The first of two 4-game days to evaluate the top prospects in the country, most NFL scouting departments likely will be spread out pretty thin today and tomorrow as they try and maximize these final live games. And with so much talent at the receiver and defensive playmaker positions, you can imagine the Dolphins staff will be in full force today.
Here’s all the top prospects playing today, focusing on the ones the Dolphins could consider come April.
Music City Bowl – NC State vs. Vanderbilt
Tobais Palmer, WR, NC State (#4)
An explosive, big play receiver with elite return upside, Palmer fits the role of mid-round, #3/4 receiver on the Dolphins list of needs this year. While he’s not quite the polished short and mid area receiver the Dolphins seem to want with Joe Philbin at the helm, he can add the big play dimension that the Dolphins may be lacking for the future. Marcus Thigpen did a solid job as a returner this year, but having depth there isn’t a bad thing either. He’s a mid-round prospect worth considering.
Zac Stacy, RB, Vanderbilt (#2)
Running back certainly isn’t a need at this point in time, but if the Dolphins don’t resign Reggie Bush, they may be looking for another runner in the mid-late rounds for the 3rd straight year. Combine that potential need with the fact that Daniel Thomas nor Lamar Miller seem to be consistent between the tackles, physical type runners, and it’s worrisome to assume that Jovorskie Lane could be this team’s short yardage back. Stacy has some pop when he runs plus he’s as polished vision and footwork-wise as you’ll find in this draft.
Sun Bowl – USC vs. Georgia Tech
Robert Woods, WR, USC (JR) (#2)
It’s no secret the Dolphins will be looking receiver with at least one of their three top 2 round picks, and Robert Woods is the apple of my eye. While he’s yet to declare (and no lock to do so based off his comments thus far), he would be my choice for the Dolphins first round pick (and they may be the first team picking a reciever if they choose to do so). Woods is a fantastic athlete who’s vertical and big play ability wasn’t always maximized thanks to the offensive line play of USC.
Nickell Robey, CB/S, USC (JR) (#21)
He’s valuable because he can also line up in the slot in nickel packages and mirror the ever-dangerous slot guys in the NFL. He is instinctive but, if caught guessing, possesses the recovery speed to keep from being beat deep. His size is his biggest limitation however, as bigger receivers can get a body on him and “win” air battles. Despite his size, he could be the perfect situational player and nickel cornerback if they consider kicking Nolan Carroll outside for the long term.
Chick-fil-A Bowl – LSU vs. Clemson
Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU (JR) (#99)
The physical power rusher has had a very up and down season this year, going from pre-season Top 5 hype to now, what I feel is more accurate, late first round consideration. It was no lock that he was going to declare before the season started, but based on his play this year, he still shouldn’t consider himself a lock either. Still, one of the premier power 4-3 rushers in this class and the upside he possesses, I’d like for the Dolphins to consider him in the mid-late first round if need be to push Jared Odrick back inside and give Cam Wake even fewer double teams.
DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson (JR) (#3)
While Sammy Watkins receives most of the major credit and excitement from the fans and analysts, draft eligible Hopkins is no slouch himself, and deserves serious 1st round consideration if he does declare. No lock to do so yet, especially with Boyd and his offensive coordinator Chad Morris likely to return as well, but if he does, he could be among the many mid-high second round receivers the Dolphins consider if they pass on one in the 1st round.
Jordan Rodgers, QB, Vanderbilt
Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt (JR)
Curtis McNeal, RB, USC
Silas Redd, RB, USC (JR)
Khaled Holmes, OC, USC
Morgan Breslin, DE, USC (JR)
TJ McDonald, S, USC
Jeremiah Attaochu, OLB, Georgia Tech (JR)
Orwin Smith, RB, Georgia Tech
Rod Sweeting, CB, Georgia Tech
Omorgie Uzzi, OG, Georgia Tech
Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson (JR)
DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson (JR)
Andre Ellington, RB, Clemson
Brandon Ford, TE, Clemson
Dalton Freeman, OC, Clemson
Malliciah Goodman, DE, Clemson
Jonathan Willard, ILB, Clemson
Jonathan Willard, ILB, Clemson