A few UM and Dolphins notes on a Tuesday night:
• Rivals.com released its final top 250 for the 2017 class, and with regard to UM, one thing is clear: The evaluators at Rivals have much different evaluations than ESPN on many of the Canes’ top recruits.
Rivals’ 250 includes five UM oral commitments: Central offensive lineman Navaughn Donaldson (No. 43; already on campus), Columbus cornerback Trajan Bandy (109), Sacramento defensive end Deonte Johnson (112), Ocala quarterback N’Kosi Perry (188) and Georgia-based cornerback/receiver DeeJay Dallas (196).
By contrast, ESPN has four UM recruits in its top 100. Johnson is rated the 28th best player in this class - 84 spots ahead of where Rivals rates him. Gulliver running back Robert Burns, who isn’t even in Rivals’ top 250, is rated 67th among all 2017 prospects by ESPN. Burns is expected to enroll this week, according to our Peter Ariz.
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ESPN rates Perry 82nd, 106 spots ahead of where Rivals rates him. ESPN does rate Donaldson lower than Rivals does (87th to 43).
ESPN also rates Dallas No. 230, Palm Beach Gardens safety Amari Carter at 238, Bandy at 270 and defensive end Jonathan Garvin at 279.
Dallas, Carter and Garvin are early enrollees.
• Both ESPN and Rivals are generally in agreement about where Miami’s class should rank. Miami is 14th, according to Rivals, and 13th, according to ESPN. We will have a lot more recruiting news in the coming days.
• Agent Bardia Ghahremani said the Dolphins offered a futures contract to cornerback Bene Benwikere, who spent much of the season on Miami’s practice squad, but Benwikere instead opted to become a free agent on Monday, and he joined Green Bay’s practice squad today.
By league rule, Benwikere had a week to accept Miami’s offer, the agent said.
“He was the only starting caliber defensive back on a practice squad this season,” Ghahremani said. “He was holding out for other opportunities, see if others came forward.”
• Pro Football Focus, in its final evaluation, rated Miami’s offensive line 30th among 32 teams.
Here’s what PFF said about that o-line:
Top overall grade: RT Ja’Wuan James, 78.0 (No. 32)
Top pass-blocking grade: LG Laremy Tunsil, 79.3 (No. 40)
Top run-blocking grade: RT Ja’Wuan James, 81.0 (No. 18)
The loss of Mike Pouncey hurt this team in a major way, and he went down after just 301 snaps of action. Jermon Bushrod was a huge problem at RG all season, allowing five sacks and 34 total QB pressures as a pass blocker. He was also disastrous in the run game, with a 34.9 run-blocking grade, making him the lowest-graded guard league-wide in that facet. Rookie Laremy Tunsil flashed talent throughout the year, but had as many bad games as good ones, and the longer the season wore on, the worse Branden Albert began to look at LT, highlighted by his performance against James Harrison and the Steelers in the Wild Card round of the playoffs.
• Meanwhile, PFF rated Miami’s d-line 12th among 32 d-lines this season.
Here’s what PFF said:
Top overall grade: DT Ndamukong Suh, 87.2
Lowest overall grade: DE Andre Branch, 56.4
Few teams recorded pressure with four-down linemen quite like the Dolphins in 2016. They pressured quarterbacks on 38.4 percent of their dropbacks, the fourth-best rate in the league, even though they were 22nd in blitz rate. That didn’t look like it would be the case after Cameron Wake’s 2015 season ended with a torn Achilles, however. His comeback was nothing short of miraculous, as even at 34 years old, he played as if he never got hurt in the first place. His 14.1 pass-rushing productivity mark was third-best in the NFL.