Thu 04-29-10 | by Andy Kent
Two years ago it was Jake Long, Phillip Merling, Chad Henne and Kendall Langford trying to keep their nerves in check before the start of the first rookie mini-camp under the current Miami Dolphins regime. Now the newest crop of rookies will begin their transition to the NFL starting tomorrow morning in Davie.
All eight of Miami’s 2010 draft picks, along with their rookie undrafted free agents and eligible first-year players off the practice squad, will hit the practice field and start to learn the offense, the defense and the inner workings of their potential employer.
“It’s flown by so fast that I can’t believe I’m already in my third year, but these rookies, it’s going to be a fun road for them,” said Henne, who enters this season as the starting quarterback. “My advice to them would be to approach it seriously, go hard and I would say just be coachable the whole time. Don’t go off and do your own things. The coach is there to help you and we have a great coaching staff so just be coachable out there. Some of those guys are going to have to play this year and step up and we look forward to them helping us out.”
Henne remembers facing Miami’s first-round pick out of Penn State, defensive end Jared Odrick, at least once in college when he was the quarterback at Michigan and is also familiar with Ohio State linebacker Austin Spitler, the final pick of the draft in the seventh round. The fact that both players had Big Ten experience and were team captains are two factors Henne believes will help them immensely at the next level.
Iowa linebacker A.J. Edds also was a team captain for the Hawkeyes. Miami’s fourth-round pick (119th overall) is well aware of the some of the challenges that lie ahead specifically for him when he first gets exposed to the system being put in place by new defensive coordinator Mike Nolan. Edds was strictly a run-stopper and utilized in pass coverage by the Hawkeyes in their 4-3 scheme and the Dolphins primarily run a 3-4.
“There is an adjustment just like any time you change to a new system,” Edds said. “At the end of the day, defense is defense. It is all about desire and tenacity and how much you want to make it happen. You can draw up all the schemes and coverages you want, but when it is all said and done you have to line up, get off blocks and make tackles. That is what it boils down to.”
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