Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Dolphins talk to Chris Rainey, two others at Senior Bowl

Monday was the first day of practices at the 2012 Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. and the Miami Dolphins have began talking to the present draft prospects. Ben Volin tweets the Dolphins interviewed former Florida running back Chris Rainey, while DraftCountdown.com has the team chatting up UConn defensive lineman Kendall Reyes and NC State linebacker Audie Cole.

Rainey (5-8, 178) was ESPN's 34th overall prep prospect in the nation before committing to the University of Florida in 2007. A hybrid running back/wide receiver, Rainey had his most productive season as a fifth-year senior in 2011 with 861 rushing yards, 381 receiving yards, and seven offensive touchdowns. He was arrested and kicked off the Gators' team in 2010 after sending a threatening message to his girlfriend, but re-joined the team this past season.

His raw athleticism helped him in college, but Rainey will have a harder time finding a role in the pros. His small stature will prevent him from being a feature back in the NFL, but he does have the physical tools to be a dynamic third-down back, slot receiver, and return man. Because of his offensive limitations and some character concerns, he probably won't go before the middle rounds but could be a nice weapon in the right situation.

The 6-foot-4, 300-pound Reyes earned a starting job on the Huskies' defensive line during his redshirt freshman season and never looked back. Opening 41 of 49 career contests, Reyes racked up 142 tackles (31.5 for a loss), 11.5 sacks, two interceptions and 10 pass breakups while earning first-team All-Big East honors each of his final two seasons.

Reyes profiles as a 4-3 defensive tackle or a 3-4 defensive end (or three-technique), which is where he'd play in Miami assuming the team keeps its defensive scheme despite a coaching change. Strong and a good athlete, Reyes has plenty of upside and starting potential and has a shot to go in the second or third round. That would make him an option for the Dolphins if another Kendall (free agent Kendall Langford) cannot be retained.

A quarterback, safety, and linebacker in high school, Cole worked at outside linebacker during his sophomore and junior seasons before moving inside as a senior in 2011. He led the Wolfpack in tackles each of his final three seasons, capped off by a senior campaign that saw him record 108 total stops (13.5 for a loss), 5.5 sacks, four forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.

Cole is a strong, athletic linebacker with good range and a 6-foot-4, 248-pound frame. He projects as a second-round pick, which is probably higher than the Dolphins would be willing to take a player like him. Cole projects as a 3-4 inside linebacker and the Dolphins won't need one unless they decide to release Karlos Dansby or Kevin Burnett in a cost-cutting move, which seems unlikely.

Follow all the Dolphins' draft prospect interactions with the 2012 NFL Draft player interest tracker here!