Here we go.
The bowl season just ended and it’s already time to talk draft.
The Senior Bowl is next week.
Mock drafts are already churning.
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And for the second time in as many years, the Dolphins will closely examine the quarterback class.
They ended up passing on the position completely last year with Baker Mayfield and Josh Allen off the board when they picked at 11.
This year will be different, Mel Kiper believes.
The ESPN’s signature draftnik put out his first mock draft Thursday, and to the delight of many Dolphins fans, had Miami taking Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray at 13.
“The Dolphins need to rebuild. What better way to start that rebuild than to take the Heisman Trophy winner? Now, just because Murray has entered the draft doesn’t mean he’s sticking to football. He could still back out and play baseball. But I’m treating him as if he’s all-in for now, and if he goes to the combine — he’s going to run a blazing 40-yard dash — and goes through workouts for teams, I expect him to be picked in Round 1. This is an unprecedented situation for a 5-foot-10 quarterback, but it’s going to be fun to watch over the next few months.”
Murray to Miami will generate plenty of buzz in the days, weeks and months to come.
But so did Mayfield to Miami in 2018. And how did that work out? The Dolphins never had a chance; he went No. 1 overall.
The odds are much greater that Murray, because of his size, slips out of the top 10.
But if he doesn’t, Miami has other options at the position.
Chris Grier — and perhaps Brian Flores, if he is formally on the job by then — will take a close look at eight of them in Mobile, Ala., next week, as the Senior Bowl officially kicks off draft season.
The best of the bunch:
Will Grier, West Virginia
THE BASICS: 6-3, 217. Projected as a late first or early second-round pick. First enrolled at Florida, but transferred to WVU after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance in 2015. The Maxwell Award finalist ranked ninth nationally in passing yards (3,864) and averaged more than nine yards per passing attempt in his two seasons at West Virginia. The soon-to-be 24-year-old is married and has a two-year-old daughter.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING: “Everybody knows his story. Thrown out of Florida, ended up at West Virginia. One of the most efficient throwers in the entire country. Very accurate on all three levels, and someone who has a lot more arm strength, having seen him throw live over the summer, he has a lot more arm strength in person than I anticipated.” — Daniel Jeremiah, NFL.com.
Daniel Jones, Duke
THE BASICS: 6-5, 220. Expected to be a first-round pick. Finished his college career with a bang, completing 30 of 41 passes for 423 yards with six total touchdowns (five passing) in the Blue Devils’ blowout win over Temple in the Independence Bowl. A fourth-year junior who has already graduated with a degree in economics.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING: “The most impressive trait I saw from Jones is 2018 was his ability to buy time in the pocket and use his feet to get square and make a throw. Jones threw 29 interceptions in his three seasons as the starter, and he forces the ball at times, but he mostly cut down on the poor throws in 2018 (he had nine picks). We also have to mention his coach, David Cutcliffe, who groomed Peyton Manning and is seen as a quarterback whisperer. Jones is the top signal-caller in attendance at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama. Let’s see if he separates from the pack.” -- Mel Kiper, ESPN.
Drew Lock, Missouri
THE BASICS: 6-4, 205. Draft’s No. 30 prospect, regardless of position, according to CBSSports.com. Completed 56.9 percent of his passes for 12,193 yards, 99 touchdowns and 39 interceptions in four seasons with the Tigers. Holds the SEC record for passing touchdowns in a season (44, 2017). Both his father and grandfather played football for Missouri.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING: “Drew Lock is by far the best quarterback in the country. It’s not even close. He’ll be the first guy taken in next year’s NFL Draft among quarterbacks.” — Jordan Rodgers, SEC Network
▪ Others to watch: Ryan Finley, N.C. State; Jarrett Stidham, Auburn; Gardner Minshew II, Washington State.