Some Dolphins nuggets and thoughts on a Friday:
▪ Among the players with whom the Dolphins met at the Senior Bowl this week, according to a source:
UM prospects Chad Thomas and Chris Herndon.
Thomas, a defensive end and potential mid-round pick, “put on a show and displayed powerful hands during one-on-ones,” ESPN said after his first practice. “It’s an important start for a player whose tape doesn’t always match his ability.”
NFL Network identified Thomas as one of the players “who made money this week.”
The Dolphins are in the market for a No. 4 defensive end and also another developmental prospect to challenge Cameron Malveaux, who they like.
Herndon, coming off a major knee injury in November, isn’t able to practice but interviewed with teams, including Miami — which is looking for a tight end.
He’s considered a potential mid-round pick, and Miami is in the market for two tight ends this offseason.
The Dolphins also this week spent time with Indiana tight end Ian Thomas, a potential second-day pick, and are closely evaluating South Dakota State’s Dallas Goedert.
Miami might add one tight end in free agency and another in the draft.
▪ The Dolphins also are doing considerable due diligence on UM receiver Braxton Berrios, with Berrios even more appealing if Jarvis Landry moves on.
NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks said Berrios this week “showed me he’s the ultimate slot receiver. While he’s a little undersized, he has exceptional short-area quickness and burst. He has a knack for getting open. He’s fearless over the middle of the field, and you see that in drills. In the right system, he could be a headache because he has enough stop-start quickness and savvy to be a tough matchup for nickel corners. I think he’s a more explosive version of [Dallas receiver] Cole Beasley.”
▪ As for Landry, he told NFL.com this week that negotiations are “moving slowly, but they’re moving.”
A source on the Dolphins side said the team has not yet presented Landry with another offer after his representation made a counter-offer in mid-December.
That still might happen and the sides will continue to communicate.
My sense is that the most likely scenario is Landry goes into free agency, because there’s still a sizable gap between each side’s financial vision of what he’s worth. A lot can happen between now and mid-March, but the sides aren’t close to a deal.
▪ Dolphins special advisor Dan Marino was part of the team’s contingent at the Senior Bowl this week and his opinions on players are considered internally.
“It’s good to have Dan around,” general manager Chris Grier said. “Obviously, a player of his caliber and one of the all-time greats and someone that is very respected, it’s great having him in the meetings. We’ll sit and we’ll pick his brain, and he’ll ask us questions as well. It’s another opportunity for us to learn and for him to learn as well.
“The players are excited when they meet him too, which is always cool. It’s not just the quarterbacks. Last year, we had a linebacker walk in and he was like, ‘Oh, I loved you in Bad Boys II.’ That’s how the players and kids nowadays know him. It’s always cool to see how the guys react.”
▪ During his annual media briefing at the Senior Bowl this week, Dolphins executive Mike Tannenbaum talked a lot about depth.
Asked about what he learned from last year’s 6-10 disaster, he said: “Some of our depth was tested early and it didn’t respond as well as we had hoped. The thing the three of us talked a lot about that — building a team for a long season knowing that the way our sport is now, all of these guys are eventually going to play.”
Solid depth is good and important, but do you know what’s more important?
Having above-average starters.
The Dolphins don’t have enough of them, and that’s the real problem — though neither Tannenbaum nor Grier mentioned that this week.
How many above-average NFL starters did the Dolphins have on offense this year? Landry, Kenny Stills and Mike Pouncey. That’s it. Kenyan Drake showed the potential to possibly become one, but he started only six games.
On defense? Cam Wake (who slumped during the middle of the season), Ndamukong Suh and Reshad Jones. That’s it. Xavien Howard played above average over the final six weeks.
So the Dolphins can say all they want about needing better depth, and that’s true. But they never mentioned the real issue; their starters aren’t good enough, including a bunch of them they thought would be better than they’ve actually been (Laremy Tunsil, Ja’Wuan James, Andre Branch, etc.)