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NFL Draft

Fits and Starts of the 2019 NFL Draft–Jordan Ta’amu

Shawn Digity

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USA Today
Jordan Ta'amu getting ready to throw. Image courtesy of USA Today

Which 2019 NFL Draft quarterbacks fit for the Miami Dolphins, which ones could start, and which ones aren’t on the table?

Let’s dive into the second installment of Fits and Starts with Ole Miss’ Jordan Ta’amu.

Here’s yesterday introduction to the Fits and Starts series when I talked about Jarrett Stidham.

Here are also the latest entries in the State of the Roster and State of the AFC East series.

The Fits and Starts series is putting some less-common quarterback names under the microscope. We’ve heard a lot about the ring leaders of this draft class’ quarterbacks: Kyler Murray, Dwayne Haskins, Drew Lock, and Daniel Jones, but let’s not forget about the overshadowed guys. We talked about Jarrett Stidham already, so let’s move on to the next name on the list: Ole Miss’ Jordan Ta’amu.

Jordan Ta’amu’s 2018 Season

The senior quarterback didn’t put up great production in 2018, despite a highlight reel that might suggest otherwise. Jordan Ta’amu threw for nearly 4,000 yards but only managed 19 touchdowns (and 8 interceptions). With the bigger names like Dwayne Haskins throwing for 50, Kyler Murray for 42, and Gardner Minshew for 38, it’s discouraging to see Ta’amu’s meager 19.

The Rebels didn’t fare very well in the SEC in 2018 and finished 5-7 overall and missed a bowl berth, which isn’t a great bellwether when scouting the quarterback of that team. It can be off-putting when seeing that, even if it’s not totally fair.

Quarterback wins is a polarizing statistic, but it’s worth nothing when a quarterback plays on a team that doesn’t have a winning record during their time as a starter. In this case, Ta’amu finished at 6-6 (7 starts) in 2017 and 5-7 (12 starts) in 2018.  

Jordan Ta’amu Mini-Report

I watched what I could find of Jordan Ta’amu (the Alabama game) and did some small-sample-size scouting; he has some electric throws, I’ll admit that much. The first throw of the Ole Miss v. Alabama game was a near-perfect pass to D.K. Metcalf. The first throw of Ole Miss’ second series was another impressive deep shot from Ta’amu to DaMarkus Lodge, but it was broken up by an awesome defensive play by Alabama’s Trevon Diggs.

Ta’amu started hot out of the gate in this game but quickly came back down to Earth after Alabama started running away with it. Jordan Ta’amu has a gunslinger mentality, so that’s something to tuck away when watching some of his films. He’ll try to force things if the situation gets chaotic or the team is falling behind.

Something I did notice was Jordan Ta’amu’s escapability and pocket presence. He was able to make a few shifty moves on a couple of plays and evade the initial pressure with side steps or forward steps out of the pocket.

That was refreshing to see after watching half a dozen seasons of Ryan Tannehill getting constantly caught in crumbling walls of hog mollies. But he also whiffs on trying to escape and will get sacked when there were opportunities to throw the ball away or evacuate the pocket.

Jordan Ta’amu has the ability to throw different styles of passes, which is good. I saw some fastballs on slants and some floaters with good touch on some deeper routes, but the accuracy is inconsistent and he had a tendency to throw into double or triple coverage.

The Production Conundrum

Now let’s revisit that opening-drive touchdown. Here’s the problem I have with that first pass to D.K. Metcalf in regard to Jordan Ta’amu, specifically. How much of Ta’amu’s limited production was a byproduct of an insanely talented receiving corps?

I mean, I’m pretty sure D.K. Metcalf is a superhero after the picture of him in the weight room circulated last week. Ta’amu was one of the biggest beneficiaries of having one of the best pass-catching groups in college football. You can see a similar reaction to mine from Field Yates below.

D.K. Metcalf will be WR1 in a lot of cases once the Combine comes and goes, so it’s definitely beneficial to have that kind of talent on the team. DaMarkus Lodge and A.J. Brown were also on the team.

Ole Miss is going to have three wide receivers drafted in the 2019 NFL Draft and there’s an argument that all three of them are in the top 15 of the position. Since I’m not primarily talking about the wider receivers, I’ve included profiles of them from The Draft Network.

With the triple threat at WR, Jordan Ta’amu also had a highly-regarded tight end, Dawson Knox. There is four Day 1 or 2 talents catching passes from Ta’amu during 2018. What gives? I’d actually love to hear from Ole Miss fans on this. I don’t’ know the Ole Miss program very well, so I’d like other opinions on the state of the Ole Miss program. There’s certainly no denying the talent they have.

At the End of the Day

I saw flashes from Jordan Ta’amu that makes me think he could niche out a nice NFL career, but then I’d see two plays that make me think the opposite of that, like losing a fumble after not sliding or trying to force a pass when losing by several scores.

I see Matt Moore or Ryan Fitzpatrick from what I saw of Jordan Ta’amu. He’ll be a journeyman backup in the league for several years and will play good in…fits and starts, but I have reservations about his starting potential and longevity in the league. Ta’amu could be one of the next faces of the AAF, though ( I don’t mean that as an insult).

I don’t think he’s a good fit for the Miami Dolphins. Jordan Ta’amu will be a Day 3 pick and I predict him going in the 5th round.

 

I am an Ohio University alum and I’ve been living in Pittsburgh for the last two years. I’ve been a Dolphins fan since I was a kid and I picked them because I liked the old-school logo. It grew from that as I got older and I luckily caught the tail end of Dan Marino’s career. It’s stuck ever since and now I’m an upstart, wild-and-free Dolphins beat writer, loving every second of it.

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NFL Draft

Miami Dolphins select Ohio State’s Isaiah Prince in the sixth round

Shawn Digity

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USA Today Sports Isaiah Prince
Image courtesy of USA Today Sports

With their sixth-round pick and 202 overall, the Miami Dolphins selected offensive tackle Isaiah Prince out of Ohio State

The Dolphins received the 202nd pick as part of the package in Day 2’s trade-down with the Saints. After moving down and chipping in their fourth-rounder, the Fins got the late sixth-rounder in return as part of the deal.

The Dolphins took Isaiah Prince out of another strong program that consistently shoots out offensive lineman, Ohio State. Prince’s teammate, Michael Jordan, went earlier on Day 3 to the Bengals.

Isaiah Prince is a tough evaluation. I wasn’t a big fan and Prince often times was on the losing end of the point of attack. He was called for numerous holding calls and I saw him on the ground a lot. This might be because he has less-than-ideal foot movement. I am interested to see how he factors into the Dolphins’ grand scheme. He might specialize in becoming the swing tackle.

Isaiah Prince is very raw, but the Ohio State pedigree for trench players speaks for itself, so this could turn into a good late-round pick with a little time and development.

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NFL Draft

Dolphins Draft Wisconsin Linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel

Travis Wingfield

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Miami had quite a wait before its first day-three selection. In the fifth-round, with the 151st-pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the Dolphins selected Wisconsin Linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel. A JUCO transfer, Van Ginkel picked up 12 sacks and 19.5 tackles for loss in his Badgers’ career (off the bench in 2017, starter in 2018). The linebacker added two interceptions, five pass breakups, and four forced fumbles.

The Dolphins have a glaring hole in the assumed Kyle Van Noy role, in a player that can play inside and outside at the linebacker position. Miami will attempt to develop Van Ginkel to set the edge in the running game, blitz the quarterback, and move all over the formation.

Combine Results

40-yard dash: Did not run
Bench Press: 17 reps
Vertical: 38 inches
Broad: 123 inches
3-cone: 6.89
Short Shuttle: 4.14

Van Ginkel has a similar build to Van Noy. At 6-foot-3, 241 pounds with 32 1/2 inch arms, the length and backfield production surely attracted Miami to Van Ginkel’s game.

Via that report from NFL.com, Van Ginkel plays with a high-motor, plays through injuries, and has the requisite athletic ability to play a multi-faceted role in the defense. His lean build and lack of power makes him a questionable edge-setter, which could prove problematic in the new defense. He allows blockers into his frame and doesn’t disengage very often.

Van Ginkel figures to make the squad on special teams and serve as depth in the linebackers room.

@WingfieldNFL

 

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NFL Draft

What positions will the Miami Dolphins address on Day 3 of the Draft

Shawn Digity

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USA Today Sports Charles Omenihu Miami Dolphins draft
Charles Omenihu in the Sugar Bowl. Omenihu is still available on day 3 of the 2019 NFL Draft. Image courtesy of USA Today Sports

The Miami Dolphins still have four picks left in the 2019 NFL Draft. Which positions should and will be addressed by the time the dust settles on on the 209 NFL Draft?

With the trades that came yesterday on Day 2, the Dolphins are left without a fourth-round pick. They used pick 116 as a kickback-pick to the Saints when trading down from 48 to 62. Although they scooped the Saints’ 2020 second-rounder, the Dolphins will now have to wait until pick 151 to get their first selection of the day.

At 151, partway through the fifth round, the Dolphins could still get some good value. I would look for them to go in on the edge rushers. Some guys I would personally like to see at that pick are Arkansas State’s Ronheen Bingham, Eastern Michigan’s Maxx Crosby, Georgia’s Jonathan Ledbetter, Iowa’s Anthony Nelson, or Oregon’s Justin Hollins.

Charles Omenihu is surprisingly still available, but I expect him to be selected sometime during the fourth round. Here’s a more comprehensive list of available edge rushers from Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller.

I also expect the Miami Dolphins to address the offensive line again at some point during Day 3. Michael Deiter, the third-round pick, is a good start, but I’d like to see another draft pick get dedicated to the interior offensive line. I wouldn’t be upset to see the Dolphins select a right tackle, either, even if Jesse Davis is already tentatively penciled in there.

Some targets that I’d like in the later rounds include Clemson’s Mitch Hyatt, Notre Dame’s Alex Bars, Arkansas’ Hjalte Froholdt, Kentucky’s Bunchy Stallings, Florida’s Martez Ivey or Miami’s Venzell Boulware. Here are some more prospects that could be available later today for the offensive line. Here’s a second perspective from Kevin Brown on some of the talent still on the board for Day 3, as well.

The third position I’d like to see get selected is cornerback or safety. There are still some hidden gems available and some of them could still be available in the seventh round.  Some of my personal favorites include Sheldrick Redwine from Miami, Xavier Crawford from Central Michigan, Jimmy Moreland from James Madison, Hamp Cheevers from Boston College, Ka’dar Hollman from Toledo, and Blace Brown from Troy. Here are some rankings for the best remaining defensive backs.

The final position I would address is quarterback. Yes, you read that right. I’m still taking a flier on a late-round quarterback and keeping three of them on the roster for 2019. Josh Rosen is the new kid on the block, but I would nab someone like Garnder Minshew with the 234th and final selection for the Dolphins. For a better understanding of the late-round quarterbacks, here’s a piece I did talking about the deep-dive prospects.

Once it’s all said and done, I am hoping that the Miami Dolphins will have drafted several of these positions. Edge, DB, offensive line and quarterback are on the wish list for the remainder of the draft.

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