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2 posts from April 18, 2013

April 18, 2013

What the draft pundits would do if they were Ireland; Canes, Heat, Marlins, radio

FRIDAY BUZZ COLUMN

So we all know ESPN’s Mel Kiper believes Alabama right tackle D.J. Fluker makes the most sense for the Dolphins’ pick at No. 12. Here’s what some of the other evaluators say they would do if they were in Jeff Ireland’s shoes:

### NFL Network’s Mike Mayock: He said even though the Dolphins badly need an offensive tackle, he’s certain Luke Joeckel, Eric Fisher and Lane Johnson will be off the board, and “I don’t think Fluker will get to you.”

If that’s the case, Mayock advocates drafting Houston cornerback D.J. Hayden or Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner (if he surprisingly falls) or an edge rusher such as LSU’s Barkevious Mingo. The Dolphins like Hayden, who visited team headquarters last weekend, but 12 would be higher than many project. Kiper has him going 28th.

### NFL Network’s Charley Casserly: He would take FSU’s Xavier Rhodes because “cornerback is their biggest need. Rhodes is a physical, press corner who plays zone well.” Others don't believe Rhodes is well suited to play zone - which the Dolphins play at times - but we respect Casserly's eye. 

### Draftinsider.net’s Tony Pauline: “Sources tell me the Dolphins will be drafting big” – as in a lineman. He said he would take Fluker at 12 or trade up for Johnson, “who could end up being the best tackle in this draft.”

### ESPN’s Todd McShay endorses trading up to draft a tackle, taking a guard (Chance Warmack or Jonathan Cooper) because “they would offer good value and help solidify the offensive line” or plucking Rhodes. But Rhodes or a guard would be a surprise at 12.

### National Football Post’s Russ Lande, a former Browns scout, has a different approach from the others: “I’d take [FSU defensive end] Bjoern Werner or [BYU end] Ezekiel Ansah, if he’s there, over an offensive tackle, but there’s only a small chance Ansah would fall to 12.”

Some evaluators have dropped Werner into the second round, but Lande said that’s a mistake: “Werner is a Chris Long, Jared Allen type. I wouldn’t want to reach and take Fluker that high. And you don’t need to take a cornerback at 12. There are a lot of good corners.”

### NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah, a former NFL scout, has pushed for Miami to move up to take Johnson, which would be surprising at this point. “He can be your guy on the left side for 12 years, and if it only costs you a third round pick to move up, I would do it.”

If the tackles are gone, Jeremiah said he would lean toward taking Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro. The Dolphins like him, not necessarily that high.

#### NFL Network’s Charles Davis: He said getting a left tackle, not a right tackle, should be a priority because “what you’ve seen from Jonathan Martin doesn’t make you think he’s going to protect Ryan Tannehill on the left side.”

He said if Miami can’t get Johnson, “I would lean toward [Missouri defensive tackle] Sheldon Richardson. He can be a special player inside and a matchup problem as an athletic, pressure guy. Then Rhodes or Werner, in that order.” The Dolphins like Richardson, who visited team headquarters recently.

None of the pundits suggested taking Tyler Eifert, Tavon Austin or anyone else. 

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CHATTER

### UM badly wants Plantation American Heritage running back Sony Michel (Rivals.com’s No. 5 player in the 2014 class) and Michel said he will orally commit next week, from among UM, Georgia, UF, FSU and Notre Dame. UM believes he can be a slightly bigger version of Duke Johnson.

UM is cautiously optimistic because Michel has been around the UM program so much and his coach said he wants his Broward-based parents to be able to see him play. But Georgia is a formidable challenger.

“Sonny and [Georgia coach] Mark Richt have a good aura,” Heritage coach Mike Rumph said. “Sony reminds me of Bo Jackson, with his power and speed combination.”

UM already has a commitment from Miami Central's top-flight running back Joseph Yearby, the No. 40 player in the 2014 class.

### Shaquille O’Neal, by phone, made clear he cannot see anyone beating the Heat: “They look damn near perfect to me.”

### A few NBA records the Heat achieved this season: LeBron James became the first player ever to reach marks of 26.8 points, 8.0 rebounds (career high), 7.3 assists while shooting 56.5 percent… Chris Andersen posted the best won/loss record (39-3) of any player to appear in 40-plus games…

Of Shane Battier’s 152 made field goals, 89.5 percent (or 136) were three-pointers, highest percentage in NBA history… And though Dwyane Wade didn’t set a record, he became only the fifth shooting guard in 30 years to average 20 points and shoot at least 52 percent, joining Michael Jordan, Monta Ellis, Andrew Toney and Rolando Blackman.

### Well-regarded Marlins pitching prospect Jacob Turner’s puzzling spring training struggles have continued into the regular season at Triple A New Orleans, where he is 0-2 with an 8.74 ERA in three starts… Though the Marlins hope Logan Morrison is healthy enough to join the team the first day he is eligible (May 30), the front office says it’s too early to tell.

### As expected, WQAM-560 named John Renshaw as 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. host, replacing fired Dan Sileo. 790 The Ticket still has an opening (1-3 p.m.), with interim host Eric Reed (not the Heat announcer) a top candidate for the full-time job. 

Thursday 8 p.m. update: Branden Albert discussions, Heat, Canes

Thursday night update:

Chiefs coach Andy Reid has confirmed earlier reports -- both here and by ESPN -- that the Dolphins have been given permission to talk to the agent for left tackle Branden Albert, the subject of trade conversations between the teams.

But Reid told ESPN's Chris Mortensen this evening the Dolphins haven't been given permission to meet with Albert and give him a physical until a substantive trade offer is made. (Or until Reid and GM John Dorsey change their mind.)

Reid said Dorsey told him the Chiefs and Dolphins haven't talked in two days.

Albert is expected to seek a deal as rich or better than Jake Long's four-year, $34 million contract with St. Louis. He is under contract for next season at $9.8 million, but that salary can be lowered if a longterm deal is agreed on.

The Dolphins want to know that they and Albert see eye to eye on the financial parameters of a multiyear contract before giving up a second-round pick for him. But contract talks aren't holding up the deal. Instead, both teams are simply trying to decide if this is a move they want to make.

NFL Network's Mike Mayock said he would advise against most teams pursuing Albert but believes it's a good idea for the Dolphins. "Miami has already pushed the chips out there, but you can't compete without a left tackle," he said. "Miami is one of the teams that has to stand up and go get him."

Albert was ranked 25th among all left tackles by Pro Football Focus last year.

### Mayock expects FIU safety Jonathan Cyprien to be an early second-round pick.

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Here’s the schedule for the Heat-Bucks playoff series:

Game 1 – Sunday in Miami, 7 p.m., TNT

Game 2 - Tuesday in Miami, 7:30 p.m., NBA TV

Game 3 – Thursday, April 25 in Milwaukee, 7 p.m., TNT

Game 4 – Sunday, April 28, in Milwaukee, 3:30 p.m., ABC

# Game 5 – Tuesday, April 30 in Miami, time TBA

# Game 6 – Thursday, May 2 in Milwaukee, time TBA

# Game 7 – Saturday, May 4 in Miami, time TBA

#: If necessary

Sun Sports can and will carry any first-round game that’s not on ABC.

### Unfortunately, the second half of Game 3 of Heat-Bucks will compete with the first 90 minutes or so of the NFL Draft. 

### ABC will take Game 4 of the Heat series but passed on Game 1, opting instead for Knicks-Celtics on Saturday and Lakers-Spurs on Sunday.

### TNT’s Reggie Miller asserted off the air the other day the San Antonio “can flat out beat Miami in the playoffs” and also wouldn’t rule out Indiana, though that would surprise him. “But here’s the problem,” Miller said.

“San Antonio can’t beat Oklahoma City, but Oklahoma City has no shot against Miami. It’s all about the matchups. Memphis and San Antonio – because of size, strength, grit, half-court defense and ability to pound the ball down low – would give Miami problems. But athletically, San Antonio can’t get by Miami.”

Miller added: “I know Indiana is not scared of Miami. The only problem is they don’t have a No. 1 closer than a LeBron James or a No. 2 like Dwyane Wade. They have the size in Roy Hibbert and David West and guys to guard Dwyane and LeBron in Lance Stephenson and Granger. I would not be surprised if the Pacers pushed them, not necessarily beat them. Chicago is the same thing.”

### And here’s the take of NBA Hall of Famer Rick Barry: “OKC or San Antonio has a realistic chance of beating the Heat, if [San Antonio’s] Tony Parker plays at the level before he got hurt.

“Rebounding is a concern for Miami, no question, especially if you go against Tim Duncan. Even Denver – who would guard JaVale McGee? If they play a team with a really good big man who can post up, how do they deal with that? You live and die with the outside shot. But I’d be shocked if anyone but Miami came out of the East.” 

### Besides the four receivers we mentioned in yesterday’s post, Miami also has had multiple meetings with a few other receivers: Tennessee’s Cordarrelle Patterson, Justin Hunter and Lehigh’s Ryan Spadola. But receiver is now clearly a “strength,” as Jeff Ireland said, and Miami might not draft any.

### UM is perfectly content to have parted ways with suspended linebacker Eddie Johnson, who officially signed with Hinds Community College Wednesday. As one UM person said, it was one problem after another with Johnson – late to meetings and practice, not following rules. By the time he quit school this semester, UM didn’t expect him back, or to be reinstated, for that matter. And Alex Figueroa’s emergence this spring eased concerns about linebacker in the wake of the departures of Johnson and Gionni Paul.        

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