Rookie, Undrafted Free Agent Watch for Miami Dolphins' Training Camp

Thomas GaliciaFeatured Columnist IVJuly 17, 2013

Rookie, Undrafted Free Agent Watch for Miami Dolphins' Training Camp

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    The Miami Dolphins had plenty of ammunition in the 2013 NFL Draft, and used it to plug up holes in their pass rush, secondary, and special teams as well as build up depth for the future at key positions. 

    Through trading up and down through the draft, Miami wound up with nine players who hope to contribute in 2013 in an effort to bring the Miami Dolphins back to the playoffs for the first time in five seasons.

    Miami wound up grabbing arguably the best athlete available in the draft, a turnover-producing cornerback, and a blocking tight end. They also selected a kicker, linebacker and a running back and offensive guard.

    Here's a look at the players the Miami Dolphins will welcome for the first time to their training camp.

Dion Jordan

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    • Position: Linebacker/DE
    • College: Oregon
    • Draft Status: Round One (Pick three)
    • Height: 6'6"
    • Weight: 248
    • College Production: 121 tackles, 29 TFLs, 14.5 sacks, four forced fumbles and two pass deflections in four seasons.

     

    Analysis

    At Oregon, Jordan was as versatile a defender as they come, lining up as a defensive end, 3-4 pass rusher, and from time to time he would even line up as a cornerback or safety.

    With the Dolphins he will likely split time between defensive end and linebacker, primarily on passing downs. One person who might be happiest with Jordan's arrival is defensive end Cameron Wake, who should be freed up from double-teams with Jordan getting some of the attention that teams have typically devoted to Wake.

     

Jamar Taylor

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    • Position:  Cornerback
    • College: Boise State
    • Draft Status: Round Two (Pick 54)
    • Height: 5'11"
    • Weight: 192
    • College Production: 132 tackles, 24 pass deflections, 10 TFLs, seven interceptions, six forced fumbles, four sacks, one touchdown.

     

    Analysis

    Taylor is the turnover-forcing zone-coverage corner the Dolphins needed to replace Vontae Davis. Taylor not only covers receivers well, but he's good at run support, so don't be surprised if defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle decides to occasionally blitz him on running plays.

    While it will be tough to unseat veteran Richard Marshall, Taylor does have the potential to unseat him as Miami's second starter at corner, pushing Marshall to the nickleback position he's played before.

     

     

Dallas Thomas

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    • Position: Left Tackle / Offensive Guard
    • College: Tennessee
    • Draft Status: Round Three (Pick 77)
    • Height: 6'5"
    • Weight: 300
    • College Production: Appeared in 50 games throughout his career at Tennessee, including starting his last 37 games in a row (his last 12 at left guard).

     

    Analysis

    Thomas had a productive career at Tennessee as part of an offensive line that protected the quarterback well. Drafted as a left tackle, Thomas may compete at guard and faces the daunting task of learning from the man whom he might replace at the position—Richie Incognito.

     

Will Davis

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    • Position: Cornerback
    • College: Utah State
    • Draft Status: Round Three (Pick 93)
    • Height: 5'11"
    • Weight: 186
    • College Production: 99 tackles, 28 pass deflections, eight TFLs, five interceptions in two seasons

     

    Analysis

    Davis was considered a reach on draft day, and he's not exactly an ideal fit for the Dolphins since he mainly played press coverage while at Utah State.

    However, he is flexible enough to learn the zone scheme and should see plenty of playing time in 2013, even though he won't be expected to start.

Jelani Jenkins

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    • Position: Outside Linebacker
    • College: Florida
    • Draft Status: Round Four (Pick 104)
    • Height: 6'0"
    • Weight: 243
    • College Production: 182 tackles, 16.5 TFLs, 10 pass deflections, six sacks, three interceptions, one forced fumble

     

    Analysis

    Jenkins will have to work his way up from special teams to get into Miami's linebacker rotation, a process that should take him at least a year before he's in contention for a starting job.

    However he does provide some much-needed depth should any injuries hit Miami's linebacking unit.

Dion Sims

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    • Position:  Tight End
    • College: Michigan State
    • Draft Status: Round Four (Pick 106)
    • Height: 6'5"
    • Weight: 262
    • College Production: 59 receptions for 707 yards and eight touchdowns in three seasons

     

    Analysis

    Sims provides Miami with a physical blocking tight end to complement Dustin Keller and Michael Egnew. He might also serve as a safety blanket in the red zone. 

    Sims will see more of the field, however, when the Dolphins are running the ball, as that's where his physical toughness will be needed the most.

Mike Gillislee

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    • Position: Running Back
    • College: Florida
    • Draft Status: Round Five (Pick 164)
    • Height: 5'11"
    • Weight: 208
    • College Production: 2,072 yards and 10 rushing touchdowns with an average of 5.3 yards per carry, 23 receptions for 182 yards and two touchdowns in four seasons.

     

    Analysis

    Gillislee gives the Dolphins more depth at running back, as well as someone who works well in the passing game as both a blocker and a receiver.

Caleb Sturgis

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    • Position: Kicker
    • College: Florida
    • Draft Status: Round Five (Pick 166)
    • Height: 5'10
    • Weight: 188
    • College Production: converted 79.5 percent of his field goals in five seasons, improving his percentage every year.

     

    Analysis

    Sturgis got only more accurate with each passing year at Florida. He possesses a big leg and made plenty of high-pressure kicks in five seasons with the Gators. 

     

Don Jones

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    • Position: Safety
    • College: Arkansas State
    • Draft Status: Round Seven (Pick 250)
    • Height: 5'11
    • Weight: 191
    • College Production: 129 tackles, 12 TFLs, seven pass deflections, two interceptions and one sack as a two year starter.

     

    Analysis

    Jones was drafted as a safety—and this is the position at which the Dolphins are starting him off—however he also has the speed to play cornerback if needed.

Undrafted Free Agents

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    Undrafted Free Agent List (Courtesy of NFL.com):

    Nevada G Chris Barker; Utah C Sam Brenner; Mississippi State WR Chad Bumphis; Old Dominion DT Chris Burnette; Oregon LB Michael Clay; Mt. Union WR Jasper Collins; Maryland DT AJ Francis; Arkansas LB Alonzo Highsmith; Arizona State S Keelan Johnson; Michigan S Jordan Kovacs; Arizona State RB Cameron Marshall; Georgetown LB Rob McCabe; Fresno State DE Tristan Okpalaugo; Louisiana (Lafayette) DE Emeka Onyenekwu; FAU LB David Hinds; Texas A&M G Brian Thomas, Kentucky G Chandler Burden

     

    Analysis

    The most intriguing names on this list include wide receiver Jasper Collins, who will wind up competing for a role as a fifth wide receiver and, with his kickoff return skills, could find his way on the team.  So too could Michigan Safety Jordan Kovacs, who was one of the most impressive players during rookie minicamp.

    Keep an eye on linebacker Alonzo Highsmith Jr., the son of the former University of Miami running back of the same name. In two years at Arkansas, Highsmith was a leader on defense with 134 tackles, 16.5 TFLs, 6.5 sacks and an interception.