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AC In The AM: What I Want To See In OTAs

Posted May 23, 2018

There are no shoulder pads, no hitting and certainly no risk taking. It’s only the third week of May after all. But it is a first glance. It is a chance to see the rookies, drafted and undrafted, and all those other important pieces added over the past few months. Tuesday was the beginning of OTA’s and this means the offseason workouts have entered another phase.

With that in mind, here are 10 of the players I’ll be focusing on today when the practice session is open to the media for the first time.

1. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill: He was on the field Tuesday, throwing passes, working on his mechanics and generally getting used to taking part in structured drills once again, all without wearing a knee brace. Every day is another test, every practice another step in his journey to pick up where he left off midway through the 2016 season. How is he moving? Is he favoring his surgically repaired knee? What’s his level of confidence? These are some of the areas we will be paying special attention to.

2. Linebacker Raekwon McMillan: In so many ways, he is still a rookie after suffering a knee injury in the first preseason game last summer. Now he’s healthy, ready to reclaim his starting inside linebacker spot. These next few weeks should tell us, or at least give us a better indication, of how ready he is.

3. CB Tony Lippett: Yet another key player who missed all of last season with an injury, in this case a torn Achilles. I had Lippett penciled in as a starter before his injury. Now he gets another crack. The OTAs are a small step in his rehab, yet an important step, just as it is for Tannehill and McMillan.

4. DE Robert Quinn: Perhaps the most important of all the offseason moves, the addition of Quinn to this defense could mean so much to the overall picture. He’s a veteran. He’s done this before. I’m not looking for anything special in these OTAs, just a few examples of that difference-making burst off the line of scrimmage.

5. WR DeVante Parker: I want to see him healthy. I want to see him stay healthy. He was something special last offseason, making one memorable catch after another. That’s what I want to see again, only this time I want to see it continue, without interruption, for the next eight or nine months.

6. WR Albert Wilson: Another key offseason move, certainly after the trade that sent Jarvis Landry to the Browns. Wilson can help this offense in all sorts of ways both as a slot receiver and on the outside. He is a playmaker and that’s what we’re looking for, even in OTAs.

7. DB Minkah Fitzpatrick: You always pay special attention to a No. 1 pick. Comes with the territory. But this No. 1 pick is especially intriguing because he sure appears ready to step in right away. More than anything else, I want to see how he carries himself, how he interacts with his teammates and how quickly he masters the nuances of this defense.

8. TE Mike Gesicki: It’s been a while since the Dolphins had a young tight end taken in the first two rounds with this type of upside. One or two snapshots are all I’m looking for this week. Maybe a long pass down the middle of the field. Maybe Gesicki isolated on a safety or linebacker. Maybe a leaping catch, those massive hands doing so much of the work. Is that too much to ask for in OTAs?

9. LB Jerome Baker: It’s the speed I want to see. This is an outside linebacker who can cover a lot of ground in a hurry, exactly what this defense needs. We’ll have to wait to gauge the toughness and tackling ability. For now, I want to see some small steps – small steps taken in a hurry.

10. Placekicker Jason Sanders: I’ve heard stories about the strength of his leg. I want to see it up close. Sanders will be competing with undrafted rookie, FAU’s Greg Joseph, for the kicking job. Every kick counts. Every kick will be scrutinized. The competition begins this week.
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