It’s a long way from here to Miami, both literally and figuratively.
But for the four University of Miami players selected to participate in this year’s Senior Bowl, it “feel[s] like you’re at home.”
That’s the sentiment of Ladarius Gunter, the Hurricanes cornerback who is rooming with UM receiver Phillip Dorsett this week.
Down the hall, linebacker Denzel Perryman and tight end Clive Walford are bunking together, too.
All four are teammates on the South squad, and together they are the core of arguably the strongest Miami draft class in years.
All four will be drafted in May. The question isn’t if, but when.
Should their strong play from early in the week continue through the weekend, all four could go relatively high.
Dorsett, according to NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah, “probably is going to be the fastest player in this entire draft class.”
He flashed that speed in Wednesday’s afternoon session, regularly running past the defensive backfield in drills. Dorsett’s height is a factor, but he could benefit from the success of other diminutive receivers like T.Y. Hilton — who also played both his high school and college ball in South Florida.
NFLDraftScout.com has Dorsett listed as the class’s No. 19 wide receiver and projects him as a fourth-round pick. If he’s loose and on at the Combine in Indianapolis next week, Dorsett will likely clock one of the swiftest 40-yard dash times.
Elite in-line speed will get you drafted. But it takes more to go early.
“Basically route-running, getting off press coverage, stuff like that,” Dorsett said, when asked what he needs to improve. “If you can’t get off press coverage, you can’t play in the NFL.”
The Dolphins evidently are intrigued by what they’ve seen. Dorsett said he met with general manager Dennis Hickey this week and believes the interview went well.
Every UM player here could fill a Dolphins need, but Dorsett is particularly fascinating. The club will be in the market for a deep threat if it decides to move on from Mike Wallace this offseason.
Perryman, who has lined up at middle linebacker this week, is on the Dolphins’ radar, as well. But his week hasn’t been without a hiccup. He suffered an abdominal strain but returned to practice Thursday after sitting out Wednesday.
That toughness might work to his advantage, particularly if his measurables work against him. Perryman is a bit on the small size — 5-10 5/8 and 242 pounds — and that might be the only thing that keeps him out of the first round. He is expected to be a second-day pick in May’s draft.
There’s no questioning Gunter’s size. At 6-1 3/8 and 200 pounds, he fits the mold of the new-line corners.
“He’s big. There’s no doubt about it,” said Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley, whose staff is coaching the South team this week. “I think that his athleticism is the thing that puts it together.”
Simply being on the field is a positive sign for Walford, who underwent knee surgery in early December.
“It’s great, 100 percent,” Walford said.