The Dolphins need two tight ends this offseason, and while there isn’t a logical fit at No. 11 in the draft, they should have appealing options on Day Two.
“At tight end, I don’t know if any of them are going in the first round,” NFL Network’s Mike Mayock said. “I have [South Carolina’s] Hayden Hurst No. 1 because I think he blocks a little bit also.
“I think Dallas Goedert from South Dakota State, Mike Gesicki from Penn State and Mark Andrews from Oklahoma are all outstanding receiving options, all matchup tight ends. Think Zach Ertz in Philadelphia as a potential example. None of them are primary blockers in the run game.”
More on that group:
▪ On Hurst: Mayock notes he’s an advanced age for a rookie (25) “because he signed a baseball contract out of high school. But in addition to being able to catch the football, he puts effort into the run game. So if you’re going to bring in a tight end at a high level, you have to have a commitment to block, in addition to just being a pass catcher, and I think that’s Hayden Hurst.”
Kiper discussing Hurst on ESPN.com: “The 6-4, 250-pound tight end showed great hands Saturday and put up one of the best broad jumps [10 feet] at his position. On tape, Hurst is a better blocker than Andrews and is right there with Goedert. He had a strong day making his case as a Day One pick.”
We’re told the Dolphins like Hurst because he’s a complete tight end.
▪ On Goedert: He sustained a hamstring injury at the Senior Bowl and wasn’t able to do testing or on-field work at the NFL Combine.
But Kiper, who has him ranked first among all tight ends, said his 23 reps on the bench press at the Combine “were the most at his position. I have compared the 6-5, 255-pound Goedert to Todd Heap and Zach Ertz, two guys who can catch passes and also block.”
▪ On Oklahoma’s Andrews: Kiper said the 6-5 Andrews “didn’t put up great numbers [at the Combine]. A 4.67 40-yard dash and 9-foot, 5-inch broad jump are just OK. We know what Andrew is, though — a huge slot receiver. He was rarely asked to block at Oklahoma, and he put up huge numbers as a matchup nightmare out of the slot. Will teams use a first-round pick on a tight end who is behind the curve as a blocker? If he had put up elite testing numbers, maybe so. But he’s not an elite athlete.”
▪ On Penn State’s Gesicki: Kiper said he “really popped in testing, running a 4.54 40. ... Like Andrews, he’s not much of a blocker at this stage of his career, but that rare athleticism will put him in the first-round discussion among a crowded group of tight ends at the top.”
▪ Mayock on other tight end options in the draft: “If you wanted to go later [than Round 2] and just get a pass catcher, you could look at a Troy Fumagalli from Wisconsin.
“He could probably get in the fourth round. Chris Herndon is another guy from Miami I like who will block a little bit, but he’s coming off an injury. There’s a bunch of tight ends in this draft; 90 percent of them are pass only, receivers only. But there are a few, like a Will Dissly from Washington, who will stick his hands in the dirt and move people, but he doesn’t have the same receiving skills.”
Don’t forget Indiana’s Ian Thomas, who also will draw inspection from Miami.
ESPN’s Steve Muench said Thomas “flashed the week of the Senior Bowl and continues to build momentum. He had the second-best broad jump (10 foot, 1 inch), the second-quickest short shuttle (4.20) and a 36-inch vertical jump. Those are excellent results for a tight end prospect.
At 6-4, 259 pounds, his 4.74 [in the] 40 [yard dash]... is very good for a tight end with his size. He also has excellent length (34 1/8-inch arms) and massive hands (11.5 inches). He wasn’t 100 percent clean during drills but looked like a natural hands catcher and made a couple of impressive grabs.”
The Dolphins also have shown early interest in other tight ends, including Massachusetts’ Adam Breneman, who had 64 catches for 764 yards last season and 12 touchdowns during the past two years.
NOTRE DAME LINEMEN
Here is Mayock’s assessment of two Notre Dame offensive linemen who have been linked to Miami’s pick at No. 11 — tackle Mike McGlinchey and guard Quenton Nelson. (Neither player was great against UM.)
On McGlinchey: “He’s one of my favorite players in the draft because I know the kid, and that helps me with the evaluation. So the reason I have him as the No. 1 tackle in the draft, and by the way, I believe very much that those other tackles — Orlando Brown, Connor Williams — are in the same category as players, but I love two things about Mike McGlinchey.
“I love that he got coached by Harry Hiestand at Notre Dame, which tells me when he comes out, he’s going to be ready to play. I don’t care if you put him at right tackle or left tackle, he’s going to be ready to play. And, No. 2, his work ethic and passion for the game of football is unparalleled. So I know what I’m getting with that kid, and that’s why I bang the table for him.”
On Nelson: “First, he’s 330 pounds. He’s got a nasty demeanor. He finishes with an edge. He’s probably the best run-blocking interior offensive lineman I’ve seen in years. Plus, in today’s NFL, you’ve got to protect your quarterback.
“Every quarterback I’ve talked to in the NFL says what bothers them the most is immediate pressure up the middle. So you’ve got a guy that can set a physical edge in the middle of your lineup front and allow your quarterback to step up. That’s a big deal. So he’s great in the run game. He’s very good in the pass game.”