Omar Kelly: Expecting Dolphins rookie to make a big impact is unrealistic

Mike McDaniel walked up to Erik Ezukanma before his first practice as a Miami Dolphins player and started making fun of the rookie.

The Dolphins coach appeared to be trying to ease the jitters by increasing his body fat, soothing the jittery energy seeping through the team’s fourth-round pick and telling the former Texas Tech receiver he needed to put it down.

“I was 4 percent from the field,” said Ezukanma, who caught 138 passes for 2,165 yards and had 17 touchdowns in four seasons with the Red Raiders. “He was kidding me. We laughed a few times.”

All rookies — four rookies, 14 undrafted rookie free agents and training camp tryouts — were measured, weighed, and weighed before taking the field in the first live session of the Dolphins’ rookie minicamp on Friday. , check, test, and basically over-analyze to determine exactly what each player is using.

So, what do these newcomers bring to the team?

The correct answer to this question is inexperience, and since Miami’s roster looks deep, these youngsters will likely have a slow start in the NFL.

With that comes the wrong side, and the growing pains that rookies like Jevon Holland, Jaelan Phillips, Jaylen Waddle and others from last year are going through before they ramp up their productivity in the second half of the 2021 season.

That’s why it’s not safe to expect any of these rookies to play a major role in 2022.

Former Kansas State standout Skylar Thompson will likely spend his rookie season on the practice team unless he excels in the preseason and becomes a developmental quarterback that the Dolphins can’t expose to the waiver line.

Unless Channing Tyndall is a football expert, the former Georgia linebacker has spent his rookie season trying to learn Miami’s complex hybrid defense if selected with the 102nd pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. , please don’t be surprised.

Tindall, at 6-foot-2 and 230 pounds, is a bit smaller than I expected, and it’s unlikely he will replace Jerome Baker and Elandon Roberts as one of the starting interior linebackers. Baker has led the team in tackles for three years, and two-time captain Roberts, who is nearing the end of his career, hasn’t had a full year until December in his recovery from a torn ACL in his left knee.

So in an ideal world, Tyndall, the role player on the Georgia team that won the national championship last fall, becomes a package-based player. Maybe he’ll push Riley Duke into the role he played last season as a passing specialist.

“College is fast, but it’s faster here,” Tyndall said after Friday’s practice. “That was probably my biggest takeaway today.”

Cameron Goode, a California passer, was drafted in the seventh round by the Dolphins and faced a similar uphill stretch. Unless the 6-foot-3, 232-pound player becomes a charging demon during training camp and exhibition seasons, he’ll likely need to make a difference on special teams.

That might not seem like much, but it does more for the Dolphins than last year’s seventh-round picks — guard Gerrid Doaks and offensive tackle Larnel Coleman — did. Miami hid Coleman from injury reports last season, and Doakes spent the entire season in Miami’s practice squad despite the Dolphins desperately needing help from the guard midseason.

After Friday’s meeting, Goode commented on how “surreal” it would be to make an NFL roster.

That’s why the 5:45 a.m. alarm didn’t bother him, even though Goode spent until midnight working on his newly released script and watching the movie on the team’s released iPad.

“My brain is racing,” Goode explained why he couldn’t sleep.

“When I woke up this morning, I told myself there was no place in the world I’d rather be,” said Goode, who recorded 172 tackles and 20.5 sacks in 37 college games. “I’m tired, but I can’t be angry.”

After all, he’s living out his dream, a dream many other college football players have but didn’t have the chance to achieve. Even as a role player, it’s still a roster long shot.


US News.

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