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NFL Draft History Lesson: Miami RedHawks (2017-2021)

Miami has two draft picks over the last five seasons who are currently playing pro ball after a five-season drought of selections prior.

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The Miami RedHawks are one of the original members of the Mid-American Conference, and have had a presence in college football for hundreds of years. The Cradle of Coaches has graduated many a fine professional prospect to the various pro leagues of the world in that time.

This season saw the retirement of perhaps the most famous of those NFL Draft selections from Miami in 18-year veteran quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who led the RedHawks to glory as MAC Offensive Player of the Year in the 2003 season, including an end-of-season #10 ranking in the Associated Press Top 25 poll.

The RedHawks’ pedigree in the NFL goes back to 1945, with the selection of back Jim Dougherty to the Philadelphia Eagles in the 30th round. Their glory years in terms of drafted selections came from 1953 to 1957, where they had at least three selections in every draft conducted, with 16 total selections in that time. Taking the entirety of the 1950’s to account, the RedHawks saw 25 alumni in the professional ranks.

1963 would be the high water mark of RedHawk draft success, with five players from the Miami squad selected to play in the league. Since that time, only two drafts have seen more than three selections from Oxford.

We check in with the prospects who were drafted within the last five seasons:

PK Sam Sloman

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Drafted: 2020, seventh round, 249th overall, Los Angeles Rams

It’s already been a fairly curious NFL career for one of the MAC’s most historically accurate kickers.

Sloman was unstoppable in the collegiate ranks, finishing his career going 49-of-62 (79 percent) on field goals and 112-of-115 (97 percent) on field goals. His senior season was his breakout year, nailing an incredible 86 percent of his kicks, including 11-of-14 from 40+ yards and an even more incredible 4-of-5 from 50+ yards out en route to a MAC title in 2019.

Originally drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in the seventh round by fellow Miami football alum Sean McVay, Sloman signed a four-year, $3.37 million contract before even playing a down in Royal Blue and Sol. He would go 8-of-11 on field goals in his stint in LA before his surprising release in Oct. 2020 after seven games due to a series of foibles on extra points, where he was 18-of-21.

It would take Sloman just over a month to find a new home, going to the Tennessee Titans practice squad in Nov. 2020. Sloman was called up on Week 17 in a tight spot for the Titans, who needed a win to clinch the division— and a playoff spot. He delivered in spades, going 2-of-2 on extra points and hitting his lone field goal attempt from 37 yards out in walk-off fashion.

He is currently on a future/reserve contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers after spending the 2021 season on their practice squad.

OT Tommy Doyle

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Drafted: 2019, fifth round, 161st overall, Buffalo Bills

Tommy Doyle was a dependable part of a tough Miami offensive line over four seasons for the RedHawks, with his performance and potential ultimately paving the way for him to get drafted in the NFL.

A two-time first-team all-MAC tackle, Doyle has spent all three of his professional years in Buffalo as a rotational depth option, with 11 game appearances in 2021. Doyle has also been used as an alternate tight end on trick formations, with a touchdown catch vs. the New England Patriots in the first round of last season’s NFL playoffs.