Miami Dolphins Sign QB Pat Devlin, Seven Other Undrafted Free Agents

Chris J. NelsonSenior Writer IJuly 27, 2011

Miami Dolphins Sign QB Pat Devlin, Seven Other Undrafted Free Agents

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    We're finally back in the season of NFL transactions, and the first order of business for all 32 teams is to sign those players not selected in April's 2011 NFL Draft.

    While reports of signings are notoriously sketchy and difficult to confirm, the best I can gather at this point indicates the Dolphins have signed nine rookie free agents thus far. According to Omar Kelly, the Dolphins intend to sign roughly 11 undrafted free agents total.

    As of now, the Dolphins have reportedly signed or agreed to terms with the following nine players: quarterback Pat Devlin (Delaware), running back Nic Grigsby (Arizona), wide receiver/kick returner Phillip Livas (Louisiana Tech), tight end Brett Brackett (Penn State), guard Garrett Chisolm (South Carolina), tackle D. J. Jones (Nebraska), outside linebacker Jonathan Freeny (Rutgers), and cornerbacks Vince Agnew (Central Michigan) and Jose Perez (San Diego State).

    The signings would give the Dolphins 66 players under contract, not including the four restricted/exclusive rights free agents and the six unsigned draft picks, for a total of 76. That would leave the Dolphins with 14 spots on their expanded 90-man roster to add any more undrafted rookies, sign NFL free agents, and acquire players via trade.

    I'll have more on the undrafted rookies as additional information comes out and reports are confirmed, but for now, here is some background info on each player as well as some idea what to look for in their quests to make the Dolphins' roster.

QB Pat Devlin, Delaware

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    Background

    A highly-touted prospect from Pennsylvania, Devlin spent two years at Penn State before losing the battle for the starting quarterback job to Daryll Clark and transferring to Delaware. He started two seasons for the Fightin' Blue Hens, completing 68 percent of his passes for 3,032 yards as a senior with 22 touchdowns against just three interceptions.

    Scouting Report

    Regarded by draft guru Mike Mayock as a top-10 quarterback prospect in this year's class, Devlin offers superior accuracy and good size but has questionable arm strength at best. He certainly has the tools to be developed and could succeed in the right situation, but he'll need time to adjust to an NFL offense and reading defenses.

    Where he fits in?

    It's no secret the Dolphins are still searching for their franchise quarterback, but don't expect Devlin to be that guy any time soon. He's a solid prospect as far as undrafted quarterbacks go, but he's still a long way from contributing at the NFL level.

    Expect the Dolphins to add a veteran to give Chad Henne real competition in 2011, while Devlin competes with last year's practice-squader, Tom Brandstater, for the team's No. 3 job. Both offer intriguing skills as a developmental prospect, but neither is a sure thing.

RB Nic Grigsby, Arizona

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    Background

    Grigsby made a splash as a freshman at Arizona in 2007, rushing for 704 yards and two touchdowns. He followed that up with his best season in 2008, totaling 1,153 yards and 13 touchdowns on a 5.4 average. He rushed for just 567 yards in 2009 as he was banged up most of the season with a shoulder injury, while durability and ball security issues held him to just 533 yards and eight scores as a senior in 2010.

    Scouting Report

    Grigsby (5-11, 199) offers tremendous agility and sub-4.4 speed. However, his injury history and lingering fumbling problems hurt his chances to carry the ball more for the Wildcats. He has the physical tools to be an NFL running back, but has a long way to go in terms of blocking technique and decision-making as a runner.

    Where he fits in?

    The Dolphins' backfield is almost entirely bare right now, but that doesn't mean Grigsby will end up making the squad. He certainly could compete with Lex Hilliard and Kory Sheets for the No. 4 running back job and a role on special teams, but he has to be considered a long shot at this point.

WR/KR Phillip Livas, Louisiana Tech

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    Background

    Livas was a do-it-all player in four seasons for the Bulldogs, totaling 811 yards rushing, 1,582 yards receiving, and 11 offensive touchdowns. Where he really made his mark was on special teams, earning All-WAC honors each of his final two seasons and tying the NCAA record for total return touchdowns with eight, joining five other players including Buffalo Bills running back C. J. Spiller.

    Scouting Report

    He may be small at 5-foot-7 and 179 pounds, but he has potential 4.2 speed and has proved himself to be a dynamic threat in the return game even when not fully healthy. His blazing speed obviously gives him some playmaking potential elsewhere, but he's pretty raw on offense and may not have the size to hold up in the NFL.

    Where he fits in?

    Livas will instantly be one of the fastest players in training camp for the Dolphins, but that alone is not going to get him on the final roster. As the Dolphins have shown year in and year out with the likes of Davone Bess on punt returns, the team is willing to settle for mediocrity in the return game rather than sacrifice a roster spot on a specialist.

    That being the case, Livas will have to use his speed to show he is someone that the Dolphins absolutely cannot part with. It will be a tough battle to win a return job on the Dolphins' final roster over players like Nolan Carroll that are more likely to contribute elsewhere.

TE Brett Brackett, Penn State

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    Background

    Brackett was featured sparingly in the passing game during his first three seasons before catching 39 passes for 525 yards and five touchdowns as a senior. During his four-year career with the Nittany Lions, Brackett caught 56 passes for 714 yards and seven touchdowns.

    Scouting Report

    While Brackett's collegiate career doesn't jump out at you, Brackett presents extremely well with a good blend of size (6-6, 248) and 4.6 speed. He's a fairly lanky specimen and probably isn't going to dominate as a blocker, but he has the tools to be a nice seam threat in the passing game.

    Where he fits in?

    I'm happy to say that Brackett was someone I named for the Dolphins to target in undrafted free agency back in May, but his odds of making the active roster are quite difficult to pinpoint. I think his talent can easily rival the Dolphins' underwhelming crop of backup tight ends including former PSU teammate Mickey Shuler, Jeron Mastrud, and Dedrick Epps.

    The depth behind Anthony Fasano is really a crapshoot at this point, but Brackett has the receiving ability to be a good complementary tight end in an ideal world. He's certainly landed in a good situation with no proven depth on the roster, but he'll still have a battle on his hands.

OG Garrett Chisolm, South Carolina

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    Background

    Chisolm initially played football at Pikeville College (Ky.) in 2006 before transferring to Trident Tech in 2007 and eventually South Carolina a year later. It wasn't until 2009 that Chisolm began playing football for the Gamecocks, however, walking on to the team and earning a pair of starts. He earned the team's starting left guard job as a senior in 2010 and excelled, but a torn ACL suffered in a pickup basketball game in December ended his season prematurely.

    Chisolm has also experienced quite a lot of hardship in his life, losing both of his parents to cancer in the span of nine months in 2010.

    Scouting Report

    Chisolm has the size (6-5, 312) to be a guard or tackle in the NFL and could potentially project at either spot. He's very raw with relatively little college football experience, but his work ethic is outstanding and he has a good football IQ. He's a good puller and has nice athleticism and footwork, but he'll have to show he's recovered from his late-season knee injury before he's ready to play at the next level.

    Where he fits in?

    Chisolm is a bit of a question mark because he's only eight months removed from a torn ACL and thus might not be ready for training camp. It's possible he could begin camp on the non-football injury list or be relegated to the practice squad to continue his development.

    Most likely, Chisolm will project at left guard for the Dolphins, competing for a backup spot behind starter Richie Incognito. He'll have plenty of competition, however, and may initially start off on the practice squad.

OT D. J. Jones, Nebraska

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    Background

    After redshirting as a true freshman in 2006, Jones appeared in 11 games as a reserve lineman for the Cornhuskers over his freshman and sophomore seasons. He started three games at right tackle in 2009 and all 14 as a senior in 2010.

    Scouting Report

    Jones has decent size at 6-foot-5 and 310 pounds, as well as the benefit of starting for a major Big 12 school with a productive running game as a senior. However, his upside is pretty limited and he lacks the athleticism to be a starting tackle or brute strength to be a guard.

    Where he fits in?

    Jones will probably slide in at right tackle behind Vernon Carey, Lydon Murtha, and James Marten, or potentially at guard. I don't see him making the active roster at either position out of the gate, but he will be in contention for a practice squad spot.

OLB Jonathan Freeny, Rutgers

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    Background

    A Broward County (Fla.) native, Freeny appeared in eight games for the Scarlet Knights as a true freshman and recorded three tackles. He had 13 tackles and a sack as a sophomore in 2008 before a breakout season in 2009 that saw him record nine sacks. However, a down senior season with just a half-sack severely hurt his NFL prospects and he went undrafted.

    Scouting Report

    Freeney measures in at a solid 6-foot-2 and 250 pounds, possessing long arms and solid athleticism. He projects as an outside linebacker in the Dolphins' 3-4 scheme, but his pass-rushing technique will need some work and his lack of production as a senior is a cause for concern.

    Where he fits in?

    Freeny provides the Dolphins with much-needed depth at outside linebacker, as only starters Cameron Wake and Koa Misi, along with Ikaika Alama-Francis, are currently under contract. However, expect to see the team add some competition that could relegate Freeny to the practice squad as he works on his technique.

CB Vince Agnew, Central Michigan

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    Background

    Primarily a special-teamer as a freshman in 2007, Agnew saw time as a starter at cornerback and safety over the following two seasons. He was named MVP of the GMAC Bowl after blocking a field goal attempt by Troy in the game's second overtime. As a senior in 2010, he earned third-team All-MAC and team defensive MVP honors after starting all 12 games. For his career, he recorded 161 tackles, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, one interception, and 14 pass deflections.

    Scouting Report

    Agnew (5-10, 192) has significant defensive back and special teams experience. He also has potential sub-4.4 speed and good overall athletic ability, but he isn't really a playmaker on defense. He instincts and technique still need work.

    Where he fits in?

    It will be hard for any undrafted corner to make the Dolphins' roster, even if the team parts with one of Will Allen and Benny Sapp. Agnew doesn't have a whole lot of upside on defense, and thus will have to make his mark on special teams to stick around. His best shot at this point is the practice squad.

CB Jose Perez, San Diego State

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    Background

    A seventh-round pick by the New York Yankees in 2003, Perez spent three seasons in the team's minor league system, hitting .211 in 105 games over three seasons.

    Perez initially arrived as San Diego State in 2006, working at wide receiver in 2006 before switching to defense in 2007. He played in his first game with the Aztecs in 2008 before starting his final two seasons at cornerback. His two career interceptions both came during his sophomore season.

    Scouting Report

    Perez (6-0, 183) gained starting experience over his final two years of college, but remains fairly raw. He doesn't possess any standout physical tools and wasn't a playmaker on defense, indicating he may only be headed for a special teams role in the pros.

    Where he fits in?

    Perez doesn't seem to stand much of a chance of making the Dolphins' active roster. I doubt he's ready to contribute at cornerback, and he may never be. His only real chance is to make the roster based on special teams play, but he'll obviously have his hands full with competition and will likely be vying for a practice squad spot.