MOBILE, Ala. — It’s only been 25 years since the Miami Dolphins had a Pro Bowl tight end.
We’re not saying that’s a long time, but, Keith Jackson (1993) and Ferrell Edmunds (1989 and 1990) would be a trivia question even the most diehard Dolphins fans might have a hard time answering.
It’s not as if the Dolphins haven’t tried lately, even adding former Pro Bowlers Jordan Cameron and Julius Thomas over the past three off-seasons. In neither case did it work.
What if Miami’s tight end solution actually came in this year’s NFL Draft? And what if the man to finally end the drought was a former walk-on at South Dakota State?
Dallas Goedert may be the best player in a deep and talented tight end class. And it’s also possible the 6-4, 260-pound monster may be available for Miami in the second round.
“People tend to forget where people went to college once they get to the NFL,” Goedert said at the Senior Bowl. “Just because it’s just one pool there. There are definitely great athletes at all different levels.”
Goedert is inspired by Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz, the North Dakota State product. There haven’t been too many prominent professional athletes from the Dakotas, but he could work for the tourism department.
“Rapid City, Mount Rushmore, it’s really beautiful,” Goedert said. “National parks. Elk and deer and antelope.”
So how would he feel about South Beach and South Florida?
“Wherever I go I’m going to fit in,” Goedert said. “I think I’m a very likeable guy.”
Goedert is. And he’s also got a very interesting back story.
Goedert was most interested in basketball at an early age. But he was an excellent all-around athlete, participating in skiing, skating, kayaking, soccer, softball, wrestling and even — unicycling.
“I played just about every sport growing up,” said Goedert, who unicycled because it is a family tradition. “Football wasn’t a first love. I wasn’t able to play padded football until seventh grade. But I was playing basketball ever since I was 5 years old. I liked it more because I was able to play it. But football is definitely my love right now.”
Goedert draws comparisons to Pro Bowl tight ends Jason Witten and Zach Ertz.
“Athleticism and playmaking ability,” Goedert says of his strengths.
It was an incredible one-handed catch featured on Sportscenter that actually added to the lore as word began to spread about the talents of a South Dakota State NFL draft prospect.
“I’ve had a fair share of one-handed catches throughout my career,” Goedert said. “Every time I do it, the coach says, ‘You’ve got to use two!’ I’d be lying if I said I didn’t practice them. It’s kind of like Odell (Beckham) when you see him do that in warmups. I tend to do that and kind of hope fans are watching me. And see something they enjoy.”
Growing up in a very small town, the coach of Goedert’s high school football team decided to use him in a variety of roles.
In addition to tight end, Goedert was used at inside linebacker, quarterback and running back.
“And safety and punt and kick returner and punter and kicker as well,” he said.
Goedert knows he needs to continue to develop as a blocker. But he could be a very dangerous red-zone weapon and he has the skill set to cause damage in the middle of the field.
“One of my strengths is kind of an option route, with the option to go in or out and bang the man or find a soft spot in the zone,” he said.
The Dolphins need to add a youthful tight end, either in the draft or free agency.
“I’m out to show that I can compete, play and win at this level, not just be one of the guys,” Goedert said. “But in the top tier of guys.”