WEDNESDAY BUZZ COLUMN
What should the Dolphins do with the 14th pick in the first round of Thursday’s draft? Here’s what five draft analysts told me they would do (and another five weighing in on their own elsewhere):
### ESPN’s Mel Kiper: He advocates Central Florida receiver Breshad Perriman, on the presumption that Michigan State cornerback Trae Waynes, Louisville receiver DeVante Parker and Georgia running back Todd Gurley are off the board at 14.
“We have the intermediate targets in Jarvis Landry and Kenny Stills,” Kiper said of the Dolphins. “Now I have the sub-4.3 speed to keep safeties honest, and Perriman is a playmaker after short catches as well. This helps my franchise QB.”
### NFL Net’s Charley Casserly, by phone: “I would take Trae Waynes if he’s there because you’re in a division where you have to beat New England. You need corners. If he’s not there, take Parker because Ryan Tannehill needs a true No. 1 receiver. Gurley is the best player in the draft but I don’t know that they have the luxury to take Gurley” with their needs at receiver and cornerback.
### ESPN’s Bill Polian, on ESPN2's mock draft show: “The Dolphins need to run the ball. That offense is an off-shoot of Chip Kelly’s and is a running offense. So if Todd Gurley passed their physical, take Todd Gurley and don’t look back. He changes their whole team.”
### NFL Net’s Charles Davis, by phone: “Parker, because he could be a legitimate No. 1 receiver. If Parker is gone, take Waynes. I would take Gurley out of the mix. I’m a monster Gurley fan, but we throw the ball 68 percent of the time in the league.”
### Draft analyst Tony Pauline, by phone: “DeVante Parker head and shoulders” if he’s there. “Parker is not a field stretcher but doesn’t drop passes.”
Pauline said if Parker is gone, he would take Kentucky defensive end/linebacker Bud Dupree because of his pass-rushing prowess. It would be easier to justify Dupree now than a week ago because of Dion Jordan’s season-long suspension.
Pauline said two others potentially in the mix, Waynes and Perriman, “are overrated. I like [Wake Forest cornerback] Kevin Johnson but he’s a bottom third of round one type of guy.”
### NFL Network’s Mike Mayock: He told me he likes a receiver or cornerback for Miami at 14, depending on who’s available.
“Perriman or Parker would be good, and even if Waynes goes 11 to Minnesota, there’s not a lot of drop off between Waynes and the next best corner,” Mayock said. “Kevin Johnson at 14 would not be too high for me. He’s a really good player.”
### NFL Net’s Daniel Jeremiah: Parker, if available. “If on the board, that would be a home run pick,” he told the Dolphins’ flagship radio show. “He doesn’t play with quite as much juice as AJ Green but there are a lot of similarities. His game is an easy transition to the next level.”
If Parker isn’t there, Jeremiah says Miami should take Waynes if he’s there: “Plenty of speed. Good instincts."
### Draft analyst Russ Lande, by phone: Assuming defensive end/linebacker Vic Beasley is gone (Lande loves him even though he isn’t a linebacker scheme fit for Miami), Lande said “it comes down to Parker, Waynes and Kevin Johnson for Miami, and I would lean Kevin Johnson. He has over 40 career starts, is polished in all three aspects of coverage. He is going to go a lot higher than people think.”
### Sports Illustrated’s Peter King, on SI.com: Gurley, because he’s “going to make a bunch of yards that aren’t there for normal backs. He’s the kind of back Miami hasn’t had in a long time.”
### CBS’ Pete Prisco, on CBSSports.com, says Iowa’s Brandon Scherff, if he’s there, because “they need help inside at guard and he also could play tackle, his college position.” Kiper said there’s no way Scherff will last to 14.
### The Dolphins summoned UM running back Duke Johnson to team headquarters Tuesday because a conflict with a Colts workout prevented him from attending Miami’s local pro day. Johnson said teaming with Lamar Miller with the Dolphins has “crossed my mind. It would be something to see.”
On NFL Network, Johnson named the Cowboys as the team he would love to join, citing their scheme.
### Even before his drug suspension, the Dolphins were exploring a trade for Dion Jordan; the Philadelphia Inquirer said a late-round pick or guard Evan Mathis were discussed.
But keep in mind that Jordan averaged just 22.3 defensive snaps last season and his friends thought he wasn’t being used correctly. That's all moot now.
Jordan’s $5.3 million 2015 cap hit will shrink to $3 million (according to cap expert Joel Corry), leaving Miami with $12 million in cap space, with an additional $3 million cleared in mid-May when Phillip Wheeler's contract comes off the books.
So Terence Fede, who defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle loves, becomes Miami's No. 4 defensive end for now, behind Cameron Wake, Olivier Vernon and Derrick Shelby. The Dolphins will add more defensive end help during and/or after the draft. Chris McCain also can play defensive end.
Last year, Jordan's ratio of sacks-per-pass rush chances (1 for 103) was lowest among the team’s defensive ends. Wake was 1 in 39, Vernon 1 in 72, Shelby 1 in 78, Fede 1 in 48 and McCain1 in 26.
### The Dolphins have done a lot of work with defensive tackles in this draft, knowing they need depth around Ndamukong Suh and Earl Mitchell. They brought potential second-rounders Jordan Phillips (Oklahoma), Carl Davis (Iowa) and Xavier Cooper (Washington State) in for visits, as well as potential late-round pick Darius Kilgo (Maryland).
### Despite signing Josh Freeman as a potential No. 3 quarterback, the Dolphins have been aggressive looking for a developmental backup and had private workouts with draft prospects Garrett Grayson (Colorado State; potential second-round pick so highly unlikely to land here), Connor Halliday (Washington State), Chris Donner (Colorado-Pueblo) and Andrew Hendrix (Miami of Ohio and formerly Notre Dame). They still figure to add a rookie quarterback after the draft.
The Dolphins don’t view Freeman as a threat to Matt Moore, who got a $1.6 million signing bonus.
Freeman could net the Dolphins a draft pick in a trade if he impresses in preseason, but his passer rating in his last three NFL games was ugly: 56.1, 54.5, 40.6.
###As Canesport first reported, Gerald Willis, the five-star defensive lineman who transferred to UM, is appealing to the NCAA to make him eligible to play this season, on the grounds that the Gators dismissed him from their team after multiple altercations with teammates.
### One FSU administrative official in regular contact with the athletic department said one of the problems with Jameis Winston is he always has to be the center of attention.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker said if the Buccaneers draft Winston, “We have some veteran guys, that will pull him to the side and make him understand that there’s a role here he has to play and sometimes he may have to tone that down,” David said.
### Though it wasn’t the overriding decision in parting ways with catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, the Marlins had some concern about how gracefully he would deal with being a backup, according to a team official. One friend said he's pleased to be moving on, hopeful of getting more playing time elsewhere.
### Marlins pitchers love throwing to rookie J.T. Realmuto. “J.T. has done a great job of blocking the ball; his knowledge of the game is special; and he has a lot of talent and upside,” Mat Latos said. Dan Haren said Realmuto deserves some credit for the team’s recent drop in ERA.
### The NBA's list of early draft entrants, released today, includes at least seven underclassmen who could go before the Heat potentially picks 10th, thus pushing down other quality players for Miami should the Heat retain the pick. The pick must be forwarded to Philadelphia if it falls outside the top 10 (nine percent chance of that happening).
### Among the reasons the Marlins should be concerned about their closer: Steve Cishek’s velocity is at a career-low: He’s averaging 89.1 mph on his fastball, down from a career mark of 92.0, and 79.0 on his slider (down from 82.2), according to fangraphs.com.
Cishek rebounded from last night's blown lead with a save in tonight's 4-3 win against the Mets.
### First baseman Michael Morse, who entered Tuesday hitting .222, reminded me that his best season in the majors (.303, 31 homers, 95 RBI for Washington in 2011), “started the same way [hitting .224 in April]. So I’m excited. I know it will turn. I know I’m a good player.”
Though Justin Bour has hit .368 in 16 career starts, Mike Redmond understandably said he's committed to Morse because "we want to get his bat going." Morse's body of work warrants patience.
And Morse's eighth-inning RBI single tonight delivered the game-winning run for Miami.