Thursday, November 3, 2011

A look at Tuesday's tryout players

NFL teams often work out various free agents during the early part of the week, and the Miami Dolphins were no exception this week as they reportedly brought in 11 players, including cornerback Jonathan Wade, who was signed the same day.

I already did my writeup on the Wade signing, but here is a look at the other 10 players worked out by the Dolphins this week.

QB McLeod Bethel-Thompson

Bethel-Thompson (6-4, 230) originally attended UCLA before transferring and playing three seasons at Sacramento State. In his collegiate career, he appeared in 16 games and threw for 1,615 yards and eight touchdowns with 13 interceptions. He went undrafted in 2010 and played for the San Jose SaberCats of the arena league in 2011, throwing for 220 yards and three touchdowns with one interception. He spent training camp with the San Francisco 49ers in 2011, throwing one pass in the preseason before being waived during final cuts.

He's got the size and reportedly the arm, but Bethel-Thompson is a borderline NFL prospect at best. He was a backup and/or injured for much of his college career, was no signed during his rookie season and was a backup in the AFL. At best, he's a practice-squad candidate or a camp body, but Pat Devlin needn't worry yet.

RB Kareem Huggins

Huggins (5-9, 198) rushed for 2,178 yards and 21 touchdowns in four seasons at Hofstra before going undrafted and signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a free agent in 2009. He appeared in three games as a rookie on special teams, recording a tackle and fumble recovery. Huggins rushed for 11 yards on four carries in three games in 2010 before a torn ACL ended his season. The Buccaneers declined to tender him a contract in the 2011 offseason.

Once regarded as a talented sleeper back in Tampa Bay, Huggins reportedly "blew out everything" when he injured his knee last season and there was concern after that he would no long be an NFL-caliber running back. The Dolphins obviously felt he was worth a look-see, but the reality is he was always a long way from being an NFL back and he may never be at this point.

TE Ben Patrick

 An All-American and John Mackey Award semifinalist at Delaware, Patrick (6-3, 254) was a seventh-round pick by the Arizona Cardinals in 2007. He served as a reserve and part-time starter over four seasons, catching 45 passes for 446 yards and four touchdowns. Patrick also caught a one-yard touchdown pass from Kurt Warner in Super Bowl XLIII against the Pittsburgh Steelers. He served a four-game suspension in 2009 for violating the league's policy on banned substances. Patrick signed with the Giants as a free agent in 2011 but retired during training camp. He unretired in September and was released.

Patrick was a solid prospect coming out of Delaware but never developed into more than a reserve with the Cardinals. His suspension from two years ago isn't a concern, but his motivation is after his retirement earlier this year. At best, he's a backup tight end and he'll have an even harder time getting a No. 2 job now. He'll likely try to latch on with a team in camp in 2012.

TE Richard Quinn

Quinn (6-4, 258) played college football at North Carolina before being selected in the second round of the 2009 NFL Draft. He was arrested for harassment in a domestic dispute just before his rookie season began. Quinn appeared in 15 games but did not catch a pass as a rookie, and caught just one pass for nine yards in 14 games (four starts) in 2010. The Broncos placed Quinn on injured reserve during the 2011 preseason and was released shortly thereafter.

Another one of Josh McDaniels' botched draft picks in Denver, Quinn was unimpressive in two pro seasons after the Broncos traded up to take him in the second round. He's purely a blocking prospect and may have to wait until 2012 for an opportunity since he is not eligible for the practice squad.

OT Joel Bell

 A 6-foot-7, 310-pounder out of Furman, Bell was undrafted in 2009 and signed with the Buffalo Bills, but failed to make it to training camp. He played two seasons for the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the CFL and just recently concluded the 2011 season with the Las Vegas Locomotives, where he helped the team reach the league's championship game as the starting left tackle.

Bell has tackle size but is probably a pedestrian talent, having never attended an NFL training camp in three pro seasons. He's practice squad material at this point and is a significant developmental project.

OLB Rashad Jeanty

Jeanty (6-2, 247) was a freshman All-American defensive end at UCF before going undrafted in 2002. He spent four seasons with the CFL's Edmonton Eskimos and won two Grey Cups before joining the Cincinnati Bengals in 2006. He started 32 of 53 games played in four seasons with the team, racking up a career-high 96 tackles and two forced fumbles as a starter in 2008. Injuries forced him to miss the 2010 season and he signed with the Eagles as a free agent in 2011, but was released during final cuts.

Jeanty is a name that has been on the Dolphins' radar before, as they worked him out each of the past two offseasons and reportedly offered him a contract before he opted to sign with Philadelphia. Jeanty is primarily a special-teamer at this point but could also serve as a backup outside linebacker.

ILB Nate Triplett

A standout special-teams player at Minnesota, Triplett (6-3, 247) was selected by the Minnesota Vikings in the fifth round of the 2010 NFL Draft. However, he failed to play a game for the team after being waived during final cuts. Triplett joined the Chargers' practice squad in October and was eventually added to the Colts' active roster in the final month of the season, where he appeared in five games and recorded four tackles. Triplett appeared in three games for the Colts this season before being waived on Oct. 5.

He has the size of a 3-4 inside linebacker ,but Triplett clearly doesn't offer much on the defensive side of the ball but is your protypical quality special-teams player. He remains practice squad eligible and will probably continue to get looks from NFL teams, though his upside is questionable at best.

CB Antareis Bryan

Bryan (6-2, 190) played college football at Baylor, where he totaled 71 tackles, a forced fumble, and two interceptions in four seasons. After going undrafted in 2011, he signed with the Chicago Bears. Bryan was waived during final cuts after totaling two tackles in the preseason.

Bryan had an underwhelming collegiate career, was cut by the Bears before the regular season and has not yet sniffed an NFL practice squad. Making one is likely his immediate goal, but he's obviously not regarded as a special talent at this point.

CB Ryan Jones

A star cornerback at Division II Northwest Missouri State, Jones (5-11, 195) appeared in 56 games during his collegiate career and recorded 199 tackles (7.5 for a loss), a forced fumble, two fumble recoveries, 14 interceptions, four blocks, and two touchdowns. He went undrafted in the 2011 NFL Draft and signed with the Chicago Bears, totaling seven tackles in three preseason games before being waived.

Like Bryan (above), Jones is a former undrafted corner that spent camp with the Bears and hasn't had any bites as a free agent since the regular season began. His collegiate resume is more impressive than Bryan's, but Jones did play at Division II. Jones is angling for a practice squad spot and has plenty of competition in the pool of free agents.

S Brandon Underwood

After spending two years at Ohio State, Underwood transferred to Cincinnati and went on to earn firs-team All-Big East honors as a senior. He was selected by the Packers in the sixth round of the 2009 NFL Draft. In two seasons with the team, Underwood appeared in 23 games (zero starts) totaled 21 tackles while earning a Super Bowl ring in Super Bowl XLV.

Numerous run-ins with the law have clouded Underwood's NFL future, but of course that doesn't mean NFL teams should shun him entirely. While he hasn't shown himself to be a starting-caliber player yet, he did play behind some talented players in Green Bay. He'll be kept in mind if the Dolphins continue to experience injuries at safety.

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