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Scouting Reports

Know The Enemy – New England Patriots

Travis Wingfield

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As the NFL comes to its summer crawl, we’re going to be looking into each of the Miami Dolphins’ 2018 opponents leading up to training camp.

Go to:
Week 1 vs. Tennessee 
Week 2 @ New York Jets
Week 3 vs. Oakland

New England Patriots – Weeks 4 (Foxboro) and 14 (Miami)

2017 Recap: (13-3, AFC East Champions – Playoffs 2-1; Beat TEN and JAX, lost to PHI)

Writing a New England Patriots blog must be the most redundant job in sports. Off-season adversity, .500 record in September, rip off wins in bunches and eventually find yourself still in contention in Late-January.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

2017 was a microcosm of the Bill Belichick Patriots. Panic erupts over one or two losses before the greatest coach-quarterback-pairing in the history of the sport find themselves playing on the game’s grandest stage. The only relatively dubious feature of the Patriots unprecedented run is the record in Super Bowls – which fell to 5-3 five months ago.

You don’t arrive in the land of nitpicking a .600 winning percentage in the most difficult football game ever conceived without playing terrific defense. Despite some moving parts and challenges with personnel in the front-seven, Belichick and Matt Patricia’s defense found a way to keep points off the scoreboard, as is annual practice.

On the other side, Tom Brady continues to defy the laws of time – he’s playing the best football of his career in tandem with arguably the NFL’s all-time greatest tight end, Rob Gronkowski.

2017 League-Ranks:

 

Scoring Offense 2nd
Rushing Offense 10th
Passing Offense 2nd
Scoring Defense 5th
Rushing Defense 20th
Passing Defense 30th
Turnover Differential 11th

 

2018 Coaching Changes:

 A winning environment cultivates successful individuals. As it has done so many times before, the Bill Belichick coaching tree grew when Matt Patricia was hired for the big chair in Detroit. It was set to double before Josh McDaniels weaseled out of his commitment to Indianapolis in the 11thhour.

McDaniels is back with the offensive staff unchanged. Patricia’s vacated position remains unfilled with the rest of 2017’s defensive staff intact as well.

2018 Notable Roster Changes:

 

Newcomer Role / Projected Snap Count
DE Adrian Clayborn (Atlanta) Starter / 60%
RB Jeremy Hill (Cincinnati) Backup/Short-Yardage / 20%
WR Jordan Matthews (Buffalo) Backup / 30%
TE Troy Niklas (Arizona) 3rd TE / 20%
DT Danny Shelton (Cleveland) Starter / 43.73%
WR Cordarrelle Patterson (Oakland) Backup/Return-Specialist / 42.66%
OT Trent Brown (San Francisco) Starter / 60.91%

 

 

Departed Role / Snaps Played
CB Malcolm Butler (Tennessee) Starter / 97.83%
LT Nate Solder (NY Giants) Starter / 97.81%
RB Dion Lewis (Tennessee) RB 1b / 35.56%
OT Cameron Fleming (Dallas) Swing Tackle / 32.4%
WR Danny Amendola (Miami) Starter / 49.87%
S Johnson Bademosi (Houston) Backup / 20.19% (62.97 special teams)

 

Projected Cornerstones (75%+ snap takers) – 2017 PFF Positional Rank:

QB Tom Brady – 1st/ 40
WR Julian Edelman – DNP (2016 – 44th/ 119)
TE Rob Gronkowski – 1st/ 72
DE Trey Flowers – 28th/ 110
LB Dont’a Hightower – DNP (2016 – 14th/ 88)
CB Stephone Gilmore –  31st/ 120
CB Jason McCourty – 17th/ 120
S Devin McCourty – 31st/ 89
S Patrick Chung – 28th/ 89
S Duron Harmon – 23rd/ 89

The Other Key Contributors:

Continuously ahead of the curve the Patriots rely on rotation more than any team in the NFL. Half of their cornerstone players are in the defensive backfield, a consequence of the plethora of dime packages employed.

Duron Harmon, the team’s dime safety, took 66.2% of the defensive snaps. While that number is shy of the requisite 75% cornerstone percentage, he’s a starter in this defense. Eric Rowe will compete with Jason McCourty for the other perimeter corner job and rookie Duke Dawson could win the nickel job and play extensively right away.

Fellow rookies Sony Michel and Isaiah Wynn figure into the running back and offensive line equations respectively. Michel is a shifty, pass-catching dynamo that offers a glove-like fit for the match-up-centric offense of the Pats and position-diverse Wynn has a tough line-up to crack in front of him.

Newcomers Adrian Clayborne and Danny Shelton figure heavily into the defensive line rotation with Malcolm Brown and Lawrence Guy. Elandon Roberts and rookie Ja’Whaun Bently will get a crack of a share of reps at linebacker.

This team is full of hockey-line style position groups that are greater than the sum of their parts.

Tale of the Tape:

Offense: 

The first scheme on the schedule that won’t be entering year-one, the Dolphins can go back into the archive to study the Patriots. However, no team reinvents itself quite like Belichick’s Pats.

Dec 11, 2017; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) leaves the field after a game against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Seemingly constructing variations of previous offensive schemes every year, one thing remains constant: New England loves to create and exploit match-ups. Not afraid to nickel-and-dime a defense, Tom Brady can kill the opposition with a million cuts.

The ability to remain versatile across all personnel packages creates issues in communication and conditioning for unsuspecting defenses. Stuck in base? Brady flexes out his back and throws a five-yard hitch for an easy completion. Bring on the sub-packages? He’ll run the football right at you.

All of this ingenuity and mastery from the quarterback, then you factor in one of the league’s most uncoverable weapons and the offense is nearly unstoppable.

To play running back in this scheme requires pass catching prowess. The stable was already crowded with cross-trained skilled players, then it added Sony Michel. Michel is my pick for offensive rookie of the year for the same reasons I selected Alvin Kamara for the same award last year.

Julian Edelman is difficult to cover in a short-areas, but he will miss the first meeting with Miami due to a suspension. The Dolphins solved the puzzle to the Pats receivers last year in the Monday night win. Pressing to disrupt the timing and creating early pressure on Brady are the keys.

Offensive line coaching legend Dante Scarnecchia built a fortress in front of Brady. The tackle positions are solid, but the trio in the interior (Joe Thuney, David Andrews and Shaq Mason) is among the league’s best (14th, 4thand 8thamong their position groups on PFF).

Defense:

Just like the offense, the defense mixes it up as well as any program in the league. Playing with light fronts and loaded backfields, the Patriots scheme is built around corners and safeties that can cover and tackle.

Getting the glue to the front-seven back in 2018 should improve the worst yards-allowed-rank in the Belichick era. Dont’a Hightower is a unique blend of an off-the-ball ‘backer and a polished edge-rusher. His return allows the Pats to vary coverages between their big-nickel and dime packages.

Going back to the days of Vince Wilfork, Belichick loves plopping beef at the nose tackle position to disrupt the point-of-attack. Malcom Brown is something of an immovable object. Adrian Clayborne and Danny Shelton jump into the rotation looking to bolster the New England interior pass rush.

The defensive ends in this scheme are diluted a tad. With the variety of fronts, their jobs are typical of an interior defensive lineman – eat up blocks and sustaining gap-integrity. Trey Flowers is the front-man of a group that gets Derrick Rivers back from an injury that took away his rookie season.

No one does more with less than Belichick. No matter how many yards it allows, the Patriot defense always limits red zone production and takes the football away. With reinforcements on the way in 2018, there is no reason to expect that to change.

Match-Up with Miami:

The Dolphins were essentially the only team to figure out the Patriots offense in 2017. Playing a more physical brand of football on the perimeter and the spacing of the wide-9 created tougher passing lanes for Brady.

As always, the key is to create pressure from multiple channels on number-12. The Dolphins supped-up defense could get more creative with a Patriots-like blueprint of putting more defensive backs on to the field.

Opposed to allowing the likes of Kiko Alonso to become isolated on a back, perhaps T.J. McDonald sinks into a quasi-linebacker role. The problem most teams run into with this plan is the negative hit to the run-defense. Miami’s larger, more physically imposing DBs can support in the run game just as well as they defend the pass.

With the Patriots offensive line stout in the middle, a heavy-rush off the edge with Cam Wake, Robert Quinn and Charles Harris, while challenging the quick-hitting passing game, is the best recipe for success. And blitzing Brady remains out of the question – that’s when he’s at his best.

Jan 1, 2017; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins cornerback Bobby McCain (28) and free safety Michael Thomas (31) provide pass coverage on New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman (11) on a pass play in the end zone during the second quarter of an NFL football game at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Bobby McCain versus Julian Edelman in the second match-up figures to be the headliner. Minkah Fitzpatrick could potentially be the answer to the decade-long question of ‘who’s got Gronk?’

Offensively, for the Dolphins, the key is Ryan Tanenhill not taking the cheese. Mixing up coverages requires the quarterback to prep a little extra, but identifying post-snap rotation and the Patriots’ penchant for under-cutting routes becomes paramount – giving Brady extra possessions by turning it over is not an option.

Kenyan Drake was key to victory in the 2017 meeting in Miami. Creating balance and throwing the football to the back is a viable option to get the Patriots out of their comfort zone.

Miami can handle the pass rush of the Patriots, but Tannehill has to be on his A-game to beat this team.

Trap Game Potential:

The Patriots have a game four days after the first match-up with Miami. But playing the lowly Colts, off a non-conference game in Detroit, should hone New England’s focus into where it needs to be.

This game is sandwiched between the Oakland and Cincinnati games for the Dolphins. There’s no reason to look ahead.

The week-14 match-up is conveniently scheduled between games with Minnesota and Pittsburgh for the Patriots – there’s Miami’s chance to catch the Pats napping in South Florida yet again. 

Week-Four in a Nutshell:

While the Dolphins have more success against the Patriots than any other team, beating Brady in Foxboro doesn’t happen. Literally. Ever.

And while the best time to pick off the Pats is early in the season, playing against that quarterback, that coach and the “atmosphere” of New England never bodes well for the road team.

Miami will be severe underdogs in the week-four game and have to play perfect to win. As for the December game in Miami, crazier things have happened.

And they seem to happen just about every year when these two teams get together.

@WingfieldNFL

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Ronald Hiatt Jr

    June 29, 2018 at 1:14 pm

    I think this schedule is setup for dolphins to finally sweep the Patriots if if they can focus 1 game at a time like they did in 2016 in that winning streak. Week 4 without Edelman and before they get that offensive line set losing 2 Tackles is not easy and going against Wake Harris is not fun and if Quinn finds himself from 5 years ago Brady could be forced into a lot of mistakes remember those fumbles last year with Jones taking 1 for a score. The game in Miami will be tough sandwiched between Bills Vikings and Jags that 4 game stretch could show the early playoff pecking order if we are in it or not.

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Scouting Reports

State of the AFC East

Oliver Candido

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With the aging empire of the New England Patriots hopefully coming to an end in the coming years the arms race and power struggle will enter overdrive. The Patriots have run this division for over a decade but all things must come to an end, with Tom Brady nearing his goal of playing till 45 and Bill Belichick turning 66 there is blood in the water, and the rest of the East will look to grab the crown and run with it.

Dec 23, 2018; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) and head coach Bill Belichick head out onto the field to shake hands with the Buffalo Bills after their 24-12 win at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

New England Patriots

Roster:

Tom Brady’s play has declined but that hasn’t stopped New England from being a powerhouse, the offensive line will welcome Isiah Wynn back the former 1st rounder, he tore his Achilles in camp 2018. The skill positions are mixed, Sony Michelle provided a solid rookie campaign but there are holes in the wide receiver and tight end positions. Rob Gronkowski is pondering retirement meanwhile Chris Hogan, Phillip Dorsett, and Cordarrelle Patterson are all set to hit Free Agency. Defensively New England has excelled on maximizing talent with what they have but with that being said they have some notable players departing such as Trey Flowers, Malcom Brown, and possibly the McCourty twins.

Free Agent Acquisition:

Markus Golden (EDGE)

Pick 32, 1st round:

Kelvin Harmon (WR)

 

New York Jets

Roster:

The New York Jets are not a star-studded team and will be ongoing a scheme change led by Coach Adam Gase. Offensively it would be easier to name what they do have then to name what they don’t, Sam Darnold is the only true “bright” spot on the offensive side of the ball. Multiple reports state that Isiah Crowell will be released in the coming month so half back will need to be addressed, in addition to wide receiver, tight end, and offensive line. On the opposite side of the ball things seem to be a bit more promising with Leonard Williams, Jamal Adams, Marcus Maye. New York will need to add a true pass rusher along with some other linebackers and defensive backs as well.

Free Agent Acquisition:

Le’Veon Bell (HB)

Pick 3, 1st round:

Josh Allen (EDGE)

 

Buffalo Bills

Roster:

Buffalo has a good defense that is paired with the 31st ranked offense, they are in need of talent to surround Josh Allen with. Josh Allen needs an entire cast around him, most importantly an offensive line who can buy him some time, but it doesn’t stop there. After releasing former fullback wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin and Charles Clay the only player who can truly garner some targets is aging halfback Lesean McCoy. Although the defense has played well they are also in need of some attention, with Kyle Williams retiring they will need another defensive tackle in addition to a true edge rusher. This roster is still being rebuilt and could use talent on almost every level offensively but they need to give injury prone Josh Allen some decent offensive line play.

Free Agent Acquisition:

Trenton Brown (OT)

Pick 9, 1st round:

Jawaan Taylor (OT)

 

Miami Dolphins

Roster:

Our beloved Miami Dolphins will be going through many changes and a complete rebuild directed by Chris Grier and Brian Flores. Miami has talent at the skill positions with young and inexpensive talent at halfback, tight end, and wide receiver. With the upcoming release/trade of Ryan Tannehill the biggest need will be finding his replacement via free agency or draft. Resources will have to be allocated to the trenches as Miami lacks talent on the interior offensive line and on the edge defensively. Miami’s defense is looking to be a multiple look defense in order to achieve this they will have to add versatility on every level off the defense and add depth to the secondary. This regime will be taking the long painful road of a true rebuild as Miami has been mediocre for far too long.

Free Agent Acquisition:

Mitch Morse (OL)

Pick 13, 1st round:

Rashan Gary (EDGE)

 

Madden 19 Giveaway:

I am giving away Madden 19 on Xbox One for free, all you have to do is find my favorite player. I will add a clue to every article until someone answers correctly. Tweet the answer to me and DM me on twitter @BrazilCandido and don’t forget to give the @LockedOnDolphins and it’s writers some love as well!

HERE IS THE HINT:

My favorite player once caught 29 passes in a season while 11 of them went for TDs! That means over a 3rd of his receptions were Touchdowns!

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Miami Dolphins

Dolphins Senior Bowl Watchlist

Travis Wingfield

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With 266 of the slated 267 games on the 2018 NFL schedule in the books, the focus of the league shifts to Mobile, Alabama. The site of the college football’s most prestigious all-star game since 1951, Mobile transforms from to an otherwise quiet city to a veritable who’s who of NFL decision-makers.

The term “all-star” is rather fraudulent in its intention. This week isn’t about festivities or acknowledgement; it’s the first step on a long path towards elevating young men’s football lives from amateur to professional.

Two-hour practice sessions, endless meetings and whiteboard testing, these young men are about to be ran through the grind of an NFL work week. With scouts, coaches, and executives from every team (even Brian Flores and his unofficial status with Miami), this week in Mobile is the precursor to the meat market that is the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.

Mandatory Credit: Mark Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The big question the casual observer has is, “what can I take away from this week?” The NFL Network airs practices from Tuesday through Thursday, and the game on Saturday. Additionally, plenty of credentialed media members will be covering the week (including plenty of our own at Locked On Podcasts), providing us with more resources than ever before.

Here on Locked On Dolphins, we will have a daily practice report that includes those that shined in the individual and team periods – but also a cumulative tracker for all of Miami’s meets and player interests.    

In prior off-season preview columns, we have highlighted Miami’s core areas of need for the 2019 season. Here, we will list the positions in order of need, and discuss the players Miami should keep a close eye on at said positions of need. Also, a brief tidbit on what you should look for this week when you turn on the NFLN and see guys running around in shells and shorts.

Quarterback

Unfortunately, the top two prospects at this crucial position are underclassmen (Kyler Murray and Dwayne Haskins). Last year’s Senior Bowl provided a close-up look to Baker Mayfield and Josh Allen (both top 10 picks). This rendition features a trio of potential first round picks and plenty intriguing of day-two or day-three options.

1.) Daniel Jones, Duke – 6’5” 220

Propped up as a potential top-10 pick, Jones is the classic case of being elevated due to the urgent need of his position. Jones’ arm is teetering on the line of NFL-worthy and popgun. He doesn’t drive the ball to the field and he struggles with touch, accuracy, and anticipation. When he does find power on his throws, it comes from a long wind-up and a clean base. Any trash at his feet or flashing colors in his face presents problems for the elongated set-up.

Jones isn’t capable of extending plays or beating pressure with his arms or legs. He will chew up some yards with long speed, but his lateral agility and quickness aren’t there (think of Ryan Tannehill). He doesn’t process particularly well and will set himself up for huge shots in the pocket.

Frankly, I’m not seeing what other scouts do. I think he’s more of a day-three project than a first round pick.

2.) Drew Lock, Missouri – 6’4” 225

Physical traits aplenty, Lock has the biggest arm in Mobile this week. Because of that, and the lack of real in-game simulations, I expect him to help himself the most. He can drive the football vertically and to the perimeter, but his accuracy comes and goes. He doesn’t always establish a firm platform and will try the adjusted arm-angle throws, but he doesn’t exactly have the same control in that area as the originator, Patrick Mahomes.

Lock struggled against superior defenses that brought pressure. The bigger the SEC opponent, the more Lock’s game shrunk. He was overmatched by the likes of Georgia and Alabama.

Though he plays with the desired confidence and swagger, his game isn’t there to match. He’s rumored to be a fringe first-round prospect, though rumblings about Denver targeting him with the 10th pick have picked up steam. In my world, he’s in play for Miami’s second-round pick.

3.) Will Grier, West Virginia – 6’2” 223

Playing in a wide-open scheme in Morgantown, Grier’s deficiencies were overshadowed by his gaudy production and clutch moments. While the latter shouldn’t be neglected (he has some stones in critical moments), the former dampers the scouting report.

Grier simply doesn’t have the requisite arm to complete all the throws required in an NFL offense. With tighter windows and quicker defenders, he’s bound to be exposed at the next level. It’ll be extremely important for Grier to impress in the meeting rooms, but also show some velocity with all the scouts there to see him in person.

He does have a penchant for anticipatory throwing and the skill set to go off-platform and off-script, but he rarely had to do it in West Virginia. He’s a touch and timing thrower that looks terrific with sound protection. Grier might get pushed up the draft board, but I wouldn’t consider him an option prior to the third round.

4.) Tyree Jackson, Buffalo – 6’7” 245

Eligible for as a graduate transfer to a power-five program, Jackson instead opted to test the NFL waters before his stock could climb. Jackson is a physical marvel with a big-time arm, impressive stature, and enough escapability to make him a threat at the next level.

His mechanics will waver on occasion and his release point’s inconsistency causes a lot of inaccurate throws. He has plenty to clean up before he’s ready to compete for playing time at the next level. Jackson is a day-three option for the Dolphins.

5.) Gardner Minshew, Washington State – 6’2” 220

Taking Mike Leach’s Cougs from a projected sixth-place Pac 12 finish, all the way to a win-and-in season-finale for the conference championship game, Minshew was THE reason.

His leadership, high-level processing, and gamer-mentality hid the shortcomings in his physical prowess. Like a lot of his comrades in Mobile, Minshew’s arm strength is right on the boarder of acceptable at this level.

He’s prone to the fist-clenching decision once he goes off-script, while the wide-open nature of Leach’s air raid doesn’t do the former East Carolina Pirate any favors.

Minshew figures to be a day-three project with his upside falling somewhere between low-level starter and high-quality backup.

Edge (Linebackers) –

This position is going to be defined differently for the 2019 Miami Dolphins than it had been in the previous three seasons. Scrapping the disastrous wide-9 scheme, the Dolphins figure to adopt the linebacker-rush heavy scheme of Brian Flores and the New England Patriots.

So, because of that distinction, we are going to lump outside backers in with pure pass-rushing defensive ends for this group. The heftier defensive ends will be included with the interior down-linemen position as Miami’s scheme calls for new prototypes.

1.) Jalen Jelks, Oregon – 6’5” 245

A tad wiry, Jelks played with his hand in the dirt at Oregon. His quickness showed up both in the run and pass game through a variety of avenues. He’s capable of winning immediately off the snap and converting that speed to power with a steady base. He has the length, fluidity and instincts to win individually but also play within the framework of the defense.

The fit with Miami comes from a possible conversion an on-ball line-of-scrimmage defender. His thin frame causes issues when doubled, but Miami can counter that weakness by protecting Jelks via the scheme.

2.) Germaine Pratt, North Carolina State – 6’3”, 245

Pratt’s speed and coverage skills are evident of his conversion from safety to interior linebacker. He will surely convert to the outside in his pro career with terrific range and instincts in the passing game.

Though he added weight to his frame jumping into the front-seven, Pratt can still get over-powered. If he wants to be a true edge linebacker in this scheme, he’ll have to get stronger at the point of attack. His work in both zone and man coverage could help Miami’s pass defense immensely.

3.) Bobby Okereke, Stanford – 6’3’’ 234

Miami has been getting exposed by backs and tight ends in the passing game for far too long. Okereke covers a ton of ground in zone, but can match-up in man coverage as well. He will clean up plays as a rusher and struggles defeating blocks en route to the quarterback.

Okereke could be a sub-package coverage dynamo at the next level.

4.) Oshane Ximines, Old Dominion – 6’3” 247

Presenting the first truly physically dominant player in this group, Ximines offers the strength to anchor and defend the run better than his position-mates listed in this column. He’s not going to line-up one-on-one with a back or a tight end and win, but he does have a variety of pass rush moves and enough run-stuffing ability to make him an intriguing prospect.

5.) Otara Alaka, Texas A&M – 6’2’’ 240

Best suited as a SAM linebacker, Alaka draws intrigue from Miami’s multiple linebacker packages. In Sunday’s AFCCG win, the Patriots often deployed four linebackers in the line-up using stronger, sturdier outside ‘backers to shut down the Chiefs rush lanes early in the series. He’s a sure tackler with a high motor, but he offers very little by way of rush of coverage prowess.

The omission you’re looking for is Montez Sweat. With his prowess coming with a hand in the dirt, and his slight frame, I don’t foresee him being on Miami’s radar. This position requires speed, bend, a variety of moves and change of direction. When rushing the passer, watch how they square their opponent and if they have the hands and counter moves to initiate and beat contact. Burst and get-off top the list, obviously.

When it comes to coverage, mirroring is vital. Squaring up the target to initiate the jam will dictate the entirety of the route. Watch how these guys stay in control and on balance when they initiate the contact as it allows them to explode and cut down separation created once the pass catcher sheds the contact.

Interior Offensive Line

This side of the ball will provide more of a challenge with the uncertainty of the offensive play-caller in Miami. Jim Caldwell is set to coach the quarterbacks, but I think it’s disingenuous to glean any idea from his time in Detroit or Indianapolis regarding what Miami will do up front.

For the Dolphins, a complete rebuild could be in the works at this spot. Miami desperately needs stabilization at center and Josh Sitton and Jesse Davis hardly inspire hope as starting guards.

1.) Michael Deiter, Wisconsin – 6’6” 310

Wisconsin breeds offensive linemen and Deiter is the next in line to cash in with a lofty draft spot come Late-April. Deiter has played all three positions at a high level. He has the mental aptitude to regularly recognize and pick up stunts and he moves exceptionally well for a man of his size.

Deiter could be a first round trade-back option if the Dolphins are serious about refortifying the offensive line.

2.) Chris Lindstrom, Boston College – 6’4” 310

A mauler better suited for gap/man power-schemes, Lindstrom is as consistent as they come. Always available and scheme diverse, Lindstrom will be a quick transition into the league as an early starter.

He’s technically sound with strong hands and the movement skills to get out in space.

3.) Garrett Bradbury, North Carolina State – 6’3” 300

The theme at this position is the technical aptitude of these young men. Something of a lost art in the college game as teams focus more on pace than finishing, Bradbury is a breath of fresh air. The former tight end displays his fluid lower half, but didn’t sacrifice that movement when he added the requisite weight to kick inside.

4.) Elgton Jenkins, Mississippi State – 6’4” 313

With athleticism to climb to the second level and operational functionality against games up front (stunts and twists (both have killed Miami recently)), Jenkins could be the answer to the black hole that is the center position in Miami.

If the Dolphins continue forward with a zone blocking scheme, Jenkins is right up there for interior options.

5.) Dru Samia, Oklahoma – 6’5” 303

Position-diverse, Samia played tackle his first year before kicking inside to guard for his final three in Norman, OK. The technical proficiency and athleticism required to play in the up-tempo scheme of the Sooners pops on tape each week.

His ability to pick up games and anchor against the rush throughout the week could really solidify Samia’s spot as a top interior line prospect.

This is a stellar crop of interior linemen. The colts rebranded their operation by doubling down on Quenton Nelson and Braden Smith in 2018 – that option is on the table for Miami in 2019.

When you watch these big boys this week, keep an eye on their pad level, waste bend, and ability to absorb contact and maintain balance. They have a tough time in the one-on-one drills designed to make rushers look good, but the initial stance and ability to strike the rusher between the shoulders is always a good sign.

Interior Defensive Line

This group includes more than just the beef on the inside for Miami. We’ve covered Trey Flowers’ importance in New England’s defense ad nauseam for the last two weeks. Size, two-gap quickness and technique versatility are Miami’s aims here at this position.

1.) Daylon Mack, Texas A&M – 6’1” 320

Nov 17, 2018; College Station, TX, USA; UAB Blazers quarterback Tyler Johnston III (17) is sacked by Texas A&M Aggies defensive lineman Daylon Mack (34) during the second quarter at Kyle Field. Mandatory Credit: John Glaser-USA TODAY Sports

With a great squatty-body, Mack has the bubble and burst to dictate the point-of-attack inside. He’s deceptively quick off the ball which gives him even more value in this new scheme where the interior D-line will be asked to two-gap.

Mack, a five-star recruit out of high school, earned his way from the Shrine Game into Senior Bowl week. He’s not to be mistaken from an elite rush prospect on the interior, but Miami is severely lacking depth alongside Davon Godchaux and Vincent Taylor. Mack could play the nose, 2-tech, 2i and 3-tech in this defense.

2.) Isiah Buggs, Alabama – 6’4”, 290

More of a 5-tech in the new varied front scheme, Buggs relies on strong hands and a powerful base to help set and dent the edge in the run game. Playing under Nick Saban, Buggs is instinctive enough to recognize and defeat leverage. He’s a violent, rocked-up house of bricks that’s ready to play immediately.

The keys to watch for are similar to what we want to see from the offensive line. Can they consistently knock the man across from them backwards in both team and individual portions? Also, don’t be afraid to up-and-down their backsides. We need to see big ankles, calves and booties to properly gage their sheer power. When they get into their set-up and stance, do they bend at the knees, or does their waste go parallel? You do not want to see the latter.

Secondary

1.) Amani Oruwariye, Penn State – 6’1” 204 (Corner)

A lengthy, rangy corner with terrific ball skills makes Oruwariye an intriguing prospect to watch this week in Mobile. His ideal fit is in press coverage and in a zone scheme (two things Miami will do a lot of). His ball tracking and natural instincts allow him to make plays both in man, but also peering in from a cover-3 defense.

The rest of this group is lacking in a lot of the departmental traits Miami desires. The glut of this draft class’ prowess at the position comes from underclassmen.

2.) Nassir Adderley, Delaware – 5’11” 200 (Safety)

Miami should be active in their search for a third, rangy safety that can help patrol the back end in sub packages. With Reshad Jones and T.J. McDonald filling similar roles, and Minkah Fitzpatrick as a quasi-slot corner/safety, there’s a need here.

Adderley has exceptional range playing the single-high position on the backend of Delaware’s defense. He’s physical with a desire to hit someone in the mouth and he excels in zone coverage.

The number one thing you want to see with these players is the hips. How well to the transition in-and-out of their pedal and how fast can they close on the football. The drills ran this week have a way of weeding out the stiff and unnatural players.

Of course, there are plenty of other players and positions to keep an eye on. We will have those daily reports on the podcast on the site.

Here are some other guys to keep an eye on this week.

RB – Karan Higdon
WR – Debo Samuel, David Sills V
TE – Drew Sample
OT – Andre Dillard

@WingfieldNFL

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Miami Dolphins

A Miami Guide to the 2019 Quarterback Draft Class

Skyler Trunck

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Miami is in the thick of their head coaching search, but let’s be honest, whomever the Dolphins hire won’t excite you quite like seeing a new quarterback line up under center.  Could Miami find the next Patrick Mahomes or Baker Mayfield in the draft? Maybe.

I assume most of you are like me and don’t have time to consume pages and pages of scouting reports to dissect all the prospects in this draft and how they’d fit in Miami.  In an attempt to solve that problem for quarterbacks, I have compiled the big-name prospects into a short, easily digestible list.

Please keep in mind it’s early in the scouting process as far as what information is available to the public.  As with the draft every year in January, it’s likely projections, analysis, etc. change as we close in on April 25-27.

I’d also like to credit and recommend sources such as The Draft Network and Rookie Scouting Profile who not only helped frame this write-up but also provide more in-depth detail and pros/cons of each prospect that go beyond the brief summaries used here.

Dwayne Haskins
*yet to declare

Accurate on all levels.  Has the velocity necessary for a NFL quarterback.  Seemingly-high football IQ. One year starter leading to questions on what he could be.

My take: Haskins is the top prospect in this class if he decides to declare.  He has potential, but not all experts are on-board with Haskins being a safe day 1 pick.  Being a one year starter removes the consistency and improvements some experts like to see year-to-year for quarterbacks worthy of an early round 1 pick.  As a Dolphins fan, if you’re wanting a quarterback to start day 1, this is one of the players you’ll want to keep an eye on. It’s likely Miami would need to trade up for a player like Haskins if they decide he is worth the gamble.

Projection: Round 1

 

Daniel Jones

Strong enough arm for the NFL and mobile.  Accurate at all levels but lacks consistency or experience in anything outside of a quick passing game.

My take:  Jones has climbed draft boards this year.  Miami will need to implement an offensive scheme to play to his strengths, the quick passing game.  A more complex system like the one ex-head coach Adam Gase featured likely won’t align well to Jones’ strengths.  Where we’re at today, it’s looking like Jones will be available when Miami selects at #13. Where Jones is a decent quarterback prospect, if Miami is targeting a high-ceiling prospect, it may be best to look over Jones, and truly at that point, look more towards the 2020 draft.  I’ll also add, which may not bode well with Miami fans, when I see Jones, I think of Ryan Tannehill.

Projection: Round 1-2

 

Drew Lock

Strong arm but can show some inconsistent accuracy across the field — still, mostly accurate at all levels.  Appears to have issues processing the field. Solid pocket presence. True boom or bust prospect.

My take: Intriguing quarterback who was hyped coming into this year.  He didn’t show the improvement you’d like to see in a four-year starter, but he has potential and could be something special in this league.  Due to his inconsistent play game-to-game and lack of major improvement in his four years at Missouri, it’s likely he falls more in the “bust” category when it’s all said and done.  He could be worth a day 2 pick for Miami if scouts find the high-end potential is there.

Projection: Rounds 1-2

 

Will Grier

Mid-level arm talent in regards to accuracy and strength but could improve with mechanical adjustments.  Smart, consistent player with ability to extend plays with his legs (for better or worse).

My take: “Freelancer” is a great term to describe Grier.  He has shown he can make almost every throw. For those who despise current Dolphins quarterback, Ryan Tannehill, for his lack of pocket awareness, a quarterback like Grier may be more to your liking.  To add on, he’d compare more to Jay Cutler as a player than Ryan Tannehill. He’ll want a coach who can help him improve his mechanics and design a scheme to fit his strengths, but Grier shows some potential for the next level.  Like most quarterbacks who’d be selected in this range, he’ll need a year or two on the bench for he’ll be ready to contribute.

Projection: Rounds 2-3

 

Easton Stick

Average arm strength made up for with good accuracy, top-notch athleticism, and a high football intelligence.  Lack of top-end competition is a sizeable drawback.

My Take: A smaller, more athletic Carson Wentz with a slightly less appealing arm is an appropriate way to describe fellow North Dakota State quarterback Easton Stick.  Stick is just as smart with the football as Wentz, but unlike Wentz (to an extent) he can make plays with his feet when a play breaks down. On top of that, he has the tools you’d look for in an NFL prospect: adequate arm strength, accurate, and a high football IQ.  If Miami is looking for a mid-round pick with upside beyond a career back-up, Stick is certainly a target.

Projection: Rounds 3-4

 

Jordan Ta’amu

Mostly accurate on all levels.  Adequate arm strength for the NFL.  Can read the field and extend plays with his feet.

My take: Described as one of the biggest quarterback sleepers for this upcoming draft, Ta’amu is a relatively unknown quarterback who could check all the boxes for NFL scouts.  I expect Ta’amu to gain more visibility as we approach April. Ta’amu has potential and should be on the Dolphins radar as a quarterback who may be worth a mid-round, flier pick.

Projection: Rounds 3-4

 

Brett Rypien

Can make all the throws necessary both from an accuracy and arm strength perspective.  High football-IQ and risk-averse. Relatively consistent player.

My take: As far as players who could step in for the Dolphins, Rypien should be in the conversation.  He does the small things right.  There is more to be desired or to be seen as to if he could be true game-changer at the quarterback position, but he could be an adequate game manager.  In Miami’s case, if they’re looking for someone to come in and compete next year at a relatively low cost (mid-round pick), this may be the guy. However, I wouldn’t expect Rypien to be the savior Miami fans are looking for long-term.

Projection: Rounds 3-5

 

Ryan Finley

Accurate short, but inconsistent at anything further.  Questionable arm strength relative to the NFL level. Overall, not strong in most categories scouts look for in a quarterback.

My take: It doesn’t appear the upside is there for a player like Finley.  He’s experienced, having been in college six years, starting for the last three, but there isn’t a lot to show he’ll be a high-end starter in the NFL.

Projection: Rounds 4-7

 

Jarrett Stidham

Accurate at all levels and has adequate NFL arm strength.  However, doesn’t seem to handle pressure well. Not much of a threat to run when things break down.

My take: Similar to most quarterbacks in this range, his ceiling isn’t too high.  Best case, Stidham could be a solid back-up or spot-starter in this league. For what Miami is looking for, Stidham most likely won’t be the long term solution.

Projection: Rounds 4-7

 

Gardner Minshew

Inconsistent accuracy and processing which likely will not translate well to the NFL.  Playmaker who can extend plays with his feet. Not great but enough arm strength to make the necessary throws.

My take: For those who like the Russell Wilson type of quarterback in terms of extending plays, Minshew may gather some interest for you.  However, he lacks in the other departments which will limit him from being a Wilson-type quarterback. I’m gathering he’s best served as a solid backup or spot-starter in the NFL, which is likely not what Miami is in the market for.

Projection: Rounds 4-7

 

Clayton Thorson

Mid/low level arm strength coupled with inconsistent accuracy.  Seems smart enough and has ability to recognize pressure. Has flashes in all categories but overall inconsistent.

My take: Another late round quarterback who has potential to be a good back-up in this league.  With Miami wanting that quarterback to take them over the hump, Thorson doesn’t appear to be the answer.

Projection: Rounds 4-7

 

Bonus:

Kyler Murray
*yet to declare

Not-elite but good accuracy.  Most athletic, dynamic quarterback prospect with more than enough arm strength desired at the NFL level.  Can make plays when all things break down.

My take: It’s nothing new, but the Murray comparisons to Lamar Jackson are real.  Think Jackson but with a more accurate arm. There isn’t a lot out there on Murray regarding draft stock as Murray chose to take give up football in exchange for a baseball career.  In the event he changes his mind and switches to football, Murray could be a day 1 game-changing prospect for this Miami franchise. Sure, there are durability concerns when you run as much as he does with his small stature; however, a player like Murray is well worth the risk in a relatively weak quarterback class.  He could truly be a difference maker in this offense.

Projection: Round 1

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