2022 NFL Combine: 5 Players the Miami Dolphins Should Watch
The 2022 NFL Combine is here, and the Miami Dolphins should have plenty to keep their eyes on in Indianapolis. Although Miami has recorded consecutive winning seasons for the first time since the George W. Bush administration, the two-time Super Bowl champions are still several pieces away from emerging as a legitimate playoff contender.
Luckily for new head coach Mike McDaniel, he inherits a Dolphins team with multiple established starters, including young receiver Jaylen Waddle and All-Pro cornerback Xavien Howard, already in place. Miami is also on track to enter the 2022 NFL Draft with eight total selections, including five on the third and final day.
On the eve of this year’s combine, now feels like the perfect time to rank players who Miami must keep an eye on in the coming days. For this list, we only ranked prospects who fit the Dolphins’ current needs. As a result, quarterbacks such as Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett and Ole Miss’ Matt Corral are ineligible.
Although the Dolphins’ needs could change after the new league year begins March 16, the team should nonetheless closely watch these players, several of whom should be available on the second and third days. Based on consideration of the aforementioned prerequisites, the Dolphins must monitor the following prospects.
5. Daniel Faalele, OT, Minnesota
Miami must prioritize the offensive line throughout free agency and the draft, and the 6-foot-8, 380-pound Faalele is an intriguing option. Although the Dolphins might prefer he lose weight ahead of his rookie season, he’s a powerful brawler who is on track to remain a potential first-round pick.
The Minnesota standout told reporters he met with Miami at both the combine and February’s Senior Bowl. Clearly, McDaniel and head coach Chris Grier agree with us that Faalele is worth monitoring. Maybe we’re not so crazy after all!
4. Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
Olave left Ohio State as the Buckeyes’ all-time leader in touchdown receptions (35) after an impressive four seasons in Columbus. The 6-foot-1, 188-pound receiver hauled in 176 catches, 2,711 yards, and twice earned first-team All-Big Ten honors during his Buckeyes career.
Although this is a loaded receiving class, Olave made our list because he should still be available when the Dolphins pick 29th overall. He’s polished, he can make plays on the outside or at slot, and he has the speed to thrive in McDaniel’s scheme.
Other notable receivers who nearly made this list and are worth monitoring at the combine: Alabama’s Jameson Williams, Georgia’s George Pickens, Miami’s Charleston Rambo, and North Dakota State’s Christian Watson.
3. Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida
The son of former NFL defensive back Abram Elam, Kaiir will play his entire rookie season at 21 years old and is currently a second-day prospect. Although the former Florida Gators standout didn’t have an ideal junior season, his 6-foot-1 frame and agility should appeal to the Dolphins.
It’s also worth noting that Elam grew up in Riviera Beach, just under 70 miles north of Hard Rock Stadium, and Abram spent part of his rookie season playing for the Dolphins. Even if the younger Elam needs a bit more development at the NFL level, he could eventually become the next dangerous playmaker on Miami’s impressive defense.
2. Sincere McCormick, RB, UTSA
Conventional wisdom would suggest the Dolphins should monitor Power 5 running backs like Florida’s Dameon Pierce and Michigan State’s Kenneth Walker III. However, the two-time Super Bowl champions would be foolish to ignore McCormick, who rushed for 3,929 yards and 34 touchdowns on 5.4 yards per attempt in three seasons at UTSA.
Although the 5-foot-9, 205-pound running back isn’t the biggest prospect, he’s an explosive rusher who doesn’t let his lack of size get in his way. McCormick is currently projected to go in the middle rounds, which would allow Miami to address other needs earlier.
1. Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa
Like Faalele, Linderbaum said he’d already met with the Dolphins as of publication.
Despite a stellar career at Iowa, Linderbaum is currently projected to be drafted near the end of the first round. If he falls to the Dolphins at 29th overall — or the team has the opportunity to trade up and select him within that range — the franchise must capitalize and add the former wrestler. Linderbaum isn’t the biggest center at 6-foot-3 and 290 pounds, but he’s an aggressive competitor who has the potential to last a decade in Miami.
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