Barry Jackson

Dolphins continue guard search; Tannehill update; plus draft nuggets


Dolphins nuggets on a Tuesday:

• The Dolphins, determined to add a potential longterm starting guard in the draft process, not only have summoned at least two to team headquarters (Utah’s Isaac Asiata and Western Michigan’s Taylor Moton) but also have been quietly flying around the country to find the next Billy Turner (oops, bad example).

The Dolphins privately worked out Indiana’s Dan Feeney, among several others.

They’ve spent considerable time with Western Kentucky’s Forrest Lamp, the only guard universally considered a first-round pick.

They hosted UM’s Danny Isidora on Miami’s local day and watched him at his pro day.

And they’ve also looked at several tackles who can play guard, including Virginia Tech’s Jonathan McLaughlin.

“McLaughlin’s best fit may be moving to guard and developing his game,” according to Pro Football Focus. “McLaughlin looks like a development prospect at the next level.”

With regard to Feeney, a potential Day 2 pick who’s pictured above,’s Lance Zierlein said: “Four-year starter and two-time team captain, Feeney has been the consistent anchor along an Indiana offensive line that helped to produce NFL running backs Tevin Coleman and Jordan Howard. Feeney is a quality zone blocker with an ability to pull and lead the charge, but he might lack the play strength to become a reliable base blocker. His intelligence and ability to operate in space and protect the quarterback could make him an early starter with a ceiling of above-average NFL guard or center.”

• Quarterback Ryan Tannehill, recovered from his December knee injury, told John Congemi on the Dolphins’ web site that “I feel really good. “I spent a lot of time getting ready to play, getting ready to be healthy. This offseason, first and foremost was getting healthy, doing everything I could to get healthy. I was able to get away for a little bit and enjoy the offseason a little bit. And for the past six plus weeks, I’ve really been working hard and throwing with the guys and training and really preparing ourselves for this upcoming season.... I’m looking to take a big step forward this year.”

Tannehill was wearing a “zero in” T-shirt during the interview.

“Like the shirt says, Zero In,” he said. “Last year was kind of a starting point for us. But we left so much out there. So many details that we didn’t “Zero In” on and lock in and be consistent with. So that’s kind of our theme right now, heading into this offseason is focusing on the little things, details and improving those. And that will pay big dividends on the grand scheme of things.”

He’s excited about the addition of tight end Julius Thomas.

“Julius had a great career in Denver,” Tannehill said, adding that he has “tremendous playmaking ability and will really be a good leader for us.”

• Though the Dolphins appear set at tight end, they have been poking around on developmental prospects. A Dolphins scout took Western Oregon’s Andy Avgi to dinner. He’s the latest of a growing list of former basketball players who’s trying to become a tight end.

• The Dolphins went to Salt Lake City to do a private workout with Utah linebacker Pita Taumopenu, a 6-3, 243 pounder who had seven sacks last season.

Zierlein’s take on “Pass rush specialist with limited exposure to the game who has posted consistent sack and pressure production throughout his career thanks to his athleticism and motor. He's undersized and lacks the strength to factor in as an every-down 3-4 OLB option, but he does have a chance to become a backup rush linebacker and might even warrant consideration as a 4-3 WILL who can step into a special teams role quickly.”

• Remember the name Grover Stewart; the Albany State defensive tackle is on Miami’s radar.

The Dolphins sent defensive line coach Terrell Williams to work him out. He had 12 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks last season.

Zierlein’s take: “Stewart grew from 295 pounds in his first year on campus to 335 in 2016, but his production did not diminish. Stewart's girth, power and potential could lead a team to take him on the third day as a developmental run-stuffer capable of playing on the nose or at three-technique. Stewart is still very raw, but additional technique work could unleash a much more capable interior defender as he has the traits. The jump in competition will take some time to adjust to, but like other small school interior defenders before him, Stewart has the potential to work himself into a more prominent role within the first two or three years.”

• Add Applachian State safety Alex Gray to the long list of safeties that the Dolphins have inquired about.