As you may know by now (and if you didn't, that means you aren't following us on Twitter), I had the chance last week to speak with Wes Bunting - the Director of College Scouting for the National Football Post. During our almost twenty minute conversation, we touched on a number of draft topics. In what will be broken down into a three part series this week, I'll post Bunting's thoughts. Much of it is very interesting stuff and I hope you all enjoy it.
And I do want to publicly thank Wes for taking time out of his busy schedule to share his thoughts with us.
Part one features talk focusing on the offensive side of the ball - and a big part of the discussion revolves around the same player who is currently leading our poll about who Dolphin fans want their team to pick with the 12th overall pick. Enjoy.
Matty: Let’s start with a two-part question about Dez Bryant – a player who has been the center of a lot of debate amongst Dolphin fans and who you currently have going to the Dolphins in your latest mock draft. First off, what are your thoughts on Dez’s ability on the field?
Wes: On the field, he's one of the premier talents in this year's draft. That's the reason he's up so high. Obviously you have a good player there. For a big guy, he has really impressive short-area quickness, balance, and burst in and out of his breaks. Now he's not a complete burner down the field. But he runs with power and can shrug off defenders and can catch the ball well away from his frame. He's as talented as any receiver since Calvin Johnson came out. He's that good.
Now there's a long list of character concerns. We've heard passion. We've heard work ethic. Also posse and the people that he runs with. Those are all concerns. If he wants to be a great player, he can be it. But he needs a staff to light a fire under his butt. I think Miami would be able to do it. They need a receiver. I've heard they have some interest.
Matty: That was my second question about Dez. When I read all these reports about "character issues" it reminds me of last year during the draft process with Vontae Davis. Those "issues" caused Davis to fall all the way to #25. Are some of these concerns overblown at all?
Wes: Well I don't know if they are overblown because the NCAA suspended him for a year. He did something bad enough that kept him away from football. And if it happened in college, it could happen in the pros. Obviously I think these issues will cause him to fall a little bit.
But Bill Parcells and the staff in Miami, they have enough confidence in themselves that even if they do take a guy with some character flaws, the regime they run down there, they can fix that. They did it with Vontae Davis. And if they see the talent in a guy like Dez Bryant I think they'll have enough convictions in themselves that they can do it again.
Matty: Speaking of receivers, if the Dolphins don't go with a receive in the first round, who are some of the second or third round receivers you like the most?
Wes: Well my favorite is Arrelious Benn. To be honest, I think this guy could have more of an impact than any rookie receiver in the draft because of his ability to separate from underneath, put his foot in the ground, and then create after the catch.
Brandon LaFell seems like a guy Miami could target. He doesn't have elite burner speed. But he has that second gear when he's getting chased. The knock with him, though, is that he'll put the football on the ground. He'll drop the ball.
I've heard from numerous sources that the Miami Dolphins love Marcus Easley - the big, talented wide receiver from Connecticut. And Eric Decker from Minnesota - another big, maybe a possession type receiver. But he's 6'3, 215. He can go get the football and is one of the cleanest route runners in this year's draft. He seems like the ideal Bill Parcells type receiver.
Matty: I also want to ask you about one other offensive player because there are people who would love to see C.J. Spiller end up in Miami. Have you heard anything about the Dolphins showing any interest at all in Spiller?
Wes: No I haven't. But that's not a bad thing. A lot of times, the teams that let all these visits get out might do so as a smokescreen. There's a reason a lot of these prospects go on private visits and these visits don't get out. Well those are the players they actually want. So it's very possible that Spiller could have come in, had a private workout, and the Dolphins are in love with him but no one knows because they make sure no one finds out. Now am I saying that happened? No, I don't know. But sometimes, just because they don't have a guy in for a visit or don't seem to have a ton of interest in a guy doesn't mean they don't really have it.
Matty: And as far as Spiller goes, do you see him as a three down back or is he more of a 10 to 15 touch kind of back - like a Darren Sproles, for example?
Wes: I think he's more of a 10 to 15 touch kind of guy. He reminds me a lot of Felix Jones. I've heard the Chris Johnson comparisons. But there's only one Chris Johnson. I see Felix Jones. He can make big plays when you get him the ball in his hands and in space. He's got good instincts inside. You just worry about that pounding - will it take away from his game? But he is a play-maker who can score on any touch of the football.