A fascinating, detailed, “behind the scenes” look into Miami Dolphins scouting has been rolled out this week by Yahoo Sports. National college football writer Pete Thamel was given the opportunity and access to be on the road everywhere with the scouting staff of VP of football Mike Tannenbaum and GM Chris Grier. And, Thamel traversed the country for nearly a year with the staff watching what and how they do what they do.
The final part of the series was posted online late Wednesday night and gave great insight in particular to the scouts assisting on draft nights in the Miami war room late last week.
In particular, on Friday night in the second round, the Dolphins were contemplating taking Penn State TE Mike Gesicki, and Thamel picks it up from there:
When the Dolphins’ pick comes up in Round 2, Northeast scout J.P. McGowan gets called into the room by the brass. McGowan, 29, scouts the Northeast and does cross-checks on the tight ends. His trip to the room signaled Miami’s affinity for tight end Mike Gesicki. (It ended up being a busy night for McGowan, as Miami added tight end Durham Smythe in Round 4).
Thamel continued on the amount of time the scouting and front office staff had spent (for almost a year) on evaluating Gesicki.
Reports by McGowan, senior scout Terry Bradway and an in-person practice visit by executive vice president Mike Tannenbaum married with both a glaring need position and Gase’s vision. “He felt like he knew exactly how to use him,” Tannenbaum says. “That gave us great comfort. Not only to take him where we did, but that we’d put him in a position to be successful.”
As we chronicled last weekend, Gesicki is physical freak with great leaping ability for his size and strength. Obviously, that stood out the Fins (and probably several other teams) in the evaluation of why to take him, so highly.
Also, interesting from Thamel’s article Wednesday night was the Dolphins third round selection of Ohio State linebacker Jerome Baker, which went against one of their scouting philosophies. That philosophy was not drafting undersized linebackers, especially earlier in the draft. Baker is only 6’1 and 220lbs.
From Thamel, once more:
National scout Ron Brockington saw Jerome Baker, a third-round pick at linebacker, back in August at Ohio State. The vision became clearer through tape and the Big Ten title game, as the 6-foot-1 and 223-pound Baker didn’t fill the Dolphins’ oversized linebacker prototype. But he did fill a need….
And when general manager Chris Grier took a trip to Columbus later in the year, the picture crystalized that Baker may be the perfect exception to their preferred size paradigms. The Dolphins lacked a speedy linebacker versatile enough to cover tailbacks and tight ends last year – think Dion Lewis and Rob Gronkowski – and Baker could end up starting his career as a third-down specialist and flash his athleticism on special teams.
It should also be pointed out that Baker was a teammate of last year’s second round pick Raekwon McMillan with the Buckeyes and the Miami staffs knew a lot about Baker already because of that.
By the way, Ohio State has had an astounding 26 players selected in the last three (2016-18) drafts. So, if you are picking a place in the middle of the country to go scout and evaluate, that’s a good starting point.
Every team is thorough, some more than others, in the evaluation process, but it’s always interesting to see access/reporting like what Yahoo was given the opportunity to deliver.
Now, let’s see if the Fins draft picks deliver this fall.
Dolphins QB Rosen did little Friday night to win starting job
The ongoing battle for who will start the Dolphins season at quarterback took another interesting turn in Friday night’s preseason game with the Buccaneers. However, the current backup, second-year player Josh Rosen, did little to help his case to unseat veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick.
New head coach Brian Flores and his offensive coordinator, Chad O’Shea, obviously challenged Rosen by having him start with the first team and play the entire first half in last night’s second preseason game.
Unfortunately, for Rosen and the coaching staff, he did a little to impress and at times, showed the same shaky quarterback play and bad throws that he did during a mostly dismal rookie season in Arizona. The final stat line read 10-18 102 yards 0 TD and 0 INT, which indicates average half of football.
And, yes there were damp conditions from pregame rain, but Rosen on multiple occasions threw behind or low towards receivers that were open for possible gains. He was also jittery against the Bucs occasional blitz package from new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles and Rosen was sacked three times and knocked down several others.
A key moment of scrutiny was when Rosen was unable to get the team in the end zone after they got outstanding field position on a Buccaneers 31 yard line midway through the first after fumble buy backup running back Andre Ellington. The Fins moved inside the 10, but Tampa Bay held Miami on fourth down, where Rosen threw incomplete in the right corner of the end zone to backup receiver Isaiah Ford and Miami came away with no points.
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) August 17, 2019
Later in the first half Rosen should have thrown an interception, as he threw the ball right to Bucs rookie defensive back Jamel Dean after throwing late and behind a receiver on the near sideline. However, Dean dropped the INT. Still, Miami punted shortly after.
Coach Brian Flores said after the joint practices with the Bucs this week that Rosen needed to “improve his body language” and leading the team.
Yet, while this was a dress rehearsal, he did little to inspire the Dolphins offense, which only managed 2 field goals even with great field position throughout the first half.
There will still be more opportunity for Rosen in the final two preseason games, and perhaps he will be better.
Better than he was Friday night.
Lots to watch as Bucs host Dolphins Friday night
Week two of the NFL preseason continues tonight, as the Bucs will host the Dolphins in the annual in-state preseason contest. Of course, in typical Florida fashion and typical Bucs vs. Dolphins preseason fashion, the weather is looking like rain will be a factor in the game.
With that being said, here are a few things to watch for tonight:
Dolphins QB Battle:
Josh Rosen and former Buc Ryan Fitzpatrick are still battling for the spot of QB1 for the Fins. Rosen took some first-team reps in practice, and eventually Miami will need to see him work with the ones in a game at some point. Is that tonight is the question?
Also, look for Rosen’s “body language,” as that has been a topic of discussion at the joint practices this week and has been said to be one of his worst characteristics. With the weather being an issue tonight, it will be interesting to see who plays the better game at quarterback the young gunslinger or the veteran, Fitzpatrick.
With Kenyan Drake down with an injured foot, Ballage has an opportunity for the taking tonight. Both he and Drake were sharing reps, and Ballage was expecting expanded work coming into the season. With Drake now hurt, we could see the second year Ballage put a stronghold on the position after a great week of practice.
— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) August 14, 2019
Bucs Secondary Depth:
The Bucs have been hit with injuries throughout the secondary positions so far in camp in particular at safety. The Bucs added a veteran safety earlier this week in former Bronco, Darin Stewart. Stewart has already practiced with the team this week and could be a nice added boost to the back end. At Corner, look to see rookie Sean Murphy-Bunting take a step forward in his second NFL game, as well as USF rookie product, Mazzi Wilkins, who will try to keep up a strong camp.
Bucs Back up QB:
Bruce Arians has said Ryan Griffin gives him reasons to keep a third QB on the active roster. Now, Griffin has to keep playing well to restore the faith. Many have thought of Griffin to be the Bucs back up, but Blaine Gabbert has come in and taken that job. Griffin will need to show Arians that a third QB should be active and that it shouldn’t go to another position.
Bucs Rookie Matt Gay has lit up with what could compared to a “bazooka” right leg. With his long 60-yard kicks in camp, fans are taking videos in practice. This is excellent news so far, but none of this means a thing when kicking in practice.
After hitting a Heinz Field record 55-yard attempt last week in Pittsburgh, Gay will look to continue his success from camp into game action as he looks to lock up the kicking spot on the roster.