Dolphins add Stanford tight end Elijah Higgins, Michigan offensive tackle Ryan Hayes on final day of draft

After playing receiver in college, Higgins to help fill void at tight end
Stanford receiver Elijah Higgins catches pass during first half against Washington State Cougars, Nov. 5, 2022
Posted at 11:30 PM, Apr 29, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-29 23:30:41-04

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — The Miami Dolphins added two offensive players in the third and final day of the 2023 NFL draft.

Stanford tight end Elijah Higgins was selected in the sixth round at No. 197 overall, while Michigan offensive tackle Ryan Hayes was the seventh-round pick at No. 238 overall.

Higgins, who played wide receiver at Stanford, will help provide depth to the roster after losing Mike Gesicki to the Patriots in free agency.

The Dolphins are hoping Higgins can make the transition despite having never played the position in high school or college.

"I'm excited about it for sure and ready to get to work," Higgins told reporters.

Stanford receiver Elijah Higgins runs against Arizona State Sun Devils, Oct. 22, 2022
Stanford wide receiver Elijah Higgins runs against Arizona State during a game Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022, in Stanford, Calif.

Higgins said he's "aggressive for sure" when it comes to blocking and is "willing to get in battles, willing to fight other defenders for position on the field and just body position in general."

The 22-year-old Texas native led the Cardinal with 45 receptions for 500 yards during the 2021 season. He caught 59 passes for 704 yards and two touchdowns last season.

Although he grew up in Austin, Higgins has ties to the Sunshine State. He was born in Florida and his father played football at the University of South Florida.

"Yeah, I'm actually in Tampa right now," Higgins said. "My family moved back here and then my entire extended family is here as well. I'm excited to be back a little closer to home, be near family and be able to see family as well."

Hayes started 29 games at left tackle at Michigan, but he said he's willing to play wherever he's needed.

Michigan offensive tackle Ryan Hayes vs. TCU Horned Frogs in College Football Playoff semifinal at Fiesta Bowl, Dec. 31, 2022
Michigan offensive tackle Ryan Hayes is pictured during the first half of the College Football Playoff semifinal at the Fiesta Bowl against TCU, Saturday, Dec. 31, 2022, in Glendale, Arizona.

"I came into college as a tight end, so I actually hadn't played any o-line until I got to Michigan," he said. "And then for my first year I played on the right side and then the last four years I was mainly left tackle."

Hayes said he's also looking forward to trading in the snowy winters of Michigan for the sunshine of South Florida.

"Definitely just nice weather all the time," he remarked. "That'll be great for me. I was hoping to get down there somewhere warm and it's definitely a great place to be."