The 2021 Reese’s Senior Bowl concluded on Saturday afternoon, and when the clock showed a whole bunch of zeroes, Brian Flores and the Miami Dolphins coaching staff were victorious.
Which in 2021, could only mean one thing.
A Reese’s Shower.
brian flores got the reese’s shower pic.twitter.com/KaKM6ESNwV— josh houtz (@houtz) January 30, 2021
The National team won a gritty 27-24 contest—but for Flores and Carolina Panthers Head Coach Matt Rhule—the up-close look at some of this year’s top prospects was the real victory.
Flores spoke on how valuable it was to be able to coach the Senior Bowl this season.
“It was great. We had a really nice good week with these young players. They really worked hard. A lot of them made really good impressions not only on our staff, but there were teams obviously from across the league. But we got to spend the most time with them. We saw them in meetings, saw them take things from the meetings to the walkthrough to the practice. I thought they all did well for themselves and then came out and competed today, so it was a good week.”
“Yeah, there were quite a few guys who we felt like could possibly help our team. We’re not going to dive into names of who those guys are, but there was a lot of talented players. I thought Jim Nagy and the Senior Bowl staff, they did a great job of getting talented players in here for us to coach and a lot of them, they did well.”
Unfortunately, I can’t tell you who the Dolphins officially liked this week in Mobile, but I can try to speculate based on the type of players Miami is looking for and who I believe stood out this week.
Here are ten players Brian Flores and his staff PROBABLY fell in love with at the Senior Bowl.
(Note: You can probably make a case for every player, but these are some of the standouts from this weekend—and some of my favorites. If a player has an * next to their name, it means Flores coached them at the Senior Bowl. ENJOY)
*Creed Humphrey, Offensive Lineman, Oklahoma *
creed humphrey would look nice in aqua and orange. pic.twitter.com/u1BHFdyDAi— josh houtz (@houtz) January 28, 2021
This list isn’t going to have ten players that you never heard of. That would be silly. No, these are the top players at the senior bowl that I believe can be the most beneficial to the 2021 Miami Dolphins—and beyond.
Humphrey was a fan favorite last draft season when many thought the Dolphins would draft the 6’5, 312-pound bully from Oklahoma. He may have decided to stay another season, but that won't stop him from hearing his name called on day one.
Flores and his staff got an up-close look at Humphrey in Mobile, which means the Dolphins should have an understanding of how valuable a guy like Humphrey would be alongside the rest of Miami’s young offensive line.
Ted Karras is nice, but he is not—nor will he ever be—Creed Humphrey.
*Demetric Felton, Running Back/Wide Receiver, UCLA *
UCLA RB/WR demetric felton is going to be fun to watch catching passes from tua tagovailoa. 2/2 #finsup pic.twitter.com/QjfKpdcrLg— josh houtz (@houtz) January 28, 2021
Listed as a running back at UCLA, Felton’s route running and lighting quick feet immediately stood out during the three days of practice. It also didn’t hurt that he proved he could create separation with ease—something the Dolphins desperately need.
In 2020, Felton amassed 827 total yards from scrimmage and 8 touchdowns.
He did it all, and the bottom line is quite simple:
Felton is a playmaker, and the Miami Dolphins desperately need playmakers.
“&%*$ it, send it in.”
*Rashad Weaver, Defensive Lineman, Pittsburgh*
rashad weaver with a nice spin move pic.twitter.com/QcOCXK9orK— josh houtz (@houtz) January 28, 2021
I thought for sure Patrick Jones would be the defensive lineman I was talking about early Monday morning—but he didn’t have the week of practice many expected.
(Note: He did play much better on game day and should still be a target of the Dolphins.)
Jones teammate Rashad Weaver, however, played above expectations this week.
He was stout vs. the run, flashed a variety of pass rush moves, and set the edge like a seasoned vet.
Weaver also fits the mold of a typical Brian-Flores defensive end, making him the perfect target for the Dolphins on day two.
Cam Sample, Defensive Lineman, Tulane
This is DL Cam Sample of Tulane, all of his 1-on-1 reps from this week at the Senior Bowl. He measured 6’3” & 274 lbs. Cannot say enough about how good he looks at that weight. I personally think this was the best DL on American team this week. pic.twitter.com/nsugQOJnAJ— Chris Kouffman (@ckparrot) January 29, 2021
Sample was first brought to my attention by NFL draftnik Phillip Dillingham on Twitter. He told me to keep an eye on Sample throughout the week in Mobile, Alabama. I can confidently say, the entire football world will remember his name after this week’s performance.
Cam Sample looked dominant one rep after another, and he did It in various ways. No matter where he lined up or who he lined up against, he dominated one top offensive line prospect after another.
And I think he showed Brian Flores and his staff that he is a smart, tough, and competitive player, just as Flores and his staff are looking for.
*Michael Carter, Running Back, North Carolina *
Michael Carter doing Michael Carter things pic.twitter.com/Vm4pIK5pd4— Billy M (@BillyM_91) January 30, 2021
Michael Carter looked explosive all week in Mobile, and his quickness and ability to do a little bit of everything definitely caught the eye of Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores. Carter rushed for 60 yards in Saturday’s all-star game, a performance that stood out amongst the rest of the draft hopefuls.
“First off, he’s a great kid. He’s a hard-working kid. He’s smart, he’s tough and he was productive today and really productive throughout the entire week. He played well. This is a guy who had a nice career for UNC and he’s a good back.”
Carter has all the tools to be an excellent NFL running back. He’s fast, decisive, and can make plays in the passing game. But if it were up to me, I would be much more interested in his North Carolina teammate JaVonte Williams.
*Quinn Meinerz, Offensive Lineman, Wisconsin-Whitewater*
Top-5 clips from @seniorbowl week— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) January 30, 2021
5. DIII Quinn Meinerz vs a power five DL
By now, we’ve all heard the story of how Quinn Meinerz broke his hand and tried to convince Coach Flores to let him play in Saturday’s game. Flores decided it was in Meinerz’s best interest not to play, which may have been the only battle he lost all week.
(He did suit up and was ready to play.)
In practice, Meinerz dominated some of the draft’s top prospects, including Pittsburgh’s Patrick Jones.
His draft stock is currently through the roof, and like Humphrey, it would also be an upgrade (IMO) over Karras on the Dolphins’ offensive line. He also fits the type of player Brian Flores is looking for.
Smart, Tough, Competitive.
The fit makes too much sense.
Amari Rodgers, Wide Receiver, Clemson
Amari Rodgers doing what he did all week. Find a way to get open. Great ball placement by Mond too pic.twitter.com/y1h6vwtQJB— Billy M (@BillyM_91) January 30, 2021
Like Felton, Rodgers showed quick feet, sharp route running, and sure hands this week, which are many of the attributes Miami’s receiving corps severely lacked in 2020. All week, defensive backs struggled to get their hands on the speedy WR from Clemson, who stacked one successful rep after another.
Last season, Rodgers caught 77 balls for 1,020 yards and 7 touchdowns with the Tigers.
Don’t sleep on Amari Rodgers.
*Ian Book, Quarterback, Notre Dame*
Brian Flores: Ian Book is smart, loves the game, is tough. He has command of the huddle. Command at the line of scrimmage. He did well for himself this week. Via ESPNU— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) January 28, 2021
I can’t believe I’m writing this, but unless the Dolphins can convince Ryan Fitzpatrick to stick around and mentor Tua Tagovailoa, they will need to find a backup quarterback this offseason.
Fitzpatrick made it very clear he wanted to start, and I’m sure many teams will jump at the opportunity to bring in the grizzled veteran.
Although I am not a big fan of Book, it is clear he caught Brian Flores' eyes and shares some of the qualities he looks for in a young signal quarterback. Best of all, he wears a visor, which, as you know, is the recipe for success with any young QB.
Ian Book as Tua Tagovailoa’s backup?
The Dolphins will be much better off bringing in a proven veteran than rely on Book. But as far as taking a late-round flier on a guy with potential, I would like this signing far more than I ever did Brandon Doughty.
**DeVonta Smith and Najee Harris, Tua’s Friends, Alabama **
You know I couldn’t write this article without talking about #Tua’sfriends. If the Dolphins decide to keep their draft capital, Najee Harris (RB1) and DeVonta Smith (WR1) could very well be the target. But that’s not necessarily because of Tagovailoa. No. It has a lot more to do with both players being at the top of their respected positions.
And although both players sat out Saturday’s all-star game, they did make their presence known all week at the Senior Bowl—which you can imagine included Coach Flo and his coaching staff.
Others: Dillon Radunz, Hamsah Nasirildeen, Kadarius Toney, Cade Johnson, K.J. Britt, Ifeatu Melifonwu, and many more!