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As the process moves forward towards the 2015 NFL Draft, another major part of the process begins this Thursday with the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. This is a big event for the fortunate college kids that are invited, but it not the end of the world for the kids that were not invited to the combine. NFL teams will have individual workouts and the colleges will have Pro Days that scouts and management personnel will attend.
The Miami Dolphins continue their grind as well, looking at hundreds of possible prospect that will be narrowed down to a group of talented kids that Miami will target via the draft and or undrafted free agents. One area where Miami could look to address via the draft is running back, specifically, a big running back.
While Miami could possibly look to bring home San Francisco RB Frank Gore back home, but Gore has stated that he would like to re-sign with the 49ers. The Dolphins have stated they will not likely look to bring back Knowshown Moreno, and the rest of the free agents running back class does not really do a lot to excite you either. Ryan Matthews, Mark Ingram & Ben Tate lead the running back class. DeMarco Murray is without a doubt the top free agent running back, but Murray is looking to get PAID, Adrian Peterson type of paid. I doubt that he get's that type of money due to his injury history and coming off the 1st year where he did not miss any games this year and having a great year. But he will get more than the Dolphins will want to pay, especially when they have a nice running back in Lamar Miller.
That is why I think Miami could possibly look to go via the draft, because for one, you can get a running back in the draft for a cheaper cost and for a longer period of time. And a young man that I think could be a possible surprise pick at #14 is Georgia RB Todd Gurley.
The only reason he is not a sure fire top 15-20 pick is because he tore his ACL against Auburn back in November. That said, he is that big back that Miami covets, and Gurley is a complete back. He can run inside, has the speed to get the corner and take it to the house and is a solid receiver out of the backfield. He also is a very dangerous kickoff return man as well.
His career numbers are 510 carries for 3,285 yards, which is a 6.4 yard per carry to go with 36 touchdowns. He also had 65 catches for 615 yards and 6 touchdowns. He had 222, 165 and 123 carries in his career while at Georgia, so besides the knee injury that has to be checked to see how he is progressing, there is not a lot of wear and tear on this young running back.
If his knee is progressing well in his rehab, he could be that big running back that the Dolphins could rotate with Miller and give the Dolphins another weapon to add to the team. I bought it up with Mark, aka swerve a few weeks ago and I saw recently that the Sun-Sentinel's Omar Kelly bought up the possibility as well. Something to keep an eye on.
Come back and joins us at Phinfever next Sunday, as I will reveal my 1st NFL Mock Draft.
The offseason for the NFL is now in full swing with the Super Bowl now over and won by our bitter in division rival, the New England Patriots. I do feel good in knowing that our Dolphins are one of the 4 losses that the Patriots had this year. While Miami has work to do still, there is talent on this roster, enough talent to beat the 2014 Super Bowl Champions.
The Senior Bowl has been completed, and the next step in the process leading to the 2015 NFL Draft is the NFL Combine, which will take place Feb 17-23 in Indianapolis.
Let's take a look at some possible candidates to be the 1st round pick for the Dolphins in late April.
DeVante Parker, WR, 6'3, 209 lbs, Louisville - It's no secret that there a good chance the Dolphins will release wide receivers Brandon Gibson and Brian Hartline. Mike Wallace could also be a possiblity, but I just read that GM Brian Hickey just had dinner with Wallace, and I do think the Dolphins will look to bring him back, and Hartline is a possiblity if he re-works his contract. That said, the Dolphins still will want to look at a big receiver with speed and a Red Zone threat. Parker fits the mode. West Virginia's WR Kevin White and Alabama Armani Cooper would also fit the bill, but I don't think those kids will be there at #14, and Parker may not either.
Shaq Thompson, OLB, 6'2, 231 lbs, Washington - OLB Phillip Wheeler has been a HUGE disappointment and has not played close to the level of money he is being paid. He will not be on the roster and the Dolphins will need to add a playmaker at the opposite OLB position from Jelani Jenkins. Thompson is a playmaker, returning 3 fumbles and an interception for touchdowns to go with 80 tackles, 2.5 tackles for lost and a sack. Those number would have been better if he did not start at RB for the Huskies in two games, going for over 100 yards in both games.
Danny Shelton, DT, 6'2, 343 lbs, Washington - DT Randy Starks play dropped drastically in the 2nd half of the season, and as it did, the run game numbers spiked for the Dolphins as well. Miami ended the season ranked 24th against the run, giving up 121.1 yards per game. Starks is another veteran that will likely be gone. Coach Joe Philbin paid close attention to this massive DT in the Senior Bowl, and he has been compared to one Haloti Ngata, which is very lofty comparison. Big, strong and powerful, Shelton can anchor against the run and can be a disruptive force, as his 16.5 takcles for loss and 9.5 sacks in 2014 will attest. Will need to work on his pass rush repertoire, as he is strictly a Bull Rush power pass rusher, but if he is there at #14, he will be a major consideration.
Trae Waynes, CB, 6'1, 183 lbs, Michigan State - CB Courtland Finnegan will be asked to take a pay cut, and if he does not, he will be released after an up and down, injury prone season with the Dolphins. Miami has 3rd year cornerbacks Jamar Taylor and Will Davis coming off of injuries, and while both have played, and in the case of Taylor, shown ability to be major contributors, inconsistency and the ability to stay healthy, especially Taylor, has to be considered. Waynes has the size and is a willing, physical tackler in the run game. Had 46 tackles, a sack and 3 interceptions in the 2014 season for the Spartans.
La'el Collins, OT/OG, 6'3, 308 lbs, LSU - Miami had major interest in Notre Dame ORT Zach Martin, who ended up being drafted by Dallas and moved inside to OG. Many speculate that Collins best position could be at OG also. This is a physical kid that has surprising quickness, long arms and great power, which would make him ideal in the run game. He may not be an ideal fit for the zone blocking scheme the Dolphins employ, but when you have to deal with DT Kyle Williams and Marcel Darius, Buffalo's disruptive DT, you need a power pig like Collins.
As time goes on, this list can and will probably change. The process has begun.