By Lisa Johnson// @LJ1303
As the 2021 Reese’s Senior Bowl got underway, Miami Dolphins Head Coach Brian Flores and his coaching staff got things started.
After a week of testing and quarantine coach Flores and the National team finally got to see some daylight. Due to strict covid protocols, all regular Senior Bowl activities had been canceled prior to both team arrivals.
Day one did however get off to a rocky start. Due to inclement weather, the Senior Bowl staff sent out a mass email that day 1 practice had been moved inside, so no media attendance was to be expected.
Soon after, the skies parted and the weather pattern changed.
The staff quickly reversed the inside order and moved the practice back out on the field. Clearing the way for media to converge back to Handcock Whitney Stadium.
Once we got inside and settled, the team had just taken the field. As teams split into groups, I noticed that Alabama’s top wide receiver and projected first-round pick, DeVonta Smith, was sporting a finger brace on his right hand. Smith has taken part in all team meetings.
When asked by the South Florida media about Smith and his smaller thinner body frame, Coach Flores was pretty quick to snap back that Smith is a tough player. The staff didn’t seem to be bothered by his size, they just wanted it to be known that he had some great college performances, especially in big games. Coach Flores also spoke to the fact that he thought Smith was a good kid.
It’s no secret that the Miami Dolphins are in need of a true #1 receiver. And if you watched any of Smith’s highlights, he is no doubt on the Dolphins draft board.
Another player that Coach Flores and this staff will have an opportunity to take a look at, is Alabama running back Najee Harris. Harris put on a show during the College National Championship game. He showed great athleticism in the running back spot.
As I watched him today, I noticed that he was an attentive young man. He was talking to coaches while seemly taking everything in. Looks like he would be a great fit in the Dolphins’ backfield. Just putting that out there!
With one day of practice in the books, Coach Flores and this Dolphins team have a great opportunity to get an edge up on the 2021 NFL draft class. Scouting is something that Coach Flores knows all too well. Before starting his rise into the coaching field, Coach Flores was an assistant in scouting.
I also got the chance to speak to Reese’s Senior Bowl Executive Director Jim Nagy. Nagy told me how Flores excelled in the scouting world. He would even write up Nagy’s scouting reports for him. So according to Nagy, if there is one thing Coach Flores knows, it’s evaluating talent.
So not only is Coach Flores evaluating talent, he is coaching in it. Seems to have come full circle.
Follow Lisa on Twitter @LJ1303