Top News: Observations From Sunday

Posted Mar 4, 2018

INDIANAPOLIS - Former Dolphins defensive back Renaldo Hill has returned to the organization as an assistant coach, and two of the prospects at the 2018 NFL scouting combine had first-hand knowledge of the kind of coach the Dolphins are getting.

Safety Jordan Whitehead and cornerback Avonte Maddox both earned All-ACC recognition at the University of Pittsburgh under Hill's tutelage and now hope to use that knowledge as they move forward to the NFL.

"I just know for a fact (the Dolphins) got a great man," Maddox said Sunday at the combine. "I wouldn't want him to leave if I was still at Pitt. Everyone just vibes around him. He's a good person, on and off the field. He's good in his heart. He put a lot of effort and time into what he works for, and that's film, teaching you on the field, off the field. Any way he can help, he's always willing to do it."

Said Whitehead: "Great coach. He knows a lot about football. Great guy off the field, on the field. Coming from high school to college, it's a big difference knowing the playbook, and Coach Hill, just knowing the knowledge he had, he taught me a lot throughout this whole process."

Whitehead said he had no inkling playing last season that Hill, who played for the Dolphins from 2006-08, was headed back to the NFL.

"That's a great move for him," Whitehead said. "He got guys in the NFL the last two years. He knows what he's doing."

Top performers: UCF's Shaquem Griffin continued to amaze Sunday when he ran a 4.38 40-yard dash, the fastest time at the combine for a linebacker since 2003. This came one day after he did 20 reps in the bench press utilizing a prosthetic left hand. Florida State defensive end Josh Sweat also had a strong day Sunday. His 40 time of 4.53 was third-best among edge rushers and he led everyone with a 39.5-inch vertical jump. Boston College edge rushers Harold Landry led all players in the 60-yard shuttle and tied for first in the 20-yard shuttle. UTSA's Marcus Davenport led all defensive linemen in the 40-yard dash with a time of 4.58 and was among the top three at his position in the broad jump and the three-cone drill.

Oliver offspring: The 2018 draft class of cornerbacks is deep and talented, and one of those bright prospects is Colorado's Isaiah Oliver, whose father Muhammad Oliver played for the Dolphins in 1994. Muhammad Oliver played four seasons in the NFL and his two career starts and one interception came during that one year in Miami. Oliver's interception came against Steve Bono of the Kansas City Chiefs in a 45-28 Dolphins victory. "Growing up, he was my No. 1 coach, whether it was through high school or Pop Warner football, things like that," the younger Oliver said. "He was always a guy that was coaching me through track and football. That was big for me. He still does it to this day. Not as much obviously, but I still can ask him any question about the game of football." Isaiah Oliver is projected as a second- or third-round pick after declaring for the draft as an underclassman. Oliver had two interceptions in 2017 and was named first-team All-Pac-12 by the league coaches. "In my eyes I'm the best corner in the draft," Oliver said. "I feel like I have a rare ability to make plays on the ball with athleticism that I can bring to any NFL team."

South Florida prep stars: Some of the top prospects in the draft have a strong South Florida connection despite playing at schools outside the state. For example, top wide receiver prospect Calvin Ridley from Alabama played at Monarch High in Fort Lauderdale, running back Sony Michel from Georgia played at Plantation American Heritage; and cornerback Carlton Davis from Auburn starred at Miami Norland High.

Clemson connection: Free safety Van Smith is hoping to continue a nice run for a Clemson secondary that has seen four of its members taken over the past two drafts. Three Clemson DBs were drafted in 2016, followed by one last year, that one being Dolphins cornerback Cordrea Tankersley. "Cordrea was like my big brother when he was there," Smith said. "I played on the same side as him a lot, so we always had that big communication talking on the field. He was definitely a big influence on my game." Smith then revealed Tankersley's Clemson nickname while talking about his game. "He never panics," Smith said of Tankersley. "He's always comfortable in his positioning and his speed. That's Tootie."

Shout-out to Shazier: Before the linebackers worked out at Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday, Pittsburgh Steelers scout Mark Gorscak gave them words of encouragement and dedicated the workouts to linebacker Ryan Shazier, who sustained a spinal injury during a game against the Cincinnati Bengals in 2017. Gorscak said he wouldn't bet against Shazier, who the Steelers already have said will not play in 2018, playing again. "The joy is in the journey, and he's going through a journey and you young men are going through a journey also," Gorscak told the linebackers. "Everything we do, we want to remember Ryan because Ryan blew this combine up and he was a first-round pick. Remember him and his spirit and we're going to get a lot of things done today in this group."

Family affair: Tremaine and Terrell Edmunds are looking to join their father, former Dolphins tight end Ferrell Edmunds, and Saints running back Trey Edmunds as NFL players, and interestingly all four play different positions. Tremaine is one of the top linebackers available in the 2018 draft and Terrell is expected to be a middle-round pick at safety. Terrell offered Sunday an explanation for the differences. "All different body types," he said. "My dad, he tries to joke around and say the fastest guy in the whole family, but he can't move a lick. He's probably the slowest one out of the five (Ferrell Edmunds' wife ran track in college) of us. My older brother he's the more thick, solid type of guy, so he's built like a running back. I'm a slim guy. I'm not as tall as Tremaine or not as big as Tremaine. We all had different body types, so we all took different routes." It then was pointed out to Terrell that his father owns the Dolphins record for longest catch by a tight end with an 80-yard touchdown against the Jets in 1988, but he already knew that. "He always brings that up," Terrell said. "He'll never tell us about a pass that he drops. He always tells us about his touchdown passes or big catch or big block that he had. He says he has short-term memory about that pass that he dropped. Just a funny guy to talk to all the time. He's always there for us." Terrell Edmunds was aware his father earned two Pro Bowl invitations with the Dolphins, but did not know he was the first tight end in franchise history to be selected to the Pro Bowl.

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