Several receivers in draft interest Miami Dolphins
North Carolina's Hakeem Nicks and teammates celebrate their 33-27 victory against Miami on Saturday Oct. 6, 2007. ROBERT WILLETT / THE NEWS AND OBSERVER
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BY BARRY JACKSON
The Dolphins are showing interest in several draft-eligible receivers, including some in the mix for either of Miami's second-round picks (No. 44 or 56). This Dolphins staff isn't crazy about taking receivers in the first round, though it's not out of the question.
Texas Tech's Michael Crabtree and Missouri's Jeremy Maclin should be gone before Miami picks 25th; many think Florida's Percy Harvin will, too; and Maryland's Darrius Heyward-Bey's blazing 4.3 NFL Combine time in the 40 (best among all players) elevated his stock. Mel Kiper has Miami picking Heyward-Bey; colleague Todd McShay has him going earlier, at 18th, one spot ahead of Harvin.
Beyond those four, the Dolphins are intrigued by -- and have spent a lot of time with -- North Carolina's 6-1 Hakeem Nicks, a strong, physical receiver (1,222 receiving yards, 12 TDs in 2008). He's a possibility at No. 25. They have high regard for Ohio State potential second-rounder Brian Robiskie, a polished route-runner with great hands and good size at 6-3. And Dolphins scouts have given positive feedback to 6-3 Gators receiver Louis Murphy's representation.
Rutgers' Kenny Britt also is in the mix -- though questions about his maturity and work ethic (plus a history of dropped passes) must be measured against the positives: his size (6-3), success over the middle; and strong 2008 (87 catches, 1371 yards).
NFL team consultant Frank Coyle of draftinsiders.com said Britt, Nicks, Robiskie, Oklahoma's 6-1 Juaquin Iglesias, Murphy and Penn State's 6-0 Derrick Williams are second-round worthy. The wild card is North Carolina's 6-0 Brandon Tate -- ''He's a lot like Terrell Owens, but I bet Tate would be there at 44 because he's coming off an ACL injury,'' Sporting News draft analyst/ex-Browns scout Russ Lande said.
As for the 5-11 Harvin, the Dolphins talked about setting up a visit but haven't yet. ''He's got a lot of Reggie Bush in him, a touchdown waiting to happen,'' said Kiper, projecting Harvin 17th to the Jets.
Lande said, ''Harvin could fall because a lot of teams are nervous about the injury factor. But he's a lot like Ted Ginn. That would be Miami's concern.'' Heyward-Bey, 6-2, had just 42 catches in 2008 but impressed at the Combine. Kiper said Maryland didn't throw to him enough, but ``at times, he didn't push it enough.''
In the middle rounds, keep an eye on players such as Cal Poly's 6'6" Ramses Barden (36 touchdowns over the last two seasons) and Mississippi speedster Michael Wallace.
• The Dolphins -- who worked out ex-FSU receiver De'Cody Fagg on Monday -- are solid at tight end, but told people they like South Carolina tight end Jared Cook and met with Rice's versatile James Casey.
• Agent Mark Bloom said Miami has shown interest in Bills free agent cornerback Jabari Greer -- who visited Detroit, Tampa, Cleveland, with New Orleans next -- ``but I don't know where it will lead.''
Cornerbacks Bryant McFadden and Phillip Buchanon are out of Miami's price range barring a change of heart. The Dolphins don't want to spend enormous money on cornerback and didn't offer Andre' Goodman anything close to Denver's five-year, $25 million deal. Miami expressed interest in Drayton Florence before he signed with Buffalo Tuesday night.