Dolphins GM Chris Grier agrees this needs to be a ‘great draft’
NFL teams are permitted to bring as many as 30 nonlocal draft prospects to their headquarters to meet with team officials and get medical checks. I have reported or confirmed 21 of Miami’s visits, and two others have been reported that have been neither confirmed nor denied.
A look at those 23 (non-local) players Miami has brought to Davie:
DEFENSIVE FRONT SEVEN
▪ TCU defensive end L.J. Collier: In his only season as a starter, Collier started 10 games last season and produced 42 tackles (including 11.5 for loss), six sacks and four pass breakups. He was named first-team All Big 12. A potential second-day pick who had 14.5 sacks in 33 college games. A real possibility for Miami in the second round.
▪ TCU defensive end/outside linebacker Ben Banogu: ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. has him going in the second round, Todd McShay the third.... Banogu, who is 6-4 and 249 pounds, was highly productive at TCU, finishing last season with 8.5 sacks, 18 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. He also had 8.5 sacks the previous season in his first year at TCU after transferring from Louisiana Monroe. An option for the Dolphins on the second day of the draft.
▪ Old Dominion defensive end/outside linebacker Oshane Ximenes: Was a terror 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. A potential second-day pick who had 11 sacks and four forced fumbles last season. At 6-4 and 255 pounds, he can play defensive end in a 4-3 and also could play outside linebacker in a 3-4.
▪ Eastern Michigan defensive end Maxx Crosby: A potential third-day pick, he had 70 tackles, 7.5 sacks, 19 tackles for loss, an interception and four forced fumbles last season…. The year before, he had 11 sacks, 16.5 tackles for loss, four more forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. Like Xiemenes, one of the best smaller-school pass rushers in the draft.
▪ Wisconsin defensive tackle Olive Sagapolu: A 6-2, 346-pound nose tackle with good footwork, agility and upper-body strength who’s projected to be a mid-round pick. Sagapolu had 23 tackles (including 4.5 for loss) and two sacks in eight games last season before an arm injury in November ended his season. Miami badly needs a natural nose tackle for when it plays a 3-4 defense.
▪ Mississippi State defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons: Simmons tore the ACL in his left knee while doing positional drills in mid-February, and Kiper said he might miss next season — which might be palatable to Miami in a rebuilding year. Simmons, who is 6-4 and 300 pounds, had 63 tackles, including 18 for loss, and two sacks last season. He has 33 tackles for loss, five sacks and seven forced fumbles in three seasons…. In the wake of his knee injury, Kiper has him falling to 28th in his most recent mock draft.... Could be a steal if Miami can trade down for him in the 20s and pick up extra picks.
▪ UCF defensive tackle Trysten Hill: A potential third- or fourth-rounder.... Hill, 6-2, and 315 pounds, had 36 tackles — including 10.5 for loss — and three sacks for UCF last season despite starting only one game. He was reportedly in the new coaching staff’s doghouse… He had six sacks, 20 tackles for loss and one forced fumble in three seasons at UCF. He barely played in the Knights’ Fiesta Bowl loss to LSU and turned pro soon after.
▪ Oregon defensive end/linebacker Justin Hollins: A potential third-day pick, he started his college career as a defensive end but played linebacker the past two seasons. Was an honorable mention All-Pac-12 selection last season, closing the season with 64 tackles, including a team-high 14.5 for loss, 6.5 sacks, one interception, seven pass breakups, and five forced fumbles, which tied for second in the FBS.
▪ Hawaii linebacker Jahlani Tavai: A draft riser who figures to go on the second day. Had 82 tackles (including 5.5 for loss), two sacks, a forced fumble and blocked kick in eight games last year. He had 128 and 124 tackles the previous two seasons and finished his college career with 41 tackles for loss, 16.5 sacks and two interceptions in four seasons.
▪ Stanford linebacker Joey Alfeiri: A potential third day pick. Alfeiri, who’s 6-2 and 235 pounds, ran a 4.49 at Stanford’s Pro Day, and four teams — including Miami — booked 30 visits with him in the aftermath…. In four seasons at Stanford, he had 25.5 tackles for loss, 12 sacks, two interceptions, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
▪ BYU linebacker Sione Takitaki: A mid-round prospect who had a team-high 118 tackles last season, including nine for loss, and three sacks.
▪ Maryland linebacker Tre Watson: A potential third-day pick who had 108 tackles and a Big Ten-leading five interceptions last season.
▪ Idaho linebacker Kaden Elliss: A potential third-day pick who had 278 tackles (including 47 for loss) and 17 sacks, five interceptions and six forced fumbles in 47 college games.
▪ Oregon’s defensive end/linebacker Jalen Jelks: This one wasn’t confirmed but reported by walterfootball.com. Jelks, who’s 6-5 and 256 pounds, moved from defensive end to linebacker in 2018 and his sack numbers dropped from 7.0 to 3.5. Potential third-day pick. “You thought would go maybe a little higher [than projected now] when the season began, but to me he didn’t produce the kind of year expected,” Kiper said.
▪ Auburn cornerback Jamel Dean: Previously had ACL surgery on both knees but has been healthy for two years. Last year, he had two interceptions and nine passes defended and allowed just 40.5 percent of passes to be caught against him, including just one touchdown, while holding opposing quarterbacks to a 49.1 passer rating… Helped himself by running a 4.3 at the NFL Combine, best among cornerbacks and second best among all participants. That could elevate him to the second or third round, and Dean said he believes he could sneak into the first round.
▪ Toledo cornerback Ka’Dar Hollman: A potential third-day pick, the 6-0 Hollman, wasn’t invited to the Combine but ran a 4.37-second 40-yard dash and had a 39-inch vertical jump at Toledo’s Pro Day. A three-year starter, Hollman produced 112 tackles, 27 pass breakups and two interceptions during his college career. He also has value on special teams.
▪ Tulane cornerback Donnie Lewis: A potential third-day pick, the 6-0 Lewis had three interceptions (including one returned for a touchdown) and 15 passes defended last season. The 15 passes defended ranked third nationally last season. He has seven interceptions, 37 passes defended and two fumble recoveries in his four-year career.
▪ West Virginia’s Gary Jennings: A potential mid-round pick, the 6-1 Jennings was fourth in the country with 97 catches in 2017, then last season caught 54 passes for 917 yards, a 17.0 average, and 13 touchdowns in 11 games (eight starts) despite dealing with a high ankle sprain during the second half of the season.
▪ Stanford’s Trenton Irwin: This visit was not independently confirmed but reported by draftnik Simon Clancy. Irwin, a potential late-round pick, is coming off a partial ACL tear in December. He caught 152 passes for 1,738 yards (an 11.4 average) and eight touchdowns in four years at Stanford. During his career, he returned 22 punts for 230 yards (a 10.5 average).
▪ Wisconsin’s Alec Ingold: The Dolphins want to add a fullback, and he’s considered among the best in this draft. He had 103 carries for 343 yards in four seasons (a 3.3 per carry average) and 17 touchdowns and also caught 14 passes for 185 yards (a 13.2 average) and four touchdowns. And most importantly for a fullback, he’s a skilled blocker.
▪ West Virginia’s Trevon Wesco: Wesco had just one reception each of his first two seasons at West Virginia (2016 and 2017) but had 26 catches for 366 yards last season with one touchdown. Big 12 coaches named him first-team all-conference last season. He can also play fullback, which makes him appealing to the Dolphins.
▪ UF tackle Jawaan Taylor: The Gators’ starting right tackle last season and a potential option at No. 13 in the first round if he’s still available. NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein said Taylor will “need technique work in the run game and has to keep his weight in check, but he should be an early starter at right tackle or guard with a positive impact on the run game right away.”
▪ California guard/tackle Patrick Mekari: A potential third-day pick, Mekari can play all positions on the offensive line. He missed Cal’s bowl game to have a bone spur removed.