Reviewing the Miami Dolphins' 7 Biggest Scouting Combine Takeaways
The NFL Combine might be the most over-analyzed event in sports, but for the Miami Dolphins, it served a vital purpose.
Miami is stuck in a precarious position with the eighth overall draft pick.
The team has a slew of positions that need upgrading, and it's difficult to prioritize which to address first and which players are worthy of such a high selection. Moreover, the Dolphins are desperate for a quarterback, and this weekend provided Jeff Ireland and his staff with an up close and personal look at Robert Griffin III—the only quarterback I believe the 'Fins would draft.
But after a week of interviews, physicals, 40-yard dashes and long jumps, Miami should have departed Indianapolis with the following takeaways.
Robert Griffin III Might Be Too Expensive for the Dolphins
Robert Griffin won the combine.
He charmed, dazzled and amazed his way through Indy, consequently (though speculatively) increasing the price teams must pay to pry the second overall pick away from the St. Louis Rams. It's safe to assume that the Rams will demand, at the very least, a pair of first-round picks and some combination of second- and third-round picks.
Now, the cost might be too steep for the Dolphins. This team has so many needs that parting with a hoard of draft picks could ultimately prove detrimental.
But, if the Dolphins believe Griffin is a can't-miss prospect, then they should go get him regardless of price.
(Side note: It's clear the Rams are desperate to trade down, and I wonder if this could lower the price for the second pick. The Browns are reportedly interested in Matt Flynn, and the Redskins could land Peyton Manning. This would eliminate competition for the second overall pick and prevent the Rams from hosting a bidding war, ultimately reducing the price for Griffin.)
Riley Reiff Should Be Available When Miami Picks
A few weeks ago, NFL Network's Mike Mayock (one of the few draft analysts worth following) ranked Riley Reiff as the best offensive tackle in this year's draft class.
But Reiff's T-Rex arms are concerning, and they might hinder his draft stock.
I expect the Dolphins to use their first-round pick on a pass rusher, but if the team signs Peyton Manning, then they might be enticed to consider an offensive tackle.
Despite his arm size, Reiff has the anatomy of an NFL lineman, his college resume is beyond impressive and he recorded a great 10-yard split time of 1.75. Reiff is the consensus No. 2 tackle in this year's draft, and the Dolphins might not be able to resist such a polished player if Manning is under center.
Justin Blackmon Could Feasibly Fall to the Dolphins as Well
Every year, one prospect inexplicably free falls.
Last year it was Nick Fairley (and Prince Amukamara), in 2010 it was Dez Bryant, in 2009 it was Michael Crabtree and so on. And, of course, don't forget about famous free-fallers like Aaron Rodgers, Brady Quinn and Matt Leinart.
I think Justin Blackmon could be this year's Michael Crabtree. Blackmon, who is widely regarded as a top five pick, measured in at 6'1", 203 pounds at the combine, and concerns about his speed linger. Unlike other wide receivers recently selected in the top five (A.J. Green, Calvin Johnson, Braylon Edwards, Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Johnson), Blackmon isn't a physical freak.
This might scare teams away from drafting him so early. However slim, there is definitely a chance that Blackmon is around when Miami picks. Could they pass on him? I doubt it.
Cordy Glenn Is No Longer a Second Round Option
I've been clamoring for the Dolphins to draft University of Georgia offensive lineman Cordy Glenn for a while. He has extensive experience at guard and tackle, which makes him a perfect fit for a team that needs both.
But Glenn was one of the combine's most outstanding prospects. He weighed in at a monstrous 6'5", 345 pounds, pumped out 31 reps on the bench press and ran a 5.15 in the 40-yard dash (sixth fastest amongst linemen).
The Dolphins would've been lucky to grab Glenn in the second round before the combine, and it's only a pipe dream now.
Melvin Ingram's Size Shouldn't Prevent Him from Going Inside of the Top 10
There's only one caveat preventing Melvin Ingram from achieving blue-chip status: size.
Ingram is only 6'1", 264 pounds, which is an unfavorable size for a player who must overpower massive offensive lineman.
But, Ingram compensated for his small build at the combine. He ranked inside of the top three in both the three-cone drill and the 20-yard shuttle amongst defensive ends, and also ran a respectable 4.79 40-yard dash and knocked out 28 reps on the bench press.
If the Dolphins can look past Ingram's size—and I think they will—then he should be their pick on draft day. Unlike Quinton Coples, who is a physical freak but takes plays off, Ingram plays with a fierce passion on every play.
Nick Perry Solidified Himself as a Possible Target of Miami's
Thus far, Melvin Ingram and Quinton Coples have dominated Dolphins draft talk. They are the consensus top pass rushers in this year's draft class, so it's only natural.
But, there's another player who surfaced on the radar this weekend: Nick Perry.
Miami favors big players—that's no secret, just look at their roster. Perry fits the bill. He measured in at 6'3", 271 pounds last week, and further impressed during workouts. Amongst defensive ends, Perry posted the best long and vertical jump, and posted the third best 40-yard dash time.
It's important not to get carried away with workout numbers, but Perry also racked up 9.5 sacks for USC last season. Keep an eye on him from here on out.
Don't Sleep on Dre Kirkpatrick
The Dolphins have three needs that stand out above the rest: quarterback, offensive tackle and pass rusher.
But cornerback isn't lagging far behind.
Neither Vontae Davis nor Sean Smith have become the studs we all thought they'd be by now. Plus, Smith is entering the final year of his contract and Davis will be a free agent in 2014. On top of that, Miami has virtually no depth behind the duo, and the team won't be able to stop Tom Brady and the Patriots until they shore up the back end of their secondary.
It might be far fetched for the 'Fins to draft a cornerback in the first round, but there's a chance they will do so—especially after watching Alabama's Dre Kirkpatrick shine at the combine. Kirkpatrick ran a 4.5 40-yard dash, but his size is what might catch Miami's eye.
He weighed in at 6'2", 186 pounds, making him one of the tallest cornerbacks in this year's class (just like Sean Smith was). Kirkpatrick's size and skill-set suggests he could transition to safety, which also happens to be a huge need for the Dolphins.