Dolphins Select Durham Smythe, Kalen Ballage In Fourth Round

The Dolphins focused on offense with their two fourth-round picks in the 2018 NFL draft, taking Notre Dame tight end Durham Smythe with the 123rd overall selection and Arizona State running back Kalen Ballage with the 131st.

The Smythe pick was announced by Johanna Feis, the sister of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School assistant football coach Aaron Feis, who was among the 17 victims of the shooting at the school Feb. 14. Feis was flanked by seven seniors from the MSD football team. Quarterback Tyler Goodman announced the Ballage pick.

The selection of Smythe was made with the pick acquired from the Cleveland Browns in the trade involving Jarvis Landry; Ballage was selected with the pick acquired from the Philadelphia Eagles in the Jay Ajayi trade last October.

Smythe had relatively modest numbers at Notre Dame, but that was partly due to the Irish's emphasis on the running game. His 15 catches as a senior in 2017 were two more than he compiled in his first four seasons and he averaged an impressive 16.3 yards per reception.

Smythe had a career-best four touchdown receptions in 2016.

"First and foremost, blocking is a part of my game I definitely take pride in," Smythe said. "(But) I don't consider myself a blocking tight end. (I'm) a guy who can do a little bit of everything, who can go in on early downs, hopefully a guy who doesn't have to be taken off the field."

Smythe's selection followed that of Penn State tight end Mike Gesicki in the second round. They join a Dolphins tight end group that includes A.J. Derby, MarQueis Gray, Thomas Duarte and recently signed Gavin Escobar.

Ballage rushed for 1,984 yards and 27 touchdowns in four seasons at Arizona State and added 82 receptions for 469 yards and two scores. Along with his work on offense, Ballage averaged 22.1 yards on 48 kickoff returns at Arizona State. He had a 96-yard return as a freshman in 2014.

Ballage's best season came in 2016 when he had 15 touchdowns, including a FBS record-tying eight in a victory against Texas Tech.

He joins a Dolphins running back group that includes third-year player Kenyan Drake and veteran newcomer Frank Gore, as well as Senorise Perry and Brandon Radcliff.

"I don't believe that are 130 players or 11 running backs better than me," Ballage said. "I think I have many strengths in my game. With the right coaching, I'll be able to make a lot happen."

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