Rookies Stepping Up

DE Dion Jordan

First-round pick Dion Jordan is the one Dolphins rookie attracting the most attention at training camp and that's certainly understandable given his draft status. But he's far from the only first-year player doing some good things. And we're not just taking about Thursday when third-round pick Will Davis absolutely stole the show.

Davis, the cornerback from Utah State, was nothing short of sensational Thursday when he came up with three interceptions, knocked a ball away from wide receiver Brian Tyms after a catch, and deflected a few other passes.

Coach Joe Philbin said after practice he figured Davis got his hand on the ball about eight times, a remarkable number for a defensive back.

Thursday's performance continued a tremendous run for Davis, who actually got off to a rough start in camp.

Since Sunday, though, Davis has been a big-time playmaker, with a pick on the last play of practice that day, an interception in the end zone on the last play of the intrasquad scrimmage Monday night, and then the three picks Thursday.

Davis' work hasn't gone unnoticed, too, as he's been moved up to the second-team defense.

Jordan, too, has been impressive, specifically with his pass-rushing production. By certain accounts, he had three sacks on Thursday and I gave him two sacks in the scrimmage Monday — no official stats were kept and one "sack" was given by many media members to Koa Misi when it was unclear whether he would have been able to tackle Ryan Tannehill had he been allowed by rule.

Regardless of the numbers, it's pretty clear by now that Jordan does posses tremendous pass-rushing ability. The trick now for the Dolphins coaching staff is finding the best way to maximize his ability.

Second-round pick Jamar Taylor has yet to make an impact, but that's because he's just now gotten back to the practice field after missing a week because of an injury.

Fellow third-round pick Dallas Thomas has, by all accounts, acquitted himself well on the offensive line, although he hasn't taken a turn with the first-team offensive line in the last couple of days.

Thomas has also gone from working at guard to working at tackle, on both sides, the last few days.

At this point, the expectation from this vantage point remains that Thomas will begin his NFL career as a backup swingman.

Tight end Dion Sims, the fourth-round pick from Michigan State, also looks like a keeper. He's got perhaps the best combination of receiving and blocking ability among the tight ends on the team, and that includes veterans Dustin Keller and Charles Clay.

There's little doubt Sims will make the 53-man roster, and I would even expect him to get significant playing time as a rookie.

On the flip side, can't say there's been much impact from either Don Jones or Jelani Jenkins.

It's a bit alarming when it comes to Jenkins because he was a fourth-round pick. Philbin spoke highly of Jenkins after Thursday's practice, but the reality is he's done very little of note so far in camp.

Fellow Gator Mike Gillislee has shown good ability as a running back early in camp, but his hands as a pass catcher have left a bit to be desired.

Among the draft picks, the one left to talk about is Caleb Sturgis, who got back to kicking on Wednesday and ended practice by making a 42-yard field goal.

With Dan Carpenter struggling lately after a strong start to camp, the opportunity clearly is there for Sturgis to take the job. Sturgis has a big leg, that is obvious. The question for him is whether he can be consistent enough for the Dolphins to decide to go with an unproven NFL commodity.

When it comes to undrafted rookie free agents, a few have stood out, probably none more so than wide receiver Chad Bumphis.

He just keeps getting open in practice and is making play after play.

If Davis was the defensive star on Thursday, Bumphis might well have been the offensive standout.

Another UDFA who has impressed early on is Utah center Sam Brenner.

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