Barry Jackson

Miami Dolphins rookie gets call from Ross

A quick note with Dolphins OTAs scheduled to resume with sessions Monday through Thursday, with the first and last of those open to reporters:

Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, a Michigan alum, reached out to former Michigan running back De’Veon Smith after Miami signed him as an undrafted free agent.

What did Ross tell him?

“He’s been waiting for a Michigan guy to get down here,” Smith said. “So he’s happy to have me. He said I’ll enjoy my experience and hopefully I can make the team basically.”

The two had met previously.

“He was a special guest for one of our games two years ago,” Smith added. “We talked before the game. I shook his hand.”

Smith ran for 2235 yards, on 4.5 per carry, and 22 touchdowns and caught 38 passes for 251 yards and a touchdown in four years at Michigan.

“I don’t care why I didn’t get drafted,” he said. “Every team that passed me up is going to have to pay for it.”

Smith said he’s a “downhill runner. I am more elusive than people give me credit for.”

Waltercampfootball’s Charlie Campbell, in a post asking why Smith went undrafted, said this: “He was a tough downhill runner in Michigan's pro-style offense. Smith also was excellent at the East-West Shrine. NFL coaches who were there in St. Petersburg for practice and the game raved about Smith. Scouts also had a lot of positive feedback as Smith was impressive with his blocking protection skills that week. The NFL is always looking for running backs who are good blockers to help protect franchise quarterbacks, so it was surprising when Smith went undrafted.

“Sources said the big catalyst for Smith to go undrafted was a shockingly slow 40 time at his pro day that reinforced some speed concerns. One national scout told that he had Smith timed at 4.8 seconds, which is extremely slow for a running back. That scout did say that he really liked Smith as a player though. The 2017 draft class had good running back talent with depth in the mid- and late rounds, so that depth along with Smith's slow time was enough for him to fall through the 2017 NFL Draft.”

Kenyan Drake and Damien Williams are expected to make the team behind Jay Ajayi, but Smith, Sinorise Perry and Storm Johnson are competing to try to convince Miami to keep a fourth back or retain them on the practice squad.

Ross, incidentally, doesn’t meddle in personnel and has said he wouldn’t instruct his front office to acquire or draft a Michigan player.

Check back Monday afternoon for OTA updates and here for my early look at the Heat’s free agency plans.