A six-pack of Dolphins notes on a Monday:
▪ It’s highly questionable if Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield will even be available when the Dolphins select 11th in April’s NFL Draft.
But the Dolphins are taking steps to get to know him very well so they can make an educated decision if he’s surprisingly on the board when they pick.
Beyond spending alone time with Mayfield at last month’s Senior Bowl, the Dolphins have made plans to have dinner with him the night before they — and other teams — evaluate him at Oklahoma’s Pro Day on March 14.
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There is no Davie visit planned for Mayfield at this time, but it’s certainly possible that could change.
Mayfield threw for 4,627 yards last season, with 43 touchdowns and six interceptions and a 70.5 completion percentage. Todd McShay’s latest mock draft on ESPN.com has him going fifth to Denver.
Mayfield created excitement among some Dolphins fans last month when he posted #GetmetoMiami on Instagram on Jan. 11.
But hours later, Mayfield said: “Just so everybody knows … I commented about playing for Miami because I was talking to a former Sooner in Kenny Stills. Everybody can relax, I will play anywhere that gives me a chance. I’m not picky, I will go anywhere and strive to uplift a franchise and win ball games.”
▪ To create cap space, the Broncos reportedly might cut running back C.J. Anderson (per ESPN), and as has been speculated in social media, it would be not remotely surprising if the Dolphins pursue him — two years after Denver matched Miami’s offer sheet for him.
Anderson tweeted an expletive in support of fired Broncos running backs coach Eric Studesville, who was hired for that same position with the Dolphins recently.
Anderson ran for 1,007 yards last season on 4.1 per carry. Keep in mind that he’s skilled at blitz pickup and a capable receiver (28 catches for 224 yards last season).
The Dolphins might wait for the Anderson situation to play out before making a decision on free agent Damien Williams.
Anderson has a 4.4 career rushing average, Williams 2.3. Williams has a slightly higher career per catch average (8.6 to 8.3).
The offer sheet that Miami signed Williams to, that Denver matched, was four years, $18 million.
Of course, it’s possible the Broncos might trade Anderson instead of releasing him.
Sportsline.com lists the Dolphins as favorites to end up with Anderson (3 to 1), ahead of Detroit (4 to 1), Oakland (8 to 1) and Indianapolis (8 to 1).
▪ Count NFL.com analyst and former NFL general manager Charley Casserly among those who believes the Dolphins would be wise to select Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith if he’s available at No. 11 in the draft.
“Smith’s an excellent athlete who excels in coverage,” Mayock said.
The 10 players Casserly has going before Smith in his mock draft: quarterbacks Sam Darnold (USC) and Josh Rosen (UCLA), Penn State running back Saquon Barkley, Alabama safety/cornerback Minkah Fitzpatrick, University of Texas/San Antonio defensive end/linebacker Marcus Davenport (rising up some mock drafts; Casserly says he’s best as a 3-4 linebacker and Miami plays a 4-3) Mayfield; North Carolina State defensive end Bradley Chubb, Alabama receiver Calvin Ridley, Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward and Virginia Tech linebacker Tremaine Edmunds.
▪ Peter King, who projected available quarterbacks to specific teams in his Monday column this week, predicts Buffalo’s Tyrod Taylor to end up with Miami, presumably as Ryan Tannehill’s backup. (This was a fun prediction column by King, not a sourced news report.)
“Never know about Ryan Tannehill, from either an injury or a talent perspective,” King wrote on SI.com. “Taylor will fare well under mechanics specialist Adam Gase.”
Taylor would be an upgrade at backup quarterback, but it’s questionable if Miami would allocate the cap space it would take to sign him. And Taylor might find an opportunity to compete to start elsewhere.
▪ Ryan Smith of Pro Football Focus mentioned Carolina guard Andrew Norwell as his “dream flash” free agent signing for Miami. That would be a significant upgrade, to be sure, but the Dolphins decided last year that they no longer want to spend big money on free agent guards and Norwell will be costly.
Smith noted that Norwell “finished the 2017 season as our third-highest graded guard overall at 88.8 and No. 1 in pass-blocking at 90.9. The former undrafted free agent out of Ohio State has been consistently good in each of his four years in the league, grading out no lower than 82.8 since 2014.
“The Dolphins,” Smith continued, “have neglected to address the guard position despite it being a glaring weakness on their roster for years now. The highest of their three qualifying guards in 2017 was Jermon Bushrod, who finished 62nd out of 77 qualifying guards with a 40.3 overall grade. Norwell would make an immediate impact as the team’s best offensive lineman in both the running and passing game.”
On potential tight end target Trey Burton, Smith wrote: “He finished the year ranked 10th out of 56 qualifying tight ends with a 74.5 receiving grade and scored five touchdowns on just 33 targets for the season. His ability to stretch the field from the tight end position would bring a new dimension to the Dolphins offense they have been lacking for years.”
▪ Good to see defensive end Charles Harris, off a two-sack rookie season, already hard at work with noted South Florida trainer Pete Bommarito.
Harris, a diligent worker, knows growth is needed, with the Dolphins finishing a disappointing 26th in sacks last season with 30.
Bommarito said the focus will be on everything — “mobility, flexibility. He wants to do training specific to his body. We’ll do hand drills with a boxing coach. He’ll do it all.”
Here’s my six-pack of Monday Heat nuggets, including a look at why trading Tyler Johnson might even be more difficult than it appears, plus news on Hassan Whiteside, Dwyane Wade, Bam Adebayo, Goran Dragic and more.... Twitter: @flasportsbuzz