Looking for Day 2 nuggets
Published: Monday, May 1, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, May 1, 2006 at 12:00 a.m.
DAVIE - The Miami Dolphins' newest acquisitions include a lifelong fan of the team, a former All-Avocado League wide receiver and a defensive tackle who bench-presses 425 pounds despite a bum shoulder.
So it goes on the second day of the NFL draft.
The Dolphins had only four picks Sunday and used them to take a receiver and three linemen. The most intriguing addition was Texas defensive tackle Rodrique Wright, who was mystified as to why he slipped to the seventh round until the Dolphins informed him that a medical exam at the NFL Combine revealed damage to his right shoulder that may require surgery.
Miami's fourth-round choice was Joe Toledo, a high school receiver in California's All-Avocado League and a 337-pound tackle last season at the University of Washington. In addition to Wright, the Dolphins made two other seventh-round picks: Auburn receiver Devin Aromashodu, who grew up in Miami rooting for the Dolphins, and Texas State defensive tackle Fred Evans.
On Saturday, Saban drafted Tennessee defensive back Jason Allen in the first round and Arizona State receiver Derek Hagan in the third. Limited to only six picks, the Dolphins came away from the draft without a linebacker, running back or quarterback, positions on their long list of needs.
But Saban said the Dolphins did the best they could with only six picks, noting that they traded away their second-round choice in March to acquire quarterback Daunte Culpepper.
"For what we had to work with," Saban said, "we feel extremely pleased with what we were able to accomplish."
Wright was a four-year starter for the Longhorns and helped them win the national championship last year. He went into the season expecting to be a first-round pick, and even last week, he thought he might go in the second round.
Then he waited until the 226th pick to be taken, wondering why.
"It was probably the hardest thing I've been through - just watching names go by me that I think I'm better than," he said.
Moments after the Dolphins chose Wright, Saban phoned and told him about the results of the medical exam conducted in February. Wright said he hurt his shoulder at the end of his junior season, but it has given him little trouble since. He started all 13 games last season for the Longhorns, and only last week he bench-pressed 425 pounds three times.
"It's sometimes a little sore, but nothing I would ever imagine would need surgery," he said. "It's very strange. I've been actually getting stronger."
Wright will undergo further examination, and even if doctors decide he needs surgery, he might be able to return at some point this season, Saban said.
"It's a little bit of a unique circumstance," Saban said. "It's something he played with, and something he could continue to play with. But if he continues to play with it, it's going to have a degenerative effect on his ability to play long-term. ... Once it's fixed, he's as good as gold."
Toledo could provide help quickly because he has the versatility Saban likes. After playing wide receiver in high school, he spent most of his career at Washington as a tight end, switched to left tackle as a senior and might wind up at guard for Miami.
The 6-foot-5 Toledo played tight end at 285 pounds. With guidance from his mother, a dietitian, he gained 50 pounds last year after switching positions.
"I'm not carrying a lot of bad weight," he said. "At tight end I was watching what I ate all the time and not able to eat like a normal person with three square meals a deal. When I was able to eat like I wanted to, it came on naturally.
"I can lose weight. I can gain weight. I'm receptive to whatever they want me to do."
Evans, a Chicago native, attended Illinois as a freshman but struggled with his grades, spent two years in junior college and then played two seasons at Texas State. He said he's confident he can make the jump from the Southland Conference to the NFL.
"I got a chance to play against Texas A&M, and I got a chance to play against some other big-name guys in the Hula Bowl, and I feel I did just as good as everyone else," he said.
The speedy Aromashodu made only 71 career receptions in 51 games at Auburn, but he averaged 18.8 yards per catch and scored nine touchdowns. Growing up he rooted for the Dolphins, especially receivers Mark Clayton and Mark Duper.
"I'm happy and excited to be drafted and to play at home for Miami," Aromashodu said.
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