Barry Jackson

Dolphins sign five of seven draft picks; Dolphins rookie chatter

Miami Dolphins' Isaac Asiata speaks to the media at Miami Dolphins minicamp at the Dolphins training facility in Davie on Fri., May 5, 2017.
Miami Dolphins' Isaac Asiata speaks to the media at Miami Dolphins minicamp at the Dolphins training facility in Davie on Fri., May 5, 2017. adiaz@miamiherald.com

We posted news from Adam Gase here earlier today about Julius Thomas, Mike Pouncey, Ryan Tannehill and other topics. Adam Beasley has a story on Charles Harris and Armando Salguero has some notable stuff from the six rookies that were made available today.

A few more items of note from today:

▪ Ohio State linebacker Raekwon McMillan, Miami's second-round pick, was one of five draft picks that signed with the Dolphins on Friday.

The others: Utah guard Isaac Asiata, Virginia Tech receiver Isaiah Ford, Oklahoma State defensive tackle Vincent Taylor and Clemson cornerback Cordrea Tankersley.

As of Friday evening, that left only first-round pick Charles Harris and fifth-round pick defensive tackle Davon Godchaux unsigned among Dolphins draft picks.

• Guard Isaac Asiata was impressive: mature, charismatic and comfortable in his own skin.

He gave a detailed reason about why he’s happy he ended up here:

“I came here on my 30-visit and I fell in love with this place. I fell in love with the coaching staff, Coach (Adam) Gase, the o-line coach, the players. I knew that if I was going to go there in the first round or the seventh round or undrafted, that this is where I wanted to be.”

What is it about them that made you fall in love?

“When I came here, I felt the same way I did when I went to Utah in high school. I felt that camaraderie, that brotherhood. You can just tell that everybody in the building loved their job. They loved coming here because they care about each other. They want to be successful. They want to win games. That’s a really attractive trait to have, so I fell in love with that and the culture that they’re trying to build here, Coach Gase is trying to build here, and I’m looking forward to being a part of that.”

He said Gase “is awesome. He’s not your traditional head coach. A traditional head coach is kind of a stern, hard dude, and I’m not saying that’s not Coach Gase, but he’s a guy. You can relate to him. He’s very open. He’s a really approachable guy.”

At 25 and having completed a mission for his church, he will be one of the oldest rookies in the league.

“Well I came in, I approached my freshman year of college [at Utah] the wrong way,” he said. “I rubbed a lot of the veteran guys the wrong way. I thought I was something special. I thought I was coming in to start I guess. I knew I had a lot of things to learn. It was kind of a time for me to step back away from everything that was going on in my life and to look at the bigger picture of life and about caring about other people and helping out other people. So that was nice for me to kind of take a selfless perspective on life.

“I believe the mission for me was something that was a real humbling experience…. Life’s about relationships, how you treat people and being a good person. Back then, (I was a) 19-year-old kid who thinks he has figured out life and thinks he knows more than he actually does. Now I’m pretty old – not old, but I’m 25 this fall – being married and kind of experiencing life with and without my wife, this is the bigger picture. I’m the one who’s going to be playing football, but this is for my wife, this is for my kids, this is for my grandkids and the legacy that I can leave behind.”

Asiata, incidentally, is a face painter.

“I’ve been doing that since little league. That’s kind of my trademark thing. There’s no real reason behind it. I did just a line across my face because my high school mascot was a ‘Don.’ It’s kind of like a ‘Zorro,’ and he wears that mask. That was really the only inspiration behind that. And then I kind of just did more traditional war paint and some other stuff around my eyes. But the fans like it and I like it. It’s kind of an identity thing.”

• Defensive tackle Davon Godchaux had impressive stats at LSU last season (62 tackles, 6.5 sacks) but can’t be judged primarily on his stats because, he noted Friday, “a lot of people didn’t see all of the stuff that I did but I freed up Duke Riley and Kendall Beckwith a lot to make a lot of plays with their abilities. It was a lot of reading and then attacking… I did a lot of great things.”

• Incredibly, Raekwon McMillan’s close friend, Georgia safety Richard LeCounte III, last Thursday “predicted that I would go No. 54 to the Dolphins,” McMillan said. And I was texting him like, ‘Yeah, we’ll see, we’ll see, we’ll see.’ I was mid-text and then the call popped up on my phone and I hit the red button on accident [and missed the Dolphins’ first call to tell him they were drafting him].

“It was Thursday when he was saying No. 54 to the Dolphins. I was like ‘Aw man, hopefully it is a little bit higher than that.’ But it would be a blessing if I got chosen by the Dolphins.”

• Defensive tackle Vincent Taylor was living in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina.

“It was a nightmare for me being a 10-year old boy seeing dead bodies, seeing everything that I had, get lost.”

He has a tattoo of a Louisiana map with the date Katrina hit. “It’s something that’s always going to be with me every day.”

Taylor held up his enormous hands, citing them as a reason he blocked five field goals or extra points at Oklahoma State last season.

• Byron Maxwell, who played at Clemson, figures to take another former Tiger, Cordrea Tankersley, under his wing here. They talked on Thursday when Tankersley arrived.

Did Maxwell thank him for the 2017 Clemson national championship?

“Of course!” Tankersley said. “He asked did I bring the ring. When I came on my top 30 (visit), he saw it. He acted like he had never seen it before when I got here yesterday.”

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