor training facility in Coral Gables on Wednesday, March 30, 2022, before the 2022 NFL Draft. Al Diaz [email protected]

“I’m not worried about any of that,” Bolden, 22, told the Miami Herald this week of the fake drafts. “I know I’m going to be drafted and we’re all going to be picked. You already know the Miami Hurricanes are the best in the league. We don’t care about any of these little blogs. You talk to the trainers, the big dogs – they are the ones who make the decisions.

Bolden is a strong, hard-hitting big safety who was 6-2 and 209 pounds at the NFL Pro Scouting Combine after a 2021 season cut short by surgery after seven games to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder. He finished with 42 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, one sack, two pass breakups and a rushing quarterback and was criticized by analysts for taking bad angles while chasing running backs.

In 2020, Bolden had a super season as a semi-finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award which honors the best defensive back in the country. He started nine of 11 games and had a team-high 74 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, one sack, one interception and four forced fumbles, the team-high. His success came despite an ankle injury requiring 2019 season-ending surgery on Nov. 2 in an awkward chest celebration after his first UM interception.

Bolden is thrown by ESPN’s Jordan Reid to go in the seventh round (239th overall) to the Indianapolis Colts. He ignores the conversation. He ran an impressive 4.47 seconds for 40 yards in Indianapolis at the NFL Scouting Combine.

“I’m 100% healthy now,” he said. “I feel good, ready to go.”

He said he was grateful for his time at UM and called it a “great experience.”

“They gave me a second chance to play there and it changed my life,” Bolden said. “Glad to have been there.”

Charleston Rambo

Miami wide receiver Charleston Rambo (11) is hit by Duke safety Jalen Alexander (32) as he runs down the field during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021 at Durham, NC (AP Photo/Chris Seward) Chris Seward PA

Rambo, 22, was traded from Oklahoma ahead of the 2021 season and broke Miami’s single-season records for receiving yards and receptions in UM’s final regular-season game against Duke. He finished 2021 with 79 catches for 1,172 yards and seven touchdowns in 12 games, averaging 97.7 yards. The records eclipsed Allen Hurn’s 1,162 yards in 2013 and Leonard Hankerson’s 72 catches in 2010.

At Oklahoma, Rambo played in 2019 with 43 receptions for 743 yards and five touchdown receptions and played in the college football playoffs in 2019 and 2020. His production was down in 2020 with the Sooners (312 receiving yards and three hit out of 25 takes). ESPN’s Matt Miller has Rambo drafted by the LA Chargers 260th overall in the seventh round — two spots behind the final NFL pick, while ESPN’s Jordan Reid has him No. 251 at the Kansas City Chiefs.’s Chad Reuter has Rambo ranked 227th — entering the seventh round — against the Las Vegas Raiders.

Rambo was 6-1 and a lightweight 177 pounds at the Combine. His 40 time of 4.57, considered slow for a receiver, hurt his draft. At UM’s Pro Day, it ran within 4.5 seconds. He told the Herald this week that he weighs up to 186 pounds and will prove to the team that picks him that he will have a positive impact.

“No matter what my 40s were, I’m going to beat you deep,” he said. “I will always take an incline or a loop to the cradle on top of you. Whoever gets me, you’ll all see Rambo playing for real.

Rambo, of Cedar Hill, Texas, said he would be having “a little get-together” with his family and friends in Dallas at “an Airbnb with scenery and space.”

“I feel good,” Rambo said. “I’m not stressed about anything. I place it in the hands of God. Based on my seasons in Miami and Oklahoma, whichever NFL team picks me, I’m going to get someone who makes phenomenal plays and drives offense. ”

Harleys, others

Mike Harley is featured at the 2022 UM Pro Day Al Diaz.jpg
Miami Hurricanes wide receiver Mike Harley is featured on 2022 UM Pro Day Al Diaz

As for the others, like Rambo and Bolden, they will wait and hope. If undrafted, chances are most, if not all, will join teams as undrafted free agents — or at least get tries.

Harley, who shares an apartment with Bolden in Coral Gables, is UM’s record holder for single-game receptions (13) and career receptions (182). He has interviewed several NFL teams and will be with friends and family at his third-grade teacher’s house in Fort Lauderdale to watch all seven rounds, his mother, Timico Slaughter, said.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Mike’s mother said. “It’s just another chapter. I know whichever team gets him, they’re going to have a great person and a great player. He’ll get to a place where he’s highly appreciated and valued.

This story was originally published April 27, 2022 8:00 a.m.

Miami Herald sportswriter Susan Miller Degnan has been the Miami Hurricanes’ football editor since 2000, the season before the Canes won it all. She’s won several national APSE writing awards and has covered everything from Canes baseball to college football playoffs, major marathons to the Olympics.

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