Now that we're past the seemingly endless hype leading up to the NFL Draft as well as the ridiculously over-hyped Jeff Ireland saga , it's nice to finally have a chance to discuss some action on the field...sort of. It was only rookie mini-camp for the Dolphins, but I don't care. There were players in Dolphin jerseys on a practice field. That's good enough for me.
Incase you haven't yet, be sure to check out SBN's own David Dwork's observations on mini-camp. Below are some other newsworthy nuggets to come out of the three day event.
Misi looks like a natural as he begins conversion to outside linebacker
Jared Odrick may have been Miami's first round pick. But it sure seems like Koa Misi will be the most scrutinized rookie in 2010. I guess that's fair when you consider that the Dolphins were willing to drop 16 spots in round one of the draft to recover the second round pick they lost trading for Brandon Marshall. The Dolphins spent that recovered second rounder on Misi and now fans will be keeping a close eye on Koa hoping he proves to be worth the investment.
Very early returns are promising as Misi makes the transition from college defensive end to professional outside linebacker in a 3-4. Typically the toughest part of the transition is getting the player to learn how to drop into coverage. But it seems as though that won't be the problem:
Misi played linebacker exclusively at the Senior Bowl, where his quickness and athleticism piqued Sparano's interest.
"He looked very, very natural in coverage, which he has looked the last two days here," Sparano said Saturday.
"Coming off the edge is something I'll have to get used to," Misi said, "but it just takes time and practice and I think I can handle that."
It's interesting to note that the article also has a quote from Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham, who says while Misi was excellent for them in his college career, they "knew ultimately his best position would be linebacker." Whittingham points out that Misi was kind of a hybrid player for their defense, rushing the passer 75 to 80 percent of the time and dropping into coverage the rest of the time.
That's probably why the Dolphins were so high on Koa heading into the draft. But it's hard not to be at least a little concerned about Misi's pass-rushing ability off the edge. Of course, knowing that Koa is aware he needs to "get used to" rushing off the edge is a good sign.
Edds impressive when he talks
We won't know for some time what kind of player the Dolphins got when they traded up in the fourth round to select linebacker A.J. Edds. But if he plays as well as he speaks - and as confidently as he seems to be - then the Dolphins may have found a steal.
He may not be the biggest or the fastest, but Edds credits his preparation for his success at the college level:
"I think people, the quarterbacks I guess, look out there, kind of saw me as the weak link. Tried to, I guess, go after me a little bit. I prided myself on not being that weak link, even though I was covering receivers. I found myself out in space a lot. Playing tight end initially in college helped a lot. It's doing homework -- knowing what guys are going to try to attack and taking advantage whenever they do..."
"Line me up athletically, I just play pretty fast. On paper, I'm probably not one of the more athletic guys here. I'd say I'm not. But it all goes back to doing your homework, playing fast because you know what's going to happen and not having to guess what you're going to have to do."
Anyone else find it ironic that Edds was initially given number 54 to wear (but did change to number 49 before taking the field on Friday)? Does the way he talks remind you of a former Miami linebacker?
We won't know for some time if Edds delivers on the field as well as he speaks and prepares. But there was a time when a Dolphins linebacker lacked great size and lacked great speed but made up for it by dissecting plays and reacting before anyone on the field could do the same.
Just keep an eye on him, that's all I'm saying.
Jones will be in the mix at free safety
Despite playing his junior season at strong safety, we knew that Reshad Jones would be worked first at free safety as the Dolphins attempt to find a starter at that position among Jones, Tyrone Culver, and Chris Clemons. While it's only one mini-camp and it was only rookies, it sure seems like Jones will be in the thick of the starting competition once camp rolls around.
Tony Sparano confirmed on Sunday that he likes what he's seeing early on from the former Georgia safety:
"I felt him the last couple days. He's been around the football a bunch, and made a couple plays (Saturday). He's got the hardest job out there, obviously, because he's got to get things lined up. … I thought he moved around great."
If you've been an avid follower of Sparano's during his tenure in Miami, then you know it's worth taking notice when he says he is "feeling" somebody. Various reports indicated that Jones was playing the "center field" position in the secondary a lot this weekend as the only deep safety back there. The fact that Jones made some plays back there and didn't look lost at all is a great sign.
Granted - he has a long way to go before winning any kind of starting job. But Jones has free safety experience, playing there his sophomore season and earning second-team sophomore All-America honors before switching to the strong safety position his junior season to make room for an older player who made the conversion from corner to free safety.
To his credit, Jones isn't backing down at all from the open competition that will likely last late into training camp:
"It's wide open. I just wanted to come in, listen and learn everything I can. I want to compete for that job and play as a starter."
And this is just one of the many positional battles that will be entertaining to follow once the real training camp begins in late July.
Random B-Marsh update
Since Brandon Marshall was obviously the biggest acquisition the team made this offseason (no disrespect to Karlos Dansby, of course), I feel compelled to share this nugget from an article posted on Boston.com by Albert Breer, one of the most nationally tuned in writers for a local paper:
It may be hard to figure what problems the Dolphins might run into with troubled superstar receiver Brandon Marshall in the long term. But so far, so good. The 26-year-old Pro Bowler reported immediately to Miami’s offseason program after the April 14 trade from the Broncos, and has been a steady presence as the team readies for the 2010 season.
Yup - the honeymoon is still in full effect. Let's hope it remains this way for a long time.