After a long wait for the first NFL draft pick of 2022, the Dolphins choose Georgia LB Channing Tindall-Twin Cities in the third round

The long wait for the Miami Dolphins to make their first pick for the 2022 NFL draft resulted in the team picking Georgia linebacker Channing Tindall with the No. 102 pick at the end of the third round.

Tindall (6-ft-2, 230 pounds) was the national champion with the Bulldogs last season, where he finished third on the team with 67 tackles as an inside linebacker who can walk from sideline to sideline. In his collegiate career, he accumulated 108 tackles, 16 for losses and 12 sacks.

Dolphins general manager Chris Grier praised Tindall’s speed as one of the qualities he and the organization liked when the prospect ran a 4.47-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine in March.

“He’s a player we’ve been targeting throughout the process,” Grier said late Friday night. “For us, it’s the versatility. We like the speed, his ability to play all three downs and play against special teams too.”

Tindall was one of the prospects invited to Dolphins’ headquarters for a pre-design visit.

“It felt like home,” said Tindall, who watched the design with close family and friends. “I just loved the campus, the facilities they had there. I got in touch with the linebacker coach [Anthony Campanile]the entire staff.”

Versatility Grier found in Tindall was something he liked about studying the Dolphins defense, putting linebackers in a variety of places, particularly with lead tackler Jerome Baker able to play inside and out.

Linebacker was a position the Dolphins wanted to address in this draft. The team brought back Elandon Roberts, Duke Riley, Sam Eguavoen and Brennan Scarlett from last year’s roster but could still use an upgrade to pair with Jerome Baker on the inside and Jaelan Phillips and Andrew Van Ginkel on the outside.

Grier noted that the Dolphins are still very happy with the linebackers they’ve signed this offseason.

“The boys are good players,” he said. “You know our system. We know what they are on and off the pitch, how they contribute to this team.”

The Dolphins, who chose not to trade between Thursday and Friday, chose Tindall with a compensatory pick they got from the San Francisco 49ers at the end of the third round after going without a pick in the first two rounds. The pick was announced by Hall of Fame Dolphins fullback Larry Csonka of the Las Vegas draft.

The Dolphins’ first two round picks were traded in a five-pick package to the Kansas City Chiefs for star wide receiver Tyreek Hill, who has made the Pro Bowl in all six of his NFL seasons. That first-round pick, No. 29, originally belonged to the 49ers, while Miami’s own second-round pick, No. 50 overall, was also shipped, along with a fourth-round pick this year and the fourth- and sixth-round picks next year in Blockbuster -Deal.

Grier said the Dolphins were working the phones Friday night to see if they could step up to draft various prospects, but ultimately the teams wanted a piece of Miami’s 2023 draft capital that the Dolphins were unwilling to give up.

“We had discussions about several players that we wanted to land, but the teams wanted to make their choices,” Grier said. “We didn’t want to give up any picks from the 2023 draft, the upcoming draft class. That was non-negotiable for us.”

The Dolphins have five picks in their first three rounds in 2023, two in the first and two in the third.

#102 is the deepest in a draft Miami made its first pick, and for the first time since 2002, the team went unpicked in the first two rounds of the draft. That year, the team chose center Seth McKinney, ranked 90th overall. Miami’s first-round pick went to the New Orleans Saints in a trade for running back Ricky Williams, and the second-round pick was traded to Philadelphia in the previous draft.

With those top two picks going to the Chiefs, Kansas City eventually traded both to the New England Patriots. New England made the most surprising first-round pick from Tennessee-Chattanooga guard Cole Strange at 29 and then took on Baylor wide receiver Tyquan Thornton, a Miami Booker T. Washington High alum, at 50.

Tindall was the seventh Georgia defenseman and ninth Bulldog overall to be drafted when the Dolphins selected him. Five defensemen went into the first round: defensemen Travon Walker (Jaguars), Jordan Davis and Devonte Wyatt (Packers), linebacker Quay Walker and safety Lewis Cine (Vikings). Wide receiver George Pickens (Steelers) and running back James Cook (Bills), a Miami Central High graduate, were selected in the second round. One of the surprise drops in the draft was Tindall’s Georgia teammate Nakobe Dean, who was widely projected as a first-round pick but made a solid third-round pick in the Eagles’ 83rd pick.

With the team’s linebacker need eliminated with the Tindall selection, expect the Dolphins to look back at center, other offensive line positions, edge rusher, running back or wide receiver in the fourth round on the day 3, the last Draft Day 2022.

Miami has a total of 125 picks in this fourth round, along with two picks in the seventh round, but could always act to add more.

() After a long wait for the first NFL draft pick of 2022, the Dolphins choose Georgia LB Channing Tindall-Twin Cities in the third round

Jessica MacLeish

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