Miami Dolphins

Dolphins work out defensive tackle with first-round buzz, plus Lamar Miller talks Tony Romo

Michigan State defensive end Malik Mcdowell is seen before a drill at the 2017 NFL football scouting combine Sunday, March 5, 2017, in Indianapolis.
Michigan State defensive end Malik Mcdowell is seen before a drill at the 2017 NFL football scouting combine Sunday, March 5, 2017, in Indianapolis. AP

The Dolphins didn’t add a defensive tackle in free agency.

But they do have keen interest in adding one in the draft — perhaps in the very first round.

In fact, they think highly enough of Michigan State’s Malik McDowell that defensive line coach Terrell Williams traveled to East Lansing, Michigan, on Tuesday for a private workout.

McDowell is projected to either go late in the first round or early in the second, which makes him an intriguing prospect for the Dolphins at the 22nd pick. If they view him as a second-round prospect, McDowell might not still be on the board when they pick again at 54.

McDowell, at 6-6 and 295 pounds, could play either defensive tackle or end in a 4-3 defense. And at age 20, he’s probably still growing into his body.

After a standout sophomore season, McDowell’s junior year was derailed by an ankle injury. Still, he was named second-team All-Big Ten in both of his final two seasons.

When healthy and motivated, McDowell is a force. His combination of size and athleticism is rare and coveted. McDowell ran a 4.85-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine, which is blazing for a man his size.

“McDowell is raw, but when he flashes it can be blinding,” draft expert Lance Zierlein wrote for NFL.com. “McDowell is an explosive, ascending prospect with All-Pro potential if he grows into his body and takes the necessary coaching.”

MILLER HIGH ON ROMO

Ex-Dolphins running back Lamar Miller wouldn’t lobby for Tony Romo to join him in Houston, but he made clear Wednesday that he thinks highly of the soon-to-be former Dallas Cowboys quarterback.

“He’s a great player,” Miller said. “I didn’t really watch that much of the Cowboys. He’s a great quarterback.”

The Texans and Broncos are the two logical landing spots for Romo, who remains on Dallas’ roster even though the Cowboys have plans to either trade or cut him.

Miller was at the University of Miami on Wednesday for Hurricanes Pro Day.

He recently finished up his first season with the Texans, rushing for over 1,000 yards for the second time in three years.

Still, he kept close tabs on the Dolphins from afar.

In fact, he is in regular contact with former teammates Jay Ajayi and Damien Williams, and even gave Ajayi some advice before the start of the season.

“I spoke to him when they signed Arian Foster,” Miller said. “I was just telling him, stay focused, keep working hard. I think once he got his opportunity, he had that mind-set of he wasn’t going to be denied, and he took full advantage of it.”

▪ T.J. McDonald, a free agent safety formerly of the Rams, visted the Dolphins on Wednesday, ESPN first reported. However, that same report stipulated that McDonald has been suspended the first eight games of the 2017 season after pleading guilty to driving under the influence of drugs.

Miami Dolphins coach Adam Gase speaks with reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine.

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