Barry Jackson

NFL evaluator opines on Dolphins, and Rosen’s former teammate weighs in

A six-pack of Dolphins notes on a Wednesday:

A longtime NFL executive offered some thoughts on some of the Dolphins’ newcomers — all of whom he studied on tape or spent time around in the draft process.

Some feedback from the executive, who requested anonymity:

1. He said defensive lineman Christian Wilkins, selected 13th overall by the Dolphins, has a higher ceiling than fellow Clemson defensive lineman Clellin Ferrell, chosen fourth overall by Oakland.

“Wilkins has a chance to be a Pro Bowl player; Ferrell doesn’t,” the executive said. “He will push the pocket and be better than [Ndamukong] Suh was for them eventually.”

2. He said he will be surprised if the two players from Wisconsin — guard Michael Deiter and linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel — develop into long-term starters. “They’re more depth kids,” he said. The Dolphins hope both will be multiyear starters.

3. He said Ohio State tackle Isaiah Prince, besides being inconsistent, “didn’t work hard enough” in college.

4. On undrafted receiver Preston Williams: “He has skills and size and his speed is OK, but I worry about the intangibles. Character concerns there.”

5. Of the other undrafted pickups, this executive particularly likes Northwestern cornerback Monte Hartage and Georgia defensive end Jonathan Ledbetter. “Ledbetter is a great kid, good worker, a run stopper and will push the pocket.”

That executive said the Dolphins are fooling themselves if they believe they have enough front seven talent to be remotely competitive defensively. “Tank Carradine, Charles Harris, those guys playing heavy snaps, you can’t win with that.”

He also said his concern with Mike Gesicki, beyond blocking, is “he can’t beat press coverage. But I thought he would be better than he was last year. You need to put him in motion so he’s not jammed at the line.”

Speaking of his former teammate Josh Rosen, Arizona running back David Johnson told Sirius XM’s Mad Dog radio last week: “Like I’ve been telling everyone, I think he’s going to be one of the most dominant quarterbacks in this league.”

The fact former teammates have spoken in glowing terms about Rosen is encouraging, but the Dolphins need to see a lot more than what he displayed in offseason practices, which wasn’t awful but hardly excellent, either.

We mentioned recently how ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. noted that Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s poor game against Georgia raises concerns about the 2020 draft’s top quarterback prospect.

So we figured we would take a deeper dive into how Tagovailoa and Rosen played against the top scoring defenses in their final season in college.

Last year, Tagovailoa played six games against teams that ranked in the top 50 in scoring defense. He was solid against Clemson (the nation’s No. 1 scoring defense) in a national championship game loss, going 22 for 34 for 295 yards, with two touchdowns and two interceptions. His numbers were more modest against the No. 2 scoring defense, Mississippi State: 14 for 21 for 164 yards, one touchdown and one pick.

He carved up the No. 14 scoring defense (Auburn), going 25 for 32 for 324 yards, five touchdowns and no picks. He struggled against the No. 15 defense (Georgia), going 10 for 25 for 164 yards with one touchdown and two picks.

But he was very good against No. 26 scoring defense LSU (25 for 42, 295 yards, 2 TDs, 1 pick) and No. 47 Texas A&M (22 for 30, 387, four touchdowns, zero interceptions).

As for Rosen, he lost both games in 2017, his final year at UCLA, against top 50 scoring defenses.

He was 12 for 21 for 93 yards and a touchdown in a 44-23 loss to Washington, the No. 5 scoring defense. He was 40 for 60 for 480 yards with three TDs and two picks in a 58-34 loss to No. 35 scoring defense Stanford.

More telling is how Rosen did against the top three NFL defenses he faced last season.

In his start at Minnesota, which was fourth best in the NFL in yards allowed, Rosen was 21 for 31 for 240 yards, no touchdowns and one interception and a 70.4 passer rating in a 27-17 loss.

In his start at the Chargers, who were ninth best in yards permitted per game, he was 12 for 19 for 105 yards, with one touchdown, one interception and a 73.4 passer rating in a 45-10 loss.

In his start against Detroit, which was 10th in yards allowed, Rosen was 26 for 41 for 240 yards, no touchdowns and one interception and a 69.2 passer rating in a 17-3 loss.

Two NFL people in regular contact with the Dolphins say what’s striking to them is the authority Brian Flores is being given in personnel matters, even though general manager Chris Grier has total control on the draft, free agency and the 53-man roster.

Grier is deferring to Flores on certain issues regarding what players he wants and does not want. In other words, the impression left with those NFL officials is that Grier is not giving Flores a single player he doesn’t want.

Agent Drew Rosenhaus said on his weekly segment on WSVN-Fox 7 that receiver Albert Wilson, off last season’s hip injury, will be ready for the start of the regular season but didn’t indicate if he will be ready for training camp. The team plans to be cautious with him in August.

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