Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Dolphins to appear on HBO's Hard Knocks

In a somewhat surprising move (although less surprising in the post-Bill Parcells era) the Miami Dolphins have agreed to be on HBO's recurring documentary series Hard Knocks during their 2012 training camp and preseason periods.

The program began in 2001 with coverage of the defending champion Baltimore Ravens, and went on to cover the Dallas Cowboys (2002 and 2008), Kansas City Chiefs (2007), Cincinnati Bengals (2009) and New York Jets (2010). Due in part to the lockout, Hard Knocks did not air in 2011.

Head coach Joe Philbin stated the choice to appear on Hard Knocks was "a football decision" and that owner Stephen Ross did not force the show on the team for publicity or marketing purposes, although that seems a little hard to believe given Ross' desire for the limelight and his penchant for meddling in football affairs.

Regardless, I view this is a welcome occurrence for us fans of the team and I personally do not have any concerns about the show creating any kind of distraction with the team. As has already been pointed out, the last two Hard Knocks teams made the playoffs and the reality is the cameras are long gone before games start to matter.

I also don't view the Dolphins as legitimate playoff contenders in 2012 anyway, with a .500 record being on the high end of what I'd expect from the team. The roster still has holes and will likely be starting a stopgap quarterback this season, so the real revamp of the team won't come until 2013 when Hard Knocks is will in the rear-view mirror.

As for what the Dolphins have to offer, there are a number of things I think are obvious subjects for HBO to cover this summer, including:

  • Joe Philbin taking on his first pro head coaching gig, joining a team that has struggled in recent years after coming over from a highly-successful franchise in Green Bay. Expect a focus on Philbin learning how to interact with players and assistant coaches as the big boss, and I imagine Hard Knocks will mention the death of one of Philbin's children, which happened shortly before he was hired
  • The always juicy quarterback battle, largely between the incumbent, Matt Moore, and David Garrard, who is a former Pro Bowler trying to rejuvenate his career
  • The development and competition provided by rookie first-round quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who is to be the Dolphins' quarterback of the future at some point. I suspect the producers wouldn't mind a glimpse of Mrs. Tannehill, either
  • Running back Reggie Bush, who has the most "celebrity appeal" of anyone on the roster and is coming off a career year as he looks to replicate his production as a feature back
  • The Dolphins' attempting to replace the departed Brandon Marshall at wide receiver while lacking a true No. 1 option
  • A potential switch to the 4-3 defensive scheme, which will have players all across the front seven changing positions
  • The continued development of Dolphins' starting cornerbacks Vontae Davis and Sean Smith, as well as the battles for the starting safety spots in the wake of Yeremiah Bell's departure
It certainly should be an interesting ride for Dolphins fans and I'll have more coverage of the series leading up to the series premiere, which will premiere on Tuesday, August 7 after training camp is well underway. And, of course, I'll break down the episodes as they air.


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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Dolphins to work out fullback Ovie Mughelli

The traditional fullback has become something of a dying breed in the NFL, but the new offensive in Miami under Dolphins' head coach Joe Philbin and offensive coordinator Mike Sherman seems to be designed to utilize an old-school lead blocker.

Free agent fullback Ovie Mughelli, who was released by the Atlanta Falcons shortly after the 2012 NFL Draft, will work out for the Dolphins on Thursday, according to multiple reports.

The Dolphins have explored other options at the position already, including talking to linebacker prospects in the draft about a position change and working out former Titans veteran Ahmard Hall in early April.

A fourth-round pick out of Wake Forest in 2003, Mughelli spent four seasons with the Baltimore Ravens, working the final two as the Ravens' lead blocker and earning an all-pro nod in 2006.

After becoming an unrestricted free agent in the 2007 offseason, Mughelli signed a five-year, $18 million contract with the Falcons. The deal included a $5 million signing bonus and was the largest ever given to a fullback at the time.

In 2008, Mughelli served as Michael Turner's lead blocker as the Falcons' tailback racked up 1,699 yards and 17 touchdowns on the ground. A year later, Mughelli graded out a Pro Football Focus' top fullback in the NFL.

After grading out No. 1 again in 2010 and earning his first Pro Bowl selection, Mughelli dropped to 17th in PFF's rankings last season, although Turner still rushed for 1,340 yards and 11 touchdowns on a 4.5 average.

Despite Mughelli's high level of productivity in Atlanta, the Falcons drafted Wisconsin fullback Bradie Ewing in the fifth round of last month's draft and certainly preferred his minimum salary to Mughelli's $3 million base pay and $3.7 million cap number in the final year of his deal.

In Miami, Mughelli would be a nice addition at the right price, especially given that the new staff clearly has designs on utilizing such a player in its offense. The 6-foot-1, 250-pound Mughelli can still play at age 31 and has a quality track record as an mauling lead blocker.

The Dolphins currently don't have a true fullback on the roster. Second-year man Charles Clay is more of an H-back and tight end, while CFL running back Jerome Messam has fullback size at 6-foot-3 and 245 pounds but is unproven and recently underwent a second surgery on a knee injury suffered last year.



Dolphins sign undrafted rookie tackle Andrew McDonald

When the Dolphins initially signed 16 undrafted rookie free agents, I suggested the team might use its open roster spot by signing another such player if one stood out during last week's rookie minicamp, which included a number of other rookies participating on a tryout basis.

It seems that was exactly their plan, as a report last week out of Indiana reveals that the Dolphins have indeed signed former Hoosiers offensive tackle Andrew McDonald, who tried out with the Dolphins last week and had plans to try out with the Green Bay Packers.

The signing of McDonald, which was made official on May 14, gives the Dolphins 80 players under contract, nine unsigned rookie draft picks, and one open roster spot.

An Indianapolis native, McDonald redshirted during his freshman season at Indiana in 2007. As a redshirt freshman the following season, he appeared in five games at tackle and guard, including starts at left guard against Iowa and Illinois.

After appearing in eight games as a reserve tackle in 2009, McDonald started all 11 games at left tackle and allowed just a half-sack on the season. He started all 12 games at left tackle as a senior, helping the Hoosiers' rushing attack reach its highest production in more than a decade.

Measuring in at just under 6-foot-6 and 316 pounds at his Pro Day on March 15, McDonald a forty time of around 5.25 seconds and 23 bench reps. He added a broad jump of 8 feet, 9 inches and a 20-yard shuttle time of 4.8 seconds.

McDonald, who borrowed Nate Garner's No. 75 for the minicamp, will be assigned a new number for training camp. He likely received the same three-year deal all the team's undrafted rookies did, which includes base salaries of $390,000 in 2012, $480,000 in 2013 and $570,000 in 2014. He will be a restricted free agent in 2015 should he play out the contract.

He'll have his hands full trying to make the roster, however, as the seventh or eighth tackle on the depth chart. At best he could hope for a practice squad spot with a stellar showing in camp, but there isn't much upside here and I'm not expecting much.


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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Dolphins waive running back Richard Medlin

The Miami Dolphins came out of the 2012 NFL Draft and undrafted free agent signings with eight running backs on their roster, which is why it should come as no surprise the team has decided to trim the spot a bit.

The Dolphins waived second-year running back Richard Medlin on Monday, reducing the Dolphins' roster total to 79, which doesn't include the nine unsigned draft picks. The team still has two additional roster spots available on their 90-man offseason roster.

A standout at Division II Fayetteville State, Medlin was his conference's special teams player of the year as a senior in 2010. He was originally signed by the New England Patriots after going undrafted in 2011 and totaled two touchdowns in the preseason before being waived during final cuts.

The Dolphins signed Medlin to their practice squad on Sept. 21 to provide practice depth at running back after the short-lived stint of veteran rusher Larry Johnson in Miami. Medlin was signed to the active roster on a three-year deal in Week 17 after offensive tackle Jake Long went on injured reserve, although he was inactive for the season finale.

It's not surprising to see Medlin cut here, as the Dolphins had a bevvy of running backs on the roster and Medlin offers little more than potential special teams value. The small school project lacked elite athleticism and didn't really have an upside on offense.

Even with Medlin's departure, the Dolphins still have six tailbacks under contract, as well as rookie fourth-rounder Lamar Miller still to be signed. Along with Miller, starter Reggie Bush and 2011 second-rounder Daniel Thomas should be considered locks to make the final roster in 2012.

My initial guess is that veteran Steve Slaton, whose career has taken a lackluster turn since his impressive rookie season with the Texans in 2008, will not make the final roster with the arrival of Miller. Slaton obviously had some talent once upon a time, but there is no reason to keep a player who has had multiple chance to perform as your fourth running back.

Then you have the fresh blood in the form of CFL imports Jerome Messam and Marcus Thigpen and undrafted rookie Jonas Gray. A highly-touted prep prospect before arriving at Notre Dame, Gray is still recovering from a torn ACL suffered as a senior and as a result he seems unlikely to vie for more than a practice squad spot.

Messam is the intriguing prospect of this bunch, as the 6-foot-3, 245-pound bruiser excelled with the Edmonton Eskimos and has the ability to play in the NFL in the right situation. It will be interesting to see if he stays at tailback given the logjam at the position or if he'll be worked at fullback to have a better chance at making the final roster.


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Sunday, May 6, 2012

Cameron Wake inks $49 million extension with Dolphins

The Miami Dolphins have inked Pro Bowl pass rusher Cameron Wake to a long-awaited and much deserved four-year, $49 million extension on Sunday with a reported $20 million in guaranteed money.

Entering the 2012 offseason and the final year of his first NFL contract signed in 2009, Wake was slated to make just $615,000 this coming season—or to put it another way, roughly 24 percent of placeicker Dan Carpenter's base salary in 2012.

Interestingly, the Dolphins' official website says the deal is through the 2016 season, which would mean this is a new four-year deal that will begin in 2013 rather than replace the final year of his original contract. Such a deal would keep Wake in Miami through his age 34 season.

This could have been done because the Dolphins have limited cap space at the moment, so his 2012 salary will remain the same with the new deal kicking in after the season. He certainly received some nice upfront money to appease him in the meantime.

Originally undrafted out of Penn State in 2005, Wake was out of football before heading to the Canadian Football League two years later and winning the CFL's Most Outstanding Player award in back-to-back seasons.

Wake's CFL production, which included 39 sacks over two seasons, drew vast attention from more than half the team's in the NFL. It was the Dolphins that won the bidding for Wake's services, inking him to a four year, $4.9 million contract during the 2009 offseason.

After racking up 6.5 sacks in his rookie season as a situational pass rusher behind Jason Taylor and Joey Porter, Wake erupted as a starter in 2010 with 57 tackles, 14 sacks and three forced fumbles to earn a spot on the AFC Pro Bowl squad.

Wake's production dipped to 8.5 sacks and zero forced fumbles in 2011, due in large part to being the only capable pass rusher on the Dolphins' roster and the attention gained around the league the season before. It certainly was not a lost season, however, as Pro Football Focus graded him as an elite run defender and pass rusher with 81 total sacks, hits and pressures.

The 2012 season will bring some change for Wake, as the Dolphins are expected to largely utilize the 4-3 defensive scheme under new coordinator Kevin Coyle. In such a scheme, Wake will move down to right defensive end, where he primarily played as a rookie in 2009, after spending the past two seasons at outside linebacker in the 3-4 scheme.

No matter where Wake lines up, however, there is little reason to worry about his production. He has routinely been one of the most hard-working players on the Dolphins' roster and his drive shouldn't change after this pay day. Despite his positive 2011 season, I'm sure Wake wants to bump that sack total up and I wouldn't put it past him to do it.

The pass rush position aside from Wake remains a concern, however, as there is still no clear-cut starter opposite him. Defensive tackle Jared Odrick could potentially play out of position, or the job could go to a free agent Jamaal Westerman—a career backup with the Jets—or rookie fourth-rounder Olivier Vernon, who has the physical tools but underachieved at the University of Miami.

Up next, one would expect the Dolphins to try and work out an extension with Pro Bowl offensive tackle Jake Long, who is entering the final year of his rookie deal and carries a $12.8 million cap hit in 2012. The first overall pick in 2008 would likely command a deal of equal or greater value to the seven-year, $84 million that Browns' tackle Joe Thomas inked in 2011.

The Dolphins have a number of other impact players with expiring contracts heading into the 2013 offseason, including Pro Bowl defensive tackle Randy Starks, cornerback Sean Smith and wide receiver Brian Hartline. You can check out the Dolphins' upcoming free agents by year here.


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Saturday, May 5, 2012

Dolphins sign 16 undrafted rookie free agents

Reports of undrafted free agents signed by the Miami Dolphins began trickling out shortly after the 2012 NFL Draft concluded on Saturday, with numerous reports coming from the players themselves via Twitter.

However, I decided to hold off on writing about such players because of the tendency for some of the reports to be inaccurate. Players offered contracts and players simply offered a chance to participate in the rookie minicamp on a tryout basis often get mixed together, so you're never quite sure who was actually signed and who is merely tying to get signed.

With the NFL expanding offseason rosters from 80 to 90 this year, the Dolphins were able to sign more undrafted rookies than usual. In all, they signed 16 such players, which gives the Dolphins 80 players under contract as well as the nine unsigned draft picks for a total of 89.

Below, I take a brief look at each of the Dolphins' 16 undrafted rookies, as well as their long-term outlooks for a potential pro career, in Miami or elsewhere.

Also, be sure to check out my projected depth chart, which is updated through today to include all draft picks, undrafted rookies, and newly-assigned jersey numbers.


DT Chas Alecxih, Pittsburgh

Originally a walk-on at Pitt in 2007, Alecxih earned a full scholarship in 2009 while working as a reserve defensive tackle. He went on to start 13 games as a junior in 2010, recording 57 tackles (nine for a loss) and 7.5 sacks. As a senior, Alecxih again totaled 57 tackles while adding a team-high 15.5 tackles for a loss and 6.5 sacks.

A mountain at 6-foot-4 and 296 pounds, Alecxih receives high marks for his high motor and intensity, as well as his bull-rushing ability from inside. He struggles in space and needs to refine his technique and get stronger, but the talent is there. While I don't see him cracking the Dolphins' active roster as a rookie, he's a prime candidate for the practice squad.


C Terence Brown, BYU

A Utah native, Brown was a reserve at BYU during the 2005 season before heading to Brazil on an LDS church mission from 2006 to 2008. He returned to the playing field in 2009, starting all 39 games over his final three seasons. Brown earned honorable mention All-Mountain West honors as a junior and was name to the Rimington Trophy Watch List as a senior.

Brown (6-3, 303) is your training camp center that offers little upside or versatility. He was solid at the collegiate level and gained plenty of experience at guard, but he's entirely limited to center in the pros due to lack of athleticism. My guess is that he's not going to make the roster or practice squad.


MLB Cameron Collins, Oregon State

Originally a safety for the Beavers, Collins moved to linebacker prior to the 2010 season. In 23 games at linebacker over his final two seasons, Collins made 13 starts and totaled 94 tackles (eight for a loss), one sack, two forced fumbles and four pass deflections. He was named to the conference's All-Academic Team each of his four seasons at OSU, becoming just the ninth person in Pac-10/Pac-12 history to do so.

Collins measures in at an athletic 6-foot-3 and 241 pounds—solid size for a middle linebacker in the Dolphins' new 4-3 scheme. However, his limited experience leaves him still developing as a defender and probably far from seeing a regular season NFL field any time soon. Like most linebackers, he'll have to make his mark on special teams before becoming a top backup.


OG Derek Dennis, Temple

A native of Queens, N.Y., Dennis started 10 games as a true freshman at right guard and started six more games as a sophomore in 2008, including some time at left tackle. Dennis was limited to just three games in 2008 and ended up redshirting with a knee injury before returning to the field in 2010. He started three games as guard and four games at tackle as a junior before starting all 13 games for the Owls at left guard as a senior in 2011.

The 6-foot-3, 315-pound Dennis is regarded as as fairly solid interior lineman prospect. While he has the versatility to play outside as he did in college, his lack of athleticism pretty much leaves him at guard at the pro level. His technique needs a lot of work, but there is upside here and reason to believe he could push for a roster or practice squad spot as a rookie, especially when you consider the lack of quality depth inside for the Dolphins.


WR Jeff Fuller, Texas A&M

After Fuller changed his commitment from Oklahoma to Texas A&M in 2008, he became an instant starter for the Aggies with 50 receptions for 630 yards and a school-record nine touchdowns. Despite missing four games in 2009, Fuller led the team in receiving touchdowns and ranked third in yards. It was 2010 that Fuller set school recorded for receptions (75), receiving yards (1,066) and receiving touchdowns (12). He turned in another strong season as a senior, totaling 70 catches for 828 yards and six touchdowns.

Of any draft prospect in this year's class, Fuller was the most obvious undrafted free agent candidate for the Dolphins with the presence of former Aggies' head coach Mike Sherman as offensive coordinator and first-round quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Fuller (6-4, 228) was even considered a draftable prospect by some.

Despite his connections to the Dolphins, it's important not to get carried away with expectations for Fuller. His size is impressive, but despite his college production Fuller's concerns include the ability to get open and dropping too many passes. The reality is that the Dolphins took two receivers late in the draft and neither one was Fuller, which means he's far from making the roster as a backup. His experience with Sherman and Tannehill is a plus, but special teams is where he'll have to shine to stick around initially and he has a long way to go to be a pro receiver.


RB Jonas Gray, Notre Dame

A Parade All-American and participant in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl as a prep prospect, Gray spent three seasons as a backup running back before starting as a senior. Gray totaled 791 yards and led the Fighting Irish with 6.9 yards per carry and 12 touchdowns, but a torn ACL in November cost him the rest of his season and hurt his draft stock.

Gray was a highly-regarded running back coming out of high school and had an impressive season before his injury, so there's talent there. However, he's buried in the Dolphins' depth chart right now and isn't fully rehabbed from his knee injury roughly six months ago. He should be able to participate in training camp, but the practice squad is the most realistic possibility for him and he might be worth developing there.


CB Trenton Hughes, Maryland

Hughes was redshirted in 2007 and worked on special teams for the Terrapins until the 2010 season, when he started all 13 games at cornerback and led the team with nine pass deflections. After a coaching change, Hughes was relegated to a reserve role as a senior before starting the final three games of the season.

Hughes (5-10, 195) spent three seasons with current Dolphins' cornerback Nolan Caroll at Maryland and also played with former Terrapins tight end Will Yeatman. He has 4.4 speed but lacks ideal cover skills and I'm not sure there is much upside here. The best he can hope for is replacing one of the incumbents like Vince Agnew or Marcus Brown on the Dolphins' practice squad.


OLB Shelly Lyons, Arizona State

Lyons spent four seasons as a linebacker for the Sun Devils, starting 12 games over his final two seasons including eight as a senior. After working primarily on special teams the first three years, Lyons opened eight of 13 contest in 2011 and ranked sixth on the team with 51 tackles. He also added 5.5 tackles for a loss, two forced fumbles and two interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown against Matt Barkley and USC.

Lyons is a solid athlete at 6-foot-2 and 238 pounds, but he doesn't offer a whole lot of upside or experience. His only shot to make he team is on special teams and that will be a challenge.


SS Kelcie McCray, Arkansas State

A teammate of new Dolphins' safety Tyrell Johnson at ASU in 2007, McCray started every game at safet for the Red Wolves over his final three seasons. As a senior, he led the team with 70 tackles while adding four interceptions and four pass deflections on his way to first-team All-Sun Belt honors.

The 6-foot-2, 208-pound McCray was regarded by some as a potential mid-round draft pick. He has 4.5 speed and significant experience at safety, albeit at one of the FBS' lower conferences. He'll start on special teams, but he's got a shot to make the roster if the team decides for younger depth at safety in lieu of Tyrone Culver or Tyrell Johnson.


WR Derek Moye, Penn State

During his first two seasons at Penn State, Moye worked with current Dolphins' quarterback Pat Devlin, who eventually transferred to Delaware. Meanwhile, Moye stayed behind in Happy Valley and established himself as a starting receiver during his final three seasons, where he totaled 141 receptions, 2,324 yards and  17 touchdowns in that span.  Moye left the Penn State as the school's third leading receiver of all time.

Listed at 6-foot-5 in college, Moye actually measures in at 6-foo4 and about 209 pounds. Adding and maintaining bulk has actually been one of Moye's biggest problems and could hurt his potential at the next level. That being said, he did display good red-zone ability in college and adjusts well when the ball is in the air. Cracking the 53-man roster will be a stretch, but the practice squad is within reach.


DE Jarrell Root, Boise State

A rotational defender at Boise State, Root spent much of his time backing up eventual 2012 first-rounder Shea McClellin at defensive end. In his four-year career, Root totaled 55 tackles (13 for a loss), 7.5 sacks, and one pass breakup.

Of the three defensive ends signed by the Dolphins this week, I'd say Root has the least upside of all three. He's more of a run stuffer than a pass rusher and doesn't really have the bulk to play inside or the athleticism to get to the passer often. My guess is he doesn't make the cut.


OG Josh Samuda, Massachusetts

After redshirting during the 2007 season, Samuda started 11 games as a freshman in 2008 and never looked back, opening all 11 games at left guard again in 2009 and the next two seasons at right guard. He earned third-team All-CAA honors as a senior.

There isn't much scouting report on Samuda, but being a third-team all-conference pick in the FCS doesn't exactly translate to great prospects in the pros. He has a ton of experience at guard but may very well have limited upside. I'd expect him to not make the final roster.


CB Kevyn Scott, Syracuse

A Plantation, Fla. native, Scott spent five seasons at Syracuse and was an on-and-off starter at safety and then cornerback, starting nine games his final season. In his career, he notched 87 tackles, half a sack and five interceptions.

A team captain as a senior, Scott battled injuries in college and doesn't have any tools that stand out from an NFL perspective. He'll serve as a camp body at cornerback, but the best he can hope to earn is probably a practice squad gig.


DE Derrick Shelby, Utah

A four-year starter for the Utes, Shelby earned first-team All-Pac-12 honors as a senior in 2011 with 55 tackles (10 for a loss) and five sacks. He finished his collegiate career with 47 games played (40 starts), 169 tackles (28 for a loss) and 11 sacks. Additionally, Shelby was an all-conference academic pick every season at Utah.

The 6-foot-3, 266-pound Shelby certainly looks the part of an NFL defensive end has has a nice body of experience at the college level. He's not an elite pass rusher by any means, but he's a smart, hard-working that does a lot of things fairly well. I might consider him the most likely player in this group to make the Dolphins' active roster when you consider his college production, pro potential (at least as a backup) and the lack of depth at the position.


DE Jacquies Smith, Missouri

Smith saw extensive action all four seasons at Mizzou, including the final 2.5 as a starter. He was a second-team All-Big 12 selection each of his final two seasons, finishing his career with 159 tackles (26 for a loss) and 13 sacks.

You aren't going to confuse him with former Tigers' first-round pick Aldon Smith, as Jacquies Smith doesn't have ideal height or length for the pro level. That being said, he's a solid pass rusher and has a ton of experience at the highest level of college football, so there is some potential here as a rotational lineman. Like  Shelby (above) there is a solid chance Smith makes the active roster considering the Dolphins' lack of depth at defensive end.


OT Dustin Waldron, Portland State

Waldron became the Vikings' starting left tackle late in his freshman season in 2008 and never looked back, holding down the position until his collegiate career was completed. An honorable mention All-Big Sky in 2009 and 2010, Waldron earned second-team all-conference honors as a senior.

The 6-foot-5, 305-pound Waldron's biggest problem is his size, as he played most of college around the 280 mark. He's been working to get bigger and seems to have accomplished that, though we'll see how that affects his ability. A small-school prospect, Waldron is a bit of a project but has the experience, technique and smarts to make himself worthwhile. While I don't see the 53-man roster in his near future, the practice squad is a possibility.


Conclusion

As usual with undrafted free agent signings, you have the guys that have practically no chance of making the team and are merely around to serve as training camp bodies. Then there are the guys that do have the potential to develop into contributors at the pro level, and obviously those are the ones we are interested in.

Of this year's class of Dolphins' undrafted free agents, I'd highlight wide receivers Jeff Fuller and Derek Moye, safety Kelcie McCray and defensive ends Derrick Shelby and Jacquies Smith as the ones I think could crack the active roster in 2011. I'd also single out defensive tackle Chas Alecxih, guard Derek Dennis and running back Jonas Gray (recovering from a torn ACL) as potential practice squad candidates.

Fuller and Moye aren't perfect, but each carries certain intriguing aspects (namely size and experience) and they certainly have the ability to push Roberto Wallace, Marlon Moore and 2012 draft picks B. J. Cunningham and Rishard Matthews for a roster spot.

Meanwhile, Shelby and Smith both have the physical tools to develop as pro defensive ends, and this position remains pretty barren for the Dolphins. Aside from Cameron Wake and third-round rookie Olivier Vernon, the Dolphins only have backup types (Jamaal Westerman, Jason Trusnik, Jonathan Freeny) around as depth. Thus, it wouldn't surprise me to see one or both of Shelby and Smith crack the 53-man roster in September.


Tryout players

In addition the the signed players above, the Dolphins are also trying out a number of other undrafted players at this weekend's rookie minicamp. They are:
  • G Kyle Bogumil, Rhode Island — Originally a tackle, Bogumil eventually landed at guard and that's where he'd project (if at all) in the pros. He was a third-team All-CAA pick his final two seasons.
  • LB Cort Dennison, Washington — A two-year starter at middle linebacker for the Huskies, Dennison was a second-team All-Pac-12 selection as a senior after leading the team with 128 tackles. His lack of size and athleticism would limit him to special teams in the NFL.
  • S Albert Evans, Purdue — Evans moved from safety to linebacker then back to safety at Purdue, starting every game in the secondary over his final two seasons. He doesn't have the speed to be an NFL defensive back, however, and his presence isn't much more than a favor from former Boilermakers' defensive backs coach Lou Anarumo, who now holds that title in Miami.
  • G Joel Figueroa, Miami (Fla.) — Figueroa actually spent six years at UM and was a starter at right guard for most of 2009, but he spent most of his career as a backup with starts coming against the cupcake teams on the schedule. He's not a pro prospect.
  • S Elton Ford, Arkansas — One of the more accomplished tryout players, Ford was a starter early in his career with the Razorbacks and finished his career with 185 tackles (six for a loss), one interception, eight pass breakups, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery
  • WR A. J. Guyton, Central Florida — Appearing in 51 career games, Guyton totaled 122 receptions, 1,582 yards and seven touchdowns. He missed the 2008 season with a torn ACL.
  •  QB Jacory Harris, Miami (Fla.) — Easily the most high-profile tryout player in Miami but not a great pro prospect, Harris finished his career at UM with 8,826 passing yards (second all-time) and 70 touchdowns against 48 interceptions. 
  • CB Justin Haulcy-Bateman, Cal Lutheran — A Division III prospect, Haulcy-Bateman starred at  corner, on special teams and as a returner but has a long way to go to make it in the pros.
  • C Kreg Hunter, Ball State — A team captain, Hunter started 33 games at Ball State. He was arrested for punching a man at a restaurant in 2010.
  • OT Addison Lawrence, Mississippi State — Started his final 37 games at right tackle for the Bulldogs, although he lacks ideal size for an NFL tackle and bulk for a guard.
  • LB Ryan Lewis, Bethune-Cookman — A Pompano Beach native, Lewis started three seasons at linebacker and was named one of the top 10 linebackers in FCS by The Sports Network in 2011.
  • TE Nick Mandich, Southern Connecticut State — The son of late former Dolphins tight end Jim "Mad Dog" Mandich, Nick Mandich totaled 37 receptions, 363 yards and four touchdowns in his career. It's a feel-good story, but Mandich isn't a pro prospect.
  • OT Andrew McDonald, Indiana — McDonald served as the Hoosiers' starting left tackle each of his final two seasons. Of the tryout players, he's probably one of the better ones but he still has to earn a contract first.
  • DT Justin Smith, Mississippi — Smith spent three seasons as a reserve for the rebels before starting as as senior, notching 44 tackles and 3.5 tackles for a loss. He's not a pro prospect.
  • S Rick Volcin, Norfolk State — An HBCU All-Star, the Miami native totaled 30 tackles and two interceptions (including one returned for a touchdown) as a senior in 2011.
  • LB Chaz Walker, Utah — The Utes' starting middle linebacker the past two seasons, Walker was a second-team All-Mountain West choice in 2010 and an honorable mention All-Pac-12 selection as a senior, ranking second in the conference in tackles with 118.
  • CB Mike Williams, Miami (Fla.) — Redshirted at Wake Forest in 2007 and played two seasons before sitting out the 2010 season to transfer to UM. In his lone season with the Hurricanes, Williams started 12 games at corner and recorded 29 tackles, three pass deflections and a fumble recovery.
With the Dolphins having an open roster spot (if you count the 80 under contract and nine draft picks to be signed) then it's possible the Dolphins will sign one of these tryout players if one of them warrants it. In that event, I'd expect... However, the reality is most of these guys are not NFL prospects and are simply being used to fill the practice field, which is obvious when you realize many have ties to the area.


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