Barry Jackson

Evaluators assess the Dolphins' newest batch of undrafted rookies

North Carolina's Cayson Collins recovers a fumbled Miami snap in front of Miami's Sunny Odogwu during the first half of an NCAA college football game, in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015.
North Carolina's Cayson Collins recovers a fumbled Miami snap in front of Miami's Sunny Odogwu during the first half of an NCAA college football game, in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015. AP

So what are the Dolphins getting with their newest crop of undrafted free agents?

Some feedback from draft analyst Tony Pauline and others:

Michigan linebacker Mike McCray: Had 79 tackles last season, including 11 for loss and 4.5 sacks. Has had injury issues but is a big, physical inside linebacker at 243 pounds.

Pauline: “He’s a tough, smart two-down linebacker. I thought he would be drafted the last day. Getting him after the draft is good value.”’s Lance Zierlein had thought McCray would be drafted in the fifth or sixth rounds. “McCray is a big, physical inside linebacker who plays with most of the characteristics evaluators want from an inside linebacker, but his limited range could hurt his draft stock. McCray could be a consideration for 3-4 teams looking to pair a big body next to an athlete at inside linebacker, but he'll need to come off the field on passing downs. If healthy, McCray could become a backup linebacker with a chance to work himself into starting contention down the road.” (The Dolphins play a 4-3, of course.)

Zierlein quotes an NFL director of scouting as saying this about McCray: "He was a 'dude' coming out of high school, but injuries have slowed him down. He has most of what you want in a linebacker but he just can't run well."

Pro Football Focus: “Excellent run-defense grades over the past two seasons for Michigan, but his coverage fell off in 2017 and he had some very ugly games on his tape.”

North Carolina linebacker Cayson Collins. Had 82 tackles, including 4.5 for loss, and two sacks last season. Had 217 career tackles and seven forced fumbles.

Pauline: “A small run and chase linebacker who's 222 pounds. Runs in the 4.7s [in the 40-yard dash]. He's the opposite of McCray; McCray is a two-down inside run stuffer. Collins is an [outside] run and chase linebacker.”

Utah State cornerback Jalen Davis. The 5-10 corner is a playmaker, with 11 career interceptions, including five last season. He has four defensive touchdowns in his career, including three last season. He had eight sacks in his career, including four last year. And he has one forced fumble each of his four seasons and 37 passes defended in his career.

Pauline: “He has some decent stats but never really wowed me.”

Pro Football Focus said “Davis was a Combine snub largely due to his lack of size, but he showed well athletically at his pro day with a 36-inch vertical and 40-yard dash times in the 4.4s. On the field, Davis is a ball hawk who looks to make plays on the ball and has excellent ball skills when he gets there, as proven by his five interceptions along with his 12 passes broken up in 2017. Opposing quarterbacks didn’t have much success targeting Davis in 2017 and his 30.5 passer rating when targeted ranked third among all draft-eligible cornerbacks.”

ESPN's take on Davis: “Davis is an instinctive playmaker who reads quarterbacks, plays the ball - not the man - and has above average ball skills. But he doesn’t play quite as fast as his timed top-end speed — he ran a 4.44 40 at his pro day — and his short shuttle time (4.50) is a red flag for a corner.”

Central Florida defensive tackle Jamiyus Pittman: The 6-foot, 311-pound Pittman had 138 tackles, 23.5 tackles for loss and 13 sacks in four years at UCF.

Zierlein: “The rise of UCF under Scott Frost coincided with the rise of Pittman's NFL draft stock. The three-star recruit from Georgia is a short, stout tackle with plenty of energy to spare; he used that energy to earn first-team All-American Athletic Conference honors in 2017 (47 stops, 7.5 for loss, 4.5 sacks). Played outside for UCF this season, but will likely be a nose on the next level. Pittman plays with heavy hands and a jarring punch to take early control at the line of scrimmage, but he lacks length and initial quickness. Pittman's power at the point of attack is a trait that teams can work with which gives him a shot at finding a backup role or an early practice squad designation.”

Pauline: “Decent player. Kind of like three technique tackle. He needs to play next to someone big who occupies the gap. He has to get a first step on opponents.”

FAU running back Gregory Howell Jr.: Ran for 690 yards on 6.7 per carry last season. Scored 22 touchdowns in four seasons.

Pauline: “Howell was given a late sixth, early seventh round grade by scouts. He’s 215 pounds but more of a downhill runner.”

Two small school pass rushers: Fairmont State defensive end/outside linebacker Quincy Redmon, who had 17 sacks in college and Notre Dame (Ohio) College defensive end Claudy Mathieu, who had 27 career sacks and five forced fumbles.

“Mathieu is a sleeper, very athletic but not really strong,” Pauline said. “He has to improve his strength. An edge rusher on small school level. I could see him being a practice squad guy.

“Redmon has terrific measurables but has to learn to stand up and play in space.”

The Dolphins haven’t announced their undrafted free agent signings, but others who have confirmed signing with Miami – through their Twitter accounts or school or parents – including UM defensive tackle Anthony Moten, FAU kicker Greg Joseph and Purdue offensive tackle David Steinmetz.

Five undrafted rookies made the Dolphins roster out of training camp (Torry McTyer, Chase Allen, Mo Smith, Eric Smith and Matt Haack).

Related stories from Miami Herald