Posted: 11:24 pm Friday, May 9th, 2014
By Matt Porter
Brandon Linder spends a lot of time fishing. A lot. Lately, he’s been posting the best grouper, hogfish, snapper and mahi he catches on his Instagram account.
Good news for him: There’s some pretty decent fishing off the coast of Jacksonville.
The Jaguars, with the No. 93 overall selection of the 2014 NFL Draft, landed the former UM right guard just after 11 p.m. Friday night.
NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said Linder was a late-round pick based on his athletic ability, but his body of work stood out.
“When [NFL] coaches got involved in the evaluation, he went from a fourth- or fifth-round grade to a third- or fourth-round grade. Why? He’s reliable, he’s tough and he’s durable. Coaches love this type of guard.
“Brandon Linder will go in, he’ll keep his mouth shut and he’ll play his tail off.”
Linder (6-5, 311), did just that at UM, where he made 42 starts in four seasons. He was a second-team All-ACC selection last year and UM’s offensive MVP award winner.
He is the first Canes offensive lineman drafted in the first three rounds since 2011, when Atlantic High alum Orlando Franklin went 46th overall (second round) to the Denver Broncos. With Linder’s selection, a UM player has been selected in each of the last 40 drafts.
He now gets a chance to protect Blake Bortles, the former Central Florida quarterback the Jaguars took No. 3 overall. Jacksonville returns 2011 third-rounder Will Rackley at right guard.
CBSSports.com’s Pete Prisco wrote that Linder could play center, offering this analysis: “The Jaguars had to get a center, and this is the next guy in line. It makes sense as they continue to build up the offense.”
Linder attended Fort Lauderdale-St. Thomas Aquinas, the same place as his younger brother and February Hurricane signee Nick, a center.
NFL Network analyst Charles Davis touted Linder’s work against former Florida standout Dominique Easley in UM’s 21-16 win over UF last September. Easley went 29th overall to the New England Patriots.
“I saw Linder get after him a couple of times,” Davis said. “He oes not mind mixing it up with a couple people, now.”
The NFL Draft continues with Rounds 4-7 at noon Saturday. Former Hurricanes offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson, quarterback Stephen Morris, receiver Allen Hurns and punter Pat O’Donnell are candidates to be selected.