Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama
Miami was able to grab one of the elite prospects in this draft (in my mind one of the top 3 players overall) at 11 mainly because 4 QBs were taken ahead of them. Some will argue Tremaine Edmunds because of our need at LB, however, I am a huge believer in sticking to your board, and with Fitzpatrick rated as my 3rd overall player, it’s a no-brainer.
I am not going to lie, I was worried when we were on the board that we would pass on him and select someone lesser but I have to hand it to the Phins, they made the right selection. I think Fitzpatrick can play right away and I can’t tell the future, but I see potential for him to be an All-Pro. I was very, very pleased with Miami’s first round.
Mike Gesicki, TE, Penn St.
I have done a good amount of film study on this young man and I have covered him in a couple scouting notes articles. The quick report on Gesicki is he’s an athletic receiving TE that is a pretty bad blocker. His 20+ reps on the bench is encourage to me in the fact that he is strong enough to improve his blocking skills, but I have very big concerns with his ability to block. I also think that even though he’s a very athletic guy for his size, I think his agility and acceleration are average. Overall, I like Gesicki; it’s a huge need and I think he makes our team better but I do have concerns about how good of a TE he will be in the NFL.
Jerome Baker, LB, Ohio St.
At first, I thought this was a little early for Baker, but the more I thought about it, this is a good range for him. Look, he’s a very talented LB, I love his quickness, athleticism, and his nose for the ball. Obviously, his size is his biggest weakness. I am intrigued though with how Miami will use him. I think he will get a good amount of playing time early and with McMillan coming back, the Dolphins now have a young and athletic LB corp. It’s nice being able to write that.
Durham Smythe, TE, Notre Dame
I am not going to lie to you guys, I did not do much film study on him before the draft. Since we picked him I’ve watched 4 games and done a little bit of research on him. Obviously, we drafted him to be our blocking TE; which makes sense since, as I said, Gesicki’s blocking is bad. I like the pick, I think he fills an important need and will potentially have playing time early. With that said, I actually think he will be a very well-rounded TE as a pro. He’s a better athlete and catcher then people give him credit for. This pick makes me feel a lot better about the Gesicki pick. Also, on a side note, I love doubling down on the same positions. Competition is very healthy for any team.
Kalen Ballage, RB, Arizona St.
Ballage is one of the most intriguing prospects in this draft. He’s a bigger back, (6’2 228) that plays with great patience, vision and acceleration. I love his playmaking ability, and he uses his size very well. He needs to be more consistent though and pass protection needs to improve... a lot. I initially did some film study on him back in September, where I tweeted a couple of plays; showing his patience, good burst, and awesome finish to the run, and then also showing him completing missing on a pass protection call, leading to an INT. I liked this pick a lot; I think he’s got some weaknesses that are important and need to be fixed but I love his potential and think he’s got a chance to contribute in a complementary role in Miami’s backfield.
Cornell Armstrong, CB, Southern Miss
Armstrong is a good size corner that plays a pretty physical game. He’s certainly not afraid to tackle and plays very physical with WRs. I love his hand use, and once he decides where the ball is going, his cutting ability and acceleration are impressive. I think he’s a special teamer now, but has potential and looks like a solid pick late in this draft.
Quentin Poling, LB, Ohio
Poling is a tackling machine that is really a good athlete. He’s another undersized LB, but I’ll tell you what, he’s got NFL talent. This is another guy that I had to go back and watch film on and here’s what I saw: He’s got a nose for the ball, good tackler, very athletic, potential to be a 3 down-LB, coverage skills are there but need work, size may be an issue. Poling is a 7th round pick and may not even make our roster, but I like to selection. He’s raw and needs time to improve but I think he’s got potential to be a special teams guy in his first year.
Jason Sanders, K, New Mexico
I have no idea how to scout kickers, we need one though so I am happy we took one.