For all of the hype surrounding the Dolphins landing Reggie Bush and still pushing to pry Kyle Orton from the Broncos, training camp starting today and the first practice kicking off tomorrow has flown right under the radar.
The Dolphins still have needs to address at quarterback and possibly outside linebacker, but an underrated must is getting the rookies under contract in a timely manner, especially Mike Pouncey and Daniel Thomas who figure to be significant contributors from day one.
Jeff Ireland and company began that process earlier this afternoon, coming to terms with the two seventh-round selections -nose tackle Frank Kearse and safety Jimmy Wilson- and sixth-round pick Charles Clay. All three deals are reportedly for four years although the financial terms have yet to surface.
Kearse is a nice developmental piece at the nose and Jimmy Wilson has considerable upside for a late-rounder. But of the group, Charles Clay is the one who will be monitored the closest.
Getting Clay under contract a day before the first practice means we won’t have to wait to see how the Dolphins plan to utilize him. Will he be a tight end, a fullback, or some sort of hybrid? Also, it will be interesting to see whose roster spot Clay will threaten. Will a third tight end be the victim or could Clay actually unseat Lousaka Polite? Yes, Polite is an exceptional short-yardage converter, but he’s been an erratic lead blocker.
I also expect the Dolphins to wrap up negotiations with Mike Pouncey, Daniel Thomas, and “Clyde” Gates sooner rather than later. Maybe they miss tomorrow’s workout, but too much is invested in their immediate impact for them to be held out for long.