« Tuesday update: UM in mix for top RBs; Ranking top local stories of 2012 | Main | Thursday quick hits: Heat, Dolphins, Canes, Gators »

Kiper on what Fins should do in draft; Fins' WR options; Canes recruiting; Heat; Marlins

WEDNESDAY BUZZ COLUMN

The Dolphins will have a choice of intriguing receiver prospects when they pick 12th, 42nd and later in the second round, using the Colts’ pick that will fall somewhere between 51 and 62. The question that must play out is whether Miami ultimately will deem any of the receivers, or Notre Dame 6-6 tight end Tyler Eifert, worthy of the 12th  pick.

ESPN’s Mel Kiper said Tennessee receiver Cordarrelle Patterson or Eifert would make the most sense with Miami’s first-rounder.

CBS draft analyst Rob Rang has Miami taking another junior, California receiver Keenan Allen, at No. 12, though some evaluators project Allen and Tennessee receiver Justin Hunter going in the 20s. Allen and Hunter announced they are turning pro; Patterson and Eifert reportedly are widely expected to.

“Either Patterson or Eifert would be a good addition for Miami,” Kiper said by phone. “Patterson has star potential, but he will be a work in progress. He might not be a rookie sensation. He’s the kind of guy who can fill that void down the road as a No. 1.

"Eifert is a great pass catching tight end and he’s more NFL ready than Patterson," Kiper added. "He’s blocked a lot better [in 2012 than in 2011]. Mid-first round is a little early for a tight end but not unprecedented.”

Kiper said he needs to see their NFL Combine numbers before deciding which would be the better choice. And what the Dolphins do in free agency obviously will factor into a decision.

### ESPN’s Todd McShay said Patterson (46 catches, 778 yards) “is the most naturally talented receiver prospect in terms of explosiveness and potential. He’s a silky smooth runner with better change of direction ability than defenders anticipate from a player his size (6-3).”

### Kiper ranks these junior receivers behind Patterson: Hunter (73 catches for 1083 yards, nine touchdowns) Allen (61 for 737, 6); West Virginia/Miramar High alum Stedman Bailey (106 for 1501, 23) and Clemson’s DeAndre Hopkins (16 for 1214, 16).

### Kiper ranks senior receivers in this order: Baylor’s Terrance Williams (95 for 1764, 12), West Virginia’s Tavon Austin (110 for 1259, 12), Louisiana Tech’s Quinton Patton (104 for 1392, 13) and Oregon State’s Markus Wheaton (88 for 1207, 11). Kiper regards only Williams as a possible first-rounder among senior receivers, though Austin is getting a lot of buzz.

### Hopkins had scouts raving Monday, when he had 13 catches, 191 yards and two touchdowns against LSU in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl. He could rise to early second round, maybe higher.

### Views are mixed on Hunter. “His inconsistent ball skills are a concern and he needs to get stronger and more physical in his routes,” McShay said on ESPN.com. “I was underwhelmed by his toughness and aggressiveness. He too often allowed oncoming defenders to affect how he attacked the ball.  He clearly has first-round ability, but Hunter hasn’t consistently shown the kind of overall game that would make teams feel great about taking him in the first round.”

Kiper said Hunter “was good but not spectacular, more of a second-round pick.”

### Allen also might be a stretch at No. 12. “He lacks the elite speed to run past NFL defenders, but his size (6-3) and strength allow him to win one-on-one battles downfield,” McShay said.

### As for Williams, “he can really fly and [at 6-3], has the size you want to win one-on-one battles” but is a borderline first-rounder, according to Kiper. Like Williams, Wheaton also has exceptional speed and has drawn comparisons to Pittsburgh’s Mike Wallace.

### Expect a lot of chatter about Austin in the coming months. Austin, 173 pounds and just over 5-8, is the draft’s best slot receiver and “perfect for the NFL” but probably not a first-rounder, Kiper said.

“He was arguably the most electrifying playermaker in college football this season and has an elite combination of quickness, speed and vision in the open field,” McShay said. “The question is whether his size will prevent him from being a first-round pick. There are not a lot of good NFL comparisons for Austin. Percy Harvin and Wes Welker are bigger. And it’s hard to tell how many teams are willing to pull the trigger on a slot guy in the first.”

The Dolphins like Davone Bess as a slot receiver, but if Austin is surprisingly available at No. 42 and if Miami hasn't added a receiver by then, then it's obviously worth discussing.

### McShay projects USC’s Robert Woods (73, 813, 11) as a second-rounder: “Lacks elite size (6-1) and speed but highly productive. Makes some very difficult catches look easy.”

CHATTER

### How bad, historically, was the fact Miami had only three touchdown receptions from wide receivers (one apiece from Brian Hartline, Davone Bess and Marlon Moore)? Elias Sports Bureau tells us that is the fewest in the NFL in eight years, since the Bears got three and the Giants got two from receivers in 2004.

As one veteran Dolphins defensive player said, the front office's biggest mistake wasn't trading temperamental Brandon Marshall, but "not doing anything to replace him." That, presumably, will change this offseason.

###  Richmond, Va.-based Derrick Green, the nation’s No. 1 running back, isn't the only prospect rated among the top few at his position who's considering UM. (See our last post for news on Green, who admitted favoring Michigan and Tennessee.)

Miami also is among five finalists for Booker T. Washington’s Matt Thomas, the nation’s No. 2 outside linebacker who will announce on Signing Day (with FSU, Alabama, USC, Georgia also in the mix); among four finalists for No. 4-rated defensive end Al-Quadin Muhammed (announcing this week among Notre Dame, UM, Alabama, Rutgers) and among six schools being considered by No. 1 inside linebacker Rueben Foster (with Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, LSU, Washington).

The nation's No. 2 defensive end, the aptly-named Dee Liner, told ESPN on Tuesday that he remains an Auburn commit but is considering Miami - along with Alabama and LSU - and will visit UM's campus on Jan. 11.

"I want to get to know the coaches," Liner said. "Who would not want to visit Miami? I am committed to Auburn but am keeping my options open since they got a new coaching staff."

Of this group, UM might have the best chance with Thomas, who said he liked his visit to Miami but has no favorite. Many believe Foster will end up in the SEC, and Muhammed said Notre Dame "is at the top" but reiterated he also likes UM. "I love Al Golden," he said. "They have what I need to succeed."

UM also remains in the mix for the No. 9 offensive lineman (Denver Kirkland, who is expected to announce on signing day) and the No. 11 receiver (Stacy Coley).

### With the Heat dropping to last in the league in rebounds per game and 22nd in rebound differential (minus 2.2 per game), consider: None of the past 17 NBA champions had a negative rebound differential or finished worse than 12th in differential. The last NBA champ to be outrebounded in a season? The 1995 Rockets.

### Giancarlo Stanton -- who would have led baseball in homers (45, instead of 37) if he hit them at the same pace at home as he did on the road – said, when we last saw him, that "it would be a good idea" to move in the outfield walls at pitcher-friendly Marlins Park. But he said he doesn’t believe it’s his place to ask the Marlins to do that because he has been in the big leagues for only three years.

And the Marlins say on the record that moving the fences in is not going to happen. The Marlins remain open to listening to overtures for Stanton (a free agent after 2016) but won’t consider a trade unless they’re overwhelmed by an offer. Seattle and Texas are among those who reportedly have shown interest.

Stanton is very unlikely to sign an extension here, barring a change of heart.

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

boe

Muhammed is going to be a Cane Saturday.

Eddie

Tavon Austin! Tavon Austin!

ozzie

too bad marqise lee isn't draft eligible.

Kev

All of those players sound good and would be a great help to us and Ryan, but sadly with Jeffy running things I am sure he will draft a WR in the last round from a school no one has ever heard of. With 2 early picks we can get 2 impact players, but a good GM would fill those needs well. Not us. Jeffy will mess it up.As for FAs Philbin will have to do a great job of selling the Fins since most top players dont want to come here because of Jeffy. So it maybe useless to talk about players we should grab since we wont grab them. Much like when we passed on Clay Matthews, but took Vonte instead, knowing he had issues, or trading down to get Odrick instead of getting JPP. Both of those we passed on are not too bad. Lets see who we pass on this year.

mike

Eddie, he's too small he's too small.

mike

Eddie btw, he averaged 11 yard per catch for his career, not what we need. We need a speed down field receiver. He's a game breaker in the return game, not as a receiver. His teammate Steadman Bailey average 15 per catch for his career, with 25 TD's in 2012, but he's small too at 5'10'.

Dotty

Fireland.

Jo jo

Well......my heart at this early time in the season is ALWAYS with the Canes.Hope they get a couple more great DEFENSIVE players.Our offensive talent I do believe will be developed and IMPROVE dramatically.We need a good WR Coach.Hope and pray Miami s DC does a MUCH BETTER job of coaching up the defense and plugging the right guys in the right spots.Hope Golden oversees his buddy much,much,much,much,much,much,much more to ensure he knows what the heck he s doing THIS upcoming season.Pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.THAT said....I m hopeful the U gets a couple of surprise signings on NSD that can IMPACT this team immediately.(Kind of like that poor guy at wr from Miramar)Hope he s healing up fine and will be ready for next year by the way.After NCAA sanctions.......Miami will seem like the place to be again and RECRUITING will shift big time upwards in a very positive,long-term manner.The program is soon to get back on track.Very,very soon.GO CANES.

Fins Fan69

I'm sure Ireland is already filling Ross's ears with "how this season wasnt his fault., and how a coaching change might need to be considered." Ireland needs to go before any good changes are made with this team. His inexperience at personnel decisions will doom this team in the future unless he goes. This years picks will be wasted.
Ireland will spend picks on guys you have never heard of, from no name schools.
Then say they are projects for the future when they dont pan out.

mark

28-0, i repeat 28-0...we need some playmakers...NE is the measuring stick, and we are far off...please draft wisely and can we get some DLine and LBs, and WRs...geez we need alot don't we...nonetheless I am a fan...God Bless everybody!

Miami Penguin

Marlins take note: when you have a fire sale, there is very little incentive for the remaining players to re-sign with you. That's the way the world works, in case you hadn't noticed.

Luke Warm

Message to Al Golden: Do the right thing! Hire Ray Lewis ASAP to coach Canes LBs. Have him accompany you to visit Reuben Foster and Matt Thomas. They'll both sign in a heartbeat! Ray Lewis would love to do it bc his son will be starting his freshman year and playing football at the U next year.. This is a no-brainer. Get it done, Al!!!

rboud

The only reason Collins is even considering Florida is because of the NCAA problems at UM. He would have been a UM lock. Golden is as good as any recruiter in the country. The NCAA is the current problem and will keep some big-time players from coming to UM. It's the only reason UM will lose out on some of the best high school players in the country.

Bob Strongthunderbird

luke warm, u hit the nail right on the head!!!!Al Golden ,
hire the great Ray Lewis asap,,,,no delays!!!if u do,watch the Canes b-come Champs again!!!!!!!!!!!!

The comments to this entry are closed.