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Miami Dolphins

Student Becomes the Teacher, Flores Beats Belichick – Fins Pats Review

Travis Wingfield



Dolphins give fans the ultimate parting gift heading into an exciting offseason

In his end-of-year address in 2018, Stephen Ross defined insanity. He took accountability for the method of operations that the team took during the first decade of his time as owner of our beloved franchise. He spoke about the standard operating procedures of the league’s most successful, and most consistent organizations.

Sunday, Ross saw the emphatic culmination of phase-one of the most intricate rebuild plan in the history of the league. Sunday, the entirety of Dolphins Nation learned what Mr. Ross has known for some time — that he hit the coaching search 550 feet over the left field bleachers and into oncoming traffic.

Stat Dolphins Patriots
Total Yards 389 350
Rushing 63 135
Passing 326 215
3rd / 4th Down 5/13 (38.5%) 3/9 (33%)
Penalties 4 (35 yards) 6 (54 yards)
Sacks For 1 2
TOP 33:51 26:09


The buy-in Brian Flores received from his troops is nothing short of miraculous. Without a win eight weeks into the season, a winless run to the first pick of the draft seemed likely. That was before an onslaught of injuries and transactions forced Miami into record-breaking numbers for players used and league-high roster-churning marks.

And yet, the Dolphins finished the season with five wins in nine games, including three victories as double-digit underdogs. Without the benefit of research on this, that’s either a record, or very close to it. Beating the Eagles as 10-point dogs at home was impressive. Holding on as 11-point afterthoughts in Indianapolis was nice. Beating the 16.5-point favorite Patriots was unprecedented; at least over the last 30 years of professional football.

Miami trounced the Pats in the box score. The Fins moved the sticks 26 times (New England averaged allowing just 15 per game coming in) and did not turn the ball over (NE with an average of 2.4 takeaways entering action).

This offensive surge isn’t exclusive to week 17. Miami have been a top-half of the league outfit since Fitzpatrick’s reinsertion into the lineup, all without the presence of a running game. Only Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens have more first downs in that period.

Now, locked into the fifth position in the draft, fans can roll back off the white knuckle intensity of scoreboard watching, and practice some trust in this staff and regime — they’ve earned it.

Miami played better than .500 ball in the second half of the season and are equipped with more free agent spending cash than any team, and 15 draft picks in April — six of which will come in the top 60 selections.

Let’s get to the individuals.


The Dolphins 326 net passing yards was the most against New England since Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs shredded the Pats in October 2018 (research courtesy of Brett Brecheisen). Ryan Fitzpatrick’s season ends with 3,529 passing yards, and the team-lead in rushing. Dolphins fans could not have asked for an ounce more from Fitzpatrick this season, he was sterling.

Fitzpatrick’s red hot season culminated with a game-winning, 75-yard march to give the Fins their first win at Gillette since Barrack Obama’s first year in office. Fitzpatrick extended plays against the Patriots vaunted pass rush. He threaded tight windows, threw with anticipation, put the ball in the absence of the New England blitzes and moved the chains with his legs.

Fitzpatrick should be the team’s opening day starting quarterback in 2020, and we should expect another jump in production with better line play (PFF’s #32 ranked OL) and a full year in the offseason program within the same system.

Running Backs

Patrick Laird’s patience in space is such a boon in the screen game, but his pass protection skill set makes it difficult for him to get many opportunities. His running production was in-line with Miami’s ineptitude all season, but he gained 48 yards on four pass receptions.

Samaje Perine ran hard on five carries, and showed the short-area bust and wiggle to set up his blocks after the mesh point.

Wide Receivers and Tight Ends

Coming into the season, getting 16 games from Devante Parker would’ve been considered a success. Parker checked that box, and plenty others beyond such a frivolous accomplishment.

Parker ends the season with better than 1,200 yards and nine touchdowns — both top 10 in football. Most impressively, he did nearly all of his damage against the game’s top corner, going over 100 yards on Stephone Gilmore. It was Parker’s fourth 100-yard game in the last seven starts.

Albert Wilson had a case of the dropsies today, including a well-conceived drag route that might’ve gone the distance had he secured the catch. Wilson was a focal point of the attack going after the New England slot, and Wilson picked up another 59 yards.

Isaiah Ford was better from inside. Ford caught seven passes for 54 yards, including some crucial third down conversions on contested throws. He’s earned some consideration as part of the rotation next season.

Mike Gesicki caught the game-winning touchdown on what might’ve been the best route he’s run as a professional. He’s come into his own using his big frame to shield defenders, and strong box-outs for catch opportunities.

Gesicki’s versatility was on display, running seams and slants, but also leaking into the flat for run-after-the-catch opportunities. Gesicki ends the season with 51 receptions for 570 yards and five scores. Best of all, he was almost never asked to stay in and pass protect.

Offensive Line

This is the portion of the team that requires the most maintenance this offseason. Jesse Davis remains the best option to return to his position at right tackle. He had some tough asks in this game and did his best to thwart New England’s edge rush on a number of reps.

The interior remains a major problem as penetration against the run, and pressure against the pass were regularities again. The left tackle position is just as culpable as the inside three — all require better play next year.

Defensive Line

Davon Godchaux punctuated a strong season with perhaps his best game of the year. Big #56 was in the backfield with regularity, picking up four tackles in the process.

Versatility is as applicable to the front line as it is anywhere else on this team, and Godchaux and Christian Wilkins embody that flexibility. Whether it’s as the big defensive end position (4-tech), backside 1-tech, front-side 3-tech, or up over the guard as a 2-tech in a bear front, these guys win from multiple positions. Wilkins showed his power on this rep against Marcus Cannon.

Zach Sieler was a quieter in this game, but that didn’t stop him from showing off the traits that make him look like an absolute gem on the front line going forward.

John Jenkins doesn’t get a lot of publicity, a byproduct of being a non-pass rushing interior lineman, but like Wilkins and Godchaux, he’s powerful and versatile.


Andrew Van Ginkel is showing the same bite that made him an intriguing prospect out of college. His recognition for passing concepts is tremendous, as he finds his way into the passing lane based on preparation, and he’s been a sure tackler in coverage, to boot.

Van Ginkel’s biggest impact was as a weak side run defender. Defeating blocks was not his strong suit in college, and that’s probably why New England went after him in that fashion. Twice, Van Ginkel beat a pulling guard and made the play in the backfield.

Trent Harris was a problem for the Patriots Sunday. He lined up in the position typically filled by either Taco Charlton or Charles Harris this season, and he put forth the best tape of all. He was close to the quarterback a number of times, and finally got home with a huge sack in the fourth quarter.

Jerome Baker got caught in the wash a couple of times, but his speed really pops off the screen. He’s adept at chasing sideline-to-sideline, but it’s safe to wonder where the pass rush skill set comes from with him, as that is a massively important trait at the position in this defense.

Defensive Backs

What a fabulous homecoming for Safety Eric Rowe. Rowe’s pick-six was the difference in the game, as he showcased his ability to cover any potential pass catcher in the offense (backs, tight ends and receivers). The Dolphins got a bargain on Rowe’s in-season extension.

Tae Hayes appeared in his second game with the team, and he was chirping — rightfully so. The youngster was beat a couple of times, but he challenged a lot of targets at the catch point and showed a penchant as a quick study in this complex defense.

Nate Brooks had a similar day, and he matched Hayes in the trash talk department. Montre Hartage was around the football, and nearly walked it off with an interception of Tom Brady on the final drive. Nik Needham had a quiet day in the passing game — the Pats didn’t fancy targeting him, but he did get in on five tackles.

Foundation Set, Now for the Fun Stuff

Any season in the NFL is about wins, first and foremost. Miami, with credit to its own self-evaluation, knew that the Super Bowl likely wasn’t in the cards for the 2019 season. With creative measures taken to maximize its own assets, in exchanged for above-market value, the Dolphins have now accomplished multiple feats that none of the other sub-.500 teams have.

Miami, in emphatic fashion, may have just discovered the next great coach in the league. There is much more to be accomplished from Brian Flores, but the energy in that locker room is proof that every person on the roster believes in Flores’ message. That message doesn’t stop at the roster; it’s a unilateral belief inside the walls at the facility in Davie, and Flores’ weekly acknowledgement of everybody involved in the operation provides proof, if not the glowing praise, to a man, inside that building.

Leadership might be Flores’ greatest strength, but his scheme and staff assembly are a close runner-up, if not better. The Dolphins offense consistently moved the football with its fair share of shortcomings, and a no-name defense put the clamps on the Patriots offense Sunday.

Establishing the expectation was a perhaps a secondary goal alongside giving the organization all the necessary resources to rebuild this team the right way, but the pairing of those two should have Dolphins fans downright giddy.

With the foundation in place, Miami now gets to go shop for the snazzy new edge rusher or game-breaking tailback. They can import cogs on the offensive line and ball hawks on the back end. Miami can draft the very best player on the board, and then do it again 14 more times and infuse this roster with young talent that fits the theme of the program, and the schematics on the field.

The Dolphins uncovered plenty of hidden gems this season. Whether it’s Devante Parker and his top-ten statistical receiving season, Eric Rowe earning the Swiss Army Knife distinction, or Andrew Van Ginkel showing his best stuff in the finale of his rookie season, Miami have discovered better than 20 core pieces going into the 2020 season.

Those players will communicate and carry on the expectation for the crop of newcomers in the offseason.

Take a bow, Mr. Ross, Chris Grier and Brian Flores. You, as a triumvirate, have given this particular writer — and the majority of the fan base — more confidence in this operation than any time in recent memory.




  1. Avatar

    Daniel meehan

    December 29, 2019 at 9:07 pm

    Travis,thank you for all the work you did the last four months. I don’t know if I would have made it without your coverage. You made a difficult situation manageable. I can’t wait for the off season to begin. The dolphins are moving toward relevancy. Who would of thought this was possible ?.

  2. Avatar


    December 29, 2019 at 9:46 pm

    Glad I found this site and you Travis. Never been more excited to be a Dolphin fan.

  3. Avatar

    Cory Benton

    December 29, 2019 at 10:40 pm

    T-Wing I am reminded of your very early advice to fans this season: Find one or two young players you like, and focus on their development through the season as opposed to worrying about the W/L’s. Unfortunately I chose the no-heart mommy’s boy, #29. What I didn’t know then was that we had a treasure chest of unheralded heroes that would eventually reveal themselves under the tutelage of the flat-out AMAZING coaching staff. I hope we’ve all learned a lot these last 17+ weeks. Maybe more will start to agree that we absolutely have our QB for 2020 already in the building and Flo is going to take us to the Promised Land. Mark it down and know its going to happen. In Coach We Trust. Fins UP!!!

  4. Avatar


    December 30, 2019 at 12:20 am

    T-Wing, like a Star Wars rebel fighter spacecraft deal, great abbreviation. Anyways, T-Wing did a fantastic job all season. Can’t praise you enough, just great, great, great coverage.

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Miami Dolphins

Miami Dolphins meeting with Jordan Love at the Senior Bowl

Shawn Digity



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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NFL Draft

Senior Bowl 2020 Preview Through Miami Dolphins Lens – Defense

Travis Wingfield



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.


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.


Wednesday-Friday — Senior Bowl Practice Recaps

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Miami Dolphins

Kevin’s Senior Bowl Defensive Brain Dump

Kevin Dern



As we head into Senior Bowl week, I just wanted to do a quick brain dump on some of the prospects I’m most interested to see on defense this week at the Senior Bowl.  One of my favorite prospects, Notre Dame DE Khalid Kareem, appears to have dropped out of the Senior Bowl for some reason (I’m looking into that, but if anyone knows, please comment below).  To keep this simple, I’m just going to go DLs, LBs and DBs with quick notes on the guys I like.

Quick Glossary of Dolphins positions:

Big DE – bigger guy, usually 6’3”+ and 270lbs+ with 34”+ arms.  Usually plays some 4, 4i, 5 and 6 techniques, with the ability to reduce inside on passing downs.

Rush DE – think Trey Flowers.  Plays wider, usually 5, 6, 7, 9, and 8 (head up on a dual TE, pretty rare). 

Off-Ball LB – a LB that’s usually playing off the line of scrimmage.  Think Jerome Baker and Sam Eguavoen.

On-Ball LB – a LB who is playing the edges, akin to a 3-4 OLB, but may be playing in a 4-man line.  Think Vince Biegel and, especially late in the season, Andrew Van Ginkel. 

Safety Position – Miami breaks their safeties into three categories:  MOF (Middle of the Field – a deep FS), split safety (someone who can play ½ field in tandem with the FS), and box safety (think Patrick Chung for New England or Tavon Wilson for Detroit.  For Miami it was mostly Reshad Jones and Eric Rowe in this role in 2019). 

DL Prospects

DE – Jason Strowbridge – N. Carolina – Really excited to see him play in Mobile.  Was a 3-tech DT for the Tar Heels at 6’5” 285lbs.  Has length Miami will covet, experience playing inside.  Flashes some explosion in pursuit.  Plays well down the line (horizontally) against the run.  Violent hands.  Miami will like that.   Fits with the Dolphins as a

DT Javon Kinlaw – South Carolina – Long and explosive.  Can play anywhere on interior and may be able to play some Big DE in Miami’s scheme.  Wins with length and speed more than physicality; will have to be more consistent with leverage and pad level at NFL level.

DT DaVon Hamilton – Ohio State – Solid all around.  Physical, hustles, uses his hands.  Was part of a heavy rotation at Ohio State with Rob Landers, Jashon Cornell, Haskell Garrett, and Tommy Togiai.  Probably more set for a true 4-3 defense, but a solid player you can get in the mid-rounds.  For Miami, he’d likely fit as a backup to Christian Wilkins – someone who can play 2i, 2, 3, 4, 4i techniques.

Really Intrigued:  Marlon Davidson – Auburn – Was more hybrid 3-4 DE/stand-up edge player at Auburn.  Has good size.  Will be interesting to see how he plays as a DE in the game.  Would be a Big DE for Miami.

Want to see more of:  Leki Fotu – Utah – Got manhandled by Oregon in the Pac-12 Title Game.  Thought he was an intriguing prospect for a NT spot in Miami’s defense, but after that game…Yikes.  Can he rebound? Has some potential to play other techniques aside from a pure NT.  Is he strong enough at the NFL Level?

Others  I like:

Bradlee Anae – Utah – Rush DE from Utah who seems to fit the parameters, but just isn’t quite there for me. I want to see how he holds up against this level of competition.  Did well until he ran into Penei Sewell of Oregon.  Did notch some wins against USC’s Austin Jackson.

Jonathan Greenard – Florida – Another Rush DE candidate who had a fantastic season.  Had a tremendous season for the Gators and has solid size for what Miami will likely look for.  Does he have an arsenal of pass-rush moves or is he too reliant on speed-rush?

Darrell Taylor of Tennessee, Josh Uche of Michigan, and Alton Robinson of Syracuse also bear watching.  The first two might be more OLB candidates for Miami.  Robinson had a lot of hype heading into 2019 but didn’t have the best season with 2.5 of his 4.5 sacks coming against Liberty and Western Michigan.

LB Prospects

Malik Harrison – Ohio State – Just a good, smart, physical football player.  Can he play on the ball? Probably a little bit light for what Miami wants in someone who can play the off-ball and on-ball LB spot, but he’s so good.  Secure tackler.  Delivers pop when he squares up.  For Miami, if he can bulk up a bit and still retain his speed, he’s got a chance to play that off-ball ILB and on-ball OLB hybrid role, like Kyle Van Noy.  Guys like Biegel and Van Ginkel are pretty strictly on-ball guys, who fit the hybrid OLB/rush DE role for Miami.

Evan Weaver – California – Strictly a MLB in Miami’s system, but he may be more dynamic there than Raekwon McMillan; creates a logjam there if you take him though.  Can play in coverage, good tackler, deceptive quickness.

Really Intrigued:  Anfernee Jennings and Terrell Lewis are both listed as ILBs for the Senior Bowl; not OLBs or edge players, which is what I think they’d be better suited for in the NFL and with Miami.  Is this a real thing?

Want to see more of:  Logan Wilson – Wyoming – Evan Weaver heavy.  Wilson isn’t as polished as even Weaver, but he’s got good size and moves will for it.  I’ve only seen one Wyoming game, so I myself want to watch Wilson this week.

Others I Like: 

Carter Coughlin – Minnesota – He’s listed as a DE for the Senior Bowl, but for Miami’s purposes, they’d likely view him as another OLB/DE hybrid.  Not that they need another at this point with Biegel and Van Ginkel, but it’s worth doing the due diligence on Coughlin.

DB Prospects

Damon Arnette – Ohio State – One of the few CBs I’ve seen multiple times and paid attention to.  He was the starter opposite Jeff Okudah and had a nice season.  He’s physical and is an excellent tackler for a corner.  Had to play with his hand/wrist in a cast for a chunk of the season and became a bit grabby, much like current Dolphin Xavien Howard when he was at Baylor.  With Arnette, as it relates to Miami, I think the tape is fine, but it may come down to the physical measurements.  Namely, does he have the long speed to play a lot of man coverage?

Dane Jackson – Pittsburgh – It seems like every year there’s a dirty, grimy football player from Pitt that just tends to stick in the league.  I thought Dwayne Hendrix had a chance for Miami last year, but he ended up with the Ravens after being on the practice squad.  Dane Jackson is another kid I can see Miami taking a liking to.  Though, like Arnette, I’m concerned if the speed is there or not.

Antoine Brooks Jr. – Maryland – I noticed him when the Terps got thumped by Ohio State.  He’s big, 5’11” 215lbs, and plays slot, SS and split safety.  I think his best position is probably playing in the Patrick Chung/Tavon Wilson role, if Miami is convinced, they can play Eric Rowe as a split safety when required.  Clicks & Closes quickly, like Reshad Jones.  Good tackler in space.  Physical.  67 solo tackles in 2019.  Displays good closing speed (watch the play against Penn State).  For the Dolphins, he’s on my short list of guys who can pay the Chung/Wilson role.  While he’s not in Mobile, keep an eye on SMU’s Patrick Nelson.  Hat tip to Chris Kouffman for turning me onto Nelson.

Alohi Gilman – Notre Dame – Antoine Brooks lite.  Better coverage player, but not as dynamic close to the LOS.  Good tackler who makes plays on the ball.  3 FFs in 2019, 6 total in his career at Notre Dame (3 years of playing time).  58 solo tackles in 2018 (better team defense).  Interested to see if he’s more of a slot player or can play SS in the NFL.  Versatility is something Miami will like.

Intrigued:  Kyle Dugger – Lenoir-Rhyne – Division II player at the Senior Bowl.  I know Jim Nagy really likes him.  Intrigued to see his size on display.  6’2” 220lbs.

Want to see more of:  All the CBs.  Other than Jeff Okudah, Damon Arnette and A.J. Terrell, I haven’t watched many corners throughout the year.  Curious to see if any stand out.

Others I Like:

Ashtyn Davis – California – I know Travis has, or is very likely to, talk about him a lot this week.  He’s one of the few ideal candidates in this year’s draft of the MOF FS spot in Miami’s defense.  They may be comfortable with Bobby McCain for that role, but in my eyes, moving McCain back to the slot and tabbing a guy like Davis would improve the secondary as a whole.

I also think it’s funny that we’ll see corners named Lamar Jackson and A.J. Green in Mobile this week.

Final Word

If I’m pressed into picking five names I think Miami will really like from this year’s Senior Bowl, I’d probably stack them as:

1) Ashtyn Davis – FS – California

2) Malik Harrison – LB – Ohio State

3) Jason Strowbridge – DE – North Carolina

4) Damon Arnette – CB – Ohio State

5) Evan Weaver – LB – California

I left off several guys like Darrell Taylor, Terrell Lewis and Anfernee Jennings.  They’re all guys Miami will like, but with Biegel and Van Ginkel in the fold, are they really going to be that interested? Especially with a guy like Yannick Ngakoue lurking in free agency, who he himself has already teased some things about Miami and Jason Taylor on his Twitter timeline? Yeah, give me Ngakoue there.

As for my guy, Antoine Brooks Jr., I think he’d be a really nice fit for Miami.  But with Eric Rowe’s capability, I have to wonder whether or not they’d look at someone in that role or tend to focus on guys who can play FS and be able to play in split safety looks.  There’s also some intriguing names out there in free agency like Justin Simmons and Von Bell to watch out for.

It’ll be a fun week to watch, and feel free to @ me at @KevinMD4 if you have any questions about these guys.






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