Draft Review – Dolphins

by Tommy Lawlor  –  http://www.ScoutsNotebook.com

Miami Dolphins

1 – C Mike Pouncey – 6’5, 303 – Florida
2 – RB Daniel Thomas – 6’0, 230 – Kansas State
4 – WR Edmond Gates – 6’0, 192 – Abilene Christian
6 – TE Charles Clay – 6’3, 245 – Tulsa
7 – DE Frank Kearse – 6’4, 315 – Alabama A&M
7 – CB Jimmy Wilson – 5’10, 193 – Montana

The Dolphins decided to add the top C prospect in the whole draft and chose Mike Pouncey from Florida. His twin brother Maurkice was a rookie for Pittsburgh last year and played well for them. Miami is hoping for a similar performance from Mike. He has a very real chance to be the starting Center from day one, but Pouncey won’t be given the job with no competition. He played mostly G at Florida and there are some people who think that’s where he belongs. I think Miami projects Pouncey in the middle for now. They had Joe Berger at C in 2010, but obviously wanted to upgrade on him. If Pouncey can’t hack it at C, he could move to G.

Pouncey has a good combination of size and athletic ability. He is very good on the move. Watch him pull and block on outside runs and you’d think you’re watching NFL Films from the old days. Mike did struggle with shotgun snaps in 2010. That’s something he’s got to work on. You can’t have bad snaps in the NFL. That should be the easiest, safest part of the play. Assuming that Miami remains a run heavy offense, Pouncey should fit in well. He can be an outstanding run blocker. He was picked a bit earlier than I thought he might be, but Miami wanted the top interior lineman so they didn’t play around with moving back at all.

In the 2nd round the Dolphins landed another key piece for their running game, Kansas State RB Daniel Thomas. He will fit in nicely with whatever veteran back Miami keeps around or adds. Thomas is a big runner with excellent strength and power. He also has very good feet. Thomas played QB in Junior College, but adapted to RB almost instantly at KSU. In 2 years he ran for 2,850 yards and 30 TDs. He caught 52 passes and showed good potential as a receiver. He even was a Wildcat QB at times. Thomas didn’t just run either. He was 7-12-155 passing, with 2 TDs. If Miami wants to keep the Wildcat as a regular part of their offense, Thomas will be a great fit. As a runner, he’s the kind of workhorse back that Miami has done well with in recent years. Lex Hilliard is also in place as a power runner. The one thing Miami could use is more of a speed/shift runner. If they find that guy in free agency, the Dolphins may once again have a stacked backfield.   Miami did find some speed for their offense. In the 4th round they added WR Edmond Gates. He was an explosive player for D2 power Abilene-Christian. Gates runs sub-4.4 and that speed shows up on the field. He put up big numbers as a Senior, going 66-1182-13. That is 18 yards per catch. Gates has the kind of speed that Miami’s offense has lacked in recent years. They could move the ball in short bursts, but lacked explosive plays in the passing game. Brandon Marshall is a great workhorse receiver. Davonne Bess is a terrific slot receiver. The one thing missing was a vertical threat. Gates will fill that role. Before you wonder how NFL ready he is, remember that WR Johnny Knox and RB Bernard Scott also played at ACU and both guys are now NFL players. Gates may not hit the starting lineup right away, but his speed makes him a valuable asset any time he’s on the field. He can be a good role player, even as a rookie. Good pick.

The Dolphins next pick came in the 6th round. They stuck with offense and took Tulsa’s Charles Clay. I didn’t mention a specific position because Clay was such a versatile weapon for Tulsa. They called him a FB, but he was not much of a lead blocker. Put simply, Clay was and is a pass catcher. Miami thinks he can be a TE for them. He lacks ideal size at just 6’3, 245, but Clay is a gifted receiver. He knows how to get open and has good hands. Check out these career numbers, 189-2544-28. He also ran for 911 yards and averaged 5 yards per carry. Clay is definitely intriguing. I didn’t like him as a FB because he didn’t seem like a lead blocker to me. Using him as more of an H-back/TE is probably the smart way to go. I think he’s got a better chance of being an in-line blocker than taking on LBs on isolation plays. Clay is a really good receiver, but he’s got to be a functional blocker and STer to make it in the NFL.

Miami finally turned to defense in the 7th round.  They added DE Frank Kearse from Alabama A&M.  He has the build you want in a 3-4 DE at 6’4, 315.  Kearse played DT in college, but projects to LDE for the Dolphins.  He’s a limited athlete, but Miami wants him for his size and strength.  They want him to be a base end that can play the run.  And Kearse can do that.  He wasn’t a dominant I-AA player, but was very good.  Finished his career with 29.5 TFLs.  More interestingly, he picked off 2 passes.  Solid value in the 7th round.  The 3-4 only works when it has the right kind of DL.  Gotta have big guys.

With their final pick, the Dolphins stuck with defense and took Montana CB Jimmy Wilson. This is another real interesting pick. Wilson was a good player for the Grizzlies throughout his career, but had it interrupted while he was fighting off a murder charge. He was acquitted and returned to Montana for his Senior season. He’s not a gangbanger, but rather someone caught in a bizarre domestic dispute between his aunt and her husband. Wilson isn’t some violent kid that the Dolphins will have to watch every second. He was a victim of being in the wrong place at the wrong time – and then panicking, which made things worse. All that is behind him and he can now concentrate on football. Wilson has average size, but he is a tough, physical player, which is what the Dolphins want in their CBs. Wilson had 5 INTs in his first couple of seasons. He didn’t pick any passes as a Senior, but was a real active tackler. He actually had 17 stops in one game. Good luck to the young man. He’s traveled a far different path than most from college to the NFL.

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