Barry Jackson

Dolphins summon a top safety and audition kickers

Southern California running back Ronald Jones II (25) scores a touchdown against Stanford safety Justin Reid during the second half of the Pac-12 Conference championship football game on Dec. 1, 2017. Reid visits the Dolphins Wednesday.
Southern California running back Ronald Jones II (25) scores a touchdown against Stanford safety Justin Reid during the second half of the Pac-12 Conference championship football game on Dec. 1, 2017. Reid visits the Dolphins Wednesday. AP

A six-pack of Dolphins notes on a Saturday:

• Finding a No. 3 safety is one of several of the Dolphins’ remaining needs, and Miami has taken an interest in one of the best in the draft: Stanford’s Justin Reid.

Per NBC draft analyst Josh Norris, the Dolphins have booked a visit with Reid. He will be brought to South Florida for one of the team’s 30 permitted pre-draft visits for non-local players.

Reid was all Pac-12 last season and a Jim Thorpe semifinalist.

He had 99 tackles, including 6.5 for loss, one sack, five interceptions and eight pass breakups last season.

His five picks were first in the Pac-12 and 11th nationally.

NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein believes Reid will be drafted in the first or second round and said Reid "is what teams are looking for at the safety position in 2018. He's a plus size/speed prospect who has the athletic ability to help with man coverage and the instincts and ball skills for ball-hawking duties on the back end. Reid can get himself into some trouble when he's overly aggressive, but his positive plays far outweigh the negative.

“He has the talent to become an early starter and a good one. Reid's instincts and play traits should make him a safe selection with Pro Bowl potential down the road.”

• The Dolphins, trying to find a kicker to replace Cody Parkey, are scouring the country, working out draft-eligible kickers.

This past week, they worked out New Mexico’s Jason Sanders, who was 10 for 15 on field goals last year, including a 53-yard game winner to beat Tulsa in September. He was 3 for 6 from 40 to 49 yards last season but 2 for 3 from 50 plus.

He made 12 of 13 field goals in 2016 and connected on 110 of 111 extra points in three years of college kicking.

UM will get a close look at UM kicker Michael Badgley when the Hurricanes hold their Pro Day inside the Dolphins’ bubble on Wednesday.

The draft has a bunch of other kickers that have NFL potential, including Auburn’s Daniel Carlson, San Jose State’s Bryce Crawford, UF’s Eddy Piniero, Utah’s Matt Gay, Notre Dame’s Justin Yoon, Oregon’s Aidan Schneider, Kentucky’s Austin MacGinnis and Kansas State’s Matthew McCrane.

We hear the Dolphins really like Auburn’s Carlson and UF’s Piniero.

Carlson was 23 for 31 on field goals last season, including 4 for 8 from 50 yards or more.

Piniero was 17 for 18 on field goals, including 2 for 2 from 50 yards or more.

• The Dolphins are closely studying quarterbacks who could be available on the second day of the draft, and draftnik Simon Clancy notes Miami met with Washington State’s Luke Falk at his Pro Day and will attend a session with him on March 28.

Falk, Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph and perhaps Louisville’s Lamar Jackson are among QB options on the second day of the draft.

• We reported a couple weeks ago that the Dolphins have told people they’re open to finding their backup quarterback in the draft, if it’s possible. And the Brock Osweiler signing doesn’t change that. As colleague Armando Salguero wrote today, Osweiler is by no means assured of making the roster, let alone being Ryan Tannehill’s backup.

Incidentally, Pro Football Focus said Osweiler was the second worst of 39 qualifying quarterbacks last year, ranked 38th overall and ahead of only Blaine Gabbert.

• The Dolphins are down to a mere $5.67 million in cap space after several signings in the past two weeks, giving them not much room to operate before June 1, when another $17 million comes off their books. (The Dolphins can get more cap relief this year by designating Ndamukong Suh as a post-June 1 cut, which they did.)

• At this point, the Dolphins’ top three needs are pretty glaring: a starting linebacker, a starting tight end and a rotational defensive tackle.

A strong case could be made for Miami to use its first three picks (or three of its top four) on those positions, but the quandary will be if the team is confronted with a decision between a player who plays one of those positions and a player at another position that it ranks much higher.

That’s the problem with having so many needs entering the draft. And with the Dolphins’ cap situation and most of the top players already off the board in free agency, it’s difficult to envision either the starting linebacker or tight end openings being filled before the draft.

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