Miami Dolphins

Here's why one former Dolphins Pro Bowler thinks highly of Miami's latest draft class

Miami Dolphins rookie safety Minkah Fitzpatrick talks to the media during rookie camp at the Miami Dolphins' training facility.
Miami Dolphins rookie safety Minkah Fitzpatrick talks to the media during rookie camp at the Miami Dolphins' training facility. ctrainor@miamiherald.com

Former Miami Dolphins defender Kim Bokamper — a former first-round pick in 1976, one-time Pro Bowler and two-time Super Bowl participant — is still pretty close with the Dolphins organization.

He hosts a weekly podcast called The Audible for the team that provides fans a glimpse

Included in that is getting an up-close look at the Dolphins' latest crop of draft picks.

While it's still early — and they have yet to play a single down in an NFL game — Bokamper said he is expecting big things out of the rookie class.

"Just from looking at them, from talking to them — and I've spoken to a good number of these kids — the one thing that just made it with these guys is, so many guys just want to get out on the town. These guys are all about business," Bokamper said Thursday on WQAM's Joe Rose Show. "They've done a good job getting indoctrinated in how the Dolphins want to do things and getting the idea of as a rookie what to look out for and how you're going to maximize your ability on this football team. I like what they're doing, but the one thing I see out of each and every one of them is that they're committed to playing football. They're serious about it."

Another aspect of their game that intrigues Bokamper: The pedigree of their college careers.

First-round pick Minkah Fitzpatrick: Alabama. He played in the national championship game each of his three years with the Crimson Tide.

Second-round pick Mike Gesicki: two-year starter at Penn State.

Third-round pick Jerome Baker: Ohio State. He started every game in his final two years for the Buckeyes, including the College Football Playoff semifinal in 2016 against soon-to-be national Clemson

Fourth-round picks Durham Smythe and Kalen Ballage. Starters at Notre Dame and Arizona State, respectively.

Miami Dolphins 1st round draft pick Minkah Fitzpatrick talks with media at rookie camp.

"These guys have played in big games on big stages against big crowds. National championship games. Playoff games. You have guys that to me are game ready to step into the NFL and be a big impact," Bokamper said. "I expect those three top guys — Fitzpatrick, Gesicki and Baker — to be starters or about starters. Minkah Fitzpatrick may not be the starting corner or the starting safety, but I guarantee you that once they go to a nickel package, he's going to be out there. He's going to play 40 to 50 plays a game. Gesicki is going to be a starter. And I think Jerome Baker is going to have a role at that linebacker spot. So right off the bat, if that comes to fruition, you have three impact players for you. "

Exactly how that will translate to production at the NFL level for this group will be seen soon. The first of the Dolphins' OTAs begin on Tuesday. They will roll on throughout late May and early June.

And in a little less than four months, the season will begin.

"I'm just very impressed with how these guys are going about their business and the fact that they're looking ahead," Bokamper said. "They're excited about it. They're nervous about it. They don't know what to expect. But it's not too big for them."

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