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March 10, 2014

What Dolphins are getting in Branden Albert; Fins, Heat notes; Late addition to UM football class

Some notes on a Monday:

### So what exactly are the Dolphins getting with 29-year-old left tackle Branden Albert, who is expected to sign a multiyear deal with Miami on Tuesday for about $10 million per season?

1) Here’s how Pro Football Focus evaluated him heading into free agency: “He graded negatively in run blocking in 2013, just as he did in 2012, and it’s an area of his game that has never been dominant, though it hasn’t been terrible either.

“Mostly solid in pass protection, Albert only gave up four sacks in 555 pass blocking snaps in the quick-attack Andy Reid offense, but pass blocking is clearly his forte. With nine regular season penalties, Albert had the second-worst penalty grade for tackles in 2013, a consistent mark against him that potential suitors should note in this free agency period. He may make mistakes at times, but the good outweighs the bad significantly.”

2) Albert allowed four sacks last season, five in 2012 and 2011 and 10 in 2010. In PFF’s ranking system of offensive tackles as pass blockers, Albert was rated 11th of 76 tackles in 2013, 11th of 80 in 2012 and sixth of 76 in 2011. That’s outstanding, and this is, too: Last season, nobody who played nearly as many snaps as Albert allowed fewer quarterback hurries. (Albert allowed 13.) In 2012, only two who played as many snaps allowed fewer than his 12.

3) Though his run blocking metrics weren’t very good the past two years, he graded out very well as a run blocker in previous years. Last year, as a run blocker, PFF rated him 40th of 76 tackles. In 2012, he was rated 62nd of 80. But he was 12th of 74 in 2010 and 27th of 76 in 2011.

4) As noted above, penalties are an issue at times. His nine last year were ninth-most among tackles. He had 10 penalties (11th-most among tackles) in 2011, but five in 2012.

5) The former Dolphins administration had concerns about his durability, but this regime apparently doesn’t. Albert, who has missed time with a back issue in the past, played in 15, 16, 13 and 12 games over the past four years, from 2010 to 2013, respectively.

### Paul Soliai is down to three teams and the Dolphins are not one of them. Soliai is aware he likely won’t be signing here, barring something unexpected. (And nothing can be ruled out in free agency, especially because Soliai likes it here.) But it doesn't look good for Miami. The Dolphins and Soliai have had conversations in recent days but continue to have a different view of his value, especially with regard to guaranteed money. The Falcons are among teams reportedly in pursuit...

The Dolphins are considering several defensive tackles to replace Soliai and Starks, with Houston's Earl Mitchell among those on Miami's radar. Jason Hatcher, Linval Joseph, Henry Melton and Arthur Jones are also available.

### Drew Rosenhaus said on his Sunday night segment on WSVN-Fox that he has begun negotiations with the Dolphins on safety Louis Delmas and should have resolution, one way or the other, in a couple of days. [UPDATE: Delmas signed a one-year, $3.5 million deal with the Dolphins this afternoon]. So Chris Clemons will move on.

### The Heat, which was lost three in a row entering tonight’s home game against Washington, hasn’t lost four in a row since the first year of the Big Three (2010-11). Miami also lost five in a row that year, its longest losing streak since LeBron James joined Miami.

 ### James has shot 6 for 18 and 8 for 23 in his past two games, the first time since November 2010 that he had back-to-back games with a field goal percentage of less than 35 percent….His streak of 332 games with at least one free throw attempt ended Sunday in Chicago, his first game without one since December 2009, when he played for Cleveland…. Since his 61-point outburst, LeBron is averaging 19.3 points and shooting 39 percent.

### UM is adding Green Cove Spring (Fla.) Clay High offensive lineman Tyler Grimsley as a late addition to this recruiting class, according to CaneSport.com. Grimsley, who visited UM last weekend, will be on scholarship at UM and eligible to play this upcoming season.

Grimsley didn’t have a qualifying test score until after National Signing Day. A two-star prospect, Grimsley also had reported offers from UAB and Weber State.

"Nobody knew who he was," his offensive line coach, Frank Garis, told Canesport. "But he has rare explosive quickness combined with man strength. He's a big kid, is a big-time weightlifter for us, can medal in the heavyweight class for us this year…. He played predominantly guard for us. The year previous he also played a couple of games at tackle. Miami is taking him as a center until he adds more weight to play guard."

### Tenth-seed UM (16-15) will play 16th-seed Virginia Tech (9-21) in the ACC Tournament at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, with the winner meeting seventh-seed North Carolina State (19-12) at 7 p.m. Thursday.