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Draft Picks
Rnd # (ovr) Player Comments
2 22 (53) OT Todd Wade A backup and possible replacement for James Brown
3 22 (84) CB Ben Kelly An outstanding return man who can also play nickel back
4 23 (117) FB Deon Dyer A pure, old-time fullback
5 23 (152) DB Arturo Freeman A promising safety who's college career was almost ended by injuries.
6 1 (167) DL Earnest Grant Small college giant.
7 26 (232) DB Jeff Harris This pick came from Chicago for P Brent Bartholemew.

Todd Wade, OT

Ht:      6' 8"
Wt:      325 lbs
40 Time: 5.2
College: Miss. 
1999 Stats: Started every game for Ol' Miss at right tackle since game 2 of the 1997 season. Graded 87.3% for blocking consistency and registered 104 knockdowns as the offense averaged 368.5 yards per game in 1999.

Wade is a very tall, very strong right tackle who has successfully faced some of the best pass rushers in the country during his college career. Some publications picked Wade as a possible first round pick because of his size, strength, performance in college and ability to learn and improve.

He has developed his technique over the years and has displayed good dedication to football and good work habits. He is generally regarded as excellent at both run and pass blocking and has graded out well in both areas. One profile stated that Ol' Miss would run to his side in short-yardage situations.

However, he is generally regarded as being not quite athletic enough to play left tackle in the NFL and several of the profiles noted that he has had trouble against some speed rushes to his left. He is seen as a permanent right tackle, although one of the reviews I read speculated that might be able to start at right guard in his rookie year.

It's not terribly likely that he can start for the Dolphins on the right side of the offensive line this year, but most of the profiles I read said that he needs work on his technique anyway. He will compete with James Brown on the right side and most likely make the team in a backup role.

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Ben Kelly, CB

Ht:      5' 8"
Wt:      184 lbs
40 Time: 4.5
College: Colorado
1999 Stats: 42 tackles, five interceptions, nine passes broken up, two fumble recoveries and returned 19 kickoffs for 547 yards and two scores and 28 punts for 166 yards.

As a cornerback, Ben Kelly is small at 5'8" and very quick with decent cover skills. However, he tends to gamble in coverage and sometimes has trouble catching up with the faster receivers.

Edwin Pope of the Miami Herald has referred to him as another Terrell Buckley.

There is some controversy about his speed. He plays fast on the field and has been reportedly clocked at 4.38 in the 40, but didn't time out that well at the combines.

But his main contribution to the team may be as a punt and kick returner. He returned two kickoffs for touchdowns in 1999 for Colorado and averaged 28.8 yards per kickoff return. He also had 2 punt returns for TDs that were called back because of penalties. One reviewer wrote that Kelly was "One of the most electrifying return specialists in the history of college football".

The Dolphins will look at him as a possible starter in returning punts and kickoffs and as a nickel back on defense.

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Deon Dyer, FB

Ht:      5' 11"
Wt:      264 lbs
40 Time: 5.0
College: North Carolina
1999 Stats: 73 carries for 233 yards and 2 touchdowns rushing, plus 7 catches for 55 yards and 1 touchdown receiving

This kid is a huge, pure, knock-em-down and run-em-over fullback. His size and power make him very hard to stop in short yardage situations and he is an accomplished lead blocker. His 40 time is very slow for a ball-carrier and he won't be breaking any 40 yard runs, but since he outweighs most linebackers and even some defensive ends, he would be very tough to stop in short yardage situations.

His most valuable contribution, however, will probably be as a lead blocker. He has been doing that for 4 years at North Carolina and excelled in that role.

He also has some valuable special teams experience to go along with his physical tools and it looks like he could be one of those unsung, but very important players that need to produce for teams to be successful.

He will most likely back up Rob Konrad initially, but could become part of an "elephant backfield" when paired with Konrad. A lot will depend on whether or not the Dolphins are successful in signing Sam Gash.

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Arturo Freeman, DB

Ht:      6' 0"
Wt:      190 lbs
40 Time: 4.5-4.6
College: South Carolina
1999 Stats: 34 tackles, 2 passes defensed and no interceptions.

Freeman was well on his way to being one of the premier college safeties in the country in 1997, when he led his team in tackles with 92 and had 6 interceptions on the season. Unfortunately, he blew out his knee the next year and missed the entire 1998 season.

And if that wasn't enough, he ruptured his spleen in his senior year and missed the first 2 games of the 1999 season. Then, when he returned, he was moved to cornerback and had to learn that position.

All of the draft profiles on Freeman say pretty much the same thing - he's an outstanding athlete who is the complete package at safety - an aggressive and punishing tackler, he plays strong run defense, but can also cover well. His experience at cornerback as a senior gave him the opportunity to fine tune his coverage skills. The only real questions about Freeman are how well he's recovered from his injuries and how durable he'll be in the future.

Dave Te' Thomas (who writes the official NFL draft profiles that are passed out at the draft), rates Freeman as his "super sleeper" pick at safety.

The Dolphins are hoping they've found another Shawn Wooden here. Wooden, as you may recall, dropped in the draft because of injury, but came on to eventually start for the Dolphins. Freeman will get his chance to compete against Brock Marion and Calvin Jackson as a safety.

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Earnest Grant, DT

Ht:      6'5"
Wt:      315 lbs
40 Time: 5.35 (4.93?)
College: Arkansas-Pine Bluff
1999 Stats: 53 tackles with 8 tackles for a loss and 3 sacks. He also deflected a pair of passes and caused a fumble.

Grant is a huge player who stood out at a division 1-AA school. He started all 4 years on the defensive line for Arkansas-Pine Bluff and by his senior year, he was getting double-teamed regularly. Some are comparing him to Daryl Gardener, although I don't see the parallel.

His upside is his size and aggressive play. His downside is his inconsistency and his tendency to put on fat instead of muscle.

Grant is more project than player for the Dolphins this year. While he is big enough to start for the Dolphins, he needs to work on his strength, technique and speed. The combine time for him in the 40 was 5.35, which is slow, even for a defensive lineman. However, he has reportedly run as fast as 4.93 in private workouts.

The Dolphins are probably looking at him to take a backup role this year and work to get in better shape for next season. But he'll have his work cut out to make the team.

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Jeff Harris, DB

Ht:      6'0"
Wt:      189 lbs
40 Time: 4.6
College: Georgia
1999 Stats: Started seven of the 10 games in which he played in '99 and had 29 tackles, six passes broken up and two interceptions.

The information on Harris is sketchy and incomplete, kind of like his career. His best year as a player was his junior year, when he started 10 games and had 4 interceptions and 53 tackles. His play dropped off as a senior and he couldn't hold on to the starting job.

All the profiles I have read said that he's a good athlete who has good size for a cornerback, but some analysts have said that he lacks aggressiveness in going after the ball and sometimes seems hesistant in coverage. Also, reviews on his ability to defend the run are mixed.

I don't really see a place for Harris on the team right now. I presume, since they traded Brent Bartholemew to get Harris, that the coaching staff sees something that isn't in the draft profiles, but I'm afraid that I don't see anything in his background or ability to get excited about.

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