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Scouting College Football’s Top 2020 QB Prospects – Week 8

Travis Wingfield

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Miami Dolphins Tua Tagovailoa

Recapping Week 8 of the College Football Season

During the college season, here on Locked On Dolphins, we’re going to keep an eye on quarterbacks all throughout the country. Our primary focus will be on the big four, the options that Miami will likely choose from with an early pick in the 2020 draft.

Those quarterbacks are:

Tua Tagovailoa Scouting Report
Jake Fromm Scouting Report
Justin Herbert Scouting Report
Jordan Love Scouting Report

2019 Week 1 Recap
2019 Week 2 Recap
2019 Week 3 Recap
2019 Week 4 Recap
2019 Week 5 Recap
2019 Week 6 Recap
2019 Week 7 Recap

*LSU’s Joe Burrow has been added to the prospect watch list.

We’ll go in chronological order from when the games were played.

Week 8 Recap

Justin Herbert at Washington, Win 35-31
Stats: 24/36 (66.7%) 280 yards, (7.78 YPA) 4 TDs

The numbers looked better than Herbert’s actual performance, which only adds to the concern over Herbert’s ability to raise his game against tough opponents. On the road in dreary Seattle, Herbert was consistently off the mark with his accuracy, his game was greatly impacted by pressure, and the quarterback continues to exhibit a lack of anticipation and ability to get through the progressions in the Oregon offense.

Even when Herbert isn’t on, the elite physical traits show up every week. The video of him ripping a 30-yard drive throw to the field, plus a throw under duress up the seam to end the half, were his two best plays. Washington consistently pushed him off his spot on early downs, and dropped eight into coverage on third and long. Oregon’s offensive production came primarily on the ground and through swings, screens, and check downs — all too common for Herbert.

Herbert excels when he’s free of pressure, and when the read lacks complexity — how often is that going to be the case in the NFL?

Herbert’s Ducks pulled off a 14-point comeback, but the game-winning drive featured two passes and six handoffs.

Joe Burrow at Mississippi State, Win 36-7
Stats: 25/32 (78.1%) 327 yards (10.22YPA) 4 TDs

On a day where fans from the Bayou saw Burrow miss more plays than usual, this amateur scout thinks it was his most impressive outing. Reading leverage, applying in-game adjustments before the teams even broke for half time, and beating a tough Bulldog defense before the snap has Burrow’s stock on the rise yet again.

Burrow missed a layup, and was late on a two occasions during a trio of drives that stalled out in the red zone. The Mississippi State defense blitzes more than any team in the conference, and they turned up the red zone heat on Burrow. Delayed blitzes changed the picture post-snap for Burrow, and the rush got to him a few times.

Still, Burrow managed to escape five-man pressures, make plays with his legs, and throw passes in behind the blitzing defense to capitalize for big plays. Burrow’s two biggest plays on the day aren’t good indicatory of his success. The first was against a busted coverage, the second a softly thrown seam shot without tight spin or velocity. The lack of spin and arm strength on that record-breaking touchdown (last video in the thread) can show you where NFL scouts might have some pause.

It’s important to remember that this is Joe Burrow’s fifth year of college football. A redshirt senior, he turns 23 in December.

Jake Fromm vs. Kentucky, Win 21-0
Stats: 9/12 (75%) 35 yards (2.33 YPA) 0 TDs, 0 INTs

The game in Athens was a drenched, sloppy mess. As evident by Fromm’s 35 passing yards, and a game that featured 447 yards between the two teams, there was nothing to be learned from QB2 this week.

Tua Tagovailoa vs. Tennessee, Win 35-15
Stats: 11/12 (%) 155 yards (12.92 YPA) O TDs, 1 INT

After leaving the game late in the second quarter with what looked like a serious ankle injury, Nick Saban told reporters that Tagovailoa would miss “a week or two” with a high ankle sprain.

Twitter is now asking the question, is he injury prone? If Tua is unable to play next week at Arkansas, it will be the first game of his college career that he misses due to injury.

Tua only missed one throw Saturday, but it was perhaps the most egregious of his career. Initially, Tagovailoa looked like he was en route to a Russell Wilson-line Houdini act, then he inexplicably threw the ball directly to a defender in the end zone.

With two byes before the big one with LSU (a game against the Razorbacks and then an actual off week), the plan figures to be to get Tua back for heavyweight fight. Restricted to the pocket with the ankle, playing against a terrific pass rush and ball hawking secondary will be a great test for Tagovailoa.

Jordan Love vs. Nevada, Win 36-10
Stats: 13/31 (41.9%) 169 yards (4.13 YPA) 1 TD, 1 INT

It’s been an all-around disappointing season for the Utah State offense in 2019. Jordan Love is making way more mistakes than he did last year (nine interceptions already compared to just six last year), and few teams drop more passes than the Aggies offense.

Throughout his inconsistent decision making, Love continues to sprinkle in the mastery that has scouts fawning. He’s a dangerous threat both on designed runs and as a scrambler. On one particular play, available in the video thread, Love immediately erased a pair of free rushers and moved the sticks with his legs on third and eight.

The rare arm-talent continues to show up every week. The over-the-top, easy-flick motion allows Love to spin the rock with velocity, or softly lay it into a spot with touch.

Week 8 Recap

Tua Tagovailoa’s injury is the headline grabber, though it appears he’ll at least be back at some point this season.

Joe Burrow continues to build an impressive resume that has his stock firmly in the first round next April. His advanced-level processing in the complex LSU scheme ran by Joe Brady is really encouraging for his NFL future, along with some elusive pocket maneuvering that leads to big plays on busted coverages.

Justin Herbert’s team forged a comeback win, and his stat line looked tremendous, but he played a really poor game. The mistakes that have plagued him his entire career never fail to show up against a tough opponent. Long touchdowns on designed screens and swings, missed opportunities with a shy trigger-finger, and missed throws all throughout the first half carries more weight than a game-winning drive that featured six runs and two throws.

Jake Fromm earns a voided performance for the week, while Jordan Love is essentially on the same track as Josh Allen in the 2017 college football season.

Week 9 Schedule

Burrow vs. Auburn – 3:30 CBS
Tagovailoa vs. Arkansas – 7:00 ESPN (like out until Nov 9 vs. LSU)
Love at Air Force – 10:15 ESPN2
Herbert vs. Washington State – 10:30 ESPN
Fromm – Bye Week

@WingfieldNFL

Additional Prospect Scouting (Non QBs)

Ohio State Running Back – J.K. Dobbins

Ohio State Cornerback – Jeff Okudah

Clemson Safety/Linebacker/Corner – Isaiah Simmons

Clemson Running Back – Travis Etienne

Iowa Right Tackle – Tristan Wirfs

Iowa Edge – A.J. Epenesa

Louisville Left Tackle – Mekhi Becton

Oklahoma Center – Creed Humphrey

Oklahoma Wide Receiver – Ceedee Lamb

Oklahoma Linebacker – Kenneth Murray

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Keith

    October 19, 2019 at 3:38 pm

    Love your analysis! Please add Jalen Hurts to your group. Really would love to see your thoughts on how he stacks up vs Tua, Herbert and Burrows

  2. Avatar

    Keith Rogers

    October 19, 2019 at 8:34 pm

    I’d like to know why no one has even mentioned Jalen Hurts, he’s easily outplaying most, if not all of these guys.

  3. Avatar

    Richard Sweetz

    October 20, 2019 at 12:24 am

    I’m thinking the same thing

  4. Avatar

    Daddio

    October 20, 2019 at 12:52 am

    Travis I’m glad you’ve finally come around to keep up with Joe Burrow, especially if Tua isn’t available.

    He’s actually my favorite QB coming out but I wouldn’t cry if it does indeed end up being TT.

    We’ll know a lot more about him in the next few weeks.

  5. Avatar

    Ian

    October 20, 2019 at 12:05 pm

    I too am wondering why there is little to no mention of Hurts?

  6. Avatar

    Jeffrey Graham

    October 22, 2019 at 2:20 am

    I’m a big fan of Hurts but not for the Dolphin qb, do you see the windows he throws against, he couldn’t do that in sec for a reason. The big 12 is garbage defense. I hope hurts wins a title this year but you aren’t winning Super Bowls running for 100 plus a game. Any thought to drafting Left tackle 1st and a dt 2nd that fits the 3 man front we run. 280 lbs Iowa guy is a dlinemen in a 3 man front. Now brown from auburn and Davis from bama are. We have to build the lines 1st. This isn’t madden or fantasy. Or we can draft running qbs no linemen a bunch of wrs.

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Miami Dolphins

Miami Dolphins meeting with Jordan Love at the Senior Bowl

Shawn Digity

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Jordan Love Miami Dolphins interest
Image courtesy of USA Today Sports

Mobile, Alabama (Locked On Dolphins) – Senior Bowl week is underway, and Tuesday set into motion the first practice.

The Senior Bowl is scheduled for Saturday, January 25, at 1:30 p.m. Central Time.

Tuesday featured weigh-ins and measurements, and as per usual, the quarterback hand sizes became a viral trend on twitter.

As it relates to the headline, Jordan Love’s hands were measured at 10 5/8 inches, which was the biggest of all the quarterbacks.

It might not necessarily matter since coaches and analysts can go either way on a prospect’s hand size. But it could matter for someone who was already on the fence about Jordan Love.

It could’ve been the dealbreaker, too, for those who were already on the fence.

I mention the conflicting perspectives on hand sizes because it’s a perfect segue into the controversy and questions surrounding Jordan Love’s draft stock and pro prospects.

Now here’s the kicker.

The polarizing quarterback from Utah State will be meeting with the Dolphins at the Senior Bowl, per Joe Schad.

Hand sizes aside, it’s certainly worth noting that the Dolphins want to meet with Love.

It’s almost a certainty that the Dolphins want to and will address the quarterback position in the 2020 Draft, and Love offers a lot of desired characteristics for the job.

And there’s already been interest before from the Miami Dolphins, according to Tony Pauline.

Pauline has stated that the team was intrigued by the Aggie quarterback after his breakout 2018 season.

While Jordan Love’s 2019 season was tumultuous, to say the least, the moldable potential as a pro is evident.

Jordan Love is a likely draft riser now that the 2019 season is behind him. A good showing during the practices and the Senior Bowl will further help his cause, but Love is already looking at being selected in the teens or 20s.

The meeting, it’s fuel on the fire. In preparation for a scenario where the Dolphins cannot or do not get Tua Tagovailoa, the team could be exercising their due diligence to formulate a Plan B in that event.

It never hurts to be overprepared.

The content and reasoning of the meeting itself will remain surreptitious but will invite hypotheses regarding a Miami Dolphins-Jordan Love marriage.

Could he be the face of the franchise?

Is he the next Patrick Mahomes?

Can he make it as a pro?

Sure, there’s uncertainty with drafting Love, but the thing is, the connection makes sense. There’s a lot to like about Jordan Love, but he needs breathing room going into the NFL. The Miami Dolphins can offer him that, which would be favorable for his development.

It’s a good fit. And the logic is there.

It’s worth keeping tabs on Jordan Love’s draft journey, and we’ll see what unfolds from the meeting, if anything.

There’s a real shot that Jordan Love is the Miami Dolphins guy moving into 2020 and beyond. The meeting could be the first step in that process…

Or maybe they just want to talk about his hand size.

 

 

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Senior Bowl 2020 Preview Through Miami Dolphins Lens – Defense

Travis Wingfield

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Best Dolphins scheme fits, and the price to acquire said players, taking the field this week at the Senior Bowl

By the time the popcorn is popped, the ball is teed up, and the fans have filed into the Ladd-Pebble’s stadium, most of the scouts, evaluators and decision makers have vacated Mobile, Alabama, the home of the Reese’s Senior Bowl.

It’s not that the game is devoid of value; it just pales in comparison to the value of the entire week of practices. Simulated situations pit college football’s best players against one-another in true tests of their abilities.

Change-of-direction, clean mechanics, competitiveness, all of these important traits are readily apparent in the padded practices that occur from Tuesday through Thursday in front of everyone who is anyone in the National Football League.

There are no shortcuts when it comes to prospect evaluation. Even after a nine-month process that begins at summer camp for area scouts, the best-drafting teams in the NFL still only hit on roughly half of their picks. But if there were a way to expedite the process of rifling through the hundreds of draft-eligible players, these practices are it.

We get a first-hand look at how players fare against elite college competition, repeatedly. Game-speed is on display. Lateral agility and movement skills are tested. The bounce back from a bad rep and jumping right back into the fire gives us insight on how players respond to adversity in short order. The clues we find in Mobile sends us back to the tape to re-evaluate our boards, and ultimately spit our final rankings and evaluations.

In case you’re new to Locked On Dolphins, this is how we covered the Senior Bowl last January.

Since everything we do is Dolphins specific, we’re looking at scheme fits. We’ll track which players the Dolphins meet with, and who impresses the most at the biggest positions of need.

In addition to projecting best possible scheme fits, we’ll factor in draft value when selecting the best possible player from each group for your Miami Dolphins. For instance, neither Justin Herbert or Jordan Love will be the top QB selected simply because of their high-end first-round draft status. If Miami selects Tua Tagovailoa with the fifth pick, Herbet and Love are off the board entirely.

It’s one of my personal favorite weeks of the year, so let’s get into part-two, the defense.

Offensive Preview

Senior Bowl Defense

The defensive side of the ball is loaded this week in Mobile. Gap-control rushers, interior pocket collapsers, on-and-off-ball linebackers and a secondary chock full of ball hawks, there are multiple future Dolphins in this group.

By now, we know that Miami are one of three teams in the league — four now with Joe Judge at the top of a program — that shops from an exclusive store. Bigger, stronger edge players that make up for a lack of athleticism with brute power and gap integrity. Versatile defensive backs that must excel in man coverage. Linebackers that can rush the quarterback from a variety of positions. These are the core tenants of the Patriots, Lions, and Dolphins defense, and perhaps the Giants under new management with Patrick Graham.

It’ll be impossible to highlight just a couple of players, so unlike the offensive side, we’ll discuss multiple players at each spot. As always, we’ll have even more detail on the Locked On Dolphins Podcast.

Defensive Line

Bradlee Anae (UTAH), Darrion Daniels (NEB), Marlon Davidson (AUB), Raekwon Davis (ALA), Leki Fotu (UTAH), Neville Gallimore (OK), Trevis Gipson (TULS), Jonathan Greenard (FLA), Davon Hamilton (OSU), Trevon Hill (MIA), Benito Jones (MISS), Javon Kinlaw (SC), Larrell Murchison (NCST), Alton Robinson (SYR), Jason Strowbridge (UNC), Kenny Willekes (MSU), Robert Windsor (PSU), Jabari Zuniga (FLA)

Best Fins Fit — Bradlee Anae, Utah

Anae is a 6-foot-3, 260-plus-pound edge that Miami will covet in this year’s draft. He’s a refined rusher with multiple moves in the arsenal, and the ability to angle inside as a rusher to expand the stunt game on the defensive line.

He’s not the most athletic rusher, but that’s not part of the prerequisites of playing edge in this scheme. New England never valued athleticism at end, and I don’t suspect Brian Flores will either. Dig-out or kick-out blocks are often a futile effort against Anae because of his long arms and ability to disengage quickly.

Projected Required Investment — Mid-Round Pick, Rounds 3-4

Where He Fits on the Roster — Starting Base 5-Tech, Kick Inside in Nickle Rush Packages

Hardly a far cry from former Patriot, current Lion, and once a Near-Dolphin Trey Flowers, Anae is a power run defender that can redirect as a pass rusher on his way to stopping the ground game.

The moment the card is turned in, Anae becomes the best base defensive end on the team. While that’s an indictment of Miami’s roster, it’s also a testament to Anae’s skill set. He provides the versatility to kick inside on long yardage situations.

Area of Intrigue This Week — Pit Drill

This will be an area to either showcase Anae’s impressive heavy hands, or an opportunity to expose his limited athleticism. Again, the Dolphins don’t care much about the latter, and typically it’s the players with better moves in their arsenal that win in this drill.

Keep an Eye On — Jason Strowbridge, North Carolina

Something of a tweener for the rest of the league, Strowbridge fits right in at home in Miami. He entered college as a 245-pound end, and now he’s nearing three bills on the scale. Accordingly, Strowbridge has some explosion and wiggle that is unique to a player of his size.

He won’t be a base defensive tackle, but he is more than capable of fulfilling the 4-tech spot in bear fronts, or play the play-side 3-tech in even fronts. Leki Fotu is a Danny Shelton clone and Neville Gallimore and Javon Kinlaw are explosive, powerful interior rush presences, but will likely require a first-round selection. Strowbridge is a day-three player.

Linebackers

Zack Baun (WIS), Francis Bernard (UTAH), Jordyn Brooks (TT), Cameron Brown (PSU), Carter Coughlin (MIN), Akeem Davis-Gaither (APP), Troy Dye (ORE), Malik Harrison (OSU), Khaleke Hudson (MICH), Anfernee Jennings (ALA), Terrell Lewis (ALA), Kamal Martin (MIN), Davion Taylor (COL), Darrell Taylor (TEN), Josh Uche (MICH), Evan Weaver (CAL), Logan Wilson (WYO), D.J. Wonnum (SC)

Best Fins Fit — Zack Baun, Wisconsin

Baun, just like Vince Biegel and Andrew Van Ginkel before him, has the same traits that attracted Miami to the pair of Badger ‘Backers. Baun is the best of the three. He’s especially adept at executing games (stunts, twists, slants) because of his lateral agility.

He’s not the most fluid edge rusher, and isn’t going to line up in the wide alignment and win the corner, but he’s effective defending the pass as a flat and hook zone dropper. His rush move arsenal is already refined like that of a seasoned pro.

Projected Required Investment — Late-First, Early-Second, Pick 26 or 39

Where He Fits on the Roster — Starting On-Ball Linebacker

Biegel almost never left the field last season upon showing his worth across a variety of formations. Baun could do the same and give Miami a pair of consistent Badger backers off either edge, in what could be a linebacker-driven front-seven this year. Drafting Baun would certainly suggest that to be the case, with Van Ginkel serving as the sixth-man — so to speak — first off the bench.

Area of Intrigue This Week — Pit Drill

My apologies for a lack of variety between these trench players, but nothing beats the pit drill; nothing. This is an area Baun will probably excel because he’s such a refined technician, and he’ll draw some smaller school players and athletes that aren’t great football players just yet.

Keep an Eye On — Anfernee Jennings, Alabama

Jennings has the requisite measurements to intrigue the Dolphins before even flipping on the film. Then, once you see him play, you see him actively engage those long arms and thick frame to bully the man across from him. He’s extremely stout against the run with the heavy hands to shed blockers en route to the tackler.

Cal’s Evan Weaver lacks speed and rush ability, but he’s the most reliable downhill run defender in the entire draft. Joshua Uche has some versatility to his game. He played for current Dolphins Linebackers Coach Anthony Campanile in college.

Defensive Backs

Damon Arnette (OSU), Essang Bassey (WAKE), Julian Blackmon (UTAH), Antoine Brooks Jr. (MAR), Terrell Burgess (UTAH), Jeremy Chinn (SoILL), Brian Cole (MISS ST), Ashtyn Davis (CAL), Kyle Duggar (Lenoir-Rhyne), Jalen Elliot (ND), Kristian Fulton (LSU), Alohi Gilman (ND), A.J. Green (OKST), Darnay Holmes (UCLA), Lamar Jackson (NEB), Dane Jackson (PITT), Brandon Jones (TEX), Jared Mayden (ALA), Josh Metellus (MICH), Michael Ojemudia (IOWA), Troy Pride Jr. (ND), Reggie Robinson (TULS), Kindle Vildor (GEO SO), K’Von Wallace (CLEM)

Best Fins Fit — Ashtyn Davis

There are a few defensive backs in this class that match the prototype for what Brian Flores looks for, and Davis is certainly that, but he has one thing most of the other guys don’t. The sheer passion and love for playing the game the correct way. Not to say the others don’t, but Davis is a temperature changer that immediately improves the work environment around him.

Davis is a former track star, so when he tests in Indianapolis, it’s possible he elevates his stock into the first round. Hopefully that’s not the case, and Miami can pick up a round-two steal with this do-it-all safety. He can play the single-high role, cover in the slot, and is more than willing to hit somebody much larger than himself.

Projected Required Investment — Day 2, Pick 39

Where He Fits on the Roster — Starting Free Safety, Slot Corner

Davis‘ best trait is the paired combination of instincts and range. Because of that, he fits Miami’s press-man, single-high defense as well as anybody. He can also come down and cover the slot with the best of them — just the ideal defensive back for Brian Flores.

Area of Intrigue This Week — Live Team Period

Tackling hasn’t been the best trait for Davis in his collegiate career. It’s not that he’s not willing, he just lacks the size and frame to do it consistently. I want to see how he wraps and finishes in the live team periods when he has to come down and make a stick.

Keep an Eye On — Damon Arnette, Ohio State

Overlooked because of the presence of Jeff Okudah and Shaun Wade in that Buckeye defensive backfield, Arnette took considerable strides this season in Columbus. He’s a long, aggressive press-corner that plays the ball exceptionally well.

Arnette will challenge every route at the three critical points — off the line, at the top of the stem, and at the catch point. He’s a sound tackler, but isn’t real interested in fighting off blocks. He’s more athletic than most players with his play-style which should bump his draft stock.

Utah’s Terrell Burgess is a good option in the middle rounds to play primary backup to Eric Rowe, and also serve as a core special teamer.

It would be quite a surprise if multiple players from this group don’t wind up with the Dolphins. There are so many potential scheme fits, and players that come from programs that stress the same core tenants that Miami’s system calls for. With all these Utah Utes, all these versatile defensive backs and multi-talented front-seven players, this is quite a week for Brian Flores and company.

@WingfieldNFL

Wednesday-Friday — Senior Bowl Practice Recaps

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Senior Bowl 2020 Preview Through Miami Dolphins Lens – Offense

Travis Wingfield

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Best Dolphins scheme fits, and the price to acquire said players, taking the field this week at the Senior Bowl

By the time the popcorn is popped, the ball is teed up, and the fans have filed into the Ladd-Pebble’s stadium, most of the scouts, evaluators and decision makers have vacated Mobile, Alabama, the home of the Reese’s Senior Bowl.

It’s not that the game is devoid of value; it just pales in comparison to the value of the entire week of practices. Simulated situations pit college football’s best players against one-another in true tests of their abilities.

Change-of-direction, clean mechanics, competitiveness, all of these important traits are readily apparent in the padded practices that occur from Tuesday through Thursday in front of everyone who is anyone in the National Football League.

There are no shortcuts when it comes to prospect evaluation. Even after a nine-month process that begins at summer camp for area scouts, the best-drafting teams in the NFL still only hit on roughly half of their picks. But if there were a way to expedite the process of rifling through the hundreds of draft-eligible players, these practices are it.

We get a first-hand look at how players fare against elite college competition, repeatedly. Game-speed is on display. Lateral agility and movement skills are tested. The bounce back from a bad rep and jumping right back into the fire gives us insight on how players respond to adversity in short order. The clues we find in Mobile sends us back to the tape to re-evaluate our boards, and ultimately spit our final rankings and evaluations.

In case you’re new to Locked On Dolphins, this is how we covered the Senior Bowl last January.

Since everything we do is Dolphins specific, we’re looking at scheme fits. We’ll track which players the Dolphins meet with, and who impresses the most at the biggest positions of need.

In addition to projecting best possible scheme fits, we’ll factor in draft value when selecting the best possible player from each group for your Miami Dolphins. For instance, neither Justin Herbert or Jordan Love will be the top QB selected simply because of their high-end first-round draft status. If Miami selects Tua Tagovailoa with the fifth pick, Herbet and Love are off the board entirely.

It’s one of my personal favorite weeks of the year, so let’s start with part-one of a two-part preview series — the offense.

Senior Bowl Offense

Quarterbacks

Anthony Gordon (WSU), Justin Herbert (ORE), Jalen Hurts (OK), Jordan Love (USU), Steven Montez (COL), Shea Patterson (MICH)

Best Fins Fit — Anthony Gordon, Washington State

Certainly not the premier player from this loaded bunch, Gordon’s upside makes him the ideal candidate for Miami to hedge a potential top-of-round-one pick at quarterback. Gordon has plus-athleticism for the position, and one of the liveliest arms in the entire class. He’s capable of throwing with pristine anticipation and doesn’t sacrifice velocity when he’s off-platform, or hasn’t completed each of the proverbial checkmarks from a mechanical delivery standpoint.

As a Washington State alum with Cougar Crimson blood pumping through my veins, I’d be remiss not to mention the reasons Gordon a Saturday pick. The inconsistencies in his decision making are problematic — if not baffling at times. He doesn’t lack confidence, and that results in some gorgeous balls, but he can put his offense in harm’s way with far too much regularity.

Projected Required Investment — Day 3 Pick, Rounds 4-6

Where He Fits on the Roster — Backup/Development Quarterback

The air raid is great for the amount of reps it affords young quarterbacks. Gordon spent a lot of time learning a timing and anticipation offense that operates primarily from empty sets. We could see a lot of those same formations in Miami under the new offensive direction.

Area of Intrigue This Week — Team Period Red Zone Work

When things are condensed, and the players are faster, how will Gordon operate in the tight spaces? He comes from a wide open offense, so growth throughout the week would be a terrific sign.

Keep an Eye On — Steven Montez, Colorado

Jalen Hurts’ omission will certainly ruffle some feathers, but the signs do not point towards Miami favoring a quarterback with major red flags as a passer. It would be foolish to omit Miami’s ability to build a scheme for Hurts, but a different direction makes more sense. Montez is big, with an arm to match, and can extend plays off-script.

Running Backs

Darius Anderson (TCU), Eno Benjamin (ASU), JaMycal Hasty (BAY), Joshua Kelly (UCLA), Zack Moss (UTAH), Lamical Perine (FLA), Ke’Shawn Vaughn (VAN)

Best Fins Fit — Zack Moss, Utah

Creating yardage was virtually the only hope for the running game last year in Miami — hence a 37-year-old quarterback leading the team in rushing. Kenyan Drake and Mark Walton were able to create yards behind this line, and Myles Gaskin late in the season to a lesser degree, but watching Kalen Ballage and Patrick Laird attempt the same was hard on the eyes.

Enter Zack Moss. Utah’s bell cow (1,804 YFS and 17 TD in 2019) might be the smartest runner in this class. Moss pairs exceptional patience, balance, and pitter-patter footwork behind the line-of-scrimmage to constantly change the angles on potential tacklers. His quick-but-not-in-a-hurry approach helps the line execute slower developing blocks (reaches, combos), and his best trait — he’s impossible to get to the turf with one single tackle.

There’s always a plan for the next defender as Moss sets up his moves beautifully. He’s fluid catching the football on the typical running back routes (swings, screens, flats and arrows).

Projected Required Investment — Day 2 Pick (Pick 56)

Where He Fits on the Roster — Starting Tailback

If Moss is handed an aqua jersey on draft day, it’s done so with the expectation that he will be the lead back. Miami could sign a veteran that makes for a 1a-1b situation, but using a premium resource on a back brings with it the expectation that said back will play, a lot.

Area of Intrigue This Week — 1-on-1 Pass Catching

This is always one of my favorite drills. Watching the way backs move in space, with a two-way go, is telling of their ability to create separation as flexed-out receivers. If Moss can nail the test in that regard in Mobile, then again at the combine, he’ll rocket up boards.

Keep an Eye On — Eno Benjamin, Arizona State

For his vision, instinctive nature, and hard-nosed running — Benjamin would be next behind Moss. He’s likely a late day-two or early day-three pick, knocked mostly because of poor pass catching.

Wide Receivers

Brandon Aiyuk (ASU), Chase Claypool (ND), Quartney Davis (TAM), Devin Duvernay (TEX), Bryan Edwards (SC), Antonio Gandy-Golden (LIB), Antonio Gibson (MEM), K.J. Hill (OSU), Van Jefferson (FLA), Jauan Jennings (TEN), Collin Johnson (TEX), Kalija Lipscomb (VAN), Denzel Mims (BAY), Michael Pittman JR (USC), James Proche (SMU)

Best Fins Fit — Devin Duvernay, Texas

Some of the other players in this group offer a little more wiggle off the line, and thus might be considered better options to play in the slot, but Duvernay has one trait that bursts off the tape — speed.

An electrifying fly-by receiver, Duvernay pairs world class track speed with a thick frame. That deadly combination makes him a difficult tackle once he secures the catch, but also a weapon for handoffs, pop passes, and a variety of short-game work to unlock his RAC abilities. Duvernay catches everything. He plucks the football away from his body with strong hands, helping to secure contested catches.

Projected Required Investment — Day 3, Round 4 Comp Pick (Ja’Wuan James)

Where He Fits on the Roster — Slot/Specialty Package Receiver

Albert Wilson currently fills this role, but it seems inconceivable that he is back at his current rate. If Miami can’t renegotiate Wilson’s contract, Duvernay could slide right into that role and compete with Isaiah Ford and Allen Hurns for reps.

Area of Intrigue This Week — Red Zone 1-on-1

Charged with hip tightness, Duvernay needs to work on his ability to release against press coverage. Although a lot of the routes he would run, from the desired alignments, would give him free access, every receiver needs to be able to beat press. These simulated situations will either expose or open eyes on Duvernay.

Keep an Eye On — Quartney Davis, Texas A&M

Davis is more Jarvis Landry-like than Duvernay, so an argument could be made for his value over the long-speed of the his in-state rival. He’s drawn comparisons to Deebo Samuel (Kyle Crabbs of TDN) for his body control, and industrious route running. Davis’ positional versatility in the Aggie offense will intrigue Miami.

Tight Ends

Harrison Bryant (FAU), Josiah Deguara (CIN), Brycen Hopkins (PUR), Sean McKeon (MICH), Jared Pinkney (VAN), Stephen Sullivan (LSU), Charlie Taumoepeau (PORT), Adam Trautman (DAY)

Best Fins Fit — Adam Trautman, Dayton

Trautman isn’t the best blocker of this bunch — in fact that’s what will keep him from getting drafted early — but his pass catching upside is bordering on ludicrous. A former basketball player with limited football experience, Trautman is almost always bigger than his opponent, more explosive, and could factor in significantly as a bit of a chess piece.

Projected Required Investment — Day 3, Rounds 4-6

Where He Fits on the Roster — Developmental Tight End, Joker Position

Chan Gailey’s resume comes with a variety of offensive approaches. In 2015, Gailey utilized Quincy Enunwa in the role that serves as a glorified slot receiver who can take end-arounds and catch shovels working against the grain on misdirection under the formation.

Trautman can get vertical with the best of them, but Dayton used him on a lot of shovels and quick-hitters that put him in space.

Area of Intrigue This Week — Functional Strength

There’s some Mike Gesicki in here in the sense that we know what he can do athletically, but the best way for Trautman to rise up boards comes via his ability to function as an in-line blocker. He has the frame to make it work, but it will only come with relentless repetition and technical refinement.

Keep an Eye On — Josiah Deguara, Cincinnati

Much more of a classic tight end, Deguara is well-rounded. He’s not going to test at the top of the class, but he takes great angles as an open-space blocker and does well to strike and reposition his hands in the run game. He’s a savvy route runner with feel for openings in zone, and leverage in man coverage.

Offensive Line

Trey Adams (WASH), Hakeem Adeniji (KAN), Tremayne Anchrum (CLEM), Ben Bartch (STJ), Ben Bredeson (MICH), Lloyd Cushenberry (LSU), Nick Harris (WASH), Matt Hennessey (TEM), Justin Herron (WAKE), Robert Hunt (ULL), Keith Ismael (SDSU), Jonah Jackson (OSU), Josh Jones (HOU), Shane Lemieux (ORE), Damien Lewis (LSU), Colton McKivitz (WVU), Matt Peart (UCONN), Tyre Phillips (MISS ST), John Simpson (CLEM), Terence Steele (TT), Logan Stenberg (KEN), Alex Taylor (SCSU), Prince Tega Wanogho (AUB)

Best Fins Fit — Josh Jones, Houston

Never mind the fact that the additions were bottom-tier free agents, AAF products, or other players with less-than inspiring track records, Miami told us they prefer length, size, and athleticism at tackle last offseason.

Jones checks each of those boxes in emphatic fashion.

When Jones wins initially, the defender can wave the white flag. With an effective first strike, Jones engulfs the edge, which then allows him to reposition and adjust his angle accordingly. The length — and smooth feet — allow him to recover in pass protection when he does lose that initial hand fight.

The only thing keeping Jones from a top-15 selection is the lack of technical refinement in his game; he needs some work. Ideally, you get Jones at the top of round-two, but tackles are always pushed up the board; particularly in the back of the first round with that fifth-year option looming.

Projected Required Investment — 1st Round, Pick 26

Where He Fits on the Roster — Starting Left Tackle

Miami’s biggest need is left tackle. More so than the lack of a future franchise quarterback, complete vacancy of an edge rush, or defensive back help, the left tackle position killed more plays than any other for the Fins this year. Using a first round pick on Jones — or someone else — puts that player in the starting lineup the day Miami opens training camp.

Area of Intrigue This Week — Pit Drill

It’s always the pit drill. Outside of watching games as a fan, evaluating the pit drill is my unequivocal favorite element of the game. It’s a pad-smacking, agility and technical proficiency test to the nth-degree. Jones is certainly going to draw athletes unlike the players the America Conference supplied during his collegiate career. Given Jones’ athletic profile on tape, he should acquit himself just fine in this regard.

Keep an Eye On — Shane Lemieux, Oregon

Lemieux checks a lot of boxes for the types of interior lineman Miami coveted a year ago. Lemieux has a consecutive starts streak that spans four years and proves his reliability. He’s not going to be fooled by disguise from the rush games deployed by the opposition, and he is exceptional at catching and climbing on combination blocks in the run game.

It’s impossible to highlight the strengths, weaknesses, and potential scheme fit of each player in this game, but we’ll do our best to highlight more players on the podcast this week.

This year’s Senior Bowl has the makings of the deepest group that I personally have evaluated. A great crop of quarterbacks and depth on the offensive line will make the jobs of the skill players easier, though the defensive skill guys have the advantage in that regard.

The Dolphins will be all over this game given their perch as the pole-sitters of this year’s draft. Several of these players are likely to be in camp with Miami next July, so getting this first look and first impression will be an imperative step in shaping the future of the organization as we know it.

@WingfieldNFL

Tuesday: Defense
Wednesday-Friday: Practice Day 1-3 Reports

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