Ten days ago, Patrick Graham explicitly spelled out what the new Dolphins coaching staff wants in defensive players:
“We want guys who are selfless. Guys who are willing to work hard. I think when you get into, not necessarily the schematics, but just like looking at the player and what we’re looking for, aside from the character traits, guys who play with their hands and are heavy-handed. You want guys to play with go leverage and good knee bend, and you want guys who have good eye discipline.”
Graham, Miami’s first-year defensive coordinator, might as well been reading straight from Clelin Ferrell’s scouting report.
Ferrell, the Clemson defensive end, checks all the boxes.
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He has prototypical size (6-4, 265).
He can play both the run and pass.
He’s a playmaker (with 36 1/2 tackles for loss his final two years in college).
And there’s a decent chance he’s available at 13, when the Dolphins pick in the first round.
So put Ferrell high on the Dolphins’ watch list this week as the NFL universe shifts to Indianapolis for the Scouting Combine. Daniel Jeremiah, a former league scout, said Monday that Ferrell is a logical pick if the Dolphins don’t go quarterback in Round 1.
“Looking at that Patriots defense, [they like front seven players who are] heavy handed, who can set the edge, and you can also get some power rush with him. That sounds like Clelin Ferrell. That’s exactly who he is.”
The Dolphins are expected to bring the Patriots’ scheme to Miami. That defense calls for smart, physical players who can do multiple things.
Jeremiah, who is on NFL Network’s broadcast team, called Ferrell a “classic” Patriots defensive player who “would make a lot of sense for Miami.”
More on Ferrell, who Jeremiah lists as the 22nd-best prospect in the draft, regardless of position:
“One of the things I love is he never stops. That to me is the most underrated trait in a pass rusher. Persistence. Every year, when you watch the sack tape of the top pass rushers, and each one has four or five that are pure effort and never stopping. I don’t think he’ll be a 14, 15, 16 sack guy, but he can be a really good 10-12 sacks guy who will hold up against the run and never have to come off the field.”
If the Dolphins go in another direction at 13, expect them to consider TCU defensive end L.J. Collier in Round 2, Jeremiah added.
Jeremiah’s remarks came late in his Combine preview call with NFL reporters Monday, a Q&A that was predictably heavy on Kyler Murray talk.
Jeremiah now ranks Murray as the draft’s best quarterback, edging Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins after Murray quieted concerns about his size and his commitment to football.
“He can make every single throw,” Jeremiah said. “He can drive the ball. He’s got plenty of arm strength. I’ve seen him work the progressions. The X factor is when he takes off, it’s electric. That was the tiebreaker.”
Still, Murray’s hype might be a byproduct of a relatively weak quarterback class.
When a reporter asked where Murray would rank if he was in last year’s draft, when four quarterbacks were taken in the top 10, Jeremiah said he has given the Heisman Trophy winner the same pre-draft grade as Josh Allen — tied for fourth behind Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen and Baker Mayfield.