Anchors Aweigh, Dolphins.
With their 11th and final pick of the 2020 NFL Draft Saturday, the Miami Dolphins went from aqua and orange to red, white and blue.
The name to know: Malcolm Perry, a slash-type quarterback from Navy. He is the first service academy player drafted by the Dolphins in their 55-year history. They took Perry — an athletic 5-9, 186-pounder — with the 246th selection Saturday.
The Dolphins felt comfortable making the pick because of a recent DOD memorandum that allowed service academy athletes to go pro after graduation, so long as they either later fulfill their military obligations or repay their education costs.
Perry, the American Athletic Conference Player of the year as a senior, said that he will fulfill his two-year Marine Corps stint whenever his NFL career ends.
Perry will likely play wide receiver for Miami, but look for Chan Gailey to find creative ways to get him involved. He can also line up at running back. Perry ranked second nationally with 2,017 rushing yards in 2019. His 21 rushing touchdowns tied for third.
Perry — who was also offered scholarships by Army and Air Force — said he has “an open mind” about his position at the NFL level. His leadership traits and smarts make him a natural fit with Brian Flores, and it’s no surprise that Bill Belichick and the Patriots showed great interest pre-draft as well.
Dolphins land Big Fish
The Dolphins reeled in a Big Fish Saturday, a former lifeguard whose job is now to protect the well-being of Tua Tagovailoa.
They traded up in the fourth round to take Georgia’s Solomon Kindley, a monster of a man who took up swimming as a kid because he was too big to play with kids his own age.
He once saved a child from drowning.
Now, he’s part of a rebuilt offensive line that should keep Ryan Fitzpatrick and, if he plays, Tagovailoa above water in 2020.
Kindley was the third offensive lineman selected by Chris Grier in the Dolphins’ first seven picks — making it the biggest draft investment the team has ever made at that position group.
The Georgia Bulldogs guard joins Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns offensive lineman Robert Hunt and Southern California Trojans tackle Austin Jackson, as the Dolphins are entirely rebuilding their offensive line this weekend.
Kindley is yet another position-flexible draft pick for Miami, saying he can play both guard spots.
The Dolphins traded the Nos. 136 and 141 picks to the Houston Texans to move up to No. 111 to take Kindley.
And here’s something really wild: The pick they acquired from the Texans for Kindley was actually their originally. They shipped it to Houston in the Tunsil trade, and got it back today by packaging the pick they got from the Packers Thursday and their compensatory pick for J’Wuan James.
Busy fifth round
The fifth round of the 2020 NFL Draft could end up more consequential than any but the first for the Dolphins.
Along with trading for San Francisco 49ers running back Matt Breida, the Dolphins added two more pieces to a wholly revamped defensive front.
They took North Carolina defensive end Jason Strowbridge with pick 154 and Boise State edge defender Curtis Weaver with pick 164 (acquired from the Eagles for picks 173 and 227).
Strowbridge, from Deerfield Beach, provides more versatility to Flores’ defense. He can play all over the D-line.
When asked about learned he will be playing for his hometown team, Weaver responded: “I was excited. … To get the call and say that I’m saying home, it’s everything. Have all my family watch me play in Dolphins Stadium, it’s a great feeling.”
Weaver, the all-time Mountain West Conference sack leader, is a redshirt junior from Long Beach who was a second-team All-American, first-team All-Mountain West, MWC Defensive Player of the Year plus a Ted Hendricks Award finalist.
Pro Football Focus loves the pick, ranking Weaver the 26th best player in the draft, regardless of position. The Dolphins used the pick acquired from the Rams in the Aqib Talib trade to acquire him.
Rounding out the class
▪ The Dolphins put long snapper Taybor Pepper on notice by taking LSU’s Blake Ferguson in the sixth round. Teams don’t use cut specialists they draft, so it looks like another change is coming at that position.
Ferguson is the younger brother of Reid Ferguson, the Bills’ long snapper since 2016. But little brother already has bragging rights; Reid went undrafted.
▪ The Dolphins traded their final pick (251st overall) to the Seahawks for a 2021 sixth-rounder.