Barry Jackson

Dolphins bringing in pass rushing prospect with big numbers

Grier: The ultimate goal is to win Super Bowls and championships and be a consistent winner,

Chris Grier, the Miami Dolphins GM discusses his goals during a press conference at the Dolphins' training facility in Davie, FL
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Chris Grier, the Miami Dolphins GM discusses his goals during a press conference at the Dolphins' training facility in Davie, FL

A six-pack of Dolphins notes on a Wednesday:

The Dolphins have placed a priority on defensive linemen and pass-rushers in the draft process, and according to a source, they have booked a predraft visit with an interesting potential second-day option: Old Dominion edge rusher Oshane Ximines.

Ximines was a disruptive menace in college, finishing with 32.5 sacks, 176 tackles, 51 tackles for loss, 12 pass deflections, 11 forced fumbles and an interception in four seasons.

Last season, he had 12 sacks, four forced fumbles, an interceptions and 18.5 tackles for loss.

At 6-4 and 255 pounds, he can play defensive end and also could play outside linebacker in a 3-4.

NFL.com draft analyst Lance Zierlein assesses him this way: “Edge defender who needs to prove himself as run defender, but he could earn early reps as a nickel rush option. Ximines played as an even front end, but 3-4 teams could still have him on their radar depending on his athletic testing. His fully furnished repertoire of rush tactics could get him a look on Day 2 [Rounds 2-3] and give him a good chance to become an eventual starter in either a 4-3 or 3-4.”

Though his caliber of competition is a question, it’s worth noting that he had three sacks in three games against Power 5 opponents the past two seasons (Virginia Tech, North Carolina).

Ximines will be one of the Dolphins’ 30 permitted predraft visits at their headquarters, according to a source. He’s among several pass rushers being summoned to team headquarters in the coming weeks; here’s another one.

The Dolphins intend to send a contingent to Columbus, Ohio, in the coming days to work out Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins, though the odds are against him being available at No. 13.

ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. has the Giants taking Haskins at No. 6 but said it’s possible he might go sooner than that.

But the Dolphins want to have a definitive opinion of Haskins in the unlikely event he’s there at 13.

NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah said Haskins showed “improved foot quickness, excellent anticipation and pace on the ball” during Ohio State’s recent Pro Day.

“His biggest issues arise when he’s forced to move off his spot because he lacks the suddenness to create and get out of trouble,” Jeremiah said before that Pro Day. “He’s accurate on designed rollouts to the right, but his accuracy is spotty on the opposite side.”

NFL Network’s Bucky Brooks said: “Haskins to me is the classic drop-back passer that has succeeded in this league in the last 25, 30 years. If you have a plan, and allow him to be what he’s been, I think you have a guy who can play at a high level, a Pro Bowl level, early in his career.”

At this point, Haskins is not scheduled to take a predraft “30” visit to the Dolphins.

Ohio State receiver Johnnie Dixon, from Dwyer High in West Palm Beach, is one of the most prominent non-UM players planning to audition for the Dolphins at their local day April 5, and Dixon is one of a select group invited to dine with the Dolphins the night before.

The speedy Dixon averaged 23.4 yards per catch in 2017 (18 for 422), with eight touchdowns, then had 42 catches for 669 yards and eight touchdowns last season.

NFL.com’s Zierlein assesses him this way: “He has early burst and top speed to challenge defenses over the top, but his lack of size and length works against him outside. Dixon is plenty quick for the slot, but has to improve his routes to have a chance against NFL corners who can read his route tells and crowd him at the top. His special teams value should give him a better shot at making a roster.”

Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver, an appealing candidate for the Dolphins’ pick at No. 13, told NFL Draft Bible that “Miami was a little hard on me” in their meeting but “it was alright. That was one of my harder meetings.”

He said the Dolphins made him break down a lot of film.

Remember: This regime wants smart players on both sides of the ball, and being able to decipher and explain things on film is one indicator of that.

Owner Steve Ross said the Dolphins aren’t starting rebuilding with a bare cupboard.

“We have a good young nucleus to start with,” he said at the NFL owners meetings in Phoenix. “It’s not like we’re starting all over again. We have great players. You walk around and guys say ‘Hey, I want [Laremy] Tunsil. I want this guy.’ Yeah, so do we. We’re going to keep them, Xavien [Howard] and all of that kind of stuff. We have some real good ballplayers.”

Coach Brian Flores said “there has to be a balance between patience and urgency. I would say that I have a pretty good balance from that standpoint.

“I know we have to be patient and develop young players. I think every team in the league has to do that. I think in any corporation or any business, you have to do that, develop the young people in your business. So, there’s some patience with that. At the same time, we try to create an environment of urgency so that we can speed up the process of that development.”

Incidentally, agents expect the Dolphins to be more active in free agency (but with obvious financial restraint) after the first week of May, when signings don’t affect the compensatory draft formula. “We’re going to do everything possible to bring the best players onto the team through the draft and maybe some other avenues,” Flores said.

Quick stuff: Ross on Ryan Tannehill, who was traded to Tennessee: “I love Ryan. But... it was time to move on.”… Ross said Patriots owner Robert Kraft strongly endorsed Flores: I sat next to Kraft at a dinner and he was telling me ‘You really got a good guy.’ There was no reason to (tell me that unprompted). But everywhere I’ve gone, people really respect him and what he’s done. You’ve met him. You can see what kind of character he is.”

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