NFL Mock Drafts in January are more about exploring options than they really are about trying to be accurate. Teams are still building their offseason plans, with teams able to extend contracts or cut players for salary cap space. A lot can and will change between now and the start of free agency, let alone the NFL Draft six-weeks later.
SB Nation's Dan Kadar acknowledges that fact, and is using his mock drafts as a way to fins scenarios that make sense. In his first mock draft two weeks ago, he built the scenario based on Oregon's Marcus Mariota being selected first overall, followed by FSU's Jameis Winston. Then a week ago, he again had Mariota first, but then had the Tennessee Titans stick with Zach Mettenberger and not pick a quarterback with the second pick. This week, he switches up the quarterbacks, with Winston first to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, then Mariota to the Titans. He also stated that his goal was to change the pick for every team from his previous projection.
What do the Miami Dolphins do in this latest scenario? Last week, the Dolphins took Florida State defensive tackle Eddie Goldman with the 14th overall selection. Given the goal of a new pick for every team, Goldman would not repeat this week for Miami, but that does not mean Miami's pick is not someone Kadar has previously projected to the Dolphins.
In his latest 2015 NFL Mock Draft, Kadar projects the Dolphins to pick:
Shaq Thompson, LB, Washington
The pick, which lines up with Kadar's original pick for Miami two weeks ago,does make a lot of sense for the Dolphins. The team could use linebacker assistance, especially in the middle linebacker position, which would allow Koa Misi to move back outside. The Dolphins have a glut of outside linebackers, especially if Dion Jordan makes the transition to the position, but a player who can add to the defense up the middle is an asset Miami has to find this offseason.
Of the pick, Kadar writes:
For Miami, a player like Thompson gives them versatility. He's a player who can play inside or outside and cover tight ends and backs in the pass game. He's not a particularly advanced pass rusher, but he could get better in that area thanks to his extremely high athleticism for the position.
That athleticism, which Thompson used to play both linebacker and running back for the Huskies, could be useful for the Dolphins, who have to face players like tight end Rob Gronkowski twice every season. He really could be a great selection for the Dolphins. One that has now been templated for Miami twice by Kadar.