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1 posts from April 18, 2014

April 18, 2014

Opening the pages to the notebook

Here are some notes I've collected this week:

We already now the Dolphins are showing interest in former University of Miami quarterback Stephen Morris. Well, they're apparently somewhat keen on former Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray as well.

A league source tells me Murray has met with some Dolphins representatives during the current draft process and there could be a future meeting that would suggest a greater desire by the team to understand what makes Murray tick.

Murray, it must be mentioned, is not expected to be selected high in the draft. Despite being a four-year starter at Georgia and throwing threwing 121 TDs and only 41 interceptions, the player who competed at the highest level against SEC competition is considered a likely third-to-fifth round draft pick, depending on varying opinions.

Murray suffered a torn ACL in November and did not compete at the Indianapolis Scouting Combine. But he was sufficiently recovered -- he'd say fully recovered -- to show his wares at the Georgia Pro Day.

Murray didn't seem to have any limitations at that workout --  which is stunning considering the knee reconstruction was done six months ago. But he did wear a brace for the session.

This is how NFL.com's Gil Brandt broke down Murray's Pro Day:

"Murray — who has 9 1/8-inch hands — threw 54 passes at the pro day, with just two that would be considered not catchable. He showed good velocity on the ball, but toward the end of the workout it appeared as if his arm got tired. His knee looked stable, but he did wear a brace on it.

"Murray — whose mother and father were both present to watch the workout — had a very good pro day. He’s a not-get-too-high or not-get-too-low type of player. If there’s a run on quarterbacks in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft, he could wind up being selected in that round."

We'll see about that second-round prediction. Despite his NFL-caliber arm and production in college, Murray is not one of the new-thing running QBs. He's a pocket passer. And his size (6-1) is not prototypical. But then you come back to his production and, well, it makes a good case for him.

By the way, the fact the Dolphins are doing so much homework on Morris and Murray and other QBs should plant the seed that the team is seriously going to consider drafting a quarterback in this coming draft.

It may not happen early -- as Miami doesn't even have a complete offensive line to protect starter Ryan Tannehill so that's kind of sort of the priority -- but if a value pick in later rounds is available, new general manager Dennis Hickey may take him.

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As I posted a video highlight reel of Morris, here's one for Murray:

 

 

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The Dolphins have assigned numbers to all their new players.

Knowshon Moreno will wear No. 28.

Branden Albert will wear No. 71.

Louis Delmas will wear No. 25.

Cortland Finnegan will wear No. 24.

Earl Mitchell will wear No. 90.

Shelley Smith will wear No. 64.

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This blog has devoted much space to the coming negotiations for an extension between the Dolphins and center Mike Pouncey.

Well, Pouncey isn't the only one who will be in line for an extension. The team is aware defensive lineman Jared Odrick and tight end Charles Clay are going into the final year of their rookie deals. And as both are young and productive, it will be interesting to see how the team handles the issue.

By the way, how the team handles Odrick and Clay will be on the radar for younger players and their agents. They want to see if Hickey will reward draft picks worthy of keeping.

And so far, Pouncey, Odrick and Clay have shown they are worthy of keeping at the right price.

The Dolphins in the past gained a reputation in the agent community for rewarding free agents but being less likely to pay their own draft picks when they came up for their second contracts.

With the notable exceptions of Reshad Jones, Koa Misi and Brandon Fields, the Dolphins have often let their picks go without extensions or even eventually walk away in free agency. That's what happened with Paul Soliai, Jake Long, Sean Smith, Chris Clemons, Nolan Carroll, John Jerry, Chad Henne, Jason Allen, Ronnie Brown and others.

(I suppose one reason the Dolphins let so many draft picks walk is because they decided, after four years, that they weren't worth keeping even when other teams decided those players had value.) 

Regardless, how Hickey and Dawn Aponte approach Pouncey, Odrick and Clay will be watched by agents and, I suppose, players in the locker room as well. 

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Have a blessed Good Friday and a wonderful Easter on Sunday.