Center has become something of a revolving door for the Miami Dolphins in the post-Mike Pouncey era, with Daniel Kilgore, Ted Karras and now Matt Skura filling the role.
And while Skura — who signed a one-year deal — hopes to play well enough to warrant a longer commitment, the possibility remains that the Dolphins could try to find a long-term center in the draft, a player to compete with Michael Deiter, who was moved from guard to center after one season.
The Dolphins have told at least one NFL official that they are interested in adding a young center in the draft process.
Examining the options, offered in order of ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr.’s ranking at the positions, with the top three or four considered the best prospects:
▪ Alabama’s Landon Dickerson: A potential late first-round pick or early second-rounder, Dickerson started the Crimson Tide’s first 11 games last season before sustaining a torn ACL in the Southeastern Conference championship, sidelining him for the playoff win against Notre Dame. He played the final two snaps — in victory formation — of the championship game win against Ohio State.
He appears fully recovered from the knee injury; he did cartwheels — seriously! — behind quarterback Mac Jones at Alabama’s Pro Day.
“Coming off the ACL — cartwheels do matter to me — to see him move around like that resonates with some teams that this guy has recovered pretty quickly,” NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah said. “He’s a first-round player. It comes down to can he stay healthy.”
Jeremiah has him going 29th in his mock draft. Kiper has him 39th.
▪ Oklahoma’s Creed Humphrey: He started 11 games last season and was named a third-team AP All-American and Big 12 Offensive Lineman of the Year. He would be a Day 2 option for Miami, which is believed to have interest.
“He plays with a nasty streak when needed, which will appeal to offensive line coaches, but his overall profile might be more ‘steady’ than ‘star,’” NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein said. “Humphrey is a solid, safe selection and should become a longtime starter.”
A former NFL general manager involved in the game said he has Humphrey atop his center board and projects him as a long-term starter.
ESPN’s Todd McShay says he’s “versatile, strong and a good zone blocker” who can move to guard if needed. McShay slots him 47th in his mock draft.
▪ Wisconsin-Whitewater’s Quinn Meinerz: The small college prospect, whose team didn’t play in the fall, impressed Dolphins coaches (and everyone) at the Senior Bowl practices and can play center or guard. We’re told the Dolphins will consider him at No. 50.
McShay has him going 56th overall, noting that Wisconsin-Whitewater hasn’t had a draft pick since Derek Stanley went in Round 7 in 2007, “but Meinerz has the talent to make an impact.”
NFL Network’s Jeremiah said his “Senior Bowl tape was a good as any offensive line tape we’ve seen at the Senior Bowl.”
▪ Ohio State’s Josh Myers: Considered one of the top five guards in the country coming out of high school, he transitioned to center and earned All-Big Ten honors last season.
Zierlein said he’s “solid but unspectacular with the talent to become an early starter.”
▪ Penn State’s Michal Menet: Rated the nation’s top offensive lineman coming out of high school, Menet was third-team All-Big 10 last season. Zierlein said he “has the potential to become an average starter within two years.”
▪ Stanford’s Drew Dalman: The 6-3, 295-pounder was first-team All-Pac 12 last season. He’s the son of former Stanford and San Francisco 49ers offensive lineman Chris Dalman.
One longtime NFC scout told me he believes Dalman is being underestimated, that he’s reliable and fundamentally sound and projects as a starter.
▪ Georgia’s Trey Hill: The 6-3, 330-pounder was excellent through eight games last season but then underwent surgery on both knees, including a torn meniscus. The Dolphins like him, and it would not be a surprise if Miami took him on the third day of the draft.
Zierlein’s take: “Girthy center prospect offering potential roster flexibility as a guard as well.”
▪ Kentucky’s Drake Jackson: Was second-team All-SEC last season, and Dolphins coaches watched him in the Senior Bowl.
Zierlein calls him an “undersized center prospect with good strength and the will to fight it out against bigger competition.”