2018 NFL Draft: Running list of Dolphins’ undrafted free agents

The draft is over for the Dolphins, and now they’ll snatch up the best undrafted free agents they can. (Getty Images)

DAVIE–The Dolphins did well in this week’s NFL Draft, and now it’s time to sign another dozen or so of the best undrafted rookies they can find.

General manager Chris Grier and vice president Mike Tannenbaum spoke with the media shortly after their final pick, then returned to the draft room to start prioritizing who they hope to get in the free agent pool.

Names will leak throughout the rest of the day, but nothing is final until the player passes a medical evaluation and signs. His our running list of who the Dolphins have picked up (names with no source designation have been confirmed independently by The Post):

Buddy Howell, RB, Florida Atlantic, 6-1, 215

Greg Joseph, K, Florida Atlantic

Lucas Travelle, LS, TCU

David Steinmetz, T, Purdue, 6-7, 321

Connor Hilland, G, William & Mary, 6-6, 303

Quincy Redmon, DE, Fairmont State, 6-4, 253

Claudy Mathieu, DE, Notre Dame College, 6-6, 250

Jamiyus Pittman, DT, Central Florida, 6-1, 319

Anthony Moten, DT, Miami, 6-3, 300

Mike McCray, LB, Michigan, 6-1, 243

Jalen Davis, CB, Utah State, 5-9, 180

Greg Joseph, K, Florida Atlantic, 6-0, 210

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2018 NFL Draft: Dolphins fill needs, get juice without being irresponsible

Minkah Fitzpatrick is a big reason the Dolphins think they got good value this year. (Getty Images)

DAVIE — This works.

It’s not amazing, it’s not particularly thrilling, but it’ll do.

The Dolphins got most of what they needed out of this year’s NFL Draft, including at least two players who should be instant starters at need positions, and they look a little better today than they did at the start of the week. Filling holes and getting better is what the draft’s all about, and Miami accomplished both of those.

And the team got all that done without giving in to any impulsive trades that sacrifice its chances of continuing to upgrade next spring. All eight picks for 2019 remain intact.

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[PHOTO GALLERY: From the NFL Draft in Arlington, Texas]

“You always want to make sure you have ammunition for next year,” said general manager Chris Grier, who added that the Dolphins would’ve made a trade if a good one presented itself. “We got great value.”

And, as vice president Mike Tannenbaum pointed out, they’d already brought in former all-pro defensive end Robert Quinn for one of this year’s fourth rounders, and they weren’t going to pick anybody better than him this late in the draft.

The crown jewel of Miami’s class is No. 11 pick Minkah Fitzpatrick, who was thought to be a borderline top-five talent out of Alabama. At the time, it seemed like bad luck for the Dolphins that all the best quarterbacks were gone before its spot came up, but that’s part of the reason Fitzpatrick fell to them in what they believe will be an incredible value pick.

They had Fitzpatrick as one of the six best players on their draft board and were surprised he was available. If he overtakes T.J. McDonald for a starting safety job this summer, it’ll be a good early indicator that the Dolphins played it well in the first round.

There were quarterbacks they liked in that top group, especially Josh Allen and Baker Mayfield, but they made the decision well in advance that they weren’t mortgaging the future — like the Jets and Bills did — to move up and take one of them. It was tense in the draft room waiting to see if someone would slip to them, but restraint reigned.

Are there bigger needs than safety? Definitely. But it’s an important enough position and a talented enough prospect that Miami had to pounce.

Addressing needs came later, and the Dolphins showed conviction once again by taking tight end Mike Gesicki in the second round at No. 43 overall. He’s the guy they believed in, even though most analysts had Dallas Goedert ahead of him at the position.

Goedert was thought to be going late in the first round at one point, and Gesicki was cast as possibly a fourth-rounder early in the pre-draft coverage. The Dolphins vetted both of them and stayed true to their board, which had Gesicki second only to South Carolina’s Hayden Hurst.

Gesicki and fourth-round pick Kalen Ballage, a speedy running back who can also make an impact in the passing game, give Miami some badly needed playmaking threats in an offense that has been dull and ineffective for way too long.

Adam Gase was brought in to change that and hasn’t been able to do so yet. Over his two seasons as head coach, the Dolphins have ranked 24th in points, 27th in yardage and kept the ball on offense more than just six teams. Bad and boring.

Gesicki and Ballage aren’t bad or boring. They bolster the speed and athleticism of a collection of skill players Gase says is very close to what he envisioned when he took the helm.

The big letdown of this draft is that Miami didn’t land a quarterback, and the roster certainly seems like it needed a promising rookie to work behind Ryan Tannehill this season and eventually challenge him.

But Gase warned everyone a month ago that might happen. If there’s one area in which he deserves to be trusted, it’s quarterbacks. Question him on a bunch of other things, but he’s built his career off his expertise at this position. He wasn’t on board with taking a quarterback just to appease people and get someone in the pipeline.

“Are we taking a guy just to take a guy?” he said in March. “I mean I’d love to add a quarterback as much as anybody else but at the same time, I want it to be the right guy for us.”

After the draft, Grier added, “We weren’t going to reach for any quarterback.”

None of the top four were convincing enough for him to sell of big-time future assets. He wasn’t sold on Mason Rudolph, a highly rated prospect from Oklahoma State who was available at No. 73 overall, and the Dolphins went for Ohio State linebacker Jerome Baker there instead.

Baker solved another problem for a roster that was, and maybe still is, woefully thin at linebacker.

Everything after the fourth round is usually about scouring the list for talent that can at least make an NFL roster, but the Dolphins also made good use of that opportunity by locking in kicker Jason Sanders from New Mexico with their final pick rather than having to scramble for an undrafted free agent in frenzy of phone calls that always follows the final pick.

Filling the two most glaring roster needs in the first three rounds is sensible, and adding a talent of Fitzpatrick’s caliber makes that a good haul already. If Ballage and anyone else materializes into an asset, even better.

[Miami Dolphins stuck without a QB in Round 1 of NFL Draft; Will it cost them?]

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5 things to know about CB Cornell Armstrong, Miami Dolphins draft pick

Wide receiver Jordan Westerkamp #1 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers tries to avoid defensive back Cornell Armstrong #3 of the Southern Miss Golden Eagles during their game at Memorial Stadium on September 26, 2015 in Lincoln, Nebraska. (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)

The Miami Dolphins bolstered their secondary with the 209th pick of the 2018 NFL Draft, taking defensive back Cornell Armstrong from Southern Miss. Here’s a look at Miami’s newest player:

1. A three-star recruit coming out of Bassfield High School in Mississippi, Armstrong was ranked the 116th-best cornerback in his class, according to 24/7’s composite rankings. He was recruited by Jackson State and Louisiana-Monroe, along with Southern Miss.

Breaking: Miami Dolphins select Southern Miss CB Cornell Armstrong in sixth round

2. Armstrong’s high school team won the Class 2A State Championship and as a senior he had 32 total tackles, two interceptions, a forced fumble and two fumble recoveries in 14 games.

3. Armstrong’s uncle, Eric Booth, also played college football for Southern Miss.

4. The California native racked up 146 tackles, including 9.5 for a loss in four seasons at Southern Miss. He also had five career interceptions.

Miami Dolphins drafting physical freaks and workout warriors

5. It seems that, for at least the second time in the draft, the Dolphins have drafted a Miami Heat fan.

* Grade the Miami Dolphins’ Day 3 picks

PHOTO GALLERY: Images from the NFL Draft in Arlington, Texas

2018 NFL Draft: Dolphins beef up linebacker corps with Quentin Poling

Quentin Poling (right) joins a thin Dolphins linebacker corps. (Getty Images)

DAVIE–The Dolphins have keyed in on two positions of need in this year’s draft, double-dipping at tight end and linebacker.

They took Ohio’s Quentin Poling in the seventh round at No. 227 overall, adding him to a draft class that already includes fellow linebacker Jerome Baker.

Poling is a 6-foot, 235-pounder who was hugely disruptive at Ohio. He got significant playing time right away and piled up 43.5 tackles for loss over four seasons. Last year, he had 163 tackles, five sacks, five pass breakups and two fumble recoveries.

Baker and Poling join a linebacker crew that has few certainties beyond the fact that Raekwon McMillan and Kiko Alonso will be starters.

The Dolphins jumped on safety Minkah Fitzpatrick from Alabama in the first round at No. 10 overall, then addressed two big needs in the starting lineup by picking tight end Mike Gesicki in the second and linebacker Jerome Baker in the third.

Here’s the Dolphins 2018 draft class so far:
First round, No. 10 overall: Minkah Fitzpatrick, S, Alabama
Second round, No. 42 overall: Mike Gesicki, TE, Penn State
Third round, No. 73 overall: Jerome Baker, LB, Ohio State
Fourth round, No. 123 overall: Durham Smythe, TE, Notre Dame
Fourth round, No. 131 overall: Kalen Ballage, RB, Arizona State
Sixth round, No. 209 overall: Cornell Armstrong, CB, Southern Mississippi
Seventh round, No. 227 overall: Quentin Poling, LB, Ohio

Their final pick is at No. 229 in the seventh round.

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[PHOTO GALLERY: From the NFL Draft in Arlington, Texas]

[Miami Dolphins stuck without a QB in Round 1 of NFL Draft; Will it cost them?]

[What the Dolphins think of skill players in this year’s NFL Draft]

[Frank Gore’s on a mission with Miami Dolphins]

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NFL Draft 2018: 5 things to know about Miami Dolphins pick Kalen Ballage

Running back Kalen Ballage #7 of the Arizona State Sun Devils rushes the football for a 75 yard touchdown past defensive back Jah’Shawn Johnson #7 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders during the second half of the college football game at Sun Devil Stadium on September 10, 2015 in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Kalen Ballage is the newest Miami Dolphins running back after being selected with the 131st overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Here are five things to know about the Dolphins’ newest offensive weapon:

1. Ballage, a native of Peyton, Colo., was recruited by Notre Dame, Oregon and Ohio State, among other schools, and had some dominant performances at Falcon High School. In a game in 2013 against George Washington High, he ran for 102 yards and two touchdowns on just seven carries, adding a 66-yard touchdown reception and an 80-yard punt-return touchdown for good measure — all in the first half.

* Miami Dolphins select Kalen Ballage in fourth round of NFL Draft

2. One of Ballage’s uncles, Howard Ballage, played in the Canadian Football League and the United States Football League. Another of his uncles, Pat Ballage, played for the Indianapolis Colts for two seasons.

3. At Arizona State, the 6’3” running back rushed for 1,984 yards on 450 carries and 27 touchdowns in four seasons.

4. In a game in 2016 against Texas Tech, Ballage ran for 137 yards and seven touchdowns on 13 carries and added a touchdown catch as well, setting a single-game FBS record with eight total touchdowns.

2018 NFL Draft: Fourth-rounder Kalen Ballage is Dolphins’ most exciting pick

5. At the NFL Combine, Ballage turned in the third best 40-yard dash time among running backs and the fourth best time in the three-cone drill.

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[PHOTO GALLERY: From the NFL Draft in Arlington, Texas]

NFL Draft 2018: 5 things to know about Dolphins draft pick Durham Smythe

Durham Smythe #80 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish leaps for a touchdown but would go on to fumble the ball during the game against the Miami Hurricanes at Notre Dame Stadium on October 29, 2016 in South Bend, Indiana. Notre Dame defeated Miami 30-27. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

With their first pick on Day 3 of the NFL Draft, the Dolphins took their second tight end of the draft, nabbing Durham Smythe out of Notre Dame. Here are five things you probably don’t know about the newest Dolphin:

1. The 6’5”, 257-pound blocking tight end was a four-star recruit coming out of Belton High School in Texas and was ranked as a top-10 tight end in his draft class.

* Can Durham Smythe fill Anthony Fasano’s shoes as a Miami Dolphins rookie?

2. Smythe graduated from Notre Dame in May 2017 with a degree in sociology.

3. On the football field, Smythe had a modest 28 catches for 381 yards and six touchdowns during his five-year career with the Fighting Irish. He had only one season with double-digit catches, but he caught four touchdowns as a junior despite making only nine total catches that season.

4. The Texas native caught a 27-yard touchdown pass from new Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen in the Senior Bowl.

5. Smythe needed separate surgeries to fix shoulder and knee injuries suffered during the 2015 season.

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2018 NFL Draft: Fourth-rounder Kalen Ballage is Dolphins’ most exciting pick

The Dolphins have two young running backs now that they’ve pickedd up Kalen Ballage to pair with Kenyan Drake. (Getty Images)

DAVIE — This is the most exciting pick the Miami Dolphins have made in this year’s NFL Draft, and it’s unusual to say that about a fourth-round pick.

An offense that’s been dangerously low on electricity got a big jolt of it by choosing Arizona State running back with the No. 131 overall selection. He’s a thicker back at 6-foot-2, 228 pounds and he’s still got enough speed to clock a blazing 4.35 in the 40-yard dash at his pro day.

Much of the Dolphins’ draft to this point had been about filling crucial needs, which is important, but Ballage is the first pick that brings the thrill of posing a big-play threat at all times.

“I don’t believe there’s 130 guys better than me, and definitely not 11 other running backs,” Ballage said.

This is a guy who once scored eight touchdowns in a game against Texas Tech, and anybody who can do that is worth the attention. Last year, as a senior, he put up 669 yards at a rate of 4.3 per carry and scored six touchdowns.

Ballage also possesses the pass-catching ability Adam Gase covets as he tries to assemble Miami’s backfield of the future. Kenyan Drake will be the primary back this year and has put together convincing evidence that he can do damage as a runner and receiver, and Gase’s imagination will run wild with ways to use him and Ballage together.

As a nice bonus, he’s already well-versed in special teams and could be a big factor for Miami in the return game.

Take a look at the skill players Miami has now, and the offseason departure of Jarvis Landry hurts a little bit less.

The Dolphins have exceptional speed at receiver in Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson, plus the potential that always comes with DeVante Parker if he can get it together as well as a steady veteran in Danny Amendola.

They’ve got two new tight ends, one with the athleticism and leaping ability of an NBA wing player and one who made his name as a gritty blocker. The former, Penn State’s Mike Gesicki, could provide Miami with the red-zone target it’s been badly missing the last two years.

And the backfield now has dynamic speedsters in Drake and Ballage, both of whom will learn from one of the all-time greats in soon-to-be-35-year-old Frank Gore.

“Frank Gore is one of the best running backs ever,” Ballage said. “It’s cool to be able to learn from him.”

That’s a perfect attitude for Ballage, who admitted he’s raw and could use some guidance. He endured plenty of turnover on the Arizona State coaching staff during his time there and comes to Davie ready to be molded by Gase’s staff.

He also comes in with low mileage after getting just 450 carries in four years with the Sun Devils. That’s part of why Ballage thinks he got overlooked and drifted all the way to the late fourth round, but he won’t be short on opportunity when he joins the Dolphins.

In Gase’s economy, being a big-play threat is worth more than anything, and finding one this late in the draft is great work by Chris Grier and the Dolphins.

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[PHOTO GALLERY: From the NFL Draft in Arlington, Texas]

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[What the Dolphins think of skill players in this year’s NFL Draft]

[Frank Gore’s on a mission with Miami Dolphins]

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2018 NFL Draft: Dolphins load up at TE with Notre Dame’s Durham Smythe

Durham Smythe is the newest Miami Dolphin. (Getty Images)

DAVIE — The Dolphins are taking tight end seriously in this year’s NFL Draft after a few years of struggling at the position.

They took Notre Dame tight end Durham Smythe in the fourth round today at No. 123 overall and will pair him with Penn State’s Mike Gesicki, who they chose 42nd last night.

Smythe, 6-foot-5, 253 pounds, has been credited as one of the better blocking tight ends in this year’s class, which will be particularly important for Miami if veteran Anthony Fasano does not return. Fasano, who also played at Notre Dame, was someone he studied on film as he developed in college.

While Gesicki is a basketball-style athlete who the team hopes will become a huge factor in the passing game, Smythe was brought in to fill a different role. In 22 career games at Notre Dame, he caught just 28 passes for 381 yards and six touchdowns.

Gesicki and Smythe have a chance to be Miami’s top two tight ends going into the season. Prior to the draft, the team had four players at the position who have yet to prove themselves as viable contributors in the passing game.

A.J. Derby would have been the likely starter and he has 37 career catches. Now he’ll compete with Gesicki for the top job. The Dolphins also have MarQueis Gray, Thomas Duarte and recent signee Gavin Escobar.

Here are the Dolphins’ picks so far:
First round, No. 10 overall: Minkah Fitzpatrick, S, Alabama
Second round, No. 42 overall: Mike Gesicki, TE, Penn State
Third round, No. 73 overall: Jerome Baker, LB, Ohio State
Fourth round, No. 123 overall: Durham Smythe, TE, Notre Dame

And here are their remaining selections today:
–Sixth round, No. 209 overall
–Seventh round, No. 227 overall
–Seventh round, No. 229 overall

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[PHOTO GALLERY: From the NFL Draft in Arlington, Texas]

[Miami Dolphins stuck without a QB in Round 1 of NFL Draft; Will it cost them?]

[What the Dolphins think of skill players in this year’s NFL Draft]

[Frank Gore’s on a mission with Miami Dolphins]

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Who could the Dolphins pick on Day 3 of the 2018 NFL Draft?

Eddy Pineiro #15 of the Florida Gators gestures after kicking a field goal during the first half of the game against the UAB Blazers at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on November 18, 2017 in Gainesville, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)

The Miami Dolphins hope they acquired regulars for 2018 with their first three draft picks. They’ll be satisfied to add some depth on the final day of selections.

Miami remains in the market for help at defensive tackle, cornerback, kicker and running back. The team has two fourth-round picks, one pick in the sixth round and two picks in the seventh Saturday.

Looking for some potential options for the Dolphins on Day 3?

Available defensive tackles include Virginia Tech’s Tim Settle, Miami’s RJ McIntosh and Kendrick Norton or Michigan’s Maurice Hurst, a late first- or early second-round talent whose stock has seemingly fallen due to some teams’ “serious concerns” about a heart condition.

At cornerback, the Fins could consider big and athletic Holton Hill of Texas, Alabama’s Anthony Averett or Tarvarus McFadden from Florida State.

Florida kicker Eddy Pineiro seems like a possible target in the later rounds, since the Dolphins are currently without anyone at that position on the roster.

The Dolphins took Alabama safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, Penn State tight end Mike Gesicki and Ohio State linebacker Jerome Baker in the first three rounds. Each is expected to contend for a starting job as a rookie.

Miami hasn’t drafted a quarterback, meaning the team likely won’t add a potential eventual successor to Ryan Tannehill until at least 2019.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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2018 NFL Draft: Dolphins pass on highly rated QB Mason Rudolph in 3rd

Will the Dolphins look smart for passing on Mason Rudolph? (Getty Images)

DAVIE — The Dolphins got skunked on the top quarterbacks in the draft, watching the last of them go one pick ahead of them at No. 10, then turned down a chance to grab one from the next tier in the third round.

Leading up to the NFL Draft, it seemed unlikely Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph would still be around when Miami’s spot came up in the third round, but there he was at No. 73. The team had arguably the fifth- or sixth-best quarterback sitting there for them to take, but opted for Ohio State linebacker Jerome Baker.

“It was a consideration,” general manager Chris Grier said of taking a quarterback. “But for us, Baker was a guy at that spot who was just too good for us to pass up.”

The Dolphins didn’t feel that way about Rudolph, who didn’t overwhelm them with his personality and playing style, and he went three picks later to Pittsburgh.

He’s a 6-foot-5 pocket passer who proved himself as an accurate thrower on deep balls and was proficient running the kind of up-tempo offense Adam Gase has wanted to implement.

Rudolph piled up 12,765 yards and 86 touchdowns while completing 63.6 percent of his passes in three years as a collegiate starter. He had decent mobility as well, which is a must for Miami.

Once the Dolphins lost out on the first four quarterbacks, especially Baker Mayfield and Josh Allen, it set them up with the daunting task of trying to find an undervalued quarterback they believed to be someone they could develop as a challenger to Ryan Tannehill.

However, they had to balance it with addressing major needs at tight end and linebacker. Miami wasn’t necessarily out to grab a safety at No. 11 overall, but they were thrilled to see a potential top-five pick fall to them in Alabama’s Minkah Fitzpatrick.

Fitzpatrick is believed to be an incredible talent with the potential to vie for a starting spot this year, but it wouldn’t have been the end of the world for the Dolphins to go into the season with Reshad Jones and T.J. McDonald.

Had they gone with a linebacker at No. 11, like Virginia Tech’s Tremaine Edmunds, they still could have taken tight end Mike Gesicki in the second round and maintained the flexibility to pounce on Rudolph in the third.

Instead, he goes to the Steelers and will get at least one year to learn behind Ben Roethlisberger. When he is ready, he’ll step in as the quarterback of an exceptionally stable organization with many good pieces in place offensively.

That’s good a spot for Rudolph.

In Miami, he would’ve been expected to beat out David Fales and Brock Osweiler for the backup job this year. And that’s a particularly high-pressure spot considering there are no guarantees when it comes to Ryan Tannehill’s health.

At this point, any quarterback the Dolphins get will be more of a long-term developmental prospect. They have two picks in the fourth round — Nos. 123 and 131 — to go for someone like Kyle Lauletta from Richmond or Luke Falk of Washington State if one of them hangs around long enough.

The chances of hitting jackpot decrease as the draft goes on, and there’s a reason most of the analysts and teams had Rudolph ranked decisively ahead of the rest of the class. The Dolphins didn’t think he would be a franchise-changer in the long run, and now it’s possible they’ll be in the same situation at quarterback a year from now. Unless they strike gold in the late rounds or Tannehill puts up a monster comeback season — they’re betting big on the latter — the next young quarterback could be a year away.

[Miami Dolphins stuck without a QB in Round 1 of NFL Draft; Will it cost them?]

[Vote: Grade the Miami Dolphins’ NFL Draft picks]

[GALLERY: Check out the best photos from the NFL Draft in Arlington, Texas]

[What the Dolphins think of skill players in this year’s NFL Draft]

[Frank Gore’s on a mission with Miami Dolphins]

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