MIAMI GARDENS — The Dolphins didn’t use any of their four NFL Draft picks on an offensive lineman.
“We don’t reach for people,” Miami general manager Chris Grier said Saturday night. “We did try and move up a couple of times but we had limited resources.”
But once the draft ended, the Dolphins went to work.
It was surprising that Arizona State offensive tackle Kellen Diesch went undrafted. But by agreeing to sign with Miami, he’ll have a good chance to make the roster.
And Diesch can look at the Dolphins’ success with undrafted players like Nik Needham (cornerback/UTEP) and Preston Williams (receiver/Colorado State) for hope.
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Other undrafted players on Miami’s current roster include running back Raheem Mostert (Purdue), fullback Alec Ingold (Wisconsin), offensive lineman Robert Jones (Middle Tennessee State) and linebacker Sam Eguavoen (Texas Tech).
Diesch was projected by some as a fourth or fifth rounder. Though he’s 6-foot-7, 307 pounds and very athletic, his arms are supposedly shorter than ideal.
All that will matter is if he proves he can hold up against pass rushers like Emmanuel Ogbah, Jaelan Phillips and Andrew Van Ginkel in Miami practices.
If he does, who’s to say he might not one day compete with high draft picks like Liam Eichenberg and Austin Jackson for playing time?
Or, who’s to say Diesch may not end up as Miami’s best answer as a swing tackle to backup at both left and right tackle?
Here are 5 Dolphins undrafted draft picks with a real shot to make an impact:
Arizona State OT Kellen Diesch
Height/Weight: 6-foot-7, 303
ESPN Rank: 125th best player in draft
Scouting Report: Diesch is extremely athletic and should fit in very nicely with coach Mike McDaniel’s zone rush scheme. Scouts say Diesch is efficient in his movements. They say he exhibits good technique, including footwork. But they also cite concern about shorter arms and a need to add anchor strength. According to Pro Football Focus, Diesch was the highest-graded offensive tackle in the Pac-12 over the last two seasons. Diesch received a $140,000 guarantee, according to Pro Football Network, which is indicative of his status as a high-priority UDFA.
Oregon safety Verone McKinley III
Height/Weight: 5-foot-10, 192 pounds
ESPN Rank: 120th best player in draft
Scouting Report: The Dolphins need a free safety who can back up rising star Jevon Holland, so why not add his former college teammate? McKinley isn’t very tall, but is quick and smart. This converted cornerback is also tough and physical and can cover. Scouts say McKinley takes good angles on balls in the air. Run stopping is not a strength, but Miami will most closely evaluate his center field skills. Was an Oregon leader.
Ole Miss WR Braylon Sanders
Height/Weight: 6-foot, 194 pounds
ESPN Rank: 190th best player in draft.
Scouting Report: Played receiver and quarterback in high school, where he was also a four-year starter for the basketball team. As a fifth-year senior, Sanders led the SEC with 22.9 yards per reception. Deep threat. Track skills. Better in space than traffic. The perfect player to test out Tua Tagovailoa’s reported increased arm strength this spring and summer.
South Carolina RB ZaQuandre White
Height/Weight: 6-foot, 215 pounds.
ESPN Rank: 265th best player in draft.
Scouting Report: He makes tacklers miss. He’s an exciting player. He’s a home run threat. Scouts say he needs to work to become more patient but has an elite cut-back skill, which makes him a fit for Miami’s zone scheme. ZaQuandre, who is from Cape Coral, actually played running back and linebacker and in high school and at Florida State, where he began his college career. White actually had 22 tackles for the Seminoles in 2018. Not a polished pass-catcher.
Minnesota G/T Blaise Andries
Height/Weight: 6-foot-6, 308 pounds.
ESPN Rank: 319th best player in draft.
Scouting Report: Andries started 45 games over the past four Gophers seasons, including right guard (21), left guard (11), right tackle (9) and left tackle (5). Obviously his versatility provides great potential value. Scouts say Andries is a hard worker who lacks elite foot speed. Perhaps Andries can be a factor in the run game, especially if he refines his skills at the guard position.
This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: Miami Dolphins may have struck in undrafted free agent market