On Monday I posted part one of my draft discussion with the National Football Post's Director of College Scouting, Wes Bunting. Part one focused on the offensive side of the ball. Yesterday I posted part two, focusing on the nose tackle and safety positions.
Today is the third and final part of the conversation and will center around the outside linebacker position. Lots of good info here, in my opinion, so let's get to it.
Matty: Now let's get to the outside linebacker position because that's another big need for the Dolphins. Which conversion 3-4 linebackers do you like the most?
Wes: Well my favorite is Jerry Hughes. I think his ability to get after the quarterback in a variety of ways - that's going to make him the most successful. The most NFL-ready is Brandon Graham. He's not the most explosive guy off the edge. But his suddenness on contact and his ability to play with leverage and slip blocks on the outside is second to none in this draft.
The wildcard is Jason Worilds from Virginia Tech. He's probably the most explosive of the three. He's a little raw but can get up the field, consistently turn the corner, and is really tough to block. And then Ricky Sapp, in terms of size and speed, might be the best of the four. But there are concerns I've heard about his knee. He says he's 100% now and ready to go. I talked to him the other day and he said he played last season at about 60%. Now if his knee checks out medically, he could be a real steal. He's definitely a first round talent. I just have reservations because of his health.
Matty: You brought up Hughes and I've openly declared Hughes as my favorite prospect in this draft (other than Eric Berry) at a position of need for the Dolphins. But will the lack of ideal size hurt both Hughes and Graham - especially in Miami where Bill Parcells has very rigid size requirements for his linebackers?
Wes: Yeah, I think so. I could see them taking Ricky Sapp - not at twelve, of course - more so than a guy like Hughes or Graham. A real wildcard is Jason Pierre-Paul, to be honest. This guy has a great first step. He's 6'6. He's big. That's what Bill Parcells likes. It wouldn't surprise me if Miami went with him there at twelve. From a size requirement, that makes a lot more sense than a guy like Hughes or Graham.
Matty: I wanted to ask you about Pierre-Paul. He also ha the one-year wonder stigma and the workout warrior stigma like Vernon Gholston had a couple years back. Are you worried at all about Pierre-Paul possibly being a flop at the next level?
Wes: Oh absolutely. I'd be terrified to draft him. He's a workout warrior. He can do some freaky things. He has freaky long arms and sheds blocks like it was his job. Now granted, if you had those long arms, you'd be able to shed that many blocks, too.
Things came really easy to him at South Florida. But he wasn't overly productive despite having George Selvie on the other side of him. So if things came so easy but he only had seven sacks seven sacks last year, there are obviously some concerns there. He's raw and doesn't have elite base strength at this stage. He has only one year of college experience. So he does scare me. He scares me a lot. And I don't know that I'd have the guts to pull the trigger on him in the first round.
Matty: Another potential conversion linebacker the Dolphins had in for a visit recently is Derrick Morgan. But is he athletic enough to make the transition to outside linebacker at the next level?
Wes: You know, I don't think so. I think he's best with his hand in the ground. I don't think he's a great defensive end athlete when I talk about explosion up the field. I think he's only average at that. But he can get after the quarterback with power and quickness of the edge. He can drop his shoulder, he can use his hands. One on one, he's a really tough block because of all that. But pure burst off the edge, I just think he's a little too heavy. I think he's more of a 4-3 rush end and reminds me a bit of Will Smith, the Saints' defensive end.
Matty: Last question. I mentioned earlier that you currently have Dez Bryant going to Miami in your mock. If you had to pick who you think the Dolphins will take at number twelve, is it still Bryant?
Wes: Yeah, that's how I do my mock. I don't what I would do. I do what I think they'll do. As of right now, I'll take Dez Bryant. It's early, though. What do I know? But I'd say right now, if I had to bet some money on it, I'd say with a little confidence that it's Dez Bryant. But anything can happen - I have no idea.
Who really thought the Dolphins would take Vontae Davis last year, with the character concerns and all. It just didn't seem like a logical fit. But he comes in and has really turned himself around and is going to be a good player. So who knows?