Analyzing strengths and weakness of Dolphins’ draft class


The thirty first annual Miami Herald mock draft consists of not solely the primary spherical but in addition the Dolphins’ anticipated first choose at 102nd total within the third spherical. That choose: Georgia inside linebacker Channing Tindall, pictured.

In a bit of greater than every week, Dolphins rookies — their 4 draft picks and roughly dozen undrafted free agent signings — will assemble on the group’s apply facility for his or her three-day rookie minicamp. Will probably be the primary time coaches see a bevy of gamers they coveted all through the draft course of. And it marks the start of their improvement, because the teaching seeks to intensify strengths and masks weaknesses.

Right here is one energy — and a key query — for every member of the Dolphins’ 2022 draft class:

LB Channing Tindall

Power: Blitzing.

Tindall didn’t make a single begin in his four-year profession at Georgia however was a key a part of a record-setting protection in 2021. His sideline-to-sideline pace has been nicely documented, and he used that 4.47 40-yard sprint pace simply as nicely blitzing. Regardless of enjoying a restricted share of the defensive snaps subsequent to fellow draft picks Nakobe Dean and Quay Walker, Tindall completed with 5.5 sacks, which ranked tied for fourth on the group.

Take the SEC Championship Recreation and Nationwide Championship Recreation towards Alabama, for instance. Tindall blitzed from in every single place: center linebacker, exterior linebacker, and even the slot. It’s not laborious to examine defensive coordinator Josh Boyer discovering an early function for Tindall within the group’s unique blitz packages.

Query: Can that pace translate to being efficient in go protection?

Alongside together with his inexperience, the one knock on Tindall in the course of the draft course of was his capability in protection. Many younger inside linebackers wrestle with this and it’ll most likely be the most important check for Tindall on the subsequent degree. To his credit score, Professional Soccer Focus gave him an 81.9 go protection grade, which ranked second amongst SEC linebacker. Tindall should harness his pace and grasp route mixtures to be the three-down linebacker common supervisor Chris Grier envisions.

Channing Tindall runs soccer drills throughout Georgia’s Professional Day on Wednesday, March 16, 2022, in Athens, Ga. Brynn Anderson AP

WR Erik Ezukanma

Power: Taking part in by contact

When you seek for Ezukanam’s title on draft web site Mockdraftable, you will notice that the fourth-round choose’s measurables strongly evaluate to DeVante Parker, the longtime Dolphin who was traded to the New England Patriots final month. And the choice of Ezukanma drew additional comparisons to Parker together with his capability to deliver down contested catches; in line with PFF, he recorded 20 contested catches prior to now two years. However Ezukanma additionally brings a extra various ability set that might match higher in coach Mike McDaniel’s offense. Ezukanma obtained touches in faculty out of the backfield and on screens and whereas he’s not a blazer — he ran a 4.54 40-yard sprint at his Professional Day — he pressured 34 missed tackles the final three seasons. Vast receiver was not atop the Dolphins’ wants getting into the draft however Ezukanma might be one other versatile participant in McDaniel’s offense.

Query: Can he work his manner into the offense in 12 months 1?

On paper, there are six gamers who determine to be a much bigger a part of the offense that Ezukanma when the season begins: fellow wideouts Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle and Cedrick Wilson, tight finish Mike Gesicki and operating backs Chase Edmonds and Raheem Mostert. While you additionally depend the variety of two-tight finish units and formations with fullback Alec Ingold the Dolphins may have, Ezukanma probably slots as a particular teams-exclusive participant earlier than getting vital snaps on offense. A number of draft consultants additionally mentioned Ezukanma’s route operating may use work and with throwing home windows tighter within the NFL, that needs to be a precedence for him and huge receivers coach Wes Welker. Ezukanma is a gifted participant with the ball in his arms, although, and McDaniel will discover alternatives for him if he exhibits he’s prepared for it.

Texas Tech’s Erik Ezukanma (13) runs with the ball in the course of the first half of the group’s NCAA faculty soccer sport towards Stephen F. Austin, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, in Lubbock, Texas. (AP Photograph/Brad Tollefson) Brad Tollefson AP

LB Cameron Goode

Power: Athleticism.

When NFL groups get to the late rounds of the draft, they’re typically drafting for traits — dimension, pace, and many others. — that they will probably develop. Goode’s Relative Athletic Rating (RAS), a measurement of a participant’s athletic testing in relation to each dimension and historic outcomes, was a 9.45 out of 10. This ranked 133rd out of two,419 linebackers from 1987 to 2022. The athleticism exhibits up for Goode not solely as a go rusher however in protection, the place he recorded two interceptions in faculty, each returned for touchdowns. Expectations received’t be excessive for Goode as a seventh-round choose however he initiatives as a participant who might be a fixture on particular groups and will work his manner into the defensive rotation.

Query: Can he discover his manner onto a gifted and deep protection?

The one factor that prevented Goode’s RAS from being even increased was his dimension and energy. He weighed in at 232 kilos, which draft consultants query may restrict his capability to defend the run successfully. The Dolphins protection finds area of interest roles for gifted gamers, and Goode needs to be no completely different, together with his profile suggesting he may present upside as a pace go rusher or in protection.

California linebacker Cameron Goode celebrates after recovering a ball off a blocked punt in the course of the first half of an NCAA faculty soccer sport towards UCLA in Los Angeles, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2020. (AP Photograph/Kelvin Kuo) Kelvin Kuo AP

QB Skylar Thompson

Power: Intangibles

The choice of Thompson within the seventh spherical was the most important shock of the draft weekend for the Dolphins for the reason that group has an unquestioned starter in Tua Tagovailoa and an unquestioned backup in Teddy Bridgewater. The Dolphins caught to their board and best-player-available philosophy, although, which led them to Thompson, a participant whom Grier and McDaniel had been drawn to be due to his competitiveness and expertise, significantly in high-stakes video games. Thompson, a four-year group captain, made 40 begins at Kansas State, which included a pair of wins over top-five packages in 2019 and 2020 after which a standout efficiency towards LSU within the Texas Bowl that earned him MVP honors.

Query: Can he make the 53-man roster as a 3rd quarterback?

Most groups hold two quarterbacks on their 53-man roster so Thompson faces an uphill battle to stay on the roster by coaching camp. However he’ll work with the Dolphins all through the summer season and he has the advantage of having performed in a West Coast-based offense at Kansas State, much like the one McDaniel is implementing. Greatest case state of affairs, Thompson impresses the coaches sufficient to maintain him as a 3rd passer. If not, the group will probably attempt to get him by waivers and re-sign him to the apply squad to proceed his improvement, identical to with Reid Sinnett final season.

Kansas State quarterback Skylar Thompson throughout an NCAA faculty soccer sport on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021 in Manhattan, Kan. (AP Photograph/Colin E. Braley) Colin E. Braley AP

This story was initially printed Might 3, 2022 11:54 AM.

Daniel Oyefusi covers the Dolphins for the Miami Herald. A local of Towson, Maryland, he graduated from the College of Maryland: Faculty Park. Beforehand, he lined the Ravens for The Baltimore Solar.

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