Barry Jackson

Evaluators weigh in on Dolphins’ undrafted rookie pickups

Mississippi wide receiver Damore'ea Stringfellow (3) makes a catch against Alabama defensive back Marlon Humphrey (26) during an NCAA college football game at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford, Miss., Sat., Sept. 17, 2016.
Mississippi wide receiver Damore'ea Stringfellow (3) makes a catch against Alabama defensive back Marlon Humphrey (26) during an NCAA college football game at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford, Miss., Sat., Sept. 17, 2016. AP

The Dolphins won’t be doing any on-field practices when they bring their rookies to a classroom-oriented minicamp Friday through Sunday.

But eventually, they will get a sense of which of their undrafted rookies belong.

I posed the question to two scouts and draft analyst Tony Pauline: Which of the undrafted players have the best chance to stick?

Pauline was familiar with nearly all of the players; each of the two scouts had seen some of them.

Pauline cited four: Mississippi receiver Damore’ea Stringfellow (46 catches for 716 yards last season/pictured above), Arkansas receiver Drew Morgan (65-739), Temple linebacker Praise Martin-Oguike (17.5 career sacks, 11 forced fumbles, four blocked kicks) and Southern Illinois linebacker Chase Allen.

He wouldn’t be surprised if any make the practice squad, with perhaps the potential for more.

“Morgan is slot receiver/return guy,” Pauline said. “Stringfellow is a big target who can’t run but could be a red zone threat.

“The Temple kid is a smaller, poor man’s version of [Arizona first-round pick] Haason Reddick – explosive pass rusher/ good player. I do like him as an undrafted kid. But he will have to make it on special teams.

“Chase Allen is a slowish middle linebacker, a Kiko Alonso type. Practice squad guy.”

Here’s more on Martin-Oguike’s adversity-filled backstory.

One of the defensive linemen signed, Houston’s Cameron Malveaux, “didn’t perform as he should,” Pauline said.

One of the two scouts said Stringfellow has the ability “to catch the ball over his shoulder and go up and get it. He’s not a quick explosive guy.”

That scout also sees some upside in Georgia safety Maurice Smith, a grad transfer from Alabama who considered UM last year.

“I’m surprised nobody drafted him,” the scout said. “He didn’t test well or run well. Don’t be surprised if he makes the team. Smart kid, tough kid, will tackle. Coverage skills are marginal at best. He is a safety; he doesn’t have the skill level to play corner.”

The other NFC scout said likes Virginia offensive tackle Eric Smith.

“A better athlete than he looked,” that scout said. “I would be shocked if he doesn’t make their practice squad. He needs a year in a pro weight program. He had three weight staffs in three years. Bright kid.”

• Miami signed one small school player: Joby Saint-Fleur, a 6-5, 265 pound defensive end from Northwestern Oklahoma State. His agent, Fred Lyles, said he had three NFL offers.

• What about Michigan running back De’Veon Smith, who joins Sinorise Perry and Storm Johnson in a long shot bid to make Miami’s roster?

He set his career high in rushing yards in 2016 with 846 and rushing touchdowns with 10, earning honorable mention All-Big Ten acknowledgement.

Lance Zierlein’s assessment on NFL.com:

Strengths: “Big back with ample vision. Plays with a feel for interior rushing lanes and is able to make multiple moves along the way. Comfortable and efficient on inside zone plays. Runs decisively. North-south runner who rarely dances. Has a late spin move and directional change to avoid square contact and fall forward. Drives legs through contact to finish. Can keep adding to rush total against arm tackles.”

Weaknesses: “Lacks pro acceleration needed to escape NFL linebackers to the edge. Play speed is below average. Sluggish to and through the line of scrimmage. Allows tacklers time to disengage and react to the run. Poses very little threat to take runs to the house. Hard-hat runner who lacks the wiggle or speed to create for himself. Needs it blocked up on first level to have an impact. Below average eluding tacklers in the hole.”

Zierlein’s Bottom line: “Teams looking for a runner with decent vision who finishes runs may have an interest in Smith, but his lack of juice or third down talent could keep his name from being called during the draft. Smith can grind out yardage between the tackles, but lacks any special qualities to help him stand out. Back end of the roster appears to be his ceiling.”

• Tweet of the week, if you missed it: After Dolphins first-round pick Charles Harris tweeted “South Beach Chillen.” Stills responded on Twitter with “Davie, GRINDING!”

Please check out my four other posts today:

On the odd thing about Derek Jeter wanting to run the Marlins’ baseball operations department and more sales news...

On more familiar names dropped by ESPN, one familiar name hired, and media notes...

On the possibility of Dwyane Wade returning to the Heat and developments with the Chicago Bulls today that could affect that...

And UM football notes on recruiting and the Canes’ best pro prospects next season.

And please follow me on Twitter for quick links.

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