Barry Jackson

Dolphins invite top linebacker to team headquarters

Some Dolphins notes from the NFL owner’s meetings:

▪ The Dolphins know they need to add another linebacker in their starting lineup, and Georgia’s Roquan Smith is hardly the only high-end linebacker they like in this group of draftable prospects.

According to a college football source, the Dolphins have displayed interest in Alabama’s Rashaan Evans and have scheduled a visit with him at team headquarters.

Evans will be among the maximum 30 non-local players who are permitted to visit Dolphins offices, per league rules.

Evans, who’s listed at 6-3 and 234 pounds, had 74 tackles, including 13 for loss, last season to go along with six sacks and a forced fumble.

ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. has Evans going 19th in his latest mock draft, as the third linebacker off the board after Virginia Tech’s Tremaine Edmunds and Smith.

“Evans had 15 sacks at Alabama and is a threat as a pass-rusher on third down,” Kiper said. “He’s smart and battle-tested after playing under Nick Saban.”

NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein said of Evans: “Ascending linebacker talent who has the speed to fly around from sideline to sideline and played with an improved feel for the position in 2017. Despite limited playing time over his first few seasons, Evans adapted a “work while you wait” mind-set that prepared him to for impressive performances in three consecutive national championship games.

Evans is an ideal inside linebacker fit for a blitz-happy 3-4 unit, but he could easily fit as a 4-3 weak-side linebacker with rush potential on sub-packages. Evans is an early starter with high-end potential if he can stay healthy.”

The Dolphins would like to emerge from the draft with at least one linebacker. They like several others, including Boise State’s Leighton Vander Esch.

▪ With money tight, the Dolphins did not want to allocate the cap space it would take to re-sign safety Michael Thomas, who signed a two-year with the Giants.

They will look for a No. 3 safety in the draft and/or sign a veteran free agent. They also like Maurice Smith, the second-year player from Georgia who missed the end of last season with an appendix issue.

Special teams ace Walt Aikens can play safety and corner, and his best spot will be determined over time.

▪ The Dolphins are eager to several UM players who will on display at UM’s pro day on Wednesday inside the Dolphins’ bubble. We here they are intrigued by defensive tackle Richard McIntosh Jr. and tight end Chris Herndon (who visited with them last Friday).

Mark Walton could be a value pick at running back if he falls to the fifth round or lower.

Braxton Berrios would have been intriguing before the Dolphins signed two receivers in free agency.

With a desire to add a defensive tackle on the third day of the draft (if not sooner), Miami will closely study McIntosh and Kendrick Norton.

▪ Among FIU players, the Dolphins have taken interest in linebacker Treyvon Williams, the team’s leading tackler the past two years, and quarterback Alex McGough.

Williams had 109 and 92 tackles the past two years plus five combined sacks.

McGough threw for 2,798 yards last season with 17 touchdowns, eight interceptions and a 65.4 completion percentage.

Both were invited to Dolphins headquarters April 6 for their local day.

▪ The Dolphins recently dined with Oregon cornerback Arrion Springs, a potential late-round pick who Pro Football Focus rated as the best defensive back in the Pac-12 last season.

He had two picks, two sacks, three forced fumbles and eight tackles for loss in 42 games.

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