(Photo: The Dolphins were to hold a private workout this week with Duke quarterback Daniel Jones (John David Mercer for USA Today)
DAVIE – In his final media session prior to next week’s NFL Draft, Dolphins general manager Chris Grier was less than effusive Wednesday in rating the quarterbacks who will be available.
Although Kyler Murray is expected to be selected first overall by the Arizona Cardinals, this year’s quarterback class isn’t as rich as last year when Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, Josh Allen and Josh Rosen were taken in the first 10 picks.
“We thought a couple of those quarterbacks last year were really special,” Grier said. “I think this class is a good class of quarterbacks. I would say like all of them, this class probably has players that haven’t started as many games as you’d like to see, in terms of helping paint the picture for what they could be. So it’s a little more projection on a lot of them.”
For a rebuilding team that must secure a franchise quarterback before it can move into the category of ready to be a playoff contender, the odds appear against that being achieved in this draft.
It would be no surprise if the Dolphins select a defensive lineman or edge rusher with the 13th pick in the first round, or even an offensive lineman.
But mindful that team executives are always careful not to tip their hand prior to a draft, nothing can be ruled out based on Grier’s comments and inflections.
The Dolphins were to hold a private workout with Duke quarterback Daniel Jones this week, according to an NFL Network report, and it’s not their first contact with him. Jones, at 6 feet 5, 221 pounds, has size, arm strength and is relatively mobile.
Last season he threw for 2,674 yards, 22 touchdowns, and nine interceptions with a 60.5 completion percentage. He also ran for 319 yards and three touchdowns.
Jones also was a three-year starter in college, which checks one of the boxes Grier indicated that others are lacking.
Whether or not Grier and his scouts consider Jones as elite or a potential franchise quarterback is not known.
Regarding whether he sees any quarterbacks fitting that description in this draft, Grier said, “There could be. Quarterbacks have been so hit and miss. You go study them, it’s 50 percent or less end up becoming even good starting quarterbacks. But every class has one or two quarterbacks that can become a good player in the league.”
In the early stages of a major rebuild, the Dolphins have numerous holes to fill. The chances of hitting on a key contributor at No. 13 may be higher at other positions.
This draft is considered particularly rich in defensive line prospects, which Grier confirmed:
“I’d say there’s five really good players that you’d feel really good about — elite. But then there’s a lot of good players too.”
Here is how he rated the depth of talent at other areas that could benefit the Dolphins.
“I would say the receiver class is probably deeper than people would think. … You can get good value picks for the first three rounds,” he said. “I would say it’s a good offensive line [class] as well; a lot of potential of guys to be really good.”
In just over a week the Dolphins will be on the clock and the pressure will be on Grier to select multiple players to help get the wayward franchise back on track.
Although this is his first year heading the front office, Grier acknowledged Wednesday that he had final say in each of the past three drafts since becoming general manager. There have been some notable hits (Minkah Fitzpatrick, Laremy Tunsil, Xavien Howard) and the inevitable misses as well.
Is the pressure greater this time?
“I want every draft to be great,” he said. “You’re going to miss on guys and get criticized. But at the end of the day, when you build through the draft, it’s important. The most important thing is making sure that coaches and scouts are all on the same page of what we’re looking for so that we can try and eliminate the mistakes.”
It remains to be seen whether the consensus in the Dolphins’ draft room is pointing toward rolling the dice on a quarterback at No. 13.
High on Reshad Jones
Grier downplayed the absence of veteran safety Reshad Jones from this week’s voluntary minicamp. He said Jones has not asked to be traded.
“He doesn’t want a trade. At least he has not informed me. Reshad is going to be here,” Grier said. “This is a voluntary camp and he chose not to be here. We’d love to have him here, but he’s earned the right – and he’s not the only guy in the league doing it. It’s voluntary. We have not given him permission [to seek a trade] and he has not asked.”
Craig Davis has covered South Florida sports and teams, including the Dolphins, for four decades. Follow him on Twitter @CraigDavisRuns