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Dolphins, draft notes; Barkley criticizes Heat; J.J. reax; broadcast news

Notes on a late Wednesday night:

### The latest free agent to visit Dolphins headquarters Wednesday: veteran fullback Ahmard Hall, who was ranked 26th of 29 players at his position by Pro Football Focus last season. Hall, 32, has 40 starts in six seasons, all with Tennessee, including seven starts last season.

During his career, he has 80 yards rushing on 24 carries (3.3 average) and 561 yards on 73 receptions. Undrafted out of Texas, Hall spent four years in the Marines. The Dolphins are looking for a fullback to compete with CFL import Jerome Messam. Lex Hilliard, the Dolphins’ primary fullback last season, signed with Minnesota.

### The players most often mentioned in connection with the Dolphins’ first-round pick at No. 8 are Ryan Tannehill, Quinton Coples, Melvin Ingram, Michael Floyd, Riley Reiff and – if either surprisingly drops – Justin Blackmon or Morris Claiborne.

But if CBS and NFL Network analyst Charley Casserly put together the Dolphins’ draft board, Tannehill, Coples, Ingram, Floyd and Reiff are not the players he would rate No. 7 to 10.

Casserly said there are six clear cut top players in the draft: Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin, Matt Kalil, Trent Richardson, Blackmon and Claiborne.

After that, he rates Alabama safety Mark Barron at No. 7 (“he’s a Pro Bowl type prospect); Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly at No. 8 (“smart, instinctive and can run; he’s better than Jonathan Vilma”); Memphis defensive tackle Dontari Poe at No. 9 and Stanford guard David DeCastro at No. 10. He has Notre Dame receiver Floyd 11th and Mississippi State defensive tackle Fletcher Cox 12th.

Barron or Poe would be surprising picks for Miami and DeCastro would be unspeakably shocking. But Kuechly cannot be ruled out. Though he projects as an inside linebacker, Casserly said there’s no reason he cannot play outside linebacker. He led the nation with 191 tackles last season, to go with three interceptions. But Kuechly, 6-3 and 242 pounds, was used more in coverage than as a pass rusher and had just 2.5 sacks in three years.

NFL Network’s Mike Mayock rates Kuechly the sixth-best player in the draft but expects him to go between picks 12 and 20.

### Matt Moore told WQAM’s Joe Rose on Wednesday: “I was fully expecting a quarterback competition. I still am. You just want a fair shot to show your talent and prove to coaches you can win. That’s all I was hoping for and I think that’s the situation we have here.”

### TNT's Charles Barkley told a Chicago radio station on Wednesday: "I think the Bulls have a really good chance against the Heat [in the playoffs]. I think the Bulls are better. I think LeBron James has to play at a Michael Jordan-type level every night because that team has so many holes on it. James is the best player in the NBA. if he doesn't play at a crazy level and make those guys better - Mario Chalmers, Joel Anthony, Udonis Haslem - if he doesn't get those guys off, they can't win. Chris Bosh hasn't had a double double in like two months. They're clearly not a good rebounding team. Their bench isn't very good.""

### The impression Erik Spoelstra has left a few times in recent games is he will give Norris Cole a brief first-half stint (just three minutes against Boston), but go back to him in the second half only if he plays well. (Cole went 0-for-1 and wasn’t used after halftime.) 

Spoelstra declined to discuss his approach with Cole, but if James Jones continues to play well, Spoelstra may instead opt to continue using him with Shane Battier and Mike Miller off the bench, with Dwyane Wade or LeBron James handling point guard duties when Mario Chalmers is out. That’s a smart approach, considering how ineffective Cole has been since the All-Star break.

For a look at the state of the Heat heading into Thursday’s Bulls game, see our previous post.

### Josh Johnson’s first two starts have been disconcerting, though he insisted he wasn’t discouraged by Wednesday’s outing against the Phillies. He allowed 10 hits in the opener (equaling a career high), then 11 hits (and six runs) in 3 2/3 innings vs. Philadelphia Wednesday. “He missed almost a whole year last year,” interim manager Joey Cora said. “It’s going to take time to be the J.J. we know. He’s a whole lot better than that.”

### Friday’s Marlins-Astros game – was which supposed to be one of only five non-televised Marlins games this season – has been picked up by MLB Network and will be aired in South Florida, opposite Heat-Charlotte and Game 1 of Panthers-Devils.

### Jeff Dinetz, station manager for 790 The Ticket, said as he searches for a successor for morning host Jorge Sedano (who quit this week to concentrate on TV opportunities), he doesn’t want someone who will talk only about sports.

“Everything will come back to sports, but I want to talk about what’s happening on Dancing With The Stars and pop culture and other things,” he said. “It can’t just be about X’s and O’s."

The station has made clear that it was Sedano's decision to leave and he could have stayed if he wanted. He offered to work through mid-May, but the station declined because of contractual reasons (according to program director Tod Cassleberry). Sedano pointed out he had the highest morning sports ratings in the station's history. The Sedano/Joe Rose battle was very competitive, with Sedano winning several books in recent months.

But Dinetz said overall as a station, "We were 18th, 19th in men 25 to 54 last month. We haven't been in the top 15 and that’s unacceptable.”

Comments

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Eric

Looks like Sedano was pushed out due to bad ratings. The tv excuse is probably BS.

TinSouthMiami

Wade's idiotic comments about being paid to play in the Olmpics dont merit a mention?

barry jackson

Tin... I mentioned Wade's Olympic comments both in the previous post and the Heat news story currently on the Herald web site.

sflafan

LUKE KEUCHLEY!

I may receive criticism for this, but I can honestly tell everyone reading that I've been pushing for the Fins to draft Luke Keuchley for the past 3 months. The consensus from most experts is that he's one of the very top players coming out. Likely the best LB. The most underated player period. Guys, he's going to be another John Offerdahl, Zach Thomas or Brian Urlacher.

He's got very good size, very good speed, great athleticism, and he's a "baller". He's a football player, not just a guy who looks good in shorts and a tight Under Armour shirt. The guy is a playmaking, tackling machine. WHY NOT TAKE THE BEST PLAYER AVILABLE. If he's there at 8, he WILL be the best player on the board!

Do we need him? Heck yes. You can't have enough superstars. The Fins are running a 4-3 next year. Could you imagine the LB corps of Dansby in the middle and Barnett and Keuchley on the outsides? All 3 are 3 down, no substitute needed players. All three can play PASS COVERAGE! The DLine with Solai back is solid enough with Starks and Wake as well. The front 7 will be VERY, VERY good.

This guy is as close to a sure shot as anyone in the draft. You saw what he did in the UM game. He dominated the game at the LB position. Controlled the whole game and won it on a pick 6. If the Fins draft Keuchley, I'll be a very happy camper. I know we want offense, but why draft an offensive bust?

Better Sports Radio

Of course he was pushed out. You can't talk about the Heat everyday for 4 hours. Hot Garbage morning show.

octavio de armas

Looks like they are bringing Rosenberg back at 790.

Lefty

Barry Jackson, wrote recently that, in the last year Sedano, had the highest morning drive ratings in the history of 790 The Ticket.

TheSergeantMajor

sflafan, I'd take Keuchley too.

Jerry

Yes!Keuchley is the best player at #8.And i agree he is a star talent!Would also trade #8 to Cinn for 17 and-21.And give them 73 and 74.This way we would pick 17,21,42.thats three of the top 42-players!Then we will get going in day three of the draft!

Eric

Lefty that ain't saying much. He still got killed by Joe Rose.

Jerry

trade down picks...with Cinn...Kendall Wright-17,Cordy Glenn-21,Vinne Curry-42.

TropicBob

I would be happy with DeCastro or Keuchley. This was an informative piece. We are two drafts (at least) away from doing anything. Let's go with the best player instead of reaching again. For example, De Castro would solidify the OL for years and probably be a pro bowler every year, but this pick might cause more problems with fans.
Trading down would be ideal but you need a trading partner, so it's difficult to do unless a team really wants a player. You can't just trade down because you want to.

OneEyedJack

Good riddance...never could stand Sedano"s high-pitched squealing.

R

You're damn right, OneEyedJack. Guy has the most annoying, whiny voice I've ever heard.

joe

Actually...for a change.....I cannot really disagree much at all with Charles Barkley s assessment of the Miami Heat.Right now.........he is right on the money.Currently...they are much in disarray.No one is playing well offensively and defensively.Bosh has been terrible for a long time in general.Last.....their depth has been awful too.I fully expect Chicago to handle the Heat fairly easily tonight.By Playoff time......hopefully the Heat improves.It s not too late but it s getting worrisome.......to say the least in terms of improving their high quality of play.

ginrai

Barkley be ready to lose again!

ginrai

Bulls didn't handle the Heat fairly easy tonight. It went to overtime. If Lebron had made that freethrow at the last second the Heat might of won ,and it wouldn't of went to overtime. The Bulls didn't win anything easy.

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