Barry Jackson

Dolphins draft fallout: scout view, McMillan/Cunningham debate, undrafted rookie to watch

Florida running back Jordan Scarlett (25) carries past LSU defensive tackle Davon Godchaux and defensive tackle Greg Gilmore (99) in the second half an NCAA college football game in Baton Rouge, La., Sat., Nov. 19, 2016. Florida won 16-10.
Florida running back Jordan Scarlett (25) carries past LSU defensive tackle Davon Godchaux and defensive tackle Greg Gilmore (99) in the second half an NCAA college football game in Baton Rouge, La., Sat., Nov. 19, 2016. Florida won 16-10. AP

A six pack of Dolphins notes on a Monday:

• Talking to three NFL scouts today, there were mixed reviews on the Dolphins’ pair of third-day defensive tackle draft picks, Davon Godchaux and Vincent Taylor.

The two tackles clearly have upside, especially as pass rushers. But the overriding message is it would be risky to count on either as a No. 3 defensive tackle this season.

Godchaux “has size and athletic ability and could eventually be a starter but he’s a year from being productive,” said one of the scouts who studied him and met with LSU coaches about him. “Talking to the people at LSU, they didn’t think he was mature enough, work-habit wise. His technique is awful. The guy wasn’t ready to come out.”

Another scout said he sees Godchaux being a rotational player eventually but said he would be surprised if Taylor helps. “He’s stiff,” the scout said. “I had an undrafted grade on him.”

(That particular scout, incidentally, was very complimentary of Charles Harris and Raekwon McMillan.)

On the flipside regarding the defensive tackles, here are a couple of encouraging metrics, courtesy of Pro Football Focus’ diligent Steve Palazzolo:

“Godchaux made great strides against the run in 2016, but he’s still at his best getting after the quarterback where he picked up eight sacks, nine QB hits, and 15 hurries on 350 rushes last season….

“Taylor had an outstanding 2016 season, ranking fourth among interior defensive linemen at 89.8 overall. His pass rush productivity of 13.6 ranked second in the draft class (43 pressures on 252 rushes).”

• Though scouts have some concerns about Ohio State’s McMillan in pass coverage, his work against the run isn’t in question. Palazzolo notes that McMillan missed only 23 of his 268 tackle attempts over the last three years.

By contrast, Vanderbilt’s Zach Cunningham – who Mel Kiper and some others say the Dolphins should have drafted instead – had 21 missed tackles in 2016 alone and finished 174th in tackling efficiency last season.

“I think he will be the best player in their class,” one of the aforementioned scouts said of McMillan.

• One NFC scout to me today, on Virginia Tech receiver/seventh-round pick Isaiah Ford: “He will go up and get the ball. Will make some real adjustments on the football. What worries me is whether he’s going to separate and create room at the next level. Very smooth route running but not explosive. Lacks great strength but good body control. The problem is he’s not a returner so the question is if he’s your fifth or fifth receiver, how is he going to be on special teams?”

• One evaluator today said to keep an eye on outside linebacker Praise Martin-Oguike, one of Miami’s pickups after the draft.

His agent, Gary Leibowitz, said 16 teams expressed interest, and his other offers included Chicago, the Rams and Redskins.

Martin-Oguike ranked among NCAA career leaders the past four years in forced fumbles (11) and blocked kicks (five). He also had 17.5 career sacks and 27.5 tackles for loss.

Martin lost two years of his college football career after being charged in May 2012 with raping a female student. After 18 months had passed, after he had been dismissed from the university, prosecutors discovered evidence supporting Martin-Oguike’s claims of innocence. With jury selection for his trial in progress, the charges were dropped.

“It was like winning the lottery, honestly,” Martin-Oguike told reporters at the time. He returned to Temple’s football program and had three very productive years.

“People are quick to judge, quick to jump to conclusions,” he said. “The main thing was just confusion. One day everything is going well and then the next this whole chaos. I was struggling to understand what was going on and what I was going to do.”

Nigerian-born, Martin-Oguike moved to New Jersey with his parents when he was 10, according to nfldraftscout.com.

• Dolphins executive vice president/football operations Mike Tannenbaum, speaking with Jonathan Zaslow, Brett Romberg and Amber Wilson on 790 The Ticket on Monday, said, among other things, that first-round pick Charles Harris “has elite pass rush skills and we think he’s a player who can also play the run well”… said he likes how Isaac Asiata is “firm in setting the pocket [and] is a really good culture fit” and said of cornerback Cordrea Tankersley: “He has the length and speed we were looking for. That position was something we felt we had to shore up in having more depth.”

• Todd McShay, in a piece on the best draft pick for every team, named Charles Harris for Miami:

“Harris came off the board right around where we had him ranked (No. 18). There was a lot of pre-draft chatter about him going higher (between 10-20), and the Dolphins did well to stand pat and let Harris drop to them instead of trading up. This was a position Miami needed to address with Cameron Wake now 35 years old. I don’t know if Harris is going to be an immediate starter, but he has a lot of tools to be molded. It will be good for his development to be around a guy such as Wake, who keeps himself in great shape. Isaac Asiata was also a good value for the Dolphins in the fifth round.”

Incidentally, as was the case last year, the Dolphins’ rookie minicamp this weekend won’t include practices. Adam Gase believes classroom work is more beneficial.

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