The 2013-2014 NFL season ended last night in blowout fashion as the Seattle Seahawks claimed their first Super Bowl win by suffocating the Denver Broncos. While that win is being celebrated in the Emerald City, around the rest of the league, we have moved into NFL Draft season. More specifically, we are in NFL Mock Draft season.
This morning, Dan Kadar from SB Nation's Mocking the Draft updated his projection of May's NFL Draft, producing a three-round NFL Mock Draft. His prediction starts with a change from his last post, with the Houston Texans now taking quarterback Blake Bortles from UCF with the first overall selection, rather than his previously projected Jadeveon Clowney. The St. Louis Rams then select Texas A&M tackle Jake Matthews, followed by Louiville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater heading to the Jacksonville Jaguars, and Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel being selected by the Cleveland Browns. The top five rounds out with the Oakland Raiders picking Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins.
For the Miami Dolphins, the 19th overall pick was used on Michigan offensive tackle Taylor Lewan. Kadar writes of the pick:
NFL Mock Draft 2014: Phinsider Mock 2.0
We're getting closer and closer to the official start of draft season. And it should be a good one, thanks to the numerous quarterback, offensive and defensive tackle, tight end and cornerback talent available this year.
Quarterback Ryan Tannehill was sacked 58 times this season, so obviously the Dolphins need to improve the offensive line. Lewan is a big, physical blocker who has his way against power rushers. While Lewan will need to be coached up in the finer areas of handling speed rushers, his natural talent is impressive. In fact, he's very similar to former Dolphins left tackle Jake Long, especially when he first came into the league.
I know a lot of people will have an issue with this pick, simply because it's another first round offensive lineman for a team that has used a lot of early round picks on offensive lineman as of late, but this pick makes a lot of sense. Lewan has a lot of potential and could be a great fit for the Dolphins, who do need to address the offensive line this year. If they choose to do it via free agency, then obviously the draft opens up a lot for Miami, but a selection of Lewan would be a exceptional move for Miami. Plus, the last time the Dolphins selected a Michigan left tackle who wore number 77, it seemed to work out pretty well (for a few years, at least).
Kadar has the Dolphins addressing the line of scrimmage in the second round as well, except on the defensive side of the ball. With the 50th overall pick, Miami selected Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald. Kadar explains:
To get Donald at this point in the second round of the draft should be considered a steal. Donald starred during Senior Bowl week, and the Geno Atkins comparisons are legit. Randy Starks and Paul Soliai are both free agents after this season. Donald would slide inside for Miami nicely.
This would be an amazing pick for the Dolphins, and it does mean Donald slid a lot if it happens. I had Donald going to the San Francisco 49ers with the 30th overall pick in my first mock draft, and I do think he could be a borderline first- or second-round selection. If he does fall, Miami would have to pull the trigger. Donald may only be 6'1", 288-pounds, but he has the athleticism to be a great option in the middle of the line, and can slide out to defensive end if needed.
Finally, in the third round, Kadar sees the Dolphins again addressing the tackle position with the 81st selection, adding North Carolina's James Hurst. Of the double down at the outside positions on the offensive line, Kadar states:
Doubling up on offensive tackles in the draft this year would immediately improve Miami's biggest weakness. If Hurst weren't coming back from injury, he'd be a second-round player, at worst.
The pick may not be a sexy one, but if Miami does not want to, or is unable to, address the offensive line in free agency, two offensive tackle picks in the first three rounds could be the order of the day. Based on the way Kadar's board fell, I would probably prefer to see the Dolphins select either Florida cornerback Marcus Roberson (82nd to the Chicago Bears) or possibly Oregon wide receiver/running back De'Anthony Thomas (86th to the Philadelphia Eagles). However, I think the Dolphins should be considering running back Storm Johnson in the fourth round, and possibly a quarterback in the fifth or sixth round. So, a selection of another offensive tackle in the third round is not unrealistic.
What do you think of Kadar's latest mock? Let us know in the comments below.
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