Some familiar names among undrafted players reportedly set to sign with Dolphins; Tidbits and analyst reaction on every Dolphins pick today; Update on Josh Richardson's status and Heat nuggets; More feedback on Dolphins' picks
9 p.m. update: Here's a running list of undrafted players reportedly joining the Dolphins, some reported elsewhere by reporters in their college home towns:
1) UM WR Rashawn Scott (can confirm this). 52 catches, 695 yards, 5 TDs last season.
2) Boise State LB Tyler Gray. 51 tackles, 3 sacks, 8 tackles for loss, 2 forced fumbles, one blocked punt last season.
3) Iowa kicker Marshall Koehn. 47 for 53 on extra points last season (after going 38 for 38 the year before) and 16 for 20 on field goals last season.
4) Florida Tech tight end Gabe Hughes. 32 catches, 566 yards, 3 TDs last season.
5) FAMU LB Akil Blount. 75 tackles, two INTs (both returned for TDs) last season. Son of Hall of Famer Mel Blount.
6) Kentucky DE Farrington Huguenin. 52 tackles, 1.5 sacks last season.
7) Temple WR Brandon Shippen. 20 catches for 288 yards and 1 TD last season. He's 5-11.
8) San Jose State long snapper Ryan DiSalvo.
9) Louisville MLB and former Homestead High standout James Burgess, according to Steve Jones of the Louisville Courier Journal. Burgess had 90 tackles, 9 TFL, one INT, 4 passes defensed last season. Has 260 tackles in his career, plus four sacks, three fumble recoveries and seven picks. Had 43 career starts and was third team All-ACC last season.
Burgess, 6 feet and 236 pounds, told the Courier-Journal that he was shocked not to be invited to the Combine. His height likely contributed heavily to him being undrafted. But he has good mobility was highly productive in college. He will be reunited with former college teammate DeVante Parker.
10) Toledo center Ruben Carter.
11) Pittsburgh cornerback Lafayette Pitts. A four-year starter who had 30 tackles, 1 sack and one INT last season. He had four career picks and 25 passes defended. His agent told the Pittsburgh Post Gazette that 16 teams called and he had four offers.
DOLPHINS DRAFT REPORT
The Dolphins dumped cornerback Jamar Taylor today, basically giving him away to Cleveland and exchanging seventh round picks as compensation, with Miami moving from 250 to 223 in the seventh round.
The Dolphins don't use their 30 permitted non-local player predraft visits as subterfuge. They ended up drafting 25 percent of the players that I reported on my recent 20 member pre-draft Dolphins visit list, in addition to Davie native Brandon Doughty, who worked out for them on their local day.
Updating the Dolphins' picks today, with what analysts are saying:
• The Dolphins took UCLA tight end/receiver Thomas Duarte with their final pick in the seventh round. He's a player they brought to Davie. He didn't play as a traditional tight end last year, sometimes lining up in the slot or outside. He had 53 catches for 872 yards and 10 TDs in 2015.
A 6-3 receiver at UCLA, he has 17 career receiving TDs.
ESPN's Todd McShay: "You watch the one game against Su'a Cravens, who was drafted in the second round, and he won the battle. This is an intriuging player. A hybrid receiver/tight end who improved every year at UCLA. This past past, averaged almost 17 yards per catch. Missed two games with a hamstring earlier in his career but has been durable otherwise. His measurables are almost identical to Jordan Reed coming out of Florida in 2013. This guy has a chance to be a really good contributor. I'm surprised he's still on the board."
Mel Kiper: "Love his body control, how he adjusts to poorly thrown ball. Miami has made a concerted effort to help Ryan Tannehill. Five offensive players brought in."
CBS' Rob Rang: "Duarte elected to leave after a junior season in which he led the Bruins with 10 receiving touchdowns and earned Second Team All-Pac-12 honors. His size and catch radius make him an imposing threat down the seam and one who could continue to be effective in the red zone at the NFL level.
He's a bit of a one-trick pony, winning on crossing routes and down the seam because of his size, and may need to impress in workouts to counter suspicious that his numbers were inflated by Rosen and former UCLA offensive coordinator (now at Texas A&M) Noel Mazzone's scheme.
"Imposing frame with broad shoulders, long arms and big hands. Presents obvious matchup problems due to his size and large catch radius. Alters his gait off the ball, showing some savvy as a route-runner with subtle fakes and shoulder-dips. Accelerates smoothly for a receiver of his size, showing enough speed to surprise as a vertical threat down the seam. Generally reliable hands, extending and pulling in passes outside of his frame consistently.
"[But] Heavy-footed and possesses only average straight-line speed for the receiver position. Isn't as tough to tackle in the open field as his frame would suggest with smaller defenders too often able to tackle him on their own.
Lacks the quickness and agility to make defenders miss and to consistently generate yards after the catch on his own. Will drop an occasional pass due to lapses in concentration, especially when he senses a big hit coming."
• Miami chose Western Kentucky quarterback Brandon Doughty with the 223rd pick, and he will compete with Matt Moore (the front-runner for the backup job), Logan Thomas and Zac Dysert for a backup job or two behind Ryan Tannehill. Adam Gase has been non-committal about whether he will keep two QBs or three.
A three-year starter in Western Kentucky's spread offense, Doughty left school with 111 touchdown passes (15th all-time in FBS) and was 10th all-time with a 68.6 completion percentage.
Doughty was the third quarterback in FBS history with 4,000 passing yards and 40 TD passes in consecutive seasons.
He threw 49 touchdowns and 10 picks in 2014 and 48 and 9 in 2015.
Kiper: "You look at the limitations. He doesn't have the big arm. First half against LSU, he struggled. I like the second half he played a lot better. Throws an accurate ball. Does he have enough arm strength to throw into tight windows? As a backup, third quarterback, maybe has a chance to stick with an NFL roster.
McShay: "Most attempts of any FBS attempts past two seasons. Played in pass happy offense. Ball comes out of hands smoothly. Throws a crisp ball. Interesting developmental prospect."
CBS' Dane Brugler, on Doughty: "A three-year starter in Western Kentucky's spread offense, Doughty was an ideal fit for the up-tempo scheme that relied on a quick release and smart decisions, making most of his reads pre-snap and identifying soft spots in coverage. He has improved functional pocket mobility and carries himself like a coach.
"Doughty has an adequate arm, but relies on touch and timing over velocity and struggled to speed up his process vs. better competition on his schedule. He got away with some bad habits at the college level that he won't be able to in the NFL and although he's very impressive when in rhythm, it's the opposite when that rhythm is taken away.
"Benefited from a wide open offense with a lot of throws within seven yards of the line of scrimmage and plays after the catch. Ball security has room for improvement (13 career fumbles). Older prospect and will be a 25-year-old NFL rookie. ... He projects as a mid-to-late round prospect with the NFL ceiling of a backup, drawing some on-field comparisons to A.J. McCarron."
• Miami took Penn State safety/cornerback Jordan Lucas at No. 204 and the Dolphins want him to play corner. He said he played corner for three years in college and safety for one.
He had three picks in 2013, none the past two seasons. But he had four career sacks and 11 tackles for loss and 23 passes defended, plus three forced fumbles, in 34 career games.
He played in only nine games last season because of a right shoulder injury that prematurely ended his college career and kept him out of the Senior Bowl.
With that in mind, it's notable his passes defended dropped each of the pass three years, from 13 to 9 to 3.
Todd McShay: "He is versatile, played all over, started his career at corner, switched to safety. At Pro Day, ran 4.45, 38 inch vertical. A lot of versatility here."
Mel Kiper: "He was a solid player. When you run under 4.5 like he did, vertical is 40 inches, that means you're not just a very good college player, but you can translate that to the NFL."
Here's what CBS' Dan Brugler said about him: "Understands field leverage in run support, taking proper angles. Explodes through his hips as a tackler, putting his hat on the ball. Eager blitzer and does a nice job in space to get his target on the ground. Can open his hips and turn to run with receivers in the slot. Position versatility with starting experience at both cornerback and safety (34 career starts)."
From a weakness standpoint, "Average at-best athletically with rigid change of direction and transition skills. Adequate frame, but lack of length limits his defense radius. Eyes pay rent in the backfield and his pass coverage can't afford the bills. Impatient feet lead to false steps, misreading the route and losing spacing with his man. Too easily controlled once blocked, struggling to break free. Lacks the secondary quickness to work off blocks or make up once receivers gain a step. Marginal ball-skills and struggled to finish interceptions."
And overall, Brugler said: "Lucas is a competitive run defender with a nose for the ball, understanding football geometry to track and find the quickest route from A-to-B. Although his background at corner is appealing, Lucas lacks the twitchy athleticism and ball-hawking instincts to consistently hold up on an island vs. NFL receivers, which will limit his versatility as a pro. He has the mentality and appetite for football that will serve him well on special teams, but projects as bottom of the roster defensive back."
• Miami traded up in the sixth round today for Texas Tech receiver/return Jakeem Grant, who we mentioned a couple weeks ago was one of only a few receivers the Dolphins brought to team headquarters before the draft (Dolphins third-rounder Leonte Carroo was another).
Grant is just 5-7 but put up terrific numbers last season: 90 catches for 1268 yards and 10 TDs and for his career (254-3286, 27 TDs). But he also dropped nine passes among 124 targets.
He averaged 26.1 yards on 39 kickoff returns last season and 24.9 in his career. He says he can return punts but didn't do that at Texas Tech.
Adam Gase said Jarvis Landry would handle return duties until Miami found someone capable of replacing him to lessen Landry's workload. The Dolphins now have two very good options in Kenyan Drake and Grant.
Miami traded the 196th and 227th picks to Minnesota to get the 186th pick (Grant).
Todd McShay's assessment: "A quick guy, a guy who I think if you put the ball in his hands, he can create. Over the course of his career, productive run after catch ability is really good. Short area, first couple steps after the catch, he's really good. In the return game is where he was outstanding. Undersized slot, like a lot of Texas Tech receivers. Quick off the line. Really good vision in the open field. Will never be your outside receiver or really good in the red zone. But there's a place for him in the league, especially if he can prove to be reliable as a returner. Has ability to make guys miss, and Miami needs more of those guys as a receiver in the return game."
NFL.com's Gil Brandt (the former Cowboys executive): "He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.42 and 4.38 seconds. He had a 36 1/2-inch vertical jump and a 9-foot-9 broad jump. He did the 20-yard short shuttle in 4.06 seconds and the three-cone drill in 7.01 seconds. He also performed 15 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press. With that speed and quickness, Grant could get a look as a return specialist in the NFL.
Grant will compete with Griff Whalen, Matt Hazel and anybody else added for the No. 5 receiver job.
Check back for more.
MORE DOLPHINS CHATTER
The Dolphins’ first three draft picks conveniently addressed their biggest needs: Laremy Tunsil (the Dolphins told Branden Albert that Albert will play left tackle, Tunsil left guard), cornerback Xavien Howard and running back Kenyan Drake.
“You’ve got to like what the Dolphins are doing,” NFL Net’s Mike Mayock said.
Analysis of their Friday/Saturday picks:
• The good news on Howard: He allowed receptions on just 37.3 percent of his 75 targets, third-best among draft-eligible corners, and had nine combined interceptions in 2014 and ’15.
“When he gets it right, he looks like Richard Sherman,” Pro Football Focus said.
The bad news: “He was beaten on multiple plays that weren’t completed for whatever reason, beaten a lot deep but not punished for it with completions,” PFF said. “Most of these plays are when he allows the receiver a free release off the line and then finds himself chasing the play. He lacks awareness at times, whether he is late to look for the football or just loses track of it entirely.”
Mike Mayock said: “His tape is highly conflicting. It's either really good or really bad. If you look at his bowl game against North Carolina, he can't find the football."
• Drake: Mel Kiper and Todd McShay agree that he is a situational back, which is good news for Jay Ajayi, who would like to start.
Drake averaged 6.3 yards per carry at Alabama in his career, 12.4 per catch and 26.6 per kickoff return. He lined up as a receiver on 25 percent of his snaps last season, PFF said.
McShay, on Drake: "He's the modern day crazy legs. You watch him on tape: His feet are always going. I thought he was the No. 1 guy in this entire draft at the running back position in agility and acceleration. He is explosive. He's a home run hitter. He struggled to stay healthy in his career. But if you can manufacture touches for him, he's going to provide you with some big plays as a running back and in the return game. Home run hitting ability as a receiver as well working in the slot. Had that 95 yard touchdown in the national championship game against Clemson. I like where he comes off the board, the perfect spot for him.... he's not going to be your full time guy."
Kiper on Drake: "What he is is a poor man's Reggie Bush. That's what he was considered to be. The return ability,the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, the home run play. If he can just stay healthy. Gives Ryan Tannehill a key weapon provided he can stay healthy."
PFF's assessment: "Drake is a finesse-style runner who has more straight-line speed than quick-cutting ability. Still, his 44 missed tackles forced on 142 offensive touches last year prove he can be elusive. He will be an asset as a returner and may make his mark more as a receiving threat out of the backfield than as a runner, as he won’t be an every-down back. He is a fast player who is capable of making big plays and should be given a few offensive touches per game. He’s certainly worth a Day-3 draft pick."
• Receiver Leonte Carroo. With a 19.5 career average and 29 touchdown receptions, he projects in Miami’s top four with Jarvis Landry, DeVante Parker and Kenny Stills. He had only two drops on 56 targets last season and his 7.2 yards after catch average in 2014 and ’15 was very good.
“He's built almost like a running back,” McShay said. “Does a good job getting off the press. Good overall ball skills. Highly productive at Rutgers. Ran a 4.5 solid time, not a great time. I like him in traffic. Really thrives in traffic when the ball is in the air, contested catches. He can generate big plays after the catch. Really good in the open field.”
Said Mayock: “When he gets the ball in his hands, he's angry. He's got a little edge to him that I like.”
HEAT CHATTER AND A MARLINS NOTE
• An MRI on Josh Richardson's injured left shoulder came back negative, according to a source, and he has told reporters he intends to play in Game 7, though he's listed as questionable. Richardson had a stress reaction in his left shoulder as a result of trying to fight through a Cody Zeller screen in Game 6.
Richardson told reporters after Game 6, including our Manny Navarro, that he intends to play Sunday and still felt that way today, according to a source. But a friend indicated he was still in a bit of discomfort today. It will be up to Richardson about whether he believes he can play through the discomfort. And he clearly wants to play.
Also, there's also a very small chance of tearing the labrum if he plays, but again, it's a small chance. The MRI showed no tear or dislocation. The Heat might put him through drills Sunday morning to see how the shoulder reacts, including his mobility.
"You have to be responsible to the athlete," Erik Spoelstra said before the MRI result was known. "If you leave it up to Josh, he said there's no question he's playing. And that may be the case. But the responsible thing to him and to us is to get it checked out, see what it is and take the next course of action."
If Richardson is limited or has difficulty playing, Spoelstra could use Dwyane Wade or Gerald Green as the ball-handler when Goran Dragic is resting. Is Spoelstra comfortable using Tyler Johnson, who hasn't played in three months?
"Yeah, if that's necessary," Spoelstra said. "Tyler has done a lot of work in the last three weeks. He's going to get another workout tonight. He keeps on kidding me since I mentioned he would be available in an emergency basis. Virtually every time I bump into him, he said he's seen a lot of emergencies out there. If that's what's necessary, we'll use him. If it means somebody else has to play 40 plus minutes, we'll go that way as well."
• How unusual were Dwyane Wade’s late-game threes? Not only was his 0 for 21 three-point drought the longest of his career, but he was 0 for 8 on clutch threes during the season (NBA defines clutch as the final five minutes with a margin of five points or less). Only Shabazz Muhammad (0 for 9) was worse.
But on all shots, Wade has made five of the Heat’s seven clutch baskets in this series, after shooting a strong 45.5 percent in the clutch this season (third among starting shooting guards, behind only Avery Bradley and Bradley Beal). Forward LeBron James shot 42.4 percent, by comparison.
Who else do you want shooting for the Heat if Game 7 is decided in the final moments?
Luol Deng, who was second in the league in clutch threes this season (11 for 18, 61.1 percent). And Hassan Whiteside shot an NBA-best 76 percent in the clutch (19-25, minimum 20 shots), though Miami is at risk if he’s fouled. (He was 13 for 22 on clutch free throws).
Joe Johnson warrants a late-game shot but he's 7 for 21 in the clutch since joining the Heat (without a playoff attempt), and Goran Dragic 2 for 10 in the clutch since the All-Star break, including 0 for 2 in this series.
• You know how many “clutch” minutes Udonis Haslem played all season before being on the court for the final 2:54 Friday? Four! Players he’s guarding have shot five for seven against him in this series, but he impacts the game by rebounding, setting hard screens and taking charges.
"It became pretty clear last night, the game became medieval," Spoelstra said. "Those are the moments I turn to UD and Dwyane. We've been in over a hundred of these playoff games and when games are like that and it becomes about the trenches, the effort plays, the toughness plays, the charges, the in-traffic rebounds, I have no more trust in anybody than UD."
Ask Johnson who he has gained the most appreciation for since joining the Heat and he quickly names Haslem.
“Just the positive energy he brings,” Johnson said. “He's always prepared, always talking and staying in peoples' ear and in our ear on what he sees on the court. That's leadership. Those are the things you take for granted.
“I had the luxury to play with Kevin Garnett. He's the same way. He was probably only going to play 10, 15, maybe 20 minutes.
"He may not score a basket, but his energy was always a constant. I put Udonis in that same frame as far as telling his teammates and helping us out in any situation possible.”
• Adam Conley is now an historical footnote: the first pitcher in history to be removed from a start with a lead after pitching at least 7 2/3 hitless innings.
“No, it was easy right there,” Don Mattingly said of the decision to pull Conley with the Marlins ahead, 5-0. “I knew he couldn’t finish. We weren’t going to let him finish. That was really easy, actually.
“If he had an easy inning there, an eight- or nine-pitch inning, we probably would think about it. But when he gets to that point, you know he’s not going to be able to finish the game. This kid has a chance to be really special so there’s no way, at this point in the season that we’re going to let him go to 130 [pitches].”