It’s that time of the year again, as the Dolphins head to Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis to attend the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine. Miami Head Coach Mike McDaniel spoke to the media at the combine on Wednesday, commenting on the team’s scouting strategy going forward, as well as the type of team he wants to build in Miami.
Of course, this is McDaniel’s first head-coaching gig, and with that comes different responsibilities and expectations.
“In this job, I serve a lot more people. You have to be expansive and detailed,” McDaniel said.“This is completely different to being a coordinator, it’s more expansive.”
McDaniel also spoke about the team’s strengths and weaknesses, and what he needs to do to acquire players to supplement what he believes is already a strong group of players.
TE Mike Gesicki is part of this group of strong players, but he’s also set to hit the open market in free agency. Gesicki’s blocking (or lack thereof) has been a concern to many Dolphins fans, but it seems McDaniel doesn’t share the same doubts.
Mike McDaniel says on Mike Gesicki, “There are multiple ways to use players. We’ve had tight ends in our history that have been featured pass catchers. We have no problem, hesitation, or concern in Mike being able to block”.
Somewhat unsurprisingly, McDaniel also confirmed that the Dolphins are in the market for a veteran QB to help supplement their QB room.
“I can tell you this much, we are looking for another QB. We’ve only got two on the roster, and I’ve never seen in the history of the NFL, a team having two QBs on the roster. When you’re looking for a backup quarterback, you want him to benefit the starting quarterback, but you also want a guy that can win games, should the starter go down” said McDaniel.
One of Miami’s biggest weaknesses on offense last year was their running game, and many fans are hoping that Mike McDaniel can be the guy to fix it.
McDaniel spoke about this position, saying “The RB position is 300-400 touches a season. It’s incredibly valuable, but there is a more diverse way of finding them. It’s of paramount importance that we have a concrete skill set that can flourish in the zone blocking system.”
Perhaps the most exciting thing about hiring Mike McDaniel was the way he developed Deebo Samuel of the San Francisco 49ers, turning him into one of the NFL’s best offensive weapons. Dolphins fans are hoping for a similar success story with Jaylen Waddle, who broke the NFL receptions record for a rookie in the 2021 NFL season.
However, McDaniel says it’s never that easy. “You don’t look at it as ‘I need the next Deebo’ because Deebo wasn’t found by looking for the next Deebo,” said McDaniel.
Pivoting to the other side of the football, McDaniel spoke on Miami’s defense, saying “The scheme was outstanding. There are some core young players who are developing and are passionate. It’s one less issue from an offensive perspective that I have to go against.”
One of Miami’s best players on defense is defensive-end Emmanuel Ogbah, who’s set to become a free agent this upcoming offseason. Dolphins fans everywhere hope they’ll be able to keep Emmanuel Ogbah, and while Mike McDaniel agrees, he also admits it’ll be tough as “there are a lot of variables to his free agency status”.
Miami’s best player on either side of the football is very clearly Xavien Howard, and while McDaniel doesn’t specialize with defensive backs, he admits he’s very excited to work with the 3-time Pro Bowler. “We’ve had several great conversations on the phone and in-person”, said McDaniel.
These are exciting times for Miami, and it seems as if the coach feels the same way. Drafting the right prospect is a crucial step in Miami making a jump next year, and that all starts at the NFL Scouting Combine.
If you want to follow along with Mike McDaniel, here’s the schedule for the 2022 Scouting Combine, airing on NFL Network.
Thursday, March 3
7 P.M. ET - Quarterbacks, Wide Receivers, and Tight Ends
Friday, March 4
7 P.M. ET - Running Backs, Offensive Linemen, and Special Teams
Saturday, March 5
7 P.M. ET - Defensive Linemen and Linebackers
Sunday, March 6
2 P.M. ET - Defensive Backs