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Dolphins Wire UDFA Player Profile: C Alama Uluave

There’s no better time than just after the NFL draft, and a bit before training camp, to start tracking and rooting for the progress of undrafted free agents.

The Miami Dolphins have had success in this area recently, and almost immediately following the final pick of this year’s selection process, they signed, what is now, 21 UDFAs, as well as invited a handful to rookie mini-camp.

In this series, these 21 rookies will be looked at further to see who may have the best chance to be the next Kader Kohou or Nik Needham.

The Dolphins have done well, specifically in the secondary with undrafted rookies, and Verone McKinley III is a player who was a practice squad addition following his signing post-draft in 2022.

In the 2023 draft, Dolphins’ general manager Chris Grier capped Miami’s four-player class with Michigan offensive lineman Ryan Hayes. A position group that’s arguably the weak link of the roster, rumors have the Dolphins still in the free agent market post-June 1 when money will become available thanks to the pre-determined Byron Jones release.

Regardless of the potential signing of a lineman on the market such as Cam Fleming, who’s been on the Dolphins’ radar, there are plenty of other available linemen, and Grier is likely to add some camp competition.

Speaking of that, an intriguing prospect on the interior of the offensive line could have a path to making to roster as a backup center. Former San Diego State center Alama Uluave was inked to a deal with $65,000 guaranteed and could be a player to back up Conner Williams, who converted to the pivot last season in his first year with the Dolphins after playing guard for the Dallas Cowboys.

As for Uluave, he has college experience on special teams while a freshman and sophomore. As a junior, he was slotted into the center role and was part of a unit that was named to the prestigious Joe Moore Midseason Honor Roll in 2020. In 2021, Uluave was selected as an honorable mention to the All-Mountain West team.

With a fifth year of eligibility, his 2022 senior season was a success as a First-Team All-Mountain West selection while serving as a team captain. He was the Aztecs’ starter at center for 14 games and, per Pro Football Focus, only allowed six combined pressures while playing the most offensive snaps on the team (953).

Of those 953 snaps, 367 were spent pass-blocking, and, according to Pro Football Focus, he graded at 78.5 in 2022. His 6-foot-2, 305-pound build creates a good balance to mix with solid footwork and quickness. He’s a tough man to move when he can get positioning with balance and strength.

During the San Diego State pro day, Uluave was quoted telling a reporter, “I can make some excited offensive play as an offensive lineman.”

Other than potential highlight-worthy blocking, whether it be pancakes or on the move in run support, stories were told about Uluave’s leadership. As a captain, Uluave took a trio of first-year starters on the Aztec offensive line under his wing.

“I was fortunate enough to be voted team captain this year, so, I took it upon myself to get that room right and just continue our culture and set the standard,” he told reporters.

Uluave could find a role as a pure center from a depth perspective, especially if he’s an initial practice squad stash. In a hyper-idealistic world, with him being the only center among the undrafted class, and Hayes not a candidate for center duties, Uluave could, perhaps, make coaches think about a return of Williams to his natural left guard position.

Left guard and right tackle are areas of concern for Miami, and if a center could make waves in Miami this summer, perhaps two positions on that offensive line could be strengthened, or at least, less weak if you want to put it that way.

Uluave checks out as a hard-working, strong-valued quality teammate who will do everything in his power to make a name for himself in Miami Gardens in the coming months.

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Story originally appeared on Dolphins Wire