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Scouting Reports

Know The Enemy – Oakland Raiders

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

Oakland Raiders – Week 3

2017 Recap: (6-10, 3rdAFC West – No Playoffs)

After 2016’s aberration, Jack (Blackjack) Del Rio faced impossible expectations in 2017. The defense was still in shambles and the outlier season by his quarterback had many thinking this was a Super Bowl-worthy roster.

Derek Carr regressed back to the mean, Amari Cooper fell off the face of the earth and Marshawn Lynch’s return was more bark than bite.

Khalil Mack posted another monstrous season but the personnel surrounding him simply wasn’t good enough as Oakland limped across the finish line with four consecutive losses.

2017 League-Ranks:

 

Scoring Offense 23rd
Rushing Offense 25th
Passing Offense 16th
Scoring Defense 20th
Rushing Defense 12th
Passing Defense 26th
Turnover Differential 30th

 

2018 Coaching Changes:

Splashy moves are what built the team known as the Silver and Black. Throwing the game back to 1998, the Raiders penned a blank check for Jon Gruden to leave his cushy Monday Night Football job and return to the sideline.

Only the check wasn’t blank. It did, however, reach nine figures. Only six coaches have longer tenures than the length of Gruden’s 10-year mega-deal. Perhaps an even better reference, the Browns have employed six head coaches over the last decade. The Raiders have been through five of their own – but I’m sure they won’t regret this at all.

Outside of a pair of assistant positional coaches, Gruden’s staff is entirely new. Although Gruden will call the plays, Greg Olsen was brought in to help with the offensive game plans. On defense Paul Guenther takes over for a one of the league’s worst stop-units for nearly a decade.

Tom Cable returns to the Bay Area after washing out in Seattle – he’ll retain his title as offensive line coach.

2018 Notable Roster Changes:

 

Newcomer Role / Projected Snap Count
CB Rashaan Melvin (Indianapolis) Starter / 100%
OLB Tahir Whitehead (Detroit) Starter / 100%
WR Martavis Bryant (Pittsburgh) 3rd WR / 70%
S Marcus Gilchrist (Houston) Starter / 100%
RB Doug Martin (Tampa Bay) RB committee / 50%
WR Jordy Nelson (Green Bay) Starter / 85%
ILB Derrick Johnson (Kansas City) Two-Down LB / 50%
DE Tank Carradine (San Francisco) Rotational / 20%
CB Shareece Wright (Buffalo) Depth / 25%
OLB Kyle Wilber (Dallas) Depth / 25%

 

 

Departed Role / Snaps Played
CB T.J. Carrie (Cleveland Starter / 98.5%
WR Michael Crabtree (Baltimore) Starter / 59.2%
CB David Amerson (Kansas City) Depth / 27.6%
DT Denico Autry (Indianapolis) Starter / 57.1%
RT Marshal Newhouse (Buffalo) Starter / 83.5%

 

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

QB Derek Carr – 25th/ 40
RB Marshawn Lynch 12th/ 60
WR Amari Cooper – 86th/ 118
WR Seth Roberts – 118th/ 118
TE Jared Cook – 59th/ 72
DE Khalil Mack – 2nd/ 46
DE Bruce Irvin – 23rd/ 46
OLB Tahir Whitehead – 9th/ 39
CB Gareon Conley – DNQ
CB Rashaan Melvin – 19th/ 120
SS Karl Joseph – 34th/ 89
FS Marcus Gilchrist – 50th/ 189

The Other Key Contributors:

A quick qualifier: Marshawn Lynch probably won’t make it to 75% of the Raiders’ offensive snaps, but Gruden is going to try. He wants the run to set up the pass and he built the team accordingly.

Continuing the commitment to winning in the trenches, Gruden beefed up his defensive line. Justin Ellis is a mountain that eats up space and double teams. Second-year pro Eddie Vanderdoes had a nice showing as a rookie and Mario Edwards can kick inside as a nickel rusher. P.J. Hall, Maurice Hurst and Arden Key were all drafted to supplement the lacking depth.

Obi Melifonwu is oozing with potential but missed most of his rookie season. He gives Paul Guenther some intriguing dime packages on the back end. Daryl Worley is expected to play the slot, but he has behaved like an ass off the field this spring.

Speaking of asses, Martavis Bryant was dealt to Oakland during the draft, but he could be facing a suspension that would cause him to miss this game.

Tale of the Tape:

Offense:

Coincidence or not, Gruden inherited a team that’s built from the middle out offensively. From left guard to right guard, it’s difficult to find a better trio than Kelechi Osemele, Rodney Hudson and Gabe Jackson. Together, they lead a power-based running attack that affords Derek Carr the opportunity for traditional seven-step drops.

Nov 5, 2017; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Oakland Raiders tight end Jared Cook (87) hauls in a catch in front of Miami Dolphins free safety Reshad Jones (20) during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Gruden took every opportunity to make it known that he was still deeply invested in the league despite last donning a headset one decade ago. His claim is that the offense will be a mix-mash of things he has picked up from around the league and college ranks, but that can often be easier said than done.

With Lynch, the power-running game and a roster full of blocking tight ends, 12 and 13-personnel could be commonplace in the Bay Area.

Amari Cooper received an emphatic endorsement upon Gruden accepting the job – he will be featured in this offense. The swap of Michael Crabtree for Jordy Nelson was a curious decision as Nelson is more of a name than a player nowadays. Johnny Holton can provide the deep threat if Bryant is indeed lost for any period of time.

Derek Carr has an anomaly on his resume and it isn’t one of positive connotation. His only impressive season statistically was in 2016 when the Raiders offense was clicking on all cylinders around him. When faced with more adversity, Carr’s ability to process and get the football to his hot read regresses.

The Raider offense will go as far as Carr takes it. For the third consecutive week, to open the season, the Dolphins get an offense that is being remade from the ground up.

Defense:

The staple of a Paul Guenther defense is to show the quarterback as much variety pre-snap possible. In Cincinnati, Guenther always had a four-man rush that could create pressure. This allows the secondary to mix up its zone and man concepts.

In 2017, Guenther’s Bengals only sent an extra rusher 16.6% of the time. With Irvin and Mack on the edges, there’s no reason to expect that trend to change. That means a crowded secondary for a group that has been completely revamped this off-season.

With T.J. Carrie, David Amerson and Sean Smith gone, the Raiders will hope for a more collaborative effort from the newcomers (Gilchrist, Melvin, Worley, Wright).

Guenther wears out the double-A gap pressure look, which can put the linebackers at a disadvantage when they bail out. This would’ve been a nightmare for Miami last year with the lack of cohesion generated by Mike Pouncey’s chronic injury problems. Now, in 2018, continuity should shore up puzzles just like this one for the Dolphins.

With those linebackers displaced, and a lack of general talent at the position, teams could feast in the middle of the Oakland defense.

Karl Joseph and Obi Melifonwu offer Guenther interesting match-up pieces inside the box and man-up against tight ends. Marcus Gilchrist would provide stability on the back-end allowing the tone setters to play closer to the line-of-scrimmage.

Match-Up with Miami:

Miami’s saving grace in this game will be the ability to go empty from any personnel grouping. The front-five absolutely has to hold up in one-on-one situations outside of whoever Khalil Mack is rushing against.

Chipping and helping on Mack, while leaving everyone else man-up emphasizes a match-up between Bruce Irvin and Laremy Tunsil. If Tunsil keeps Tannehill clean in that duel, the Dolphins offense will move the ball up and down the field.

Creating opportunities for receivers on linebackers (i.e. Danny Amendola versus Derrick Johnson) could quickly wear the Raider defense down. The Raider edges want to get up field, so running the football on split-belly looks and outside/stretch-zone, and incorporating the screen game, should keep their stars at bay.

Breaking in a new defense means Tannehill will have opportunities to carve up this secondary. Miami can dictate match-ups and play this game at their own pace and attack players possibly lacking confidence in their assignments.

Nov 5, 2017; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins running back Kenyan Drake (32) runs the ball against the Oakland Raiders during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Defensively, it all starts with handling the running game. Miami is at a distinct disadvantage in the interior trenches for this game. William Hayes may get his second heavy workload in as many weeks helping the young Dolphin defensive tackles take on this all-star trio inside.

We talked about Cam Wake obliterating Brandon Shell and the Jets in the last column. Before Shell, he took Breno Giacomini to the shed in New York – Giacomini could start at right tackle for Oakland. The get-off of Wake and Robert Quinn, plus the alignment of this defense could give the plodding offensive tackles for Oakland fits.

Last year the Raiders destroyed the Dolphin linebackers in the passing game. Ushering in defensive backs that can help against the run (the big nickel package) should mitigate that issue.

Xavien Howard and Cordrea Tankersley will have to challenge Amari Cooper when he strolls to their respective sides of the field and Bobby McCain needs to dominate his match-up inside with Seth Roberts.

Trap Game Potential:

The Dolphins might be welcoming a desperate Raiders team into Hard Rock Stadium. The week one match-up against the L.A. Rams and a week two trip to Denver could spell an 0-2 start. In that instance, the Dolphins will need their A-game.

Playing a team after a road divisional game could prove beneficial, especially if the Raiders pick up that win. The Dolphins are coming off a divisional road of their own, so that advantage is likely wiped away.

The biggest impeding factor for the Raiders here could be the heat. A home game and a trip to Denver to start the season won’t exactly prepare the Silver and Black for the heat and humidity of Miami Gardens.

Week-Three in a Nutshell:

This is a game the Dolphins have to win. Jon Gruden has ten years to get his program built for Oakland/Las Vegas. He poured the foundation this year by gutting the roster and starting over aside from a few star players.

West coast teams playing in the early time slot are at a succinct disadvantage. The Raiders won’t be acclimated to the playing conditions and might have to park their philosophy because of it.

@WingfieldNFL

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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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