Barry Jackson

Dolphins book visits with three outside linebacker prospects

Illinois defensive end Carroll Phillips is seen before a drill at the 2017 NFL football scouting combine Sun., March 5, 2017, in Indianapolis.
Illinois defensive end Carroll Phillips is seen before a drill at the 2017 NFL football scouting combine Sun., March 5, 2017, in Indianapolis. AP

Teams are allowed to bring 30 non-local draft prospects to their offices for visits, and the Dolphins are using a bunch on linebackers or defensive ends, some of whom can play linebacker.

Per sources, Illinois linebacker Carroll Phillips, Mississippi State end/linebacker Johnathan Calvin and Missouri State linebacker Dylan Cole all have been booked for Dolphins visits.

Phillips, who attended Miami Central, will have a longer visit with Miami than the local workout day reserved for most local players. He earned All Big Ten honors as a senior with nine sacks and 19 tackles for loss last season.

After one season with Copiah-Lincoln Community College (49 tackles, four sacks), Phillips transferred to Illinois, where he started three times in 12 games played in 2015 (26 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, two sacks). He blossomed as a senior, garnering first-team All-Big Ten honors with 56 tackles, 20 tackles for loss (ranked ninth in the FBS), and those team-high nine sacks.

NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein said Carroll “flashed disruptive quickness against the run this season. Pursuit motor and effort are above average. Chases beyond line of scrimmage for the stop. Rarely misses the mark as a tackler.... Will need to add mass and muscle to handle run-stopping responsibilities and that may take time. Hand usage at point of attack is poor....

“He's not very big, long or strong and his current pass rush approach won't cut it on the NFL level. However, his flexibility and agility could be viewed as moldable rush traits with the right position coach working the clay. Phillips will need to beef up some, but he didn't look out of place when asked to play in space at the Senior Bowl. Phillips has NFL backup talent but could work his way into playing time if he makes the necessary improvements as a rusher.”

Cole was an FCS All-American last season but doesn’t have prototypical size (6-0, 233 pounds). CBS says he’s the 25th best outside linebacker in the draft and a potential seventh-rounder.

Cole, who was previously named a first-team All-American by The Associated Press, the AFCA, the Walter Camp Foundation and STATS, completed his four-year Missouri State career as the nation's leading tackler with an average of 12.9 stops per game during the regular season.

According to nfldraftscout’s Dane Brugler, Cole was very good at the Missouri State pro day last week. He ran his 40-yard dash in the low 4.5s with impressive cone times, including a 4.08 20-yard shuttle and 6.82 three-cone drill. Along with his 39-inch vertical and 10-foot-5 broad jump, his numbers would rank among the best of all the linebackers at the combine.

His also produced 32 reps on the bench press – only seven players (any position) registered a better number in Indianapolis.

“I compare my numbers to other linebackers and I feel good about that,” Cole said after his workout. “I feel like I’m one of the more athletic, faster linebackers.”

As for Calvin, the 6-3, 272-pounder had seven sacks last season and impressed at his Pro Day.

’’Teams like the big man’s athleticism, movement skills and pass-rushing ability,” draft analyst Tony Pauline said.

For my weekend post on two intriguing safety prospects that the Dolphins are bringing to team headquarters, please click here.

For my weekend post on a couple of defensive ends the Dolphins have summoned to their offices, including a potential pick at No. 22, please click here.

And please follow me on Twitter: @flasportsbuzz

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