ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay just got off a conference call and I asked him his thoughts on outside linebackers and specifically, 3-4 outside linebackers that fit the Dolphins prototype.
The good news?
McShay believes there are two such OLB candidates that would be value picks at No. 12.
The bad news?
McShay believes there are only two such OLB candidates that would be value picks at No. 12 and both were college defensive ends and are being looked at as NFL 4-3 defensive ends by several teams.
The two players are Derrick Morgan of Georgia Tech and Jason Pierre-Paul of South Florida.
"If Miami's targetting one of the top two guys I mentioned and believe they can play outside linebacker which wouldn't shock me, by the way, Derrick Morgan I do think he's a better fit as a traditional defensive end," McShay said. "But he's 6-4, 268. Jason Pierre-Paul is a little bigger -- 6-5, 263. If they're targetting one of those two, I think at No. 12 it would be a good spot for either of them. I like Morgan a little more than Pierre-Paul, but I can see either player being a pretty good value."
I asked McShay to give me his three top "pure 3-4" OLBs and he mentioned Michigan's Brandon Graham, Texas's Sergio Kindle and TCU's Jerry Hughes. But I pressed him whether it's accurate none of those three would be value at No. 12, McShay.
"Yes," he answered, "That would be accurate to say."
That doesn't mean McShay doesn't like those guys.
"I would probably start with Brandon Graham and depending on the 3-4 you're running, his height is a little bit of a concern so factor that in. I do think Brandon Graham, if you're looking for a 3-4 outside linebacker is as good as you're going to get in this class,' McShay said. "I just don't classify Derrick Morgan or Jason Pierre-Paul as typical 3-4 outside linebackers. I think Brandon Graham you start with his motor, intensity, toughness. I go back and watch LaMarr Woodley as a senior coming out and compare him to Brandon Graham and there's not a big difference. And you see the big impact Woodley has made.
"Sergio Kindle would probably be the next guy after Graham. He was productive at Texas but not quite as productive as you would have liked to see," McShay continued. "And he's at his best when you turn him loose and let him get up the field. He has good athleticism but he needs to get stronger versus the run, I think that's going to be an issue for him and may keep him out of the top 20 picks.
"After that I'd go with Jerry Hughes of TCU," McShay said. "He's an explosive pass-rusher and can get after the quarterback."