WEDNESDAY BUZZ COLUMN
NFL teams are permitted to fly as many as 30 non-local players to their headquarters to meet with coaches and executives, and the Dolphins typically draft or sign several who visit, including three of their top four picks last year (Ja’Wuan James, Billy Turner, Walt Aikens).
The Dolphins don’t announce visits, but I’ve confirmed 26 of them (many of which were first reported here; some were reported first by NFL Net's Ian Rapoport and a few others and later confirmed).
The names and some thoughts:
### Potential first-round picks: receivers DeVante Parker (Louisville), Nelson Agholor (Southern California) and Breshad Perriman (UCF); Clemson defensive end/linebacker Vic Beasley; cornerbacks Jalen Collins (LSU) and Kevin Johnson (Wake Forest); LSU offensive tackle/guard La’El Collins; Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon.
Comment: Parker or Trae Waynes (who spent private time with Miami on his campus) would be difficult to pass up if either falls to Miami’s pick at 14. But Mel Kiper said Tuesday that Parker will be off the board by the 12th pick…. Kiper said he doesn’t see Perriman going lower than 15th to 20th, at worst, and he could be another Dez Bryant if he eliminates “some of those drops.”…
Kiper says the 6-foot Agholor (104 catches, 1313 and 12 TDs last season) would be justified at 14 for Miami because he is "a very good route runner, has good hands, and is quietly an explosive athlete who can set up defenders and create space underneath or beat defenses over the top." His stock has risen more than any other receiver in this draft. He's visiting the Dolphins on Wednesday...
NFL Network’s Mike Mayock said cornerbacks Collins and Johnson also would be justified at 14, though both might be available if Miami trades down a bit. Gordon and running back Todd Gurley also have emerged as possibilities at 14; Gurley hasn’t visited team headquarters but has spent time with Dolphins officials and Miami has thoroughly researched him…
Many believe La'El Collins would be an excellent guard, but taking a guard at 14 seems uninspiring; only two NFL starting guards were drafted higher than 14th, as Dave Hyde noted. Kiper said Collins will be available at 14 but he is certain that Iowa guard/tackle Brandon Scherff won’t be… Beasley is not a 4-3 linebacker, which is what Miami needs. He's a 3-4 linebacker or 4-3 end, most evaluators say…. Receiver Dorial Green Beckham, a terrific talent with considerable off-field baggage, met with the Dolphins on Monday, according to Rapoport, but nobody -- including that report -- has confirmed if he visited Davie.
### Potential second-round picks: Oklahoma defensive tackle Jordan Phillips, Connecticut cornerback Byron Jones, Utah cornerback/safety Eric Rowe, Auburn receiver Sammy Coates, Ohio State receiver Devin Smith, Mississippi State linebacker Benadrick McKinney, Oregon left tackle Jake Fisher.
Comment: Local players don’t count among top-30 visits, so you can throw UM’s Phillip Dorsett, Denzel Perryman, Clive Walford and FSU receiver Rashad Greene in this mix, too, among a few others. Dorsett might not be there at 47; Kiper said he’s now a first-rounder and ranks him in his top 20…. If Miami doesn’t take a receiver at 14, Coates and Smith (and Dorsett, if there) are all top candidates for Miami’s pick at 47.
Jones might not be there at 47, but Rowe (who moved from cornerback to safety last season) could be; those two have risen as much as any players in the draft. McKinney, highly-productive, can play any of the three linebacker positions.
### Potential mid-round picks: Guards Jarvis Harrison (Texas A&M) and Ali Marpet (Hobart); linebackers Jake Ryan (Michigan) and Ramik Wilson (Georgia), Maryland receiver Stefon Diggs.
Comment: The Dolphins want to add a guard and like Harrison (please see the last post for more about him) and Marpet, a Division III standout who impressed at the Senior Bowl…. Ryan and Wilson are highly productive (112, 110 tackles respectively last season) but some believe they’re better in a 3-4 defense than Miami’s 4-3… Kiper said Diggs, an explosive receiver and skilled returner, could be a third-rounder. (Miami doesn’t have a third-rounder at the moment.)
### Potential later-round picks: Minnesota safety Cedric Thompson, Maryland defensive tackle Darius Kilgo, Bowling Green linebacker Gabe Martin, Tennessee State offensive guard/tackle Robert Myers.
Comment: The Dolphins have high regard for Martin (an impactful, high-energy but underweight linebacker --- 234 pounds --- with 18 tackles for loss last season) and really like Thompson, who ran a 4.37 in the 40 and can play cornerback or safety.
Thompson, a three-year starter, has seen his stock rise (he could go in the middle rounds) because he’s an excellent athlete, good communicator at safety, strong tackler and solid against the run and in coverage. Thompson, who had 83 tackles and two picks last season, has an interesting background: To avoid the gang violence in South Central Los Angeles and problems arising from the racial tension prevalent in his L.A.-area high school, he moved to Bombay Beach, California, along the Salton Sea, a desolate area about an hour south of Palm Springs, which entailed daily two-hour bus rides to school. He lived there with his father, became focused and driven. He's one of at least a half dozen players summoned by the Dolphins this week for Miami's final round of pre-draft visits.
### Potential free agents: Boston College quarterback Tyler Murphy and USC receiver George Farmer.
Teams are looking at Murphy as a Wildcat quarterback; the Florida Gator transfer threw for 1623 yards and ran for 1066 last season.
Kiper said people thought Farmer “was going to be a star. Never worked out there.” Ranked as rivals.com's No. 1 receiver out of high school in Gardena, Cal., Farmer had 25 catches for 314 yards and four touchdowns last season.
### With a clear need at guard, we hear the Dolphins plan to bring in several veteran offensive linemen on Wednesday.
Among them: former Colt/Chiefs player Jeffrey Linkenbach, who has started 36 games over five seasons, and former Vikings sixth-rounder Jeff Baca.
Linkenbach, 27, played his first four seasons with the Colts, starting 33 games, then started three games for the Chiefs last season.
Baca played in four games for Minnesota as a rookie in 2013 and was on San Diego's roster last season.
The Dolphins could sign one or two of the handful of linemen coming to town Wednesday, if they like what they see. Against that backdrop, the Dolphins waived guard Davonte Wallace tonight.
### Even though Pat Riley hopes the Heat gets its top-10 protected draft pick, he made this clear: “We want developed players, experienced players. Every time you watch a playoff game, the very best teams are playing developed players, with [three or more] years of experience. This year, three, four, five players made the sojourn between Sioux Falls and Miami. I don’t want that to be the norm, because if that’s the norm, you’re not going anywhere.”
That makes me wonder whether Riley would take a one-and-done college player, several of whom could be in the range of the 10th pick if Miami ends up with that pick.
In recent years, Riley has prefered college players with three or four years of experience. (Of course, Dwyane Wade played just two years at Marquette.)
### LeBron James today was asked about Monday's comments by Riley, who said this offseason will feature "no more smiling faces with agendas." Riley later claimed he wasn't talking about anybody in particular.
"I'm unaware," James said. "Whatever he said, it's not my concern now.... I have no notion of what transpired [Monday]."
### So it's 3-11 for the Marlins now after a 7-3 loss in Philadelphia tonight, and as our Clark Spencer reported, we've heard everything has been discussed --- from roster changes to coaching staff changes to a managerial change. If this continues, there will be changes. The only question is how soon.
Jeffrey Loria, whose patience is wearing thin, declined to give Redmond a public vote of confidence before the game.
"It's been tough; we had a lead and couldn't hold it," Redmond said of tonight's latest implosion by his pitching staff. (Dan Haren gave up four runs, Mike Dunn three in relief.)
"Literally all the runs I've given up this year have been on home runs," Haren said. "It's been a problem for me."... Christian Yelich expects to remain sidelined for a few days with back problems.
### Beyond general dissatisfaction with catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, the Marlins also haven’t been pleased with center fielder Marcell Ozuna, according to a team official.
Besides starting slowly offensively (he's rebounded a bit and is at .262 now), Ozuna is running to first base more slowly than last season (causing some internally to believe he could be in better shape), made a recent mindless defensive gaffe that irritated Marlins people and was benched a game for tardiness.