Sportalk, Anthony Newton
As training camp has gone on we have watched the Dolphins rookies work with 1st, 2nd, and 3rd string. Some of the more notable names are Minkah Fitzpatrick, Mike Gesicki, Kalen Ballage and Jerome Baker. These gentlemen were The Miami Dolphins first, second, third, and fourth round picks in this year’s draft. Miami did not have an easy season last year or an easy offseason for that matter. The departure of Landry, Suh, Ajayi, and Pouncey had fans and the media scratching their head. 2 years ago they were in the playoffs and it seemed the walls came crashing down last year. With these incoming rookies trying to find where they fit in this offense; it is great for fans to see where this team is heading. We will go down the line and review some of these guys.
Miami Dolphins first round pick, Minkah Fitzpatrick played 40 games in his career at Alabama where he helped Alabama win many games over the course of his 3 seasons. He had a punt return touchdown, 9 interceptions, 4 in which were returned for touchdowns, over 170 tackles, and 5 sacks. You can see why they have high hopes for him. Before Thursday’s preseason game they didn’t know how they would get him on the field, but after his performance they had more of an idea. He has gotten a lot of first team reps in different package.
Their second round draft pick, Mike Gesicki played 45 games in his career at Penn State. At Penn State he had 129 receptions, 1,481 receiving yards, and 15 touchdowns. He has had the most experience out of the rookies because most of Miami’s TE’s have been injured. He is a major athlete who high-points the ball and can catch pretty much anything thrown his way. He is moving his way up the depth chart with every rep he takes. The outside world says he can’t blocks, but he says that he is continuing to get better at blocking. He drove a defendant into the ground on one play which was great for all to see.
Their third round draft pick, Jerome Baker played in 29 games at Ohio State and was teammates with our second round pick last year, Raekwon McMillan. At Ohio State he had 160 tackles, 17.5 tackles for loss, 7 sacks, a forced fumble, 2 interceptions, in which one he returned for a touchdown. He shows a lot of upside, but many believed he was too small to play the position. They need more speed in the linebacking core as well because of the TE’s that Miami faces this year. He produced in Thursday’s preseason game well. Because they were once again terrible in the run game, Gase and Burke got together and made a call that put Baker along side is former college teammate McMillan, and a veteran in Kiko Alonzo. There will be an increase in the speed of the linebacking core, but can they shed the blocks in order to stop the run?
Miami understands that the heavy lifting cannot be put on all of these rookies, but they will help to get this team back on track and bolster the defense and offense with some much needed talent.