The Miami Dolphins need all the help they can get from this upcoming draft class. With the team trying to revitalize itself after the Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin scandal, bringing in fresh, young talent will be massively important.
The NFL Scouting Combine takes place this weekend, and it will give some lesser-known guys from non-FBS schools the chance to step up and make a name for themselves.
While the Dolphins haven't shown much interest in pursuing small-school players in the past, new GM Dennis Hickey should have a few of these guys on his radar.
With the combine approaching, here are five special small-school talents Miami fans should look out for this weekend.
It shouldn't be a surprise that Jordan Tripp isn't the most well-known prospect after spending his collegiate career at Montana.
He's a really special athlete who checks in at almost 6'3", weighs 236 pounds and is well-built throughout his frame.
Tripp is explosive and fluid at the same time, and he should put up some great numbers at the combine. Look for him to excel at the 40-yard dash, 3-cone drill and broad jump.
While he's only a midround prospect right now, a strong showing at the combine could entice some teams to consider him as high as the second. Miami needs another athletic linebacker, and Tripp would fit the bill.
Statistics should be looked at with a skeptical eye when evaluating prospects for the draft, but this one has to catch anyone's eye: 2,509 yards.
That's rushing yards. In one season. By one player. Towson didn't run some flimsy triple option or run-heavy offense either. Terrance West is just that good.
Granted, he was going up against FCS competition. But he's still a pretty impressive runner who blends power and speed and runs as hard and aggressively as anyone else in this class.
At 5'11", 233 pounds, West has a sturdy frame that would let him jump into Miami's rotation right away. His strength and running style would make him an ideal complement to Lamar Miller.
Furman is just about the last place any NFL scout would think to go and watch a prospect, but Dakota Dozier has made more than a few stop by Greenville on their way to Clemson.
After playing left tackle in college, the 6'4", 312-pound lineman was moved inside to guard at the Shrine Game, and according to Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com, the transition went as smoothly as possible.
That's great news for the Dolphins, a team that desperately needs to find a new pair of guards. While drafting Dozier will be a lot about projection, he could certainly help himself this weekend.
There's not any one thing that Dozier will excel at, but Miami needs to keep a close eye on how he performs at position drills. He'll need to show quick feet and good balance to fit into a zone-blocking scheme.
As long as he checks out this weekend, he'd be an ideal target in the third or fourth round.
Earlier this week, I labeled Robert Herron as a player who would elevate his stock at the combine. Hopefully, Miami will be paying attention.
In such a deep receiver class, it's next to impossible for Herron to move up into the second round. But in the third round and beyond, he would be a great addition to the Dolphins' receiving corps.
Ryan Tannehill cannot have too many targets. Herron is very small at 5'9", but he's incredibly shifty, has good hands and would be a perfect slot receiver who would bring a jolt of excitement to a typically stale offense.
He's criminally underrated because he played at Wyoming, but his 40-yard dash and shuttle run times will turn some heads. Hickey's head better be one of them.
Billy Turner was a captain and a leader for North Dakota State, a phenomenal FCS team that won three straight national championships.
At 6'5", 316 pounds with 33.25" arms, Turner has an ideal frame for an NFL offensive lineman. He played left tackle in college, but he could move to the right or even inside to guard at the next level.
He's got some technical issues, and he can play a little inflexible and upright at times. He's a strong, high-energy player who would compete to play right away and continue to develop.
A high-character football player with NFL measurables and pretty high upside, Turner seems like the kind of guy who would be perfect for the resurrection of Miami's offensive line.
The combine will go a long way toward determining Turner's stock. Watch and see if his footwork, quickness and flexibility in position drills are solid.