East Notes: Dolphins, JPP, Redskins

One of the Dolphins‘ higher-end UDFAs, linebacker James Burgess said (via Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald) six teams contacted him after the draft but he chose his hometown franchise, tabbing Miami as a team he could make. Burgess backtracked on a commitment to join the Miami Hurricanes years ago and chose Louisville instead, and draft expert Tony Pauline told Jackson that Burgess should have been drafted and could loom as a potential nickel presence.

Traditional weakside linebacker. Size is the only limitation. He would be a nickel linebacker. The concern is he’ll get smothered at the point of attack. Could be an eighth linebacker,” Pauline said of Burgess.

Pauline identified UDFA tight end Gabe Hughes as the Fins’ other top candidate to latch onto their 53-man roster despite not hearing his name called in the draft. The Florida Tech tight end caught 32 passes for 566 yards and three touchdowns last season, but he’ll have a bevy of players to compete against to earn a spot behind Jordan Cameron and Dion Sims. As Roster Resource shows, more experienced performers Dominique Jones, Jake Stoneburner and MarQueis Gray — and converted UCLA receiver Thomas Duarte, whom Miami took in the seventh round this year — comprise the tight end competition.

Here’s some more from Miami and the latest coming out of other Eastern locales.

  • While most of the Dolphins’ 12 UDFAs are underdogs to make the roster, long snapper Ryan DiSalvo has a chance to unseat longtime long snapper John Denney, Jackson writes. The 37-year-old Denney’s been the Dolphins’ primary deep snapper for the past 11 seasons, but DiSalvo — a rookie out of San Jose State — showed improvement in the latter stages of offseason workouts and would save the Dolphins $650K against the cap if he unseats the veteran.
  • ESPN.com’s James Walker categorizes safety Walt Aikens as having a 70% chance to make the Dolphins’ active roster. The third-year player started five games last season, but his inconsistent play helped induce Miami to sign Isa Abdul-Quddus. Walker notes that Aikens’ experience on special teams will give him the better-than-average shot of making the team.
  • Jason Pierre-Paul‘s lawsuit against Adam Schefter and ESPN for publishing his medical records that stemmed from the fireworks mishap-induced surgery last year will go to court August 25, but the network not only wants the case dismissed but seeks sanctions against the Giants defensive end for filing the lawsuit, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports. The judge seeing a possible difference between reporting JPP had a finger amputated and displaying to the public improperly disclosed medical records will decide this case, one that could have JPP paying for ESPN’s legal fees if the network prevails, Florio writes.
  • In projecting which current Redskins offensive starters will be on the team three years from now, Rich Tandler of RealRedskins.com tabs Jordan Reed, Brandon Scherff and Trent Williams as those with the best chance to be blue chip players. As for Kirk Cousins, Tandler does not see Washington’s current franchise-tagged player ascending to that level, with the now-fifth-year quarterback landing on the “solid starter” tier.
  • PFR’s resident draft guru, Dave-Te Thomas, takes a look at the Bills’ rookie class in an expansive piece.
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