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Reaction on Dolphins draft; Heat, UM/Jacory, Fins update

Before we get to Sunday's buzz column, a few items:

1) Knicks center Tyson Chandler said Monday morning that he's recovering from his flu and will play in Game 2 against the Heat. He said he felt like a "zombie" during Game 1. Knicks guard Baron Davis (back) said he's not feeling great but will play. 

2) Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin, recovering from April 2 knee surgery, said today it's a possibility he might return for Game 4 of the Heat-Knicks series.

3) Sunday afternoon note: UM quarterback Jacory Harris, who went undrafted, will audition for the Dolphins at their rookie min-camp this coming weekend. (He has not signed, but will audition). He will audition for the Arizona Cardinals the following week. The Kansas City Chiefs also have expressed interest in taking a look at him.

4) Tight end Nick Mandich, one of late/great Dolphins announcer Jim Mandich's three sons, also accepted an invitation to audition at the Dolphins rookie mini-camp next week.... The Dolphins on Sunday signed undrafted cornerbacks Kevyn Scott (Syracuse) and Trenton Hughes (Maryland). Scott went to St. Thomas Aquinas.

5) Besides the undrafted Canes listed below, others who reportedly joined teams Sunday include LaRon Byrd (Arizona), Micanor Regis (Falcons), JoJo Nicolas (Giants) and Jordan Futch (Buccaneers).


Dolphins draft postscripts:

### The glass-half-full view from the past three days: Miami not only landed a (possible) longterm quarterback but two other prospects who some considered first-round talents (Jonathan Martin, Lamar Miller). What’s more, the Olivier Vernon pick drew plaudits among evaluators.

The glass-half-empty perspective? The Dolphins didn’t procure a sure-fire rotation-caliber receiver, though B.J. Cunningham’s production at Michigan State suggests he MIGHT be a No. 3 or No. 4. Also, concerns were raised about Martin’s strength. Plus, safety and right guard remain shaky.

NFL Network’s Mike Mayock thought a receiver would have been sensible in the third round, suggesting Rutgers’ Mohamed Sanu (115 catches last season) or Wisconsin’s Nick Toon. “They don’t have a No. 1 receiver,” Mayock said, making the point again in round four.

Instead, the Dolphins took Michael Egnew at 78; Mayock noted Missouri tight ends, like Egnew, are often “freakish tight ends that don’t block.” But “he really can run.”

ESPN’s Todd McShay said Egnew, whose receptions dropped from 90 to 50 in 2011, must “become more consistently productive, do a better job running routes and separating.” Pro Football Weekly's respected draft analysis said he has “no power” as a blocker and “shows little strength or creativity after the catch” but “can make difficult catches look easy.”

### Mayock said of Vernon: “Of all the [UM] underclassmen that came out – and I don’t think most of them should – Vernon is one I bang the table for. When he got back [from suspension], he played every step with passion. He’s a solid 4-3 defensive end.”

McShay called Vernon a “great pick. Production didn’t always match up, but he shows quickness off the line and has a chance to make an impact as a pass-rusher.” ESPN’s Mel Kiper said he’s also “decent against the run. Had he played a full year, maybe he could have been an early to mid second-round pick.”

### ESPN’s Jon Gruden and Mayock said Stanford’s Martin can move seamlessly from left to right tackle, but Kiper isn’t convinced, suggesting Mississippi’s Bobby Massie made more sense at 42.

Miami “was the worst pass protection team in football last year,” Gruden said. “Why not get three-year starter who took care of Andrew Luck’s blind side? He’s athletic” but “you would like to see more thump, more explosion.”

Said Kiper: “A finesse guy, needs more power.” Mayock said he’s a “first-round talent and will start” immediately but “consistency and toughness were some questions from scouts.” PFW noted Martin “was exposed by the speed of USC’s Nick Perry” and called him an “overhyped developmental project who needs to get stronger.”

### All the analysts agree Miller was a great value pick in the fourth round, even though the Dolphins didn’t necessarily need a running back. McShay said Miller “is the most explosive runner in this draft. He’s not Chris Johnson, but he’s not that far away.” Said Mayock: “I love his ability with the ball in his hands, but I don’t think he can pass protect and I don’t think he’s any kind of short yardage guy. You don’t see him on the goal line, third down and short yardage and that’s a red flag.”

Kiper said Miller “plays like he’s 5-10, 185” even though “he’s 5-11, 215. He can take a pounding. He’s a big guy with game-breaking speed. The question is can he be multi-dimensional.”

FYI: Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland envisions Miller returning punts (he averaged 23.1 yards on seven returns in 2011, eight for 26.8 in 2010). He called him a "developmental back" who needs to become "a little more rugged" in better in pass protection.

Of taking two UM players (Vernon and Miller), Ireland said Al Golden -- who spoke at length to Ireland about UM's players -- "has been very good to me. I like the way he coaches his players. I believe in his program." "The ceiling" on Miller and Vernon "is endless."

Here’s what Pro Football Weekly’s draft analysis said on Miami’s other picks Saturday: Oregon linebacker Josh Kaddu is “lean, athletic, with good range, closing speed and pass-rush potential” but “can be exploited in the pass game.” And he “too often loses positioning in man coverage.”…

Sixth-round receiver Cunningham (79, 1306) “works the middle of the field and makes catches in traffic. Physical after the catch. Very good production. Most effective running slants and working inside and using his size to move the chains. [But] very small hands. Pedestrian speed. Struggles to separate vs. man coverage. Struggled vs. better cornerbacks and showed he can be contained: see Notre Dame, Nebraska, Michigan. Shut down vs. Nebraska’s Alfonso Dennard.”… 

Seventh-round receiver Rishard Matthews from Nevada (91 catches, 1364 yards in 2011) has "reliable hands and is productive after catch" and can also return points (13.3 average in 2011) but "lacks top end speed to blow by defenders or pull away from the pack. Has clear developmental value."

Texas defensive tackle Kheeston Randall has “very good size and length” but “poor hand use, marginal pass-rush value and limited upside.”

### PFW's analysis of some of Miami's post-draft signings:

Notre Dame running back Jonas Gray had 791 yards and a 6.9 per carry average in 11 games before tearing his ACL against Boston College. "Could turn out to be a surprise value pick if he can stay healthy and learn to protect the ball." He has seven fumbles in 200 career touches....

Texas A&M receiver Jeff Fuller (70 catches, 826 yards last year and one of Ryan Tannehill's targets in college) "struggles to separate vertically and drops have been too prevalent." At 6-4, he's a "a big, inconsistent, possession/red zone receiver whose stock tumbled during a disappointing, injury-plagued season when he too often appeared distracted."

Penn State receiver Derek Moye (40 catches, 654 yards) is "a possession receiver whose best chance to stick with come as a No. 4 or No. 5 receiver in a West Coast system."...

Missouri 6-2, 253-pound defensive end Jacquies Smith (five sacks, four passes batted down, four forced fumbles last season) is a "tweener speed rusher whose speed isn't special. Disappears for stretches."... Arkansas State safety Kelcie McCray (10 career highs) has "good speed and tackling ability."... Other undrafted free agents who say they're joining the Dolphins include Oregon State linebacker Cameron Collins, Portland State offensive tackle Dustin Waldron, Purdue safety Albert Evans, Pittsburgh defensive tackle Chas Alecxih, Temple guard Derek Dennis, Boise State defensive end Jarrell Root, BYU center Terence Brown, Utah defensive end Derrick Shelby and Arizona State linebacker Shelly Lyons


### If the Dolphins change their mind and decide to add another veteran receiver, available options include include Houston’s Jacoby Jones (likely would be cut if the Texans can’t trade him) and free agents Plaxico Burress, Patrick Crayton, Braylon Edwards, Roy Williams, T.J. Houshmanzadeh, Mark Clayton, Greg Camarillo, Bernard Berrian. Donald Driver would be an option if the Packers release him; they have been non-committal.

Besides Brian Hartline and Davone Bess, Miami's other receivers are Legedu Naanee, Clyde Gates, Marlon Moore, Roberto Wallace, Cunningham and Matthews.  "I have confidence in the players I have on the roster," Ireland said of receiver. "We have some young players that are ascending."

### Dolphins fans can drive themselves nuts by ruminating over Ryan Tannehill’s 2011 numbers. Consider: He was 53rd among major college quarterbacks in completion percentage at 61.6, though it would have been 68.1 if half of the 79 dropped passes were caught. He was 67th in yards per attempt at 7.1, worse than FIU’s Wesley Carroll and well behind UM’s Jacory Harris (20th).

He had the 56th-best rating, worse than any drafted QB except Ryan Lindley, and threw the sixth-most picks (15).

What’s more, on balls thrown 20 yards or more, Tannehill was just 16 for 58 (37.7 yards per catch), compared with 19 for 44 (33.7) for Brandon Weeden, who had the benefit of Justin Blackmon. ESPN’s KC Joyner noted Tannehill was sharp from short range, completing 76 percent of passes thrown 10 yards or less, with 13 touchdowns and one pick, but had more picks (six) than touchdowns (five) on balls thrown 11 to 19 yards.

But besides his size and arm strength, here are positives we keep hearing: His knack for making plays on the run (“pretty impressed” by that, Washington’s Mike Shanahan told us. “He’s got good feet. I watched every throw”); his intelligence (“I see vision, I see progression reading,” Charley Casserly told us); and his toughness (among the first qualities mentioned by general managers Scott Pioli of the Chiefs and John Schneider of Seattle).

### Owner Steven Ross said it would be fine with him if Tannehill doesn’t play a down in 2012, meaning he won't pressure the staff… Though Kiper has been calling Joe Philbin a quarterback guru, Philbin admitted he wasn’t involved much in developing Aaron Rodgers. As Rich Gannon says, Philbin is an "offensive line guy" (like Tony Sparano, but more cerebral and less of a yeller)….

### The irony of Philip Merling’s release is some of last year’s coaches expressed frustration with his lack of passion, shaky work habits and limited production, but Ireland wanted to keep him. Ireland finally came around last week.


### LeBron James was understated after his Game 1 masterpiece Saturday, saying, "It was an efficient game for myself. I'm not going to always be as efficient as I was tonight." Consider: His 71.4 percent shooting against the Knicks in Game 1 (10 for 14) was his highest in 93 postseason games, and his 32 points marked the 41st time he has scored at least 30 in the playoffs. What's more, his 28.1 scoring average is fifth highest in NBA postseason history, behind only Michael Jordan (33.4), Allen Iverson, Jerry West and Tracy McGrady.

### Mike Miller shot 3 for 10 on Shane Battier 2 for 8 in Game 1, but that does not remotely tell the story. Battier was on the floor for all of the 24-2 stampede to end the second quarter and Miller was on the floor for all but two points of that. Both hit big threes in that run, and both played stout defense. Battier had six boards and a blocked shot, Miller four rebounds and a steal. "It's a treat to have [Battier]," James said. As Dwyane Wade said, "What I think was great is Shane took some pressure off LeBron by being able to guard Carmelo Anthony a lot."

### Impending free agent Steve Nash, 38, said, “I love what [the Heat] is doing” and “I would definitely listen to them” but “I have no clue” about where he will play next season. “I’m in no rush... Winning and being competitive and being part of a good environment, those are at the top" of factors important to him.

If Nash – who finished second in the league in assists (10.7) and led all guards in shooting percentage (53.6) – leaves Phoenix to play for a championship contender, the most plausible options are Miami and the Lakers, who both have only a $3 million exception. The Knicks would be, too, but need their $5 million exception to re-sign Jeremy Lin.

### Here's where some undrafted Canes players signed Saturday night: Chase Ford (Eagles), Marcus Forston (Patriots), Adewale Ojomo (Giants), Harland Gunn (Cowboys), Tyler Horn (Falcons).... Undrafted Gators quarterback John Brantley and receiver Deonte Thompson signed with Baltimore.

### When Heath Bell made clear he didn’t appreciate a Marlins trainer questioning his workout routine – “apparently our trainer says I work too hard” - it wasn’t a shock. Two players and three prominent agents in the past year criticized the Marlins’ trainers to us, questioning their ability to diagnose and treat injuries, among other issues. One agent said he would be leery about sending pitchers here because of the training staff. Unhappy players persuaded management to promote a third trainer (Dustin Luepker) from Double A this spring.


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Good to see Dolphins finally pick some Canes. Let's hope Vernon plays like he did in 2010, not 2011.


Are they serious about Hartline and Bess as starting receivers and Naanee as No. 3? That worries me.

like back in 1972

actually, it'll be even better when they pick up real players.


The Dolphins have drafted more players from UM than any other school since the franchise was founded. This silly falsehood that they have "ignored" the Hurricanes is completely baseless and always has been.


Brandon Marshall was a 4th round pick, Mark Clayton an 8th rounder.. Everyone speaks as if only 1st rounders end up being great players. We have to wait and see.

Sanford Hall

Very sad of the Marlins trainers. Can Florida get anything done right?

Tanneyhill numbers doesn't look good. Completion percentage is very low, I am shocked by that as well as his QB rating.

I sure hope he improves because it tells me he has a ways to go, sounds like a project! The best thing about him is the cute blonde on his side.


The Heat would not be the best fit for Nash or the most plausible, as you put it. That's ridiculous. You really think that Wade or LeBron will run around waiting for Nash to give it up? All 3 need the ball in their hands... Best fit is actually Indiana, New York or Portland


If Nash leaves Phoenix, it would be for a championship contender. So why would he go to Indiana or Portland? Agree on New York, but he was listed as a possibility in this article. Very few of the true championship contenders need a PG - Miami, Lakers, Knicks if they don't sign Lin.

Georgia Cane

Al Golden should use this draft to show his current players that lack of hard work will result in third round selections at best. Those players left early to avoid Golden's weight room. Now, they wish they have stayed. I hope that our incoming freshman understand that hard work is "Golden".

Miami 13

the phins should have drafted Tommy Streeter in the 6th RD, he`s bigger and faster than Cunningham


Streeter runs terrible routes and drops way to many balls...


Matt, he wants to go to a contender. Indy is not a true 3 seed, had unbalanced schedules this yr and played all the weak west teams, portland is done, and NY is not even close to winning a playoff series as long as melo is their leader. Chalmers still gets 10 shots a game. nash shoots 40% from 3, and can always set up bron and wade. Hed be fine here if he played the chalmers role, which he can, accept he passes better, has less TO's, shoots better, and really wants to win. He will B in MIami, unless Riley can get a good C for the mini mid level.


The Dolphins have drafted more players from UM than any other school since the franchise was founded. This silly falsehood that they have "ignored" the Hurricanes is completely baseless and always has been.
Posted by: paul | 04/29/2012 at 04:11 AM

which reminds us the dolphins have selected only two Hurricanes in the past 20 drafts
-- barry jackson Apr 5, 2012



the phins should have drafted Tommy Streeter in the 6th RD, he`s bigger and faster than Cunningham
Posted by: Miami 13 | 04/29/2012 at 10:45 AM

We want to try to create a relationship with the Hurricanes and Al Golden. He’s been very good to me. I respect him as a football coach. I believe in him. We had good long talks about each of these players we drafted.
-- jeff ireland


octavio de armas

All speculations right now. Let them play !!!

Proud Italian

When he starts its his job. Ryan Tannehill.


The Dolphins also invited TE Nick Mandich to rookie camp. Mad Dog's son. I'll be rooting for him for sure.

Its Coming

Over 2,000 words, and the only FIU nugget was to diss former QB Wesley Carroll.

Nothing about TY Hilton and the contribution he hopes to bring to Andrew Luck and the Colts, despite NFL Network and ESPN analysts devoting solid time to this subject on air.

Nothing about FIU's upcoming acceptance into Conference USA in May either.

Changes are coming, can't wait to see Herald's increased focus on FIU.





I'm a true Fins fan and they have only drafted 2 QB's since Marino Scott Mitchell(backup at best) and Josh Hypel from Oklahoma who got injured his senior yr and wasnt even worth a draft pick because he didn't make it through training camp.All the other qb's they got were through trades or free agents(Jay Feedler 3rd string w the Jags--really) and were no real threats to contribute. They traded a 2nd rd pick for Culpepper who's knee was still hurt when they tried to make him play. When Parcells took over he immediately cut him instead of allowing him to heal and if you didn't want him get something for him instead of wasting that pick. The only 2 things Parcells did was draft Long and sign Dansby as a free agent other than that the Fins haven't done jack!!! They audition potential draft picks every yr saying they're a potential pick in whatever rd and when it comes time to pick them they go a different route--go figure then it's the same b.s. we're left listening to what direction they're trying to go in with the same results NOT EVEN A PLAYOFF WIN why because they don't even make it to the DAM playoffs. It's frustrating because when there are clearly better players out there Jeff Fireland says the same crap I don't want to overspend for a player based on our value system.That value system must be based on the same system that McDonald's Dollar Menu is based upon. At least that's fulfilling!! Year after year we get our hopes up with the same results and then they wonder why the games don't sell out based on ticket purchases instead of a tv channel or some organization buying the tickets so it can be seen on tv. Other teams are successful because they make it happen which results in them having good seasons not hoping that another team loses so they can backdoor their way into the playoffs. MR. STEVEN ROSS PLEASE do something that will make the Fins a perennial powerhouse so when we do go to the games and they play that song after the Fins score we can really hope and believe that the Fins are the greatest football team we've ever seen. Until you do the Miami Dolphins will always be second to the 'Canes who I love just a much for a reason.

BMC Robert Anderson
U.S. Navy
1987 Miami Northwestern Alum
Miami Native and Diehard Fins Fan


Pay attention BMCgiddy, they also drafted John Beck, Pat White, and Chad Henne.

Oh yea, and they just drafted RYAN TANNEHILL with their first pick this year.

PS - you really that defined by your job that you need to sign 'BMC'? Get a life dude.

george S

I was pretty thrilled with the draft to be honest. I thought they covered their needs, but most importantly, drafted best players available in most cases as well as guys they really liked and believed would be successful in the NFL. Martin was the best available player in the second round, so they got him immediately. They loved Vernon (and honestly I too was a huge fan of Olivier Vernon and was really hoping they'd draft him) so they grabbed him. They believe Egnew can become the same type of seam threat that Jermichael Finley is (seriously, anyone who doesn't think Philbin wanted this guy in order to mold him in that capacity has no idea what this team is trying to do) and then they drafted Miller in the fourth round because the guy was perhaps the best available player and the best overall value. Great draft. They weren't in love with any WR's until later in the draft, and even then they drafted a couple of guys and signed a few others that I saw in several mock drafts they would acquire in the 4-6th rounds (B.J Cunningham, Jeff Fuller, Derek Moye)


Wow didnt know Ryan Tannehill's number where that bad. As Barry points out even FIU's Wesley Carroll had better numbers and he was benched for a redshirt freshman QB Medlock. The whole Tannehill seems like a huge Lotto level risk. Dont like it but desperation is setting in at the Fins front office.

What do you think of all the CBS Sports reports of FIU going to C-USA?

Keep up the great work!

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