5 Undrafted Miami Dolphins Players Who Could Prove to Be Gems
Much will be made about the Miami Dolphins draft class, but there are plenty of potential gems among the group of undrafted free agents they picked up.
After weeks of OTAs and minicamp, the Dolphins have a better view of these players and will have to decide who's a good fit for the team and who's a mere camp body this summer.
In all likelihood, these players won't fill any pressing needs for the Dolphins but can contribute to the team in 2014 and beyond.
Here are the five undrafted free agents with the best possibility of becoming gems. They'll make you look back and wonder why a team didn't draft them while thanking the heavens for the luck the Dolphins had in acquiring them.
Rantavious Wooten, WR, Georgia
It's easy to see why the former Georgia Bulldog Rantavious Wooten went undrafted.
His size (5'9", 178 lbs) leaves a lot to be desired, and it didn't help that he wasn't at the NFL combine.
His 40-yard dash of 4.53, per CBSSports.com, also isn't anything to write home about considering his size.
He does have good hands though, which was noticed by Omar Kelly and Chris Perkins of The Sun-Sentinel when they observed him at the Dolphins' practice on May 27: "WR Rantavious Wooten making some nice receptions on the "JV" field. Starters on varsity field."
Andrew Wilson, Linebacker, Missouri
The one unit that could mess up the team in 2014 like how the offensive line did in 2013 is the linebacking corps.
Miami's linebacking unit is in a state of flux, with overpaid players likely switching positions in an attempt for the team to get the most out of them.
This was common knowledge at the draft, which is why it was so surprising that the only linebacker the Dolphins drafted was Montana's Jordan Tripp.
Miami would go to Missouri to find another rookie linebacker though, signing Andrew Wilson after the draft. He is ranked 11th in tackles all-time at Missouri and was described by Alain Poupart of MiamiDolphins.com as someone who "hits like a hammer."
That type of hitting will be needed among Miami's linebackers, who at times seemed to hit more like a worn out flip-flop used as a makeshift hammer.
At 6'3", 239 pounds, it might help Wilson to gain some weight to succeed at the next level, but based on how hard he hits, the Dolphins could find a place for him on the roster on special teams if they feel they're fine at linebacker right now.
Orleans Darkwa, RB, Tulane
Orleans Darkwa's college career showed plenty of promise in his freshman season (2010), as he rushed for 925 yards in only six starts.
After that, his career went downhill, as he battled injuries that limiting him in his sophomore and junior seasons.
He was healthy again in his senior season yet disappointed by running for only 780 yards. He did have nine touchdowns though, at times showing his value as a home run hitter.
The injuries likely kept him from being drafted, but he showed promise, especially after running a 4.40 40-yard dash at Tulane's pro day, per Andrew Abramson of The Palm Beach Post.
Since signing with the Dolphins, Darkwa has done well in camp, showing promise with each run. He's still far behind on the depth chart, but he could make some serious noise with his speed.
His attitude seems to be the right one to succeed in the NFL as well, as shown by this tweet:
Harold "Gator" Hoskins, TE, Marshall
When your primary job is catching the football, the nickname "Gator" doesn't seem like the best one to have since it conjures up images of short, stubby arms.
However, if you're trying to describe ferociousness, then it might be a good one to have.
In the case of Marshall's Harold "Gator" Hoskins, it likely applies to the latter, because his long arms seem to have no trouble catching the football.
In his final two collegiate seasons, he led the nation in touchdowns among tight ends, with 13 and 10, respectively. His 6'2", 263-pound frame makes him an inviting target in the red zone; however, he will most likely find himself in the H-back role once filled by now-tight end Charles Clay if he makes the team.
Chris Perkins of The Sun-Sentinel went out of his way to tweet his praise for Hoskins:
Keep seeing TE Gator Hoskins doing good things. Gotta keep closer watch on rook from Marshall.— Chris Perkins (@chrisperk) June 18, 2014
I most certainly will, as will many Dolphins fans.
Anthony Johnson, DT, LSU
Defensive tackles from LSU don't just fall out of the sky into your lap: usually you will have to spend a high pick to acquire one.
Miami got fairly lucky here, as LSU's Anthony Johnson went undrafted, partially because of an underwhelming combine and partially due to a failed drug test in February, as reported by Fox Sports' Jay Glazer.
Both of those events obscured an otherwise stellar career at LSU, one where he made 16 starts and racked up 22 tackles for loss and seven sacks before leaving after his junior season.
He's also only 21 years old, which means he has plenty of time to mature. He probably would have been better served staying in school, but I'm not one to begrudge athletes for jumping to the pros when they feel they are ready, provided they understand the consequences of their actions.
Johnson is a boom-or-bust project, but in all likelihood he found himself on the right team. Defensive line coach Kacy Rodgers is one of the best in the business, and with Miami's depth at the position, there won't be any pressure on Johnson to start right away.
He has impressed many in Miami already. According to the Miami Herald's Barry Jackson, Johnson was the "most impressive of undrafted fins rookies." Jackson tweeted coach Joe Philbin's assessment as well: "He shows up on film."
Given his play thus far, Johnson might show up on the field too.
Height and weight profiles provided by MiamiDolphins.com, statistics provided by ESPN.com unless otherwise noted.
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