Miami Dolphins

Dolphins planning to audition these UM prospects. But one of them is non-committal.

Hard work pays off during Hurricanes Pro Day

The Miami Hurricanes showed off their skills in front of NFL scouts inside their new practice facility. Defensive Tackle, Gerald Willis and Running Back, Trayone Gray talk about their performances during the 2019 Pro Day.
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The Miami Hurricanes showed off their skills in front of NFL scouts inside their new practice facility. Defensive Tackle, Gerald Willis and Running Back, Trayone Gray talk about their performances during the 2019 Pro Day.

The Dolphins will get a good look at UM’s draft prospects during their annual local day on April 5, but one of the Canes’ best draft prospects isn’t sure if he will be there.

Though the Dolphins have invited defensive tackle Gerald Willis to work out for them that day, Willis hasn’t yet decided whether to accept.

Willis still might accept, and he would be receptive if the team invites him to a stand-alone visit like those given to some other prospects who didn’t play high school or college ball in South Florida. But if Willis is invited by another team for a private visit on April 5, that likely would take precedence over a Dolphins group workout invite.

Per NFL rules, teams can invite local prospects — those who grew up or went to high school or college in their areas — to their facilities for workouts on a particular day before the draft.

The Dolphins traditionally do their workout the first week of April and invite most of the draft eligible players from UM, FIU and FAU, plus local high schools.

It’s rare that the Dolphins use one of their maximum-permitted 30 individual visits on a local player.

Meanwhile, the Dallas Cowboys have taken a particular liking to Willis, who led the nation is tackles for loss with 18.

Willis is scheduled to take a “30” visit with the Cowboys on April 3 — his only such visit booked to date. What’s more, Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli ran the workouts for UM’s defensive linemen at the Hurricanes Pro Day on Monday and spent time talking to Willis in a friendly discussion afterward.

Willis also met with the Rams last week and will have dinner with Saints officials on April 2.

He would be an excellent second-day pick for the Dolphins, who need a run-stuffer in the interior of their defensive front.

Among other Hurricanes who confirmed they will audition for the Dolphins on April 5: running back Trayone Gray, safeties Jaquan Johnson and Sheldrick Redwine, receiver Darrell Langham and offensive lineman Venzell Boulware, who said he gave up his final year of eligibility at UM (even though he might go undrafted) because of personal circumstances.

Among others expected at the April 5 Dolphins workouts: UM cornerback Jhavonte Dean (who Redwine said was the fastest player on UM’s team) and linebacker Mike Smith (Manny Diaz raved about him Monday).

Cornerback Michael Jackson said he is not scheduled to attend the Dolphins’ local day, and defensive end Joe Jackson (considered UM’s top prospect, along with Willis) didn’t speak to reporters at UM’s Pro Day on Monday.

Among players who went to college outside South Florida, those invited to the Dolphins’ April 5 workout include LSU safety John Battle (from Hallandale High) and UCF cornerback Rishard Causey (from Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas), among others.

Incidentally, the Dolphins sent multiple scouts to UM’s Pro Day on Monday.

Wake Forest media said the Dolphins have been showing interest in Deamon Deacons center Ryan Anderson… Per Dolphins podcaster Chris Kouffman, the Dolphins sent offensive coordinator Chad O’Shea to the Massachusetts Pro day to watch speedy receiver Andy Isabella.

Mel Kiper Jr.’s mock draft released Tuesday on ESPN.com has Miami taking Missouri quarterback Drew Lock, though the Dolphins — knowing the 2020 QB class is potentially better — might be better served taking any of the next four players Kiper has going 14th through 17th: defensive tackle Ed Oliver, FSU end/outside linebacker Brian Burns and Clemson defensive linemen Clelin Ferrell and Christian Wilkins.

Kiper writes of Miami: “I thought about Lock for Denver at No. 10 and Cincinnati at No. 11, but Miami also makes a ton of sense. The Dolphins are clearly in the beginning stages of a rebuild, and they need a new face of their franchise after parting ways with Ryan Tannehill. Lock (6-foot-4, 228 pounds) is inconsistent, but he has a strong arm and can make every throw. There have been some rumblings that Lock could be the second quarterback off the board, before Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins. Miami could go also go offensive line with this pick, or it could try to trade down to pick up assets.”

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Barry Jackson has written for the Miami Herald since 1986 and has written the Florida Sports Buzz column since 2002.


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