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Talking Hokies

In Monday's Miami Herald, Barry Jackson informed us of this little Dolphins nugget in his latest article:

The Dolphins are interested in several Virginia Tech players and sent at least three officials to their Pro Day on Thursday -- more than the norm. Defensive line coach Kacy Rodgers studied four big linemen -- Barry Booker, Chris Ellis, Carlton Powell and Kory Robertson.

Receivers coach Karl Dorrell watched Eddie Royal, Justin Harper and Josh Morgan. There's also cornerback Brandon Flowers and linebacker Xavier Adibi (who, at 230, is smaller than the Dolphins' prototype at that position).

So considering the Dolphins' interest in Virginia Tech prospects, I wanted to just highlight a few of these Hokies (ones not named Flowers or Adibi, as they're much more well-known).

Chris Ellis
Ellis, a DE, is a very interesting prospect, especially in the Dolphins' case.  At 6'4, 263, he's a almost a "poor man's" Chris Long.  He ran a 4.71 40 at the Combine, but improved that to 4.56 at a campus workout.  But what jumps out when you see him play is his athleticism.  He's both very strong and quick and can hold his ground at the point of attack.  

He also has the ability to drop back into coverage.  That's what makes him so intriguing.  Many believe he could effectively convert to an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defensive scheme.  However, he's not as instinctive and football savvy as Chris Long, which would make Ellis more of a project.  However, he does have upside and Dolphin fans should keep an eye on him.  He projects as a 2nd or 3rd rounder.

Carlton Powell & Barry Booker
I'm not too familiar with these 2 players.  But here's what I do know.  Both are defensive tackles who, in a 3-4 defense, would convert to defensive end.  Powell is the more highly regarded prospect and measures in at 6'2, 292.  He started 12 games for the Hokies in 2007, picking up 2.5 sacks and 6 tackles for loss.  Look for him to go anywhere from round 4 to round 6.

Booker is taller, slimmer, and a little more athletic.  He measures in at 6'3, 284.  Despite being slimmer, though, Booker benched 1 more rep at the Combine than Powell did.  He started 14 games for VT directly next to Powell, recording 4 sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss.  Also look for Booker to come off the board anywhere between rounds 4 and 6.

Duane Brown
Brown is a 3 year starter at offensive tackle for the Hokies following a conversion from tight end.  He measures in at 6'4, 315.  He's got long arms and is very athletic and quick.  However, he lacks that fire that the top offensive lineman in the NFL possess.  He's also not as strong as one might hope.

But he has a very high upside.  He started at right tackle in his sophomore and junior seasons after entering Virginia Tech as a tight end.  He moved to left tacle as a senior and did struggle a bit.  But as a right tackle, I think he has a bright future ahead of him.  Think of Jason Peters, but a little smaller and more athletic.  And the reason I bring up Peters is because both entered college as tight ends.  And like Peters, Brown will not have that much experience as a tackle entering the NFL.  However, a coach like Tony Sparano could probably really develop Brown into a very solid right tackle.  It probably wouldn't happen in year one, though, meaning even if the Dolphins did draft him, don't expect him to start as a rookie.  Look for Brown to come off the board somewhere between round 3 or 4.

Eddie Royal
Royal is a very fast but rather short receiver.  He measures in at 5'9, 184 and he clocked a 4.39 40 yard dash at the Combine.  He's extremely athletic and elusive.  And he's also very strong, benching 225 lbs 24 times.  He's also an excellent return man.  

However, some people question his hands and he's a very sloppy route runner.  That's why he only caught 33 balls in 2007.  Scouts also wonder about his ability to get off of a jam at the line of scrimmage.  He also has some durability issues.  However, he does have upside, which is why some team will likely take him off the board anywhere from late in the 3rd round to the 5th or even 6th round.

Thoughts on any of this?