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25 posts from May 2013

May 03, 2013

Dolphins undrafted free agent list right here

The Dolphins start three days of rookie camp in the next few minutes.

Amid the team's draft picks will be tryout players and undrafted free agents the team signed.

This is the list of undrafted free agents:

Barker, Chris               G         6-2       305      08/03/90         Nevada                        Fontana, Calif.

Belton, Clay                 QB       6-5       232      12/12/88         Findlay                        Dayton, Ohio

Brenner, Sam               C          6-2       301      04/27/90         Utah                             Oceanside, Calif.

Bumphis, Chad            WR      5-10     196      10/18/89         Mississippi St               Tupelo, Miss.

Burnette, Chris             DT       6-2       285      02/15/90         Old Dominion              Baltimore, Md.

Clay, Michael              LB       5-11     230      08/30/91         Oregon                         San Jose, Calif.

Collins, Junior             WR      5-10     180      11/28/91         Mt Union                     Geneva, N.Y.

Francis, AJ                   DT       6-0       309      05/07/90         Maryland                     Severn, Md.

Highsmith, Alonzo       LB       6-0       234      11/21/89         Arkansas                      Missouri City, Texas

Johnson, Keelan          S          5-11     209      09/26/89         Arizona St                    Mesa, Ariz.

Kovacs, Jordan            S          5-10     205      06/12/90         Michigan                      Curtice, Ohio

Liaina, Ina                   FB        5-11     240      01/03/90         San Jose St                   Oxnard, Calif.

Marshall, Cameron      RB       5-9       211      10/14/91         Arizona St                    San Jose, Calif.

McCabe, Rob               LB       6-0       231      11/02/90         Georgetown (DC)        Newton Square, Pa.

Okpalaugo, Tristan      DE       6-4       245      10/10/89         Fresno St                      Livermore, Calif.

Onyenekwu, Emeka    DE       6-3       251      03/10/90         Louisiana (Lafayette)   New Orleans, La.

Sinkfield, Terrell          WR      6-0       198      12/10/90         Northern Iowa             Minnetonka, Minn.

Stockemer, Taylor       WR      6-4       215      10/26/89         Arkansas St                  Van Buren, Ark.

Ward, Patrick               T          6-6       305      01/11/91         Northwestern               Homer Glen, Ill.

Rookie camp today ... production starts NOW

Sometimes patience is necessary. Me, I waited a long time before I got my life right. It took me a while to come to Truth.

But I wasn't drafted by the Miami Dolphins.

And so I had the benefit of time.

Dion Jordan doesn't.

Jamar Taylor probably doesn't.

Dallas Thomas and Will Davis shouldn't.

Everyone else is on scholarship, sort of.

What I mean is the Dolphins rookie draft class is on the clock -- again. No, they're not waiting for their names to be called by Commissioner Roger Goodell. We're now waiting for their names to be penciled in to the Dolphins starting lineup. We're now waiting for them to begin contributing as Dolphins players.

It begins today. The Dolphins will hold their first rookie camp practice at 2:30 p.m. (be here for live updates). And so production of some sort, learning, advancing toward a goal of contributing needs to begin. Today.

Take Jordan for example. He was the No. 3 overall selection. I read somewhere that talked about him being a project. Whaaaat? Look, I recognize he's not a finished product. He's got to learn techniques taught by Dolphins assistants. He's got to learn the scheme. He's got to adjust to the pace of the game. All that.

But he's the No. 3 overall selection. He's a pass-rusher. He needs to produce as a rookie.

Aldon Smith did. He had 14 sacks. Von Miller did. He had 11.5 sacks. As rookies. Jason Taylor and Jevon Kearse and DeMarcus Ware, the players the Dolphins most associate with Jordan, all produced to some degree or another as rookies. Ware had eight rookie sacks. Taylor, a third-round pick, had five rookie sacks. Kearse had 14.5 rookie sacks.

And none of them were the No. 3 overall pick in the draft.

Frankly, the NFL today is made for pass-rushers to produce at a high level. Teams are throwing more than ever so there are more opportunities. Tackles are being left on islands more than ever, so there are more one-on-one possibilties. And for Jordan, that should be more the case because if someone is getting doubled, it'll be Cameron Wake.

So the opportunity will be there.

Produce.

Expectation alert here: I believe a solid year for Jordan would be seven to nine sacks. That's not spectacular. That's not babying the guy. That's solid production. Your thoughts?

(Peanut gallery and Dolphins apologists: But, Mando, the important statistic is hurries. Don't put pressure on the kid with a sack total. It's not nice.)

Ahh, the peanut gallery is back. I'm not putting pressure on Jordan. The Dolphins did that when they picked him No. 3 overall. You get plucked that high, you better get off the career blocks strong otherwise the pressure builds exponentially. As for hurries being the more fair statistic, fine. I expect 7-9 sacks and 12-15 more hurries.

There is obviously less pressure on Taylor. He's a second-rounder.

But he too is being counted on heavily to produce in 2013. Have you seen Miami's veteran cornerback corps? Questions everywhere. Is this guy's Achilles going to be right? Is that guy's back going to be right? Is the other guy really worth $4.6 million?

It would be great if the rookie could follow in the footsteps of past rookie corners who played very quickly -- Sam Madison, Pat Surtain, Vontae Davis, Sean Smith. Yes, I know only two of those players worked out longterm. But they all contributed early on even if they didn't all start right away.

The Dolphins would like that from Taylor. They need that from Taylor if the vets who are troubled by questions don't have the right answers.

Eventualy, perhaps by next season, Taylor also must be a starter. There are no two ways about it. Second-round picks are busts if they don't start.

Third-round picks get more latitude, obviously. Look at Michael Egnew. Look at John Jerry. They get some time. So Thomas and Davis have that time now.

No one will blink if they don't earn starting jobs. But Davis should be at least a special teams contributor. Heck, Thomas should contribute on teams as well.

Mike Westhoff, the great former special teams coach, once told me he knew if a player was going to be a player on offense or defense by how he played on special teams. If he had it once he got on the field on teams, he was probably going to factor at his position. He said it was rare for a linebacker, for example, to be a great defensive player without having a clue how to make a play on special teams. So there's that.

Bottom line is the Dolphins added these players to get better. Some will add depth. Some will be projects. Some will help special teams. Dion Jordan, meanwhile, is a puppy that needs to bare his teeth in 2013. Jamar Taylor needs to do that at some point in the season and definitely beyond.

It begins today with the opening of rookie camp.

{Blog note: Come back later for the undrafted free agent signing list. Also I'll give real-time updates on the camp, if Internet service is running, starting at 2:30 p.m. So come back. You should also follow me on twitter @Armando Salguero]

May 02, 2013

Bryant McKinnie to the Ravens

He visited the Dolphins. Then he visited the Chargers. He got offers from both. So, of course, it makes sense the Baltimore Ravens landed Bryant McKinnie.

The Super Bowl champions had been hovering over the negotiations for the veteran left tackle the entire time -- in stealth mode, so to speak. And when neither the Dolphins nor the Chargers offered significant deals to the former University of Miami player, he went back to the team with which he spent the last two years.

Baltimore.

The Ravens announced the deal is for two years.

McKinnie, 33, did not start any games during the regular season last year. Basically, he was fat and out of shape the entire season. He was also in offensive coordinator Cam Cameron's doghouse. But Cameron was fired late in the season and McKinnie got in shape.

He was then inserted into the starting lineup for the playoffs and neutralized talented pass rushers Dwight Freeney (Colts), Von Miller (Broncos) and Aldon Smith (49ers).

The Dolphins were shopping for McKinnie because they believed they could get him as either a starter or experienced backup to Jonathan Martin. The club is also trying to sign a veteran right tackle.

Despite their apparent need, the Dolphins didn't want to overspend for McKinnie. His camp told The Miami Herald they were never in the same ballpark with the Dolphins. And the offer from San Diego wasn't any more appealing, obviously.

By the way, Jared Gaither, cut by the Chargers earlier this year is still on the market. But The Herald's Barry Jackson is reporting the Dolphins have shown no interest in him as of this afternoon.

How the trades are playing out for the Dolphins

Within the last year the Dolphins have made three intriguing (some would say controversial) trades that exchanged players for draft picks -- the present in exchange for the future.

Well, the future has arrived in the form of actual people. So now we can look at what the Dolphins got in return for trading Brandon Marshall, Vontae Davis and Davone Bess.

In the spring of 2012, the Dolphins traded Marshall to the Chicago Bears for two third-round draft picks, one in 2012 and one in 2013.

The Dolphins used the pick last year in a trade down with San Diego but the outgrowth of that trade was the selection of tight end Michael Egnew with the 78th overall selection and the selection of receiver B.J. Cunningham with a sixth-round pick, the 183rd overall selection.

This year, Chicago's third rounder was the 82 overall pick.

The Dolphins traded that pick to New Orleans for two fourth-round selections, Nos. 106 and 109 overall. The Dolphins then picked TE Dion Sims with the 106th overall selection.

The Dolphins traded 109th overall selection, a fifth-rouner (146 overall), and a seventh-rounder (224 overall to Green Bay for the 93th overall pick, which is a third rounder. With that pick, the Dolphins selected Will Davis, the cornerback out of  Utah State.

Bottom line for the Marshall trade?

The Dolphins traded Marshall, a fifth-rounder, and a seventh-rounder for Michael Egnew, B.J. Cunningham, Dion Sims and Will Davis.

The Dolphins traded Bess, a staple at the slot receiver position since 2008, plus their fourth-rounder (111 overall) and a seventh-rounder (217 overall) to the Cleveland Browns during draft weekend. The Browns sent Miami a fourth-rounder (104 overall) and a fifth-rounder (164 overall).

The Dolphins used the fourth-round pick on linebacker Jelani Jenkins and the fifth-round pick on running back Mike Gillislee. 

Bottom line fof the Bess trade?

The Dolphins traded Bess, a fourth-rounder and a seventh-rounder for Jelani Jenkins and Mike Gillislee.

The Vontae Davis trade is much easier to follow. The Dolphins traded their former first-round pick to the Colts for a a second-round pick. The trade delivered the 54th overall selection in this draft.

The Dolphins used that selection on another cornerback -- Boise State's Jamar Taylor.

Bottom linne for the Davis trade?

The Dolphins traded Vontae Davis for Jamar Taylor.

It's going to be interesting how all this plays out eventually.

Marshall went to the Pro Bowl in Chicago as he had the year before for the Dolphins. Egnew was a tremendous disappointment as a rookie and B.J. Cunningham was cut last year. It's seemingly up to Sims and Davis to redeem this swap.

But you must remember, the Dolphins got rid of Marshall because he didn't fit their culture. They didn't like him arguing with teammates (Chad Henne, Davis, Igor Olshansky) or coaches. They were concerned about his domestic violence issues.

So, I suppose, they would argue trading Marshall helped team chemistry and whatever talent it brings is a plus. I would say if Marshall, who has not had any reported problems with teammates or the law in Chicago, continues to be a solid citizen for the Bears, this deal will be judged solely on talent. So the onus is on Egnew, Sims and Davis to bring some sort of return for Miami's move because Marshall has so far done that for the Bears.

The Bess trade is interesting. He had an injury issue with the team at the end of last season that seemed to cause friction. He wasn't going to get nearly as many targets this year with the addition of Mike Wallace and Brandon Gibson. So the Dolphins were comfortable not having him.

Of course, that assumes no one is injured this year. Having Bess as a No. 4 wide receiver is a solid fall back option. It certainly provides more certainty than Rishard Matthews, or Jeff Fuller or Armon Binns. So there is a bit of a gamble here.

Meanwhile, the Dolphins got a solid special teams performer and perhaps passing-down contributor in Jenkins. Gillislee? He has the feel of a special teams guy at best. It's going to be hard for him to be on the 53-man roster, in my opinion, based on his play at the University of Florida. He is good injury insurance, however.

The trade I'm most encouraged about, believe it or not, is the Davis for Taylor trade.

People I speak with around the league seem to love the Taylor pick. Jeff Ireland really liked that pick, too. There are whispers within the organization that if Taylor is consistently for the Dolphins what he showed at times at Boise State, he can win a starting job in Miami and be better than Davis.

If that's the case, the Dolphins would be getting good value for the trade -- starting cornerback for starting cornerback. If not?

You know the answer. 

May 01, 2013

A look at Miami's tackle auditions

Eric Winston.

Tyson Clabo.

Bryant  McKinnie.

Winston Justice.

Let's play pick the offensive tackle!

The Dolphins have basically conducted an open offensive tackle tryout this week in order to try to fill their most glaring need remaining this offseason.

All of the players they've brought in to audition for the part have been excellent to good NFL players at one time. All of the players they've brought in are no longer the players they once were. All of the players they've brought in have been cast off by other teams now, some of them by multiple other teams. All of the players they've brought in want significant money -- at least $3 million for one season. All of the players they've brought in are probably just one-year solutions, in the Dolphins' mind. All of the players they've brought in had to work during their visits.

This is a tryout, not a classic free agent visit. Yes, there are meetings with the coaching staff and meals and so forth. But all the players have been or will be put through a work out on the field.

So which player will the Dolphins pick?

Which is the best option?

Obviously, we're not allowed to see the workouts. So assuming all the players are in relatively equal shape (probably a bad assumption) the Dolphins have to also judge a variety of factors.

Injury history.

Contract demands/desire.

Character/Culture fit.

Right off the bat if one of these players is willing to play for one year and relatively cheaply, he has an advantage. I don't know that any will do that, but that's out there. I would assume that the most expensive of the bunch would be Bryant McKinnie because he's the only actual left tackle of the group. Left tackles are more valuable.

The problem is McKinnie is clearly the worst character and culture fit. He's not Chad Johnson, as I mentioned in a previous blog post because he hasn't really been in constant legal problems. But he has been known to be a headache to coaches -- even last year in Baltimore. He is also an unrepentant partier. He has even recently hosted a party at a local club in Pembroke Pines as recently as two weeks ago.

Now, there's nothing wrong with partying. But even if McKinnie isn't the king of all partiers, he's royalty. And as the Dolphins are within 12 miles of Pembroke Pines and South Beach is down the coast a bit, this can lead to some distractions and negative example setting.

Just saying.

Winston, Clabo and Justice are not saints. But they're not in McKinnie's league at all.

Injuries?

McKinnie is clean in this regard. He didn't start a game last season during the regular season but that wasn't due to injury. He was overweight (another red flag) and out of shape (red flag) and it took him much of the season to get back in shape. He started every playoff game at left tackle.

Clabo last season managed a hip injury but continued to add to his 101 starts with the Falcons. He has not missed a game in five seasons. The chart below is missing a start in 2012.

Justice is not quite the iron man. He has started 16 NFL only once in his seven previous seasons, that coming in 2009. He was limited to 12 games last season with Indianapolis.

Eric Winston, like Clabo, answers the bell. He has started 16 games every year since 2007.

The age issue isn't really one. Look, the Dolphins know each man's age. They still brought them all in. This signing won't be a long-term affair. Even if the eventual contract signed is a multi-year deal, in all probability this will be a one-year rental.

Sidenotes:

The Dolphins are not the only team searching for tackle help. The Chargers need help at left tackle. The Ravens do also.

All are relatively interested in McKinnie. The Dolpins are really the only team trying out right tackles because they believe Jonathan Martin on some level can play left tackle. The Raven have Michael Oher and still would rather have a left tackle. The Chargers just drafted D.J. Fluker to play right tackle.

It should be interesting to compare and contrast how the three teams address the same need going forward. To me, however, this is starting to feel a bit like a Marc Colombo redo. I've seen this scenario before.