Previewing who the Dolphins might pick in the 2017 NFL Draft
The Dolphins, more so than usual, tried to closely guard the identity of the maximum 30 non-local draft prospects that they’re permitted, by league rule, to invite to their headquarters. According to three sources, the Dolphins specifically asked the players and associates not to reveal they visited here.
But we were able to confirm 19 of the 30 players who received Dolphins invitations. I reported many of these names first; several were first reported by astute draftnik Simon Clancy and one by NFL Net’s Albert Breer.
Keep in mind that the Dolphins usually draft several players who visited but also, in past years, have taken some players who didn’t.
For example, the Dolphins this year told one high-end front seven defender that they didn’t need to use one of their 30 visits on him because they feel good about his ability without bringing him in.
With that in mind, the 19 confirmed invites, by position:
Connecticut’s Obi Melifonwu
Texas A&M’s Justin Evans
NC State’s Josh Jones
UCF’s Shaquill Griffin
BYU’s Kai Nacua
UF safety Marcus Maye
UF’s Jalen Tabor
Clemson’s Cordrea Tankersley
Utah’s Isaac Asiata
Western Michigan’s Taylor Moton
UF’s Jarrad Davis
Houston’s Tyus Bowser
Southern Illinois’ Chase Allen
Mississippi State’s Johnathan Calvin
Missouri State’s Dylan Cole
Illinois’ Carroll Phillips (went to high school locally at Miami Central but had a more extensive visit than local prospects)
Michigan end Taco Charlton
Arkansas end Dietrich Wise Jr.
Oklahoma tackle Charles Walker
As for other names...
Waltercapfootball.com reported that Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster and Ohio State linebacker Raekwon McMillan also visited, but I have no credible confirmation of Foster’s visit, and McMillan’s rep denied that he visited Miami.
Clancy reported three other visits: Temple linebacker Haason Reddick (we previously reported Miami had spent private time with him), Minnesota cornerback Jalen Myrick and LSU linebacker Kendall Beckwith. A very-much-involved source said Myrick had a private workout for the Dolphins but did not visit team headquarters.
Draftnik Tony Pauline reported that “several people I’ve spoken with believe the Miami Dolphins are locked in on [Western Kentucky] guard Forrest Lamp in Round 1. If a highly rated pass rusher is still available at pick 22, they may pass on Lamb and look for a guard in the second round.
“The two names I’m hearing associated with the team in the second round are Dorian Johnson and Isaac Asiata [listed above]. If they land Lamp in the first round, sources tell me pass rusher becomes a priority on Day 2.”
• Though the Dolphins aren’t concerned, and say this was to be expected, the visual of Mike Pouncey with a cane on Monday – a photo taken at Aaron Hernandez’s funeral – was unsettling. And the Dolphins have spent significant time with centers through this pre-draft process, including Baylor’s Kyle Fuller. Ohio State’s Pat Elflein also has been linked to Miami.
The Dolphins remain committed to Pouncey and fully expect him to be their starting center on opening day. But protecting themselves is essential.
The ideal scenario would be drafting a guard who also can play center.
• McShay said Bowser, who the Dolphins really like, “is another player who will probably go earlier than the public perception. I was told from a high-ranking personnel exec that Bowser will be a first-round pick. Multiple teams picking near the bottom of Round 1 have a need at pass-rusher.”
• The Dolphins have spent a lot of time studying Tennessee defensive end Derek Barnett and McShay reports he “is one of the most debated players within draft rooms right now. Those advocating for him point to his elite production, instincts and hand usage as pass-rusher, while others are holding his athletic limitations/tightness against him. He could come off the board as high as No. 9 overall to the Bengals, according to one person I spoke to. I feel good saying Barnett will end up being a top-20 pick when it's all said and done.”