2014 NFL Draft Sleepers Who'd Fit Perfectly with the Miami Dolphins
It's not just the glamorous top picks that make up a successful draft class but rather the late-round picks who are unheralded going into the draft that make a draft class elite.
For the Miami Dolphins, these picks are even more important, as the team hopes to add as much talent as humanly possible to the roster on draft day.
What late-round sleepers are out there for Miami who can make an impact on the 2014 roster and beyond? Here's a list of players who should be available to the Dolphins in Rounds 4-7 who should be able to fit perfectly on the Dolphins and be able to do just that.
Jerick McKinnon, Running Back, Georgia Southern
Miami might seem fairly set at running back after the signing of Knowshon Moreno, but that doesn't mean it won't continue to look at backs in the draft.
One name that has come up has been Jerick McKinnon, a former quarterback at Georgia Southern who has been working out as a running back and will likely enter the league at that position.
McKinnon was impressive at the combine, where he ran the sixth-fastest 40-yard dash (4.41 seconds), had the second-best vertical jump (40.5 inches) and had the second-best broad jump. According to Mike Mayock of NFL.com (per D. Orlando Ledbetter of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution), McKinnon's combine made him "a real wild card in this draft…He had a big day."
Jonathan Clegg of The Wall Street Journal said of McKinnon that: "No player did better on our scale than Georgia Southern running back Jerick McKinnon."
In terms of the speed and skill McKinnon displayed, he'd be a fit for the Dolphins late in the draft.
Storm Johnson, Running Back, University of Central Florida
Even with both Lamar Miller and Knowshon Moreno, Miami still lacks a true power run threat who can get those short yards when needed.
That player might be on the roster already in second-year player Mike Gillislee, but assuming that the Dolphins aren't as high on Gillislee as we think, the draft has other options for that role.
UCF's Storm Johnson could represent that option. He's a big back at 6'0", 209 pounds and isn't elite in terms of speed but runs very well with power.
Johnson's issue seems to be holding onto the football, an issue that can be corrected at the next level. His performance last season in the Fiesta Bowl showed what he's capable of doing in the NFL, as he ran for 124 yards and three touchdowns against Baylor in the contest.
Charles Leno Jr., Offensive Tackle, Boise State
In Boise State's Charles Leno Jr., the Dolphins would have a big, agile and athletic tackle who should primarily be used for depth purposes.
Despite that, Leno would create not just more depth on the offensive line but better depth.
He mainly played left tackle at Boise, but in the NFL, he projects to be a swing tackle who would work well in a zone-blocking scheme, a scheme employed by the Dolphins.
Considering how shallow the pool is at offensive line, Miami could do much worse than picking him late in the draft after already addressing the tackle position early.
Tyler Larsen, Center, Utah State
More depth on the offensive line? Yes please.
The Dolphins are pretty set at center this season with Mike Pouncey, but one has to wonder what will happen if the unimaginable happens in the form of an injury (Pouncey missed two games last season).
While the Dolphins already have some backup center options on the team, switching those players to center could wind up messing with the depth on the team at other positions on the offensive line, which is why they should attempt to find a backup at center in this draft.
Utah State's Tyler Larsen can fit that bill thanks in part to his great size and great awareness. His only issue is his lack of versatility; however, I could see Larsen being used as a guard (but only if absolutely necessary).
His bench press in the combine was impressive, as he was third in the bench press, doing 36 reps.
Brandon Linder, Guard, Miami
Most of the conversation about University of Miami offensive linemen in this draft circles around the prototypical model of an offensive tackle that is Seantrel Henderson. However, Henderson could also be surrounded by other adjectives that aren't as flattering to his draft stock.
People haven't been paying attention to is his teammate, guard Brandon Linder.
Linder not only played guard at Miami but at times filled in at right tackle. His large 6'6", 311-pound frame allows him to battle well in the trenches; however, his athleticism could at times be lacking.
What has separated him has been his toughness in the trenches as well as his leadership on and off the field. His work ethic and football instincts are also top-notch, and he could help any team late in the draft.
He's not a starter on day one but would be another great depth pickup for the Dolphins late in the draft.
Jay Bromley, Defensive Tackle, Syracuse
By any stretch of the word, Syracuse defensive tackle Jay Bromley is a project, but since when has that stopped defensive line coach Kacy Rodgers from getting the most out of a player?
Bromley is a pick that makes sense for Miami late in the draft. He doesn't have to play on an otherwise deep position right away and can use a year of development, but under the wing of one of the best defensive line coaches in the NFL, he can develop.
One of Bromley's best attributes in his NFL.com scouting report is how coachable this young man is, as well as his fit in a 4-3 scheme.
Despite the depth on the Dolphins defensive line, they will have to be prepared for the future, one that sees Jared Odrick entering free agency in 2015 and the recently re-signed Randy Starks entering free agency in 2016. Building said depth now avoids the headache of replacing a player later.
Max Bullough, Inside Linebacker, Michigan State
I don't have to tell you about Miami's issues at linebacker, especially against the run.
What if the later rounds had a solution, one that has been described as a "computer on defense" by his former defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi, per Brian Bennett of ESPN.com, and was the focal point of one of the best defenses in college football last season?
Max Bullough of Michigan State fits that description and fits it very well.
Along with his great football instincts, Bullough has shown leadership abilities with the Spartans.
Bullough already improves Miami's run defense by joining the team and would be a good fit for Miami if it misses on inside linebackers early in the draft.
Cody Hoffman, Wide Receiver, Brigham Young University
It seems like Miami already has more than enough wide receivers, yet according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, it seems to be interviewing a lot of them prior to the draft anyway.
Assuming the Dolphins don't use an early pick on a wide receiver, the position is deep in this draft, and they can find a steal late, especially if they go with BYU's Cody Hoffman.
The 6'4", 223-pound Hoffman is the son of former Raiders and Patriots tight end Derrick Ramsey, and he has the size that screams red-zone target. This type of target is needed in the Dolphins offense as far too many drives have stalled out once inside the 20-yard line.
His speed is the only real concern, but his size and great hands can more than make up for that. If he's not drafted, he would still be a great pickup for the Dolphins as an undrafted free agent.
Jay Prosch, Fullback, Auburn
Would an old-school blocking fullback with great hands be able to help the Dolphins offense?
I'd say yes and recommend Auburn's Jay Prosch to fill that role.
Prosch has great blocking vision and can create a push up front in his blocks, thus making him ideal for a Dolphins offense that really could've used some help in that department last season. Pairing him in the backfield with Miller or Moreno not only provides an extra blocker for the running backs but also gives quarterback Ryan Tannehill either an extra blocker or a big target underneath.
His athleticism for a fullback isn't anything to sneeze at, especially when you look at his size (6'1", 256 lbs), and he could also be of great help to the team on special teams.
Crockett Gillmore, Tight End, Colorado State
Since I'm always suggesting the Dolphins acquire a tight end, I'm surprised at myself that I haven't recommended Crockett Gillmore to the Dolphins yet this offseason, especially since I loved what I saw out of him at the Senior Bowl.
Gillmore stands at 6'6", 260 pounds and is very gifted athletically. His game film shows a capable blocker as well as a true playmaking threat.
He's not too speedy as he ran a 4.89 40-yard dash at the combine, but he had a 33.5-inch vertical jump to go along with a 120.0-inch broad jump.
This would be a great pick for the Dolphins, and Gillmore could wind up being a true draft-day steal for any team that selects him.
All combine results via NFL.com.
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