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Second and third-day players on Dolphins radar

The names of college players who have met or worked out for the Dolphins in recent weeks has focused primariliy on first-round options because everyone wants an idea which player Bill Parcells will pick in the first round.

But the NFL draft will be a three-day affair and the first round is only the first of those days.

So today we concentrate a little on the lesser-known players. Today we give you some second- and third-day options in whom Miami has shown interest.

We start with Notre Dame wide receiver Golden Tate, who has been on Miami's radar for quite some time. He met with the Dolphins at the Combine and the team was represented at his workout. At his workout, Tate wowed some people when he improved his 4.4 Combine time in the 40-yard dash to 4.32 and 4.37 -- which is flying.

At 5-10 and 202 pounds, there are questions about Tate's ability to get off press coverage. But watch the kid and you'll see a tough player, a competitor. He will learn to get off the line and do it well.

South Dakota State outside linebacker Danny Batten has a visit scheduled with Miami. Miami was represented at Batten's work out last week.

Batten is 6-3 and 246 pounds so he has good size. Batten had good but not great production last year with 4.5 sacks in 12 games. He ran a 4.71 and 4.72 on a fast rubber track at his Pro Day. Batten is one of those guys that coaches simply call a football player.

Does he look amazing stepping off the bus? No. Does he measure out with incredible times? No.

Does he play well and hard? Yes.

Ohio State inside linebacker Austin Spitler has met with the Dolphins and that makes sense because the team is looking for a value pick late in the draft that could play special teams. J.D. Folsom was that player last year. This year the club is looking at Spitler as well as Arizona State linebacker Travis Goethel as possibilities for that duty should they be available in the seventh round.

The Dolphins have also met with TCU linebacker Daryl Washington. Washington is a productive outside linebacker. He led the Frogs with 109 tackles, including 11 for losses, and that is saying a good deal because that defense was tops in total yardage allowed and also boasted first or second-round prospect Jerry Hughes. Washington is 6-2 and 230 pounds.

The Dolphins will this week host their local visits of players that grew up in the region or attended high school or college in the region.

Included among the players visiting are Clemson wide receiver Jacoby Ford, who went to high school in Palm Beach, Florida safety Major Wright, who attended high school in Fort Lauderdale, and Miami tight end Jimmy Graham, who obviously played at the University of Miami.

All are second or third-day picks.

Ford, perhaps the fastest player the Dolphins have hosted, has been something of a sleeper during the current draft season. Some experts have somehow decided that a guy that ran a 4.22 at the NFL Combine doesn't play fast on the field.

I do not agree, but I'm not an expert. Ford is only 5-8 and 186 pounds so he isn't the prototype big target the Dolphins are seeking at wide receiver. But his speed has to be intriguing for a third-day selection.

Wright is more a strong safety than a free safety and having followed this kid's career since high school I still see him as one of the most punishing hitters I've seen in the deep secondary at any level. The guy simply uncoils like a viper. His ball skills need major work, which is the reason he's not a free safety prospect, in my opinion.

The Dolphins do have a Pro Bowl strong safety in Yeremiah Bell. But Bell is 32 years old, so it might be good to add a backup in the mid to late rounds to groom an heir.

Graham was supposed to be something of a secret that stayed here in South Florida. Well, the secret is out. Graham, a former basketball player, has caught the fancy of half a dozen teams that see great potential in him. He's still raw, needs a strong base to block better, and has to be more consistent with his hands. But at 6-6, he's an impressive target and will likely go somehwere in the late second or third round, in my opinion.

As previously posted on this blog, the Dolphins have also met or set up meetings with Georgie safety Reshad Jones and Georgia devensive tackle Jeff Owens. Owens, you may recall, is the player who benched 225 pounds 44 times at the Combine.

[Update: As you know Syracuse WR Mike Williams worked out for the Dolphins a couple of weeks ago. He had an open workout for any team that wished to attend today in Buffalo. The National Football Post reports Williams ran a 4.53 time on one of his 40-yard sprints.] 

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