Apparently, a few former Miami Hurricanes caught their eye.
With the selections of Olivier Vernon and Lamar Miller the Dolphins ended a local drought of sorts, taking a Hurricane for the first time since they used a first-round pick on Vernon Carey in 2004.
Even after working out at the facility for the team’s pro day, Vernon felt that he wasn’t on the Dolphins’ radar.
“I knew they needed a pass rusher,” Vernon said, “but I didn’t think I’d be the one.”
The events that led to the Dolphins selecting Miller may have been a bit more happenstance and were certainly fortuitous. Many had pegged the former Hurricanes running back to be selected, at the latest, somewhere in the second round. With Miller still available at the beginning of the fourth round, the Dolphins pounced, trading up a few spots to take him. Miller said he’s glad to stay home, even if it may have taken longer than expected.
“That’s just a motivation,” Miller said. “I’ve just got to keep coming out here grinding everyday with my teammates just to get everybody better.”
Miller was added to one of team’s deepest position groups, where he’ll have to compete for playing time with Reggie Bush, Daniel Thomas and Steve Slaton. Regardless of whether he’s able to break through the logjam at running back, Miller could be asked to help in the return game. If that’s the case, the precocious rookie will be ready to try to make an impact.
“Anywhere the coaches put me at, I’m going to give it my all and play with passion,” Miller said. “Just win football games for this organization.”
The man who handed the ball to Miller at Miami, Jacory Harris, also was given the opportunity to participate at the Dolphins’ rookie mini camp. Like Vernon and Miller, Harris never had to leave Miami-Dade county during his football career, starring at Miami Northwestern before heading to Coral Gables.
“It’s a great situation,” Harris said. “You come here you play for all your home teams. Something like Vernon Carey did. It just gives your family, your fans, everybody that’s been rotting for you your entire career, they’re able to (keep) cheering for you.”
Harris’ situation, though, is quite different from his college teammates. He exited the draft process undrafted and unsigned, which means that he was at the Dolphins’ rookie camp on a tryout basis. Even though there was more pressure for him to impress given his tenuous status, Harris tried not make it an overwhelming experience.
“I’m treating this like an everyday practice,” Harris said. “Go out there and have fun, be comfortable with everything. Once you become comfortable with the plays, learn all the checks, you can go out there and run the offense efficiently.”
Obviously as time passes the novelty will wear off a bit, but for a moment during Friday’s practice, Vernon had to do a quick double-take.
“I feel like I’m getting deja vu again,” he said.
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