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Post (draft) mortem: Dolphins collecting UDFA's; Gambling; What might have been

Let's start out with the undrafted free agent college players who have already agreed to terms with the Dolphins after the draft:

Remember...The Dolphins will be signing far fewer of these this year because they simply don't have enough roster space to sign 25 undrafted guys as in years past. Indeed the most undrafted players the team could bring on is 10 and that would bring the roster to the NFL mandated 90-man limit.

Obviously, the Dolphins could add more UDFAs but would have to start cutting players currently on the roster -- something I would recommend because I don't get the logic of having proven vets (who have only proven they're not good enough) instead of adding a young guy who is probably already as good and might actually surprise somebody. Having running backs Isaiah Pead and Daniel Thomas on the roster, for example, makes no sense to me because we know what they are. And there are better UDFA running backs out there (or were) after the draft.

The list:

Iowa kicker Marshall Koehn, who I reported first last night, has agreed and will compete with second-year kicker Andrew Franks for that job.

University of Miami WR Rashawn Scott who had five TDs for the Hurricanes last year. The Hurricanes confirmed this on their twitter account.

Florida Tech (huh?) TE Gabe Hughes.

Temple WR Branden Shippen, who is neither exceedingly big (5-11) nor fast (4.6 on good day) but was very good in the red zone.

Toledo center Ruben "Not Hurricane" Carter. Long snap? Yes.

San Jose State long snapper Ryan DiSalvo. Again, another person who is going to try to displace longtime and highly-paid (for a long snapper) John Denney, who is in his 12th NFL season and at 37 years old is only months younger than his head coach.

Defense anyone?

Boise State LB Tyler Gray, a special teams possibility who had a blocked punt for the Broncos last season.

FAMU LB Akil Blount, another playmaker possibility for special teams initially. Blount had two pick sixes last season and comes with good genes. He's the son of Pro Football Hall of Fame CB Mel Blount.

Kentucky DE Farrington Huguenin, who mostly showed run stop ability. Kentucky's defensive line coach confirmed this imminent signing.

Louisville MLB James Burgess, a former Homestead High standout. This was first reported by the Louisville Courier Journal and I confirmed it. Very productive guy, often around the football, good in coverage. But at 6-foot he's not quite the size that Vance Joseph covets in the middle of his defense. But you know what? We're talking special teams guys here so ...

Oh, look, that's 10 undrafted free agents. This list would bring Miami's roster to 90. Amazing how the math works.


The first round was what it was Thursday night. Seems so long ago. It was surprising and here's two things I'm hearing ...

Had Laremy Tunsil not fallen to Miami, there were would have been some significant desire to trade back in the round because the Dolphins would have otherwise wanted a cornerback and the way they had the corners graded was Jalen Ramsey No. 1, and Ohio State's Eli Apple at No. 2. That's the corners.

Ramsey was the No. 1 player on Miami's board overall and Tunsil was No. 2.

Back to the corners...

Ramsey went No. 5 to Jacksonville so he was long gone and Apple was surprisingly picked by the New York Giants at No. 10.

That would have left the Dolphins with Williams Jackson III their pick either at No. 13 or perhaps trading back and trying to pick him then. As it was, the next cornerback went at No. 24 when the Bengals picked Jackson. And then the Steelers felt compelled to reach for University of Miami CB Artie Burns at No. 25.

So the Dolphins picking Tunsil helped the Bengals in getting a legitimate first-round talent.


I wrote today the Dolphins are now embracing risks much more aggressively than they have in the past, and definitely in the recent past. One such risk is receiver Leonte Carroo, for reasons I explain in my column.

But the Dolphins don't see Carroo as a risk. They see him as a bargain despite the steep price they paid to get him in a trade up. Why?

“Like Carroo, when they saw how they could go down and get Carroo, who we had as a No. 2," owner Stephen Ross said. "We thought he was the second-best receiver in the draft.”

OK, let's suppose this is true.

The Dolphins had Carroo, who they picked in the third round, graded as a second-round player. I get that. That is plausible.

But they had him graded the second-best wide receiver in the draft?

If that is true, whoever combined to do the grades for Miami was confused the day they graded receivers.

Look, I get that this was a down year for receivers. But the Dolphins had Carroo second in a group that included Will Fuller (who went to Houston in the first round), Josh Doctson (who went to Washington in the first round), and Lacquon Treadwell (who went to Minnesota in the first round)?

Sorry, not buying it.


Back to Tunsil...Here is a concern of mine:

When teams prepare for the draft, they grade 200-300 draftable guys. Some teams put all of those on their board. Some put no more than 120ish on their board because they recognize they're not picking everybody.

But when it comes to grinding on guys, it is fact teams do not do as much work on guys they are unlikely to be in position to select. For example, I know the New England Patriots, not holding a first-round draft pick, didn't do a ton of work on FSU's Jalen Ramsey. They just didn't.

And the reason they didn't is because they knew Ramsey was never going to slide into the second round to them. Ever.


Well, I question how much work the Dolphins did on Tunsil compared to, say, Eli Apple or William Jackson III or other guys they expected might be available to them when they were scheduled to pick.

Remember, the Dolphins had Tunsil graded as the No. 2 player overall. And they knew they were not ever going to have the second overall pick.

So there is absolutely zero way anyone can convince me the team had Tunsil studied backward and forward, inside and out in the same manner they would have if they had at Top 5 pick. It's just not true.

And this ...

The teams that knew they would be in a position to draft Tunsil, the teams in the neighborhood of the top 5ish, did do that extreme homework. And they passed on Tunsil. The Tennessee Titans, who held the No. 1 pick for some time and most draft experts had picking Tunsil to protect Marcus Mariota's blind side, decided to trade down (and away from the opportunity to pick Tunsil).

And even when Tunsil slid to them at No. 8, the Titans who had done an in-depth workup on Tunsil, picked someone else to protect Mariota's blind side.

So what did these teams know that maybe the Dolphins did not?

Another possibility?

Sometimes there is paralysis by analysis. Maybe teams that knew more about Tunsil than the Dolphins were simply overthinking it. And the Dolphins, sitting at No. 13 likely having done less work on the player, pulled the trigger with no fear.

Point is ... somebody is going to be wrong.

And somebody is going to be right.


If you are interested on how the La'el Collins issue during last year's draft played out and the contrast to this year with Tunsil, I take you behind the scenes on that here.

The Dolphins were conservative in their decision-making relative to Collins. They were obviously not with Tunsil.

I would warn you to resist the urge to determine the team simply should have picked Collins last year because, in hindsight, he didn't murder someone. At the time, all 32 teams decided they weren't going to select him early in the draft because they thought he might have.

It is just fascinating to me that the pendulum has swung back so far for a team that suffered a national scandal in 2013. In 2014-15, being conservative was the approach. In 2016