Sunday Dolphins Mailbag: Rookie Reviews, OBJ, Needham, And More

May 13, 2024

Could Mo Kamara end up making a quicker impact than Chop Robinson? Which rookies stood out? Tackling those and other Miami Dolphins issues

Chop Robinson

Chop Robinson / Alain Poupart – SI Fan Nation Dolphins

Here’s a rookie Minicamp (and Mother’s Day) Miami Dolphins mailbag, and here we go:

From Prince-Bishop Militantly Aardvark (@MilitantlyA):

Any predictions on how the Needham experiment at safety might pan out? What will he be asked to do?

Hey PBMA, this is all about maximizing the talent on the roster and the Dolphins have a bigger need right now for safety depth than cornerback depth. What he’ll be asked to do if he does wind up at safety is do what all safeties do, though clearly coverage would be his forte as opposed to physicality.

From Benja (@BenjaMarquez9):

What are your first impressions on the rookie class? Anyone stand out from the pack?

Hey Benja, the only impressions we’ve been able to form from the rookie class as Dolphins players have been through media sessions and 20 minutes of practice viewing, which featured stretching and individual drills. So it’s tough to really come up with something significant here, but I would tell you that Patrick Paul is a large man and Mohamed Kamara has an aura about him.

From Daniel Demers (@demers77):

What do you think of our fellow Canadian Geoffrey Cantin-Arku’s chances?

Salut Daniel, Cantin-Arku, who played collegiately at Memphis, attended the rookie minicamp on a tryout so immediately his chances are really, really, really small. Being that we only saw 20 minutes of the two practices, there’s no way I could tell you whether he showed anything to really stand out to the Dolphins coaches.

From Ed Helinski (@MrEd315):

Who’s your sleeper coming out of this rookie minicamp? Any UDFA guys stand out?

Hey Ed, again, we didn’t see enough of the rookie minicamp to suggest somebody “stood out,” so we’re left with first impressions based on appearances and clearly Patrick Paul and UDFA Bayron Matos stood out because of their size and Mo Kamara stands out because of the moxie he keeps showing in interviews. Chop Robinson has a very similar build to Cameron Wake, though not quite as cut in the upper body (which is not a knock, to be clear).

From Dinney Wilkinson (@DinneyW):

Has there ever been a UDFA where you’ve watched one session of and thought, “Yep, he’s making the team”? What are the commonalities from those players if more than one? I know you’re a man of pop culture, Poup culture even. So who’s the best. Drake or Lamar? Kenyan Drake or Lamar Miller?

Hey Dinney, not sure if off the top of my head I recall thinking that to myself anything like that after one session, but I can tell you it didn’t take me long to look at Davone Bess in 2008 and notice the dude was always open, and I mean always.

From Big Mike (@MikeDaddyForbs):

Why was #44 special to Chop?

Hey Mike, that was the number he wore at Penn State. As to why he wore that number at Penn State, I’m not quite sure.

From Colin Crabb (@crabb_colin):

How does Patrick Paul look? Are his movements fluid?

Hey Colin, from the little I could observe of him during the media viewing portion of rookie minicamp Friday, yes, he does move fluidly for somebody his size.

From Dave (@angryvet59):

I, like you, get Bryan Cox vibes from Mo Kamara. Impossible to predict until camp & pads, but could we possibly see a Robinson/Kamara tandem on Day 1 w/Barrett as rotational?

Hey Dave, anything is possible, but suggesting two rookies will be in the starting lineup on the edge at the start of the season ahead of a seasoned veteran seems like a stretch to me. So I’d say I’d be very surprised if that were to happen.

From Mark Schoninger (@SchoningerMark):

In your time covering the Fins, who are some rookies that looked like stars in the making that never panned out? What about players that looked like nothings and evolved into stars?

Hey Mark, going off the top of my head, the first name that jumps out to me as a guy who looked like a future star but didn’t pan out is Cecil Collins. He was the running back from McNeese State by way of LSU who the Dolphins drafted in the fifth round in 1999 after he slipped because of off-the-field concerns. I’m not lying, the way he ran in training camp with his vision and hitting the hole reminded me a bit of Ricky Williams. Sadly, off-the-field issues were his undoing and his NFL career never took off. I’d have to do more research on the flip-side question because nobody comes to mind right away.

From Roger Dodger (@RogerDolfan):

Did Fangio politely say Fins D “didn’t give their all” being one of the reason he is now coaching in Philly? Heard you mention on one of your All Dolphins Podcast on YouTube that heat really affect opposing teams. Do you think practicing and playing in heat all season is a reason team struggles down the stretch? Maybe time for permanent closed in stadium and practice facility?

Fangio left the Dolphins more than anything else because he wanted to coach in Philadelphia, which he would have done last year had he not committed to Miami before Jonathan Gannon left to become Arizona Cardinals head coach, and the team was fine with him leaving. As for the heat-related question, no, I don’t buy that notion, with the full understanding I’m not a doctor (only play one on YouTube). But I don’t believe there would be a cumulative effect like that.

From Mikebest (@Mbest17):

Do you see Mo Kamara making a bigger impact in camp than Chop Robinson? It seems like Kamara has a big chip on his shoulder about being a 5th round pick.

Hey Mike, Kamara has a HUGE chip on his shoulder about being a fifth-round pick, but that’s not going to get him to the quarterback. I do think there’s a possibility he could make a more immediate impact, though logic suggests (based on draft round status) it’ll be Chop making his mark more quickly.

From Mark Lever (@MarksFinsfan):

One more free agent, you want the Dolphins to sign before the season?

Hey Mark, has to be Calais Campbell, who would flush out that defensive line rotation very nicely and bring along great veteran leadership on top of that.

From FZB (@fzb3346):

Difficult to predict which rookies will shine, way too early but in general Grier has made a commendable job of restocking the roster, now a question, do you think a guy like Calais Campbell is on the Dolphins radar? I think he would fit in nicely.

Hey FZB, you can see from my previous answer that I agree with you that he’d be a nice addition and, while I don’t know this for a fact, it certainly is possible the Dolphins have been in contact and told him to sit tight until they get the Xavien Howard money back on their cap. It’s not like Campbell really needs the offseason program. But it also could be the Dolphins have decided they have enough DTs on the roster, even though Campbell would bring something special.

From Rico’s RoughNecks (@TheFin22):

Not a rookie minicamp question, but in hindsight would you have picked Tyler Boyd over OBJ? It appears contracts will be similar in pay permitting OBJ doesn’t hit every incentive. Boyd is a couple of years younger, bigger, and healthier/better stats since 2020.

Hey Rico, yeah, that’s a tough one. This is a tough call because I think OBJ’s ceiling as far as what he could bring to the Dolphins is higher (particularly if Hill or Waddle should have to miss a few games). But I do like Boyd and maybe he’d fit in more seamlessly because he’s used to being the No. 3 guy, so it’s definitely a tough call. Can I answer in January?

From John Lewis (@MrJohnLewis):

When we all talk about filling needs on the roster, how necessary do you think that is comparative to keeping the roster as is and trusting the coaches to develop these young players?

Hey John, there absolutely is merit and value in developing players and not overlooking the idea that somebody could improve and therefore there’s no upgrade needed, but there’s also no guarantee that will happen with every player and then you have to factor in that opponent also will improve. So is your player’s improvement going to be greater than your opponent’s if he wasn’t quite up to par last season? It’s a delicate balance, and this is another part of scouting that gets overlooked, the ability to properly evaluate how far your own players can go?