Barry Jackson

Dolphins meet with UM standout, schedule meeting with quarterback

Miami Hurricanes tight end Christopher Herndon IV (23) is carried off by teammates after the University of Miami Hurricanes defeated the Virginia Cavaliers at Hard Rock Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017 in Miami.
Miami Hurricanes tight end Christopher Herndon IV (23) is carried off by teammates after the University of Miami Hurricanes defeated the Virginia Cavaliers at Hard Rock Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017 in Miami. TNS

A six-pack of Dolphins notes on a Friday:

▪ Dolphins officials met with UM tight end Chris Herndon at the team’s Davie headquarters on Friday, and Herndon is a mid-round possibility for Miami if the team doesn’t draft a tight end earlier.

Herndon, who’s versatile and a good blocker, caught 40 passes for 477 yards as a senior, but his season ended when he sustained a knee injury in the regular-season finale against Pittsburgh.

NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein projects Herndon as a fourth- or fifth-round pick.

“Herndon’s athletic ability will flash on tape, but his college production was pedestrian and he’s still very raw,” Zierlein said. “He has [second tight end] potential if he can improve his upper-body strength and hand placement as a blocker. While Miami used him as a “run after the catch” option, NFL teams might lock in on his ability to threaten defenses on the second and third levels. Herndon has exciting athletic ability, but there is still plenty of room for improvement before he becomes a factor in the NFL.”

Senior Chris Herndon will be the go-to UM tight end with David Njoku now in the NFL

NFL.com quoted an AFC team executive saying this about Herndon:

“He’s a good athlete and has ability to make big plays, which is what I care about. He’s not a soft blocker, either. He’s just really raw with everything. I’m okay with that. You take those guys later and you let your coaches develop them. It’s all coachable for him.”

The Dolphins invite all NFL prospects from UM, FIU and FAU to their local pro day on April 6, but Herndon visited the team earlier than that because he will be traveling from a visit with the Baltimore Ravens on April 6.

▪ We mentioned previously that someone who spoke to the Dolphins said they spoke highly of UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen. NFL Network’s Rich Eisen said Rosen told him he will meet with the Dolphins, among other teams, in the next 10 days.

But it’s unlikely he will be available when the Dolphins pick 11th in the first round.

Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield also will be visiting Dolphins headquarters.

▪ Several encouraging things about new Dolphins running back Frank Gore:

1) He’s durable. He has played in every game the past seven years.

2) According to the NFL, he is the only player who has rushed for at least 900 yards each of the past three seasons.

3) According to Pro Football Focus’ Ryan Smith, Gore dropped just three passes during the past two seasons.

4) Per PFF’s, Gore ranked 10th of all running backs in yards after contact (659) and forced missed tackles (35) on rushing attempts in 2017

5) He’s fifth all time on the NFL’s rushing list.

6) He’s a skilled receiver out of the backfield, with 29 catches for 245 yards and a touchdown last season.

7) He’s thoroughly respected and will bring additional professionalism to the Dolphins’ running back room.

▪ Concerns about Gore?

1) He will turn 35 in May and at some point there is probably going to be an appreciable decline because of age. The Dolphins hope that doesn’t happen this year.

2) His 3.7 rushing average tied for his career low last season.

3) He has nine fumbles during the past three years, including three last year.

4) As a pass blocker, PFF ranked him 70th among all NFL running backs (tied with Jay Ajayi, coincidentally) but 25th among running backs who played a lot.

By contrast, Kenyan Drake was 10th among running backs who played a lot.

▪ Brock Osweiler, who is visiting with the Dolphins on Friday, had the sixth-lowest passing rating of quarterbacks who threw at least 150 passes last season at 72.5.

He has 20 touchdowns, 21 interceptions during his past two seasons.

But the Dolphins believe they can make him better, because of Adam Gase’s acumen with quarterbacks.

▪ The Dolphins spent time talking to two Ohio State players at need positions at Buckeyes Pro Day on Thursday: safety Damon Webb and defensive tackle Michael Hill. Both are potential late-round picks or free agents, with Hill beginning last season on suspension.

The Dolphins also are thoroughly studying Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward, who could be tempting at No. 11 if players the Dolphins love at need positions (linebacker, defensive tackle) aren’t available.

No tight end is projected for the range of No. 11.

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