Pass rushers, three rookies on offense impress on Day 7 of Dolphins camp. All the details

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·5 min read
Al Diaz/adiaz@miamiherald.com
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As part of a maintenance program, three of the Dolphins’ best offensive players — Terron Armstead, Tyreek Hill and Chase Edmonds — sat out team drills during Day 7 of Dolphins practice, though none is injured.

That meant fewer big plays and more penetration from the defense on the left side of the offensive line. Miami is still looking for a backup tackle to emerge among Greg Little, Kion Smith and Larnel Coleman.

But there were a handful of 20-plus-yard plays, including strong work from rookie skill position players.

Some highlights from Day 7:

STARS OF THE DAY

The front seven: With Armstead sidelined and Hill not around to take quick throws, the defensive line and linebackers applied frequent pressure.

Jaelan Phillips had at least two sacks, and Christian Wilkins, Emmanuel Ogbah and Sam Eguaoven also had sacks — sometimes a result of the quarterbacks holding the ball too long.

Melvin Ingram stuffed Myles Gaskin for a loss on a run, and Raekwon Davis stood up Sony Michel on another rushing attempt.

Erik Ezukanma: The rookie fourth-round wide receiver drew considerable praise from receivers coach Wes Welker before practice, then had another big day, with at least three catches of 20 yards or more — two from Skylar Thompson and one from Tua Tagovailoa.

Tanner Conner: The undrafted rookie tight end, who played wide receiver at Idaho State, made two chunk plays for touchdowns — including a 45-yard pass from Tagovailoa.

PLAYS OF THE DAY

Undrafted rookie receiver Braylon Sanders contorted his body to make an impressive 30-yard sideline catch from Tagovailoa in receiver/defensive back drills. He also caught a 40-yard TD from Teddy Bridgewater, beating Keion Crossen on a crossing route.

Sanders is making a case to make the 53-man roster. Trent Sherfield, Sanders and River Cracraft (who caught a TD in red zone drills from Bridgewater on Wednesday) have looked the best in the battle for the fifth and sixth receiver jobs, behind Hill, Jaylen Waddle, Cedrick Wilson Jr. and Ezukanma. But it’s still early.

Besides the aforementioned receptions in 11-on-11 drills, Ezukanma used his size (6-2) and good body control to make a beautiful catch in 1-on-1 drills, on what would have been a 40-yard TD from Tagovailoa.

Bridgewater threw about 30 yards to rookie tight end Conner, who ran another 20 yards for a touchdown. This was Conner’s best day of camp, with the two touchdowns.

Tagovailoa threw a beautiful 40-yard TD pass to Cracraft, with Brandon Jones in coverage.

Crossen made an excellent pass breakup in the end zone on a long Bridegwater throw to Jaylen Waddle, who dropped a pass later in the day.

NOTABLE

Kader Kohou, the undrafted rookie defensive back from Texas A&M University Commerce, made a nice pass deflection in 1-on-1 drills. He has flashed the past week. Immediately after the draft, the Dolphins gave him $130,000 guaranteed — a sizable amount for an undrafted rookie.

Xavien Howard had a nifty deflection of a Tagovailoa pass to Waddle.

Defensive lineman John Jenkins’ chances of making the team improved considerably with the release of Adam Butler. Jenkins is difficult to move and has had a solid camp.

Tight end Hunter Long had a tough day after a strong start to camp. He dropped a high pass from Tagovailoa despite nobody being around him. He also dropped a sideline throw from Tagovailoa on Wednesday, with Eric Rowe in tight coverage.

And Tagovailoa overthrew him on another play. But Long had a good block on a Michel TD run.

The fact this Dolphins offense doesn’t use a lot of two tight end sets — combined with Long’s growth — puts Adam Shaheen’s roster spot at risk. Shaheen has been largely invisible in camp.

Tight end Mike Gesicki’s involvement in the passing game also remains limited so far in camp, though his position obviously isn’t in question.

Tagovailoa had another solid day, with no interceptions and several completions for 20-plus yards.

Linebacker Duke Riley continues to make a couple of nice plays every practice. On Wednesday, he knocked away a pass intended for Conner.

A day after Preston Williams expressed displeasure about not getting more opportunities in the passing game, nothing really changed. Williams didn’t catch any passes in 11-on-11 and didn’t get any special teams chances, either.

Waddle, Wilson and Jevon Holland took punt returns.

With Hill sitting out, Welker said he planned to get the ball more to Lynn Bowden Jr., but chances were still limited. Holland, showing incredible range, broke up one Tagovailoa pass to Bowden.

Gaskin had a nice catch and run for 25 yards on a Tagovailoa pass.

Guard Adam Pankey — cross training at center with Michael Deiter sidelined — had a couple of high snaps.

Rookie quarterback Skylar Thompson continued his strong training camp, making two impressive throws to Ezukanma and a few others. He hasn’t made a lot of mistakes in the pocket. He threw a 10-yard TD to Gerrid Doaks.

AVAILABILITY REPORT

Deiter (foot) and cornerback Byron Jones (ankle/Achilles injury) remain out.

Hill, Armstead and Edmonds sat out as part of a maintenance program to conserve energy for some veterans. Raheem Mostert, who is being handled carefully after last September’s knee injury, didn’t participate in 11 on 11 drills.

Fullback Alec Ingold, back from a Week 10 ACL injury, wore a red noncontact jersey and didn’t practice. He said he will be ready for the regular season.