Full Miami Dolphins Scouting Guide for the 2013 East-West Shrine Game
The East-West Shrine Game is one of the many collegiate senior all-star games that will be going on in the next two weeks where teams get a chance to scout out potential draft choices and assess how they will be able to fit on their team of choice.
Dolphins fans, I implore you to watch this season's version of the game (along with the other college all-star games that will air in the next two weeks, check your local listings and set your DVRs) as you will get a chance to see how some potential future Dolphins perform.
Here's a scouting list of eight players to watch for Miami in this year's East-West Shrine Game.
Brandon McGee: Cornerback, Miami (East Team)
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I'm a big proponent of the Dolphins drafting local products, but I'm sure many of you who watched the Hurricanes this season wouldn't want to see McGee in a Dolphins uniform.
Why would you want a player who only had two interceptions for the season on a terrible defense that got torched throughout the season?
If you believe the issue was with the system, odds are you believe that McGee deserves an NFL shot. In Tampa this week he's proved that.
The National Football Post had this to say about McGee's practice on Tuesday as they called him the top "player that impressed":
One of the standout performers this morning, McGee made two outstanding interceptions during today’s practice. Displaying loose hips and quick feet, he was able to flip hips to change directions easily. He consistently was quick reading and reacting to the play, which helped him to break and close fast. On both interceptions his jumping ability, body control and hands showed up as he high pointed the ball and made the interception over a receiver.
Sounds pretty good. However, his struggles with the 'Canes in their last two seasons could put a damper on his draft prospects. He will need a strong showing at the Shrine Game as well as the Combine in order to move up in the draft.
For the Dolphins this would be a pick that could work if it's a late-round pick. While he was considered the best defensive back in the state of Florida when Miami recruited him four years ago, he has underachieved and now looks like a classic Jeff Ireland acorn.
Considering how the Dolphins went heavy on the Hurricanes in last year's draft with Olivier Vernon and Lamar Miller, seeing them pick up McGee in round four or five to add depth to a wafer-thin secondary would be a good option.
Mike Catapano: Defensive End, Princeton (East Team)
This is one player who I'm excited to see on Saturday, and in a big way.
He fills a need for the Dolphins at defensive end, and is a pass rusher. He went to Princeton so I'm sure it's safe to assume he's an intelligent kid, and based off of everything I've read in the past week, he has impressed many during the practices.
His name is Mike Catapano, and get used to hearing his name in the next few months leading up to the draft.
Catapano led the Ivy League in sacks with 12, which also ranked him at second in Division I-FCS with an average of 1.2 sacks per game. He also 41 tackles, with 15.5 of those tackles coming for a loss.
He ended the season by winning the Ivy League's Defensive Player of The Year award, and this week, the praise has continued to come in.
National Football Post's Russ Lande had this to say about Catapano's week of practice:
Quick off the ball, Catapano displayed strong and aggressive use of hands to jolt and defeat pass blocks with surprising ease. Able to consistently beat the offensive tackle around the corner and inside allowed him to regularly pressure the quarterback in every drill. Not only productive rushing the passer, his ability to defeat run blocks allowed him to make plays against the run at him and away. His strong week of practice has put Catapano in position to be a third round pick if he continues to perform well the rest of the spring.
Translation to Dolphins fans: while pass rusher is a need, they can probably wait until the third round to address it while using their first and second round picks to fill holes at guard, wide receiver and the secondary. This kid looks like he will be a steal.
Yes, I'm more impressed by Catapano's week at practice than I am his season, but from the sounds of it, it has been a very impressive week.
Rodney Smith: Wide Receiver, Florida State (East Team)
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A 6'6" 219 pound wide receiver. What's not to love?
With Rodney Smith, there's actually a lot. Despite the size he would have on just about any NFL cornerback and the athleticism, his numbers in his final season at Florida State are a rather pedestrian; 38 catches for 524 yards and three touchdowns.
Considering what E.J. Manual produced at quarterback, Smith wasn't exactly a breakout star for the Seminoles in 2012. But at the very least Smith was consistent, as he recorded 36 catches for 561 yards and four touchdowns in 2011, along with a 2010 season that saw him reel in 31 catches for 448 yards and three touchdowns in 2010.
I can also tell you that Smith didn't pass the eye test for me during the Orange Bowl, which I attended. Nothing he did stuck out during a three catch, 41 yard outing.
But his size and speed will still get the attention of NFL scouts, including the receiver-poor Miami Dolphins. He will need a good game on Saturday in order to move up draft boards, but based off of what Dane Brugler of NFLDraftScout.com has said, his practices haven't exactly been impressive.
It's obvious to see why many scouts think so highly of Florida State wide receiver Rodney Smith with his combination of size and athleticism. But through two practices, he has struggled to play up to his size and needs to do a better job finishing downfield. On Tuesday, he saw quite a few deep ball chances and did an excellent job locating and adjusting his lanky but fluid frame to make a play on the ball. But too often he couldn't complete the catch or would allow the cornerback to out-muscle him, something you don't want to see with a 6-foot- 6, 220-pound wideout.
Dropped passes? Being out-muscled by corners that are at least six inches shorter and 30 pounds lighter than him? Red flag indeed.
Keep an eye on him, but a very cautious one.
Keenan Davis: Wide Receiver, Iowa (West Team)
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I can't seem to find anything good about Iowa's Keenan Davis, a 6'2" 215lb receiver who's Google Searches when connected to the game only mention that he's there.
That's not exactly a good sign, especially considering the rave reviews less heralded players from less heralded programs have gotten.
Davis isn't even anywhere to be seen on Matt Miller's draft board at wide receiver. Keep in mind, there are 35 players listed.
So does this mean Dolphins fans should brace for the inevitable, and Davis will be the first receiver Miami chooses in the draft (in round seven)?
Davis did end his senior season at Iowa with 47 catches for 571 yards and a touchdown. From what I have seen on him, he does run decent routes and holds onto the ball.
He is someone to watch, but not exactly someone to get too excited about.
Earl Watford: Guard, James Madison (East Team)
There's no doubt that the guard position is an important one that must be filled by the Dolphins this offseason.
I actually think it should be the first pick for Miami in the draft (assuming his name is Chance Warmack and neither Johnthan Banks nor Dee Milliner are available), but as many of you have been quick to remind me, this need can be filled later in the draft.
The East-West Shrine game could show us one player who could fill that need in the later rounds in James Madison guard Earl Watford.
Watford led a James Madison rushing attack that averaged 209 yards per game and 4.6 yards per carry while earning AFCA All-America honors in his senior season. He also made the All-CAA team for two consecutive years while allowing just one sack this season.
Watford is an intriguing prospect at 6'4" 300lbs and is ranked as the 10th best guard in a guard-heavy class by Bleacher Report's Matt Miller. National Football Posts' Russ Lande said that he is "confident that he [Watford] will develop into a quality starting guard in time."
As a piece to add offensive line depth late in the draft, Watford would be a solid pick up for the Dolphins.
Caleb Sturgis: Kicker, Florida (East Team)
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Caleb Sturgis isn't a kicker you draft.
Not that I mind that. I don't think there's a reason to draft a kicker. However Dolphins kicker Dan Carpenter (himself undrafted), is in need of competition, and Sturgis can provide just that.
Sturgis only missed four field goals in 2012 with the Gators, and was eight-of-nine in field goals longer than 40 yards in his senior season.
If you haven't seen enough of him during the season, take a look at him during the Shrine Game. But don't focus so much on the field goals (usually these games do not tend to feature many field goals), and instead see how he performs on kickoffs.
He has plenty of leg, and while not on the same level as Greg Zuerlein or Florida State's Dustin Hopkins, he would be a valuable UDFA pick up for the Dolphins to provide Carpenter with much needed competition.
David Bass: Defensive End/Linebacker, Missorui Western State (East Team)
Much like Catapano, here's an intriguing small-school pass rusher who has seemed to impress during the practices and should be watched closely during the game.
Missouri Western State's David Bass has great size for a pass rusher at 6'4" 263 lbs and looks like a man amongst boys against the smaller competition.
During practices though he has impressed many, and likely played himself into being a fifth round pick, according to National Football Post.
Matt Miller has Bass ranked as the 19th best defensive end available in the draft, but with the Shrine Game as well as Bass' invite to the NFL Combine, his stock will surely rise.
Joseph Fauria: Tight End, UCLA (West Team)
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When I wrote my last Dolphins mock draft, I had Fauria going in the seventh round. The reason for that being his low numbers in comparison to his talent and the fact that so many other tight ends are ranked ahead of him this season.
Fauria, however, did go through inconsistency at quarterback and head coach during his four seasons at UCLA, which is part of the reason why his numbers have been inconsistent. He also looks like he will be a steal in the draft, even if it's not in the seventh round.
On Saturday, he will begin his first step in raising his stock in this game. Fauria's stock should be higher considering that he was a touchdown machine in his senior year, scoring 12 on 46 catches. He'd be any quarterback's best friend in the end zone with his 6'7" 255 lb frame.
He's the number one player to watch on Saturday, so remember to set your DVR's and keep an eye on him and the other seven players mentioned in this slideshow.