Potential undrafted free agent rookies the Miami Dolphins should call up

Aug 20, 2022; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins general manager Chris Grier walks on the field before a preseason game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 20, 2022; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins general manager Chris Grier walks on the field before a preseason game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports /

Holding only four picks in the 2023 NFL Draft with only two weeks to go says a lot about the Miami Dolphins right now:

  1. They are in win-now mode and are content with their current roster
  2. They will be very active in the undrafted free-agent market

The former is apparent, as they picked up Tua Tagovailoa’s fifth-year option, traded for All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey and acquired both Tyreek Hill and Bradley Chubb a year ago. However, the latter is a bit more complicated.

The Dolphins may just be content with their four draftees and skip out on working out the undrafted free agents, but I think there are some gems worth keeping eye on as the later rounds of the draft unfold.

Before you scoff at the idea of looking at UDFA’s as potential role players on your team, take a quick look at some examples of undrafted players from the past:

Tony Romo, Wes Welker, Doug Baldwin, Shaq Barrett, Jason Peters, Warren Moon, John Randle, James Harrison, Antonio Gates, and Kurt Warner — five of which are Hall of Famers. 

So, with that in mind, here are five likely undrafted free agents the Dolphins could, and should, pursue after the conclusion of the NFL Draft in two weeks:

Anthony Bradford, Guard, LSU

A 12-game starter at LSU in 2022, Anthony Bradford is a popular name as a high-value UDFA who in all likelihood will be sought after by several teams.

Bradford started 11 games at right guard and a single game at left tackle, but projects mostly as a guard in the NFL. He showed really good upper-body strength and was able to outmuscle and maul the defensive line in most of his starts, but the reason he likely won’t be drafted come later this month is the fact he has very limited athleticism.

However, as a raw prospect, Bradford has a very high ceiling and as an UDFA, the risk is insanely low. Worst case scenario, he gets cut. Best case scenario, he becomes a high-quality member of the offensive line, either as a backup or a rotational player. Either way, he’ll feast somewhere.

Derius Davis, WR, TCU

While wide receiver is not a pressing need for the Dolphins right now, it never hurts to add more weapons. Davis, the speedy undersized receiver who played opposite Quentin Johnston at TCU, ran a blazing 4.36 40-yard dash at the combine, which raised some eyebrows.

Davis did not put up crazy numbers as a receiver in college, but he was utilized a lot like Tyreek Hill was in his first couple years in the league — as a gadget player. Davis was especially effective as a return man on punts and kickoffs and was named Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Year in 2022. However, based on his size and lack of playing time in college, he probably doesn’t get drafted this month.

Davis likely would not see many snaps on offense, barring a few injuries, but he would be a fun experiment as a special teams player as potentially an explosive return man. Again, his ceiling is high as a gadget player and special teamer, and will likely be a priority UDFA for several teams.

Aubrey Miller Jr., LB, Jackson State

When you think of do-it-all linebackers, you may think of guys like Micah Parsons, Bobby Wagner and even Luke Kuechly who could stuff the run, rush the passer, and sit back in coverage. But after watching some Jackson State film, my focus shifts to Aubrey Miller Jr.

Number 45 is what stands out on film — and it’s because he is finishing every play with violence and aggression. He may be from a small school and was never a highly-graded recruit, but Miller Jr. lets his play do the talking. And man, does it talk.

He’s as underrated as they come and he has a giant chip on his shoulder. A prospect with the size, strength, athleticism, and pure tackling ability, he should be selected in the draft. However, most teams consider him an UDFA, allowing a team like Miami, with very little draft capital, to claim the potential steal of the draft in Aubrey Miller Jr.

Jalen Wayne, WR, South Alabama

Another small school kid with big-time potential, Jalen Wayne (nephew of HOF’er Reggie Wayne) will likely find his NFL home via undrafted free agency.

Wayne is a shifty target, who is more quick than fast. When you don’t have top-tier speed, you better be good with your feet and lateral quickness — and that is exactly what Wayne has. At 6’1 and 210 lbs, he’s got some decent size, but his lack of breakaway speed and lack of elite production is what will ultimately keep him from hearing his name called in the draft.

Like Derius Davis, Wayne also has special teams experience as a return man, where he may be able to carve out his niche in the league. However, I see some real potential as a rotational wide receiver.

On film, Wayne really shines in contested catch situations, high-pointing the ball and using his long arms to bring in passes down the field. Again, his speed is not great, so he does not get a ton of separation on deep routes, but his ability to bring down 50/50 balls makes up for it.

The Dolphins could use a big receiver with a large catch radius as a supplement to their speedy, homerun targets in Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle.

Malik Cunningham, QB, Louisville

Did you really think I’d make an UDFA list without a quarterback?

We all know of Tua’s injury history and we all hope he stays healthy for the entire 2023 campaign, but it would be borderline irresponsible not to address it. The Dolphins cut ties with Teddy Bridgewater and signed Mike White to back up Tua this season, but if Tua goes down, do we really want Mike White out there?

It’s worth taking a look at the UDFA quarterbacks to give White some competition in camp. One name that really stands out to me is Malik Cunningham, who has always been a good quarterback the last several years for Louisville but never took the leap to being great.

The potential is absolutely there, as he broke Lamar Jackson’s record for career touchdowns at the university with 120. I don’t want to compare him to Lamar because they have different strengths, but to be in the same conversation as the former league MVP is telling in and of itself.

Cunningham is a dual-threat quarterback who often shined more as a runner than as a passer. But the ability to stand in the pocket and throw the ball certainly flashed at times. He would surely be a project as a developmental quarterback, but like a lot of these guys, he has a high ceiling.

You never want to see your quarterback go down, but you must be prepared just in case. I think Malik Cunningham could be an exciting camp body for the Dolphins to compete with Mike White as Tua’s backup.