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Saturday, November 26, 2022

Possible center competition among Dolphins’ array of unpublished free agent signings after draft

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The Miami Dolphins may not have drafted a center in the 2022 NFL Draft, but a linesman who could play the position was one of the unwanted free agents picked up by the team after the draft.

Arkansas alum Ty Clary is one of the two-point undefeated prospects the team is signing after Saturday night’s draft. Clary alternated guard and center for the Razorbacks and even played his entire junior season in 2019 as a starting center.

In addition to Clary, the Dolphins, according to league sources, have either signed or are expected to sign: Miami Hurricanes defensive end Deandre Johnson, Ole Miss wide receiver Breylon Sanders, South Carolina Zacquandre White, Minnesota offensive lineman Blaise Andries, Arizona Passing out are state tackle Kellen Dysh, Oregon safety Veron McKinley III, Illinois edge defender Owen Carney, FIU punter Tommy Heatherley, Louisiana Tech defensive back Eliza Hamilton and Texas A&M-Commerce defensive back Kader Kohou. Nebraska also announced that Cornhuskers defensive lineman Ben Stills was moving to Miami.

Conditions for certain signings, according to sources: Diesch will receive $140,000 in total guaranteed money, including a $20,000 signing bonus; Coho is guaranteed $130,000, including a $30,000 signing bonus; McKinley $85,000, including $10,000 signing bonus; Andries $57,000, with a $7,000 signing bonus; And Cleary received a $3,000 signing bonus as part of the $13,000 total guaranteed.

“As the draft ends, we’re here in the process of working through it,” Dolphins general manager Chris Grier said Saturday night after Miami’s four selections. “We will sign players as usual, and prepare for the rookie minicamp.”

With just four draft picks, the Dolphins have roster space and owner Steve Ross’ willingness to spend that as an edge over other teams looking to sign top undraft prospects.

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“At the end of the day, with the good players that are left, it always gets very competitive with money,” Grier said.

Last year, the Dolphins gave $100,000 in guaranteed money to offensive lineman Robert Jones as a priority free agent, who made Miami’s active roster and began the regular-season finale. Seventh-round picks typically pull in a little over $100,000 in signing bonus amounts, but their contracts are not guaranteed.

Center was a situation that Miami hoped to address in the draft with Michael Deiter, who missed half of the previous season with a leg injury and more career experience at guard, being the only player on the roster in this position. . Grier said the Dolphins had targets drafted in various positions they wanted to trade for, but the teams would not stick to a deal. When his choice came, he stuck to his draft board.

“We wanted competition in every situation,” Grier said. “We still have some competition with the offensive line group, which we went through here in the spring. [Coach] mike [McDaniel] And the coaching staff is very excited about the group.”

Two undrafted pickups, Johnson and Heatherley, live in Miami, where they played college football for UM and FIU, respectively. Johnson is a tall, lean pass runner who had 4 1/2 sacks last season and also played at Miami Southridge High School. Heatherley brings another punting leg to the roster after the team signed veteran Thomas Morstad this off-season.

Miami Central High alum Carney returns home after playing for the Illini. He is ninth in Illinois program history with nine career sacks, and posted 46 tackles, eight losses and 6 1/2 sacks last year.

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McKinley reunited with his former Ducks safety teammate Jevon Holland after Holland’s standout rookie campaign in 2021. McKinley made six interceptions and 77 tackles for Oregon last season.

As opposed to Cleary, Minnesota’s Andries did not play center in college, which is the only position on the line he did not play for the Golden Gophers early in his career. Dysh played exclusively left tackle at ASU after transferring to the Sun Devils after four years as a reserve at Texas A&M.

Sanders had 24 receptions for 549 yards and four touchdowns at Ole Miss last season. White ran 583 yards on 88 carries for the Gamecock last season after originally moving to Florida State to play linebacker earlier in his career.

Hamilton ended his college career at La Tech after initially playing for Vanderbilt. He made over 20 tackles in each of his last two seasons at the two schools.

Stills, at 6-5, 290, is capable of lining up several spots along the defensive line. He finished his career in Nebraska with 20 consecutive starts and collected 42 tackles, six for the loss and 1 1/2 sacks in 2021.

The Dolphins are likely to sign upwards of a dozen non-draft players in total to fill out the training camp roster.

Miami drafted Georgia linebacker Channing Tindall in the third round, Texas Tech wide receiver Eric Ezukanma in the fourth, and California linebacker Cameron Goode and Kansas State quarterback Skylar Thompson as seventh-round picks.

Sun Sentinel Dolphins columnist Omar Kelly contributed to this report.

This story will be updated.

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