DAVIE, Fla. (AP) — The Miami Dolphins stayed on the defensive side of the ball on the second day of the draft Friday.
The Dolphins’ second-round pick was Ohio State linebacker Raekwon McMillan, who was moved to tears by the news, and they added Clemson cornerback Cordrea Tankersley in the third round.
Miami chose Missouri defensive end Charles Harris in the opening round.
The selection of McMillan with the 54th overall pick left him sobbing during a conference call with the South Florida media.
“It’s just amazing — all this hard work … ” McMillan said after pausing half a minute to regain his composure. “It’s just a blessing.”
Dolphins general manager Chris Grier had spoken with McMillan moments earlier and was surprised to hear he became emotional.
“He’s a very calm and flat-line personality,” Grier said. “It’s probably all the hard work, the culmination of everything that hit him. Because when we were talking to him, I was telling him, `Get excited, man,’ and he was like, `Yes sir, I’m really excited to come to Miami.”‘
Detractors question McMillan’s speed, but the Dolphins project him to compete for a starting job this year as an outside linebacker in their 4-3 scheme under new defensive coordinator Matt Burke.
“People want to talk about whether he can run or not,” Grier said. “The guy can run.”
McMillan made 275 tackles in three seasons with the Buckeyes before deciding to turn pro after his junior year. He won the Butkus Award as the best linebacker in high school in 2013, and was a finalist in college in 2015.
The Dolphins’ linebacking corps will also include free agent acquisition Lawrence Timmons, who signed a $12 million, two-year contract, and holdover Kiko Alonso, who last month signed a contract extension through 2020.
Tankersley, taken 97th overall, was a third-team All-American on Clemson’s national championship team in 2016, when he intercepted four passes. He had five interceptions in 2015.
Miami was compelled to focus on defense in the draft after allowing a franchise-record 6,122 yards last year.
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