With the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine set to kick off later today, I thought I’d give you a list of ten players I think the Miami Dolphins should have interest in this week in Indianapolis. I tried to make my list different from others, but I understand the love for players like Penn State’s Jahan Dotson and Boston College’s Zion Johnson.
Nevertheless, here are ten players the Dolphins should be watching closely this week.
(Note: This is not a list of my top prospects, but my favorite prospects at areas of need. I also don’t expect many of these players to be available at #29.)
Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia
Nakobe Dean running the whole field for a TFL pic.twitter.com/y8MYD0dL7Q— SyedSchemes (@syedschemes) January 1, 2022
Devin Lloyd is the top linebacker in this draft class (IMO), but that doesn’t mean Nakobe Dean isn’t legit. He may be undersized, but on the field, Dean is a heat-seeking missile that could be the missing piece in Miami’s defense. The only problem is that Dean is projected to go much earlier than #29—as is Lloyd—but stranger things have happened.
Last season, Dean recorded 72 total tackles (36 solo), six sacks, two forced fumbles, two interceptions, and a touchdown. TLDR: He did it all in 2021 and will be a valuable piece to whichever team ultimately drafts him in the first round.
Here’s to hoping we see him playing in *checks notes* Josh Boyer’s defense.
Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State
Another name that we expect to show out in Indy next week: Penn State’s Jahan Dotson. Elite hands and route running- dude makes plays and projects nicely as a Jarvis Landry-esque slot target in the NFL. pic.twitter.com/4G7Cp5rTTk— uSTADIUM (@uSTADIUM) February 24, 2022
Every year, I fall in love with a player that I watched closely the year before at Penn State.
A few years ago, it was running back Miles Sanders, and last year, I was pretty high on linebacker Micah Parsons. Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Pat Freirmuth belongs on that list too.
This year, the Nittany Lion that has stolen my heart is none other than wide receiver Jahan Dotson.
Dotson is a speedy slot wide receiver who proved he could be a problem regardless of how poorly the quarterback play was at Penn State. In 2021, Dotson caught 91 receptions for 1,182 yards and 12 touchdowns, by far his best collegiate season, and should have NFL general managers salivating.
The Dolphins may ultimately choose to address the wide receiver position in free agency, freeing up that late first-round draft pick to focus on the offensive line or other positions of need. Still, if they’re looking for an explosive playmaker to pair alongside Jaylen Waddle for many years to come, Dotson is that guy.
Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa
Iowa’s Tyler Linderbaum is clearly a generational prospect at center. He does just about everything right, and is the closest thing to a surefire pick in this class.— uSTADIUM (@uSTADIUM) February 26, 2022
The question lies in positional value. How early are GMs willing to take a center? pic.twitter.com/kt9AwpgYQ5
Michael Deiter was ‘okay’ a season ago but certainly hasn’t shown enough to solidify his starting spot on Miami’s offensive line. Could he stick around and prove to be a valuable asset? Maybe, but that’s not something we should count on.
Enter Tyler Linderbaum, one of the nation’s top centers. He’s athletic AF, which is necessary for McDaniel’s zone-run scheme. There’s also a real possibility he falls to the end of round one, making Miami an ideal fit.
Miami may not have landed Creed Humphrey in 2021 or Cesar Ruiz in 2020 (#pain), but now they may have their chance to undo history.
(Please note: I am not saying Linderbaum is better than Humprhey or Ruiz. I’m also not, not saying it.)
Kenneth Walker III, RB, Michigan State
kenneth walker III | 5 touchdowns vs michigan pic.twitter.com/hnXXkXK6mq— josh houtz (@houtz) February 15, 2022
It may seem crazy to have many analysts RB1 on this list, but here we are. Walker was the nation’s top back in 2021, but the issue and thing I’m most interested to see this week in Indy is how well he can catch the football.
After all, it was his 18 career catches and poor pass-protection that has me struggling to cement him as my RB1—especially when you consider how explosive and dynamic Breece Hall can be with the ball in his hands.
No one knows how new head coach Mike McDaniel and Chris Grier will approach the running back position this offseason. But one thing is for sure; they have to do something.
Investing a high draft pick on Kenneth Walker, Breece Hall, or Isaiah Spiller would be a massive step in reinventing Miami’s run game.
Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
4 plays that summarize what Treylon Burks can do. The most upside of the WRs. pic.twitter.com/YUjQQ0oneR— Hayden Winks (@HaydenWinks) February 23, 2022
Shortly after Mike McDaniel was hired to be the Dolphins’ next head coach, fans all over South Florida (and the globe) were already looking for the ‘nExT DEEbO SaMUeL’ in Miami’s offense.
There may only be one Deebo Samuel, but what Arkansas Treylon Burks showed in 2021 may have fans feeling differently.
Burks lined up at several different positions a season ago (RB, WR, QB) and proved he was more than capable of carrying the workload. He’s as explosive and dynamic as they come. Unfortunately, like several players on this list, Burks could be long gone before the Dolphins pick—but that won’t stop me from daydreaming about what McDaniel and his offensive coaching staff would have in mind for Waddle and Burks in his west-coast + RPO heavy offense.
Chad Muma, LB, Wyoming
Wyoming LB Chad Muma (#48) is one of my early draft crushes for the #Patriots. Good size (6-3/245), play speed, awareness+recognition vs. run and pass.— Evan Lazar (@ezlazar) January 31, 2022
Click, close, and move laterally vs run, plays the flat in zone, runs with the RB on the wheel, robots underneath the crosser. pic.twitter.com/tQGFkJSs7s
Yesterday, I was on ESPN Honolulu to talk to my good pal Bobby Curran, and when I dropped Chad Muma’s name, you could hear the excitement in Bobby’s voice. See, Curran does the play-by-play for the Hawaii football team and has witnessed up close and personal what type of talent Muma can be as a sideline-to-sideline defender.
In 2021, Muma recorded 85 tackles (57 solo), 1.5 sacks, three interceptions, and two touchdowns.
If the Dolphins don’t find a starting MLB in free agency or day one of the NFL draft, Chad Muma should be high on the team’s draft board heading into day two.
Bernhard Raimann, OL, Central Michigan
Keep an eye on Central Michigan OT Bernhard Raimann at the end of the 1st round.— No Flags Film (@NoFlagsFilm) January 29, 2022
- 6'7, 305
- Senior Bowl participant
- 94.6 PFF Grade
- 1 career sack allowed in 774 pass blocking snaps pic.twitter.com/smTDizciz7
The Austria exchange student started as a tight end at Central Michigan, but he quickly transitioned to tackle in year three, where he played exceptionally well and never looked back.
Raimann packs a punishing punch but can find himself off balance quickly. He’s a mauler in the run game, and his quickness as a former tight end allows him to handle speedy pass-rushers. He’s still obviously a bit raw at the position, but that’s where some of the intrigues lie. (IMHO)
Raimann would push for a starting job immediately, with Miami’s best options (currently) at tackle being Liam Eichenberg, Jesse Davis, Austin Jackson, or a personal favorite, Robert Hunt.
Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia
Here's Jordan Davis eating a quarterback pic.twitter.com/4f36cVEAuf— Justis Mosqueda (@JuMosq) February 20, 2022
I’m not sure where the Dolphins would rank defensive tackle on their list of needs, but Georgia’s Jordan Davis is an anomaly.
At 6’6, 340 lbs. Davis is impossible to move. He’s the titanic, a run stopper, unlike anything we’ve seen in years. Davis moves well for his size and can bully offensive linemen off the snap. He does need to work on his arsenal as a pass-rusher, but with the right coaching, Davis has the potential to be special.
Davis would be a luxury pick for the Dolphins, but one that could completely reshape Miami’s defense. It would also go a long way in fixing Miami’s run game. Unfortunately, for Jordan Davis stans, there’s a good chance he’s long gone by the time Miami is on the clock.
Alec Lindstrom and Zion Johnson, OL, Boston College
At this point, it would be surprising if @BCFootball C/G Zion Johnson (@_ZJ77) isn’t the first interior OL off the board in April. Why? Simple, it’s his stopping power. It just doesn’t get better than this strong inside hand:#TheDraftStartsInMOBILE™️ pic.twitter.com/qS4TH1P3Wb— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) February 28, 2022
When you look at what the Miami Dolphins have done this offseason to fix the team’s sub-par offensive line and run game, bringing in Boston College offensive line coach Matt Applebaum can not go unnoticed. Fortunately, neither can his relationship with two of the draft’s top offensive line talents.
Zion Johnson is the most talented of Applebaum’s former students (IMO) and will likely be the first of Boston College’s offensive linemen selected—and rightfully so. He’s a plug-and-play guard that is fundamentally sound in everything he does. Johnson can get to the second level with ease and does an excellent job of erasing pass-rushers in the passing game.
Johnson would be a day one starter on Miami’s dreadful offensive line.
C Alec Lindstrom - Boston College— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) September 27, 2020
One of top center prospects in CFB - brother of Chris, now with Falcons. This kid is fun @MoveTheSticks
Lindstrom plays a physical brand of 'Bully Ball' - you're in for a fight against this OL. Always looking to finish defenders! @BigDuke50 pic.twitter.com/Xgb9QCwY0m
On the other hand, Alec Lindstrom is likely to be drafted on day two. Lindstrom was a three-year starter on BC’s offensive line and would be a glove-fit in Miami’s zone-scheme rushing attack.
Could this be where Miami looks to replace Michael Deiter? Time will tell.
Other top prospects I’m excited to watch at the combine this week: Isaiah Spiller, RB, Texas A&M. Cole Turner, TE, Nevada. Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State, Daniel Faalele, OT, Minnesota. Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama.
It is anyone’s guess what players may be available when Miami is on the clock at #29—or if the team will have the cajones to trade up— but if I had my way, one of these players listed above would fall right into Miami’s lap.
What prospects are you most excited to see at the combine this week? Do you have a preferred prospect you hope falls to Miami at #29? Is there a prospect in this class you like SO MUCH you’d be willing to trade up for? Let us know in the comments section below!