It may only be May 7th, but the Miami Dolphins had a very good weekend. Over the course of the last 3 days, the Dolphins welcomed in what should be their most talented rookie class in years AND locked up arguably their best player for the next 5 seasons. The Dolphins have a lot of positive news, which is a welcomed change from where the franchise was 2 months ago.
On Friday, the Dolphins began a 3 day rookie mini camp which featured Ryan Tannehill, Jonathan Martin, Olivier Vernon, Michael Egnew, Lamar Miller, and many more rookies. Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said the weekend would be more of an orientation than a practice. However, the young players took part in both individual and team drills. In addition to the Dolphins 8 draft picks, the following undrafted free agents were in attendance (courtesy of ThePhinsider.com):
Chas Alecxih DT Pittsburgh, Terence Brown C Brigham Young, Cameron Collins LB Oregon State, Derek Dennis G Temple, Jeff Fuller WR Texas A&M, Jonas Gray RB Notre Dame, Trenton Hughes DB Maryland, Shelly Lyons LB Arizona State, Kelcie McCray S Arkansas State, Derek Moye WR Penn State, Jarrell Root DE Boise State, Josh Samuda G Massachusetts, Kevyn Scott DB Syracuse, Derrick Shelby DE Utah, Jacquies Smith DE Missouri, Dustin Waldron T Portland State.
The media was only able to watch practices on Friday, so the information is limited. Also, being as though this was the first official NFL practice for these players, you can’t read too much into anything that you see. For those interested in what numbers the drafted rookies wore during camp, check out Andy Kent’s story here. These numbers could change, but this is what the rookies wore this weekend. From what reports indicate, Ryan Tannehill looked good and threw a ‘very, very pretty ball’. Of course, the first pass Tannehill threw bounced off of a receivers hands and was intercepted!! Tannehill was said to be in control and took a leadership role. All positive signs. Some may say that it’s only a rookie mini camp, BUT how would we feel if Tannehill looked terrible? Realistically, a solid start is all we can hope for. Tannehill being on the field creates excitement and hope…something that’s been lacking in South Florida for some time.
The other good news from the weekend was Cameron Wake signing his contract extension with the Dolphins. Wake is arguably the Dolphins best player (in my opinion he is) and is now locked up through the 2016 season. Wake’s numbers, according to ProFootballFocus.com are off the charts. When it comes to harassing opposing QBs (sacks, hurries, hits, penalties drawn, etc), no one is better than Cam Wake….and it’s not even close. Wake’s aggregate number for sacks, hits, penalties drawn, etc was 90. The next closest in the NFL was Julius Peppers at 76. So Wake is THAT good. What’s better is that Wake’s deal is team friendly.
Now that Cameron Wake is locked up, will the Dolphins turn their attention to extending Jake Long’s contract? Jake battled injuries the last 2 years, but is still one of the top left tackles in the NFL. His injuries are a concern to the Dolphins, especially considering Long wants to be paid like the top LT in the game. For a full breakdown of Jake Long’s contract situation, check out this article from the Sun Sentinel. I hope the Dolphins can sign Jake to an extension, but only if it’s a reasonable contract number. Signing Long to an extension would lock up the young core of the Dolphins O-line for years to come (Long, Pouncey, Martin). Extending Long would also help free up money in cap space. There aren’t a lot of free agents still out there, but having cap flexibility is always a good thing, in case of injuries during training camp. Ah, training camp, it’s still 2 and a half months away….but football is in the air again……so are the positive feelings about the Dolphins!