Mississippi State cornerback Cameron Dantzler had the opportunity to spend four years under the tutelage of former Dolphins defensive back Terrell Buckley, and he didn't hesitate when it came time to talk about what stood out about his time with him.
"He's very cocky, I'll give him that," Dantzler said. "That's what I try to bring to my game, too."
To be sure, T-Buck never lacked for confidence during his six seasons with the Dolphins, during which he came up with 24 interceptions, including eight in 1998 and six in 1996 when he led the NFL in interception return yards with 164.
But Buckley definitely knew how to play the position, and he passed along that knowledge to Dantzler and all the other Mississippi State DBs the past four years.
"(My) strong suit, I'd say I'm a technician," Dantzler said of Buckley, who moved across the state to Ole Miss in January. "That's something Coach Buckley preached a lot to us, being patient at the line of scrimmage, using your hands. I feel like it all starts at the line of scrimmage.
"He was a technician. He was a great guy, a good coach to us, he always taught us technique. That's the one thing he preached a lot, technique and always know what you're doing."
As always, the state of Florida was well represented at the 2020 scouting combine, with 17 players invited among the six major programs.
Tied for the lead with eight were the University of Florida and the University of Miami.
The eight UM players are cornerback Trajan Bandy, running back DeeJay Dallas, defensive end Jonathan Garvin, defensive lineman Trevon Hill, wide receiver K.J. Osborn, linebackers Michael Pinckney and Shaq Quarterman, and wide receiver Jeff Thomas.
"I tried to embody what it meant to be a Hurricane," Dallas said. "Before Coach (Mark) Richt and before Coach (Manny) Diaz got there, Miami was really on like a downtrot. Honestly, we didn't know what a Hurricane was supposed to be. Like, the greats of the '80s and the '90s could tell you and the early 2000s could tell you, but what was the modern-day Hurricane? What did that look like? And I wanted it to be DeeJay."
Of the eight UM players at the combine, Bandy is the only who is from Miami. And he left no doubt as to what it would mean to him to end up with the Dolphins.
"I'm a hometown kid," he said. "I grew up a Dolphins fan when Ronnie Brown and those guys were running the Wildcat. I used to watch every game. Big fan of the Dolphins. Love their new coaching staff. I like the way that guy fights for his guys. It would be a blessing to stay home again for all three (levels). In high school I was in Miami; in college I was in Miami; and it would be a blessing to get drafted by the Dolphins. That would be real cool."
Whatever it takes
Offensive tackle Ben Bartch from St. John's (Minnesota) is the only Division III player at the combine, and he was able to make it after switching from tight end for his final two years.
As a result, Bartch put on 75 pounds from the time he stepped on campus at St. John's, and how he did it does not exactly sound appealing.
It entailed a daily shake consisting of seven scrambled eggs, a big tub of cottage cheese, quick grits, peanut butter, a banana and Gatorade.
"I would throw it all in and plug my nose," Bartch explained. "I'd gag sometimes, but that's what you have to do."
Setting the record straight
Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah is considered the clear No. 1 prospect at his position, if not among all defensive players.
Most draft analysts agree that there are few flaws in his game, but that didn't stop a media member from asking Okudah how he intended to fix some of his "sloppy" tendencies.
After asking for clarity and being told about penalties and "stuff like that," Okudah provided the perfect reply: "I had zero pass interferences, zero holdings, so cut the tape on again. I think you might see something else."
Chip off the block
Dolphins Head Coach Brian Flores said last year his all-time favorite NFL player was former Bills and Vikings cornerback Antoine Winfield, and now Antoine Winfield Jr. is ready to enter the 2020 draft.
The younger Winfield said he wasn't aware of Flores' comments, though he certainly appreciated them.
What Flores likes about Winfield, a three-time Pro Bowl selection during a 14-year NFL career, was his ability to compete despite a lack of ideal size.
Winfield was listed at 5-9, 180. Winfield Jr. is a safety who measured at the combine at 5-9, 203.
"Very similar," the younger Winfield said. "We're almost about the same in size. My dad had a lot of heart, and that's kind of what I looked up to in him. Seeing him go out there against professionals and great guys that you see on TV all the time, that's something I kind of (model) my game after. It's not about how big you are, how tall you are … it's about how much fight you have."
Winfield said he has seen plenty of highlights of his father's NFL career.
"It's just incredible to see what he did at his size," he said. "He comes home every day and I see him, he's a little guy. But the next thing you know, I see him on TV and he's out there ballin' with great players. That is what was really incredible about watching him play."