It is the bye week for the Miami Dolphins this weekend, meaning it is the only time they will not have a game during the 2015 regular season. What can we do to fill the space and time we would normally devote to the game preparation? Well, coincidentally, Dan Kadar of SB Nation’s Mocking the Draft, released his latest 2016 NFL Mock Draft on Tuesday, so why not take a look at it?
Sitting at 1-3 on the season, the Dolphins are once again making their selection in the top half of the first round, something that is becoming all too familiar for fans of the franchise. Taking a look at how the team has been performing so far this season, the obvious needs are offensive line, linebacker, and secondary. Will there be a player from those groupings worth selecting when Miami comes up on the clock?
Kadar starts with the Chicago Bears having the first overall selection, picking California quarterback Jared Goff. The Jacksonville Jaguars then select Notre Dame offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley with the second overall pick, followed by the Cleveland Browns taking Ole Miss wide receiver Laquon Treadwell, the San Francisco 49ers picking Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa, and the New Orleans Saints landing Ole Miss defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche.
Jumping to the Dolphins, who are scheduled to take the 13th player off the board, Kadar projects them to not grab an offensive lineman, but rather address the cornerback position, where Miami has been struggling this year, to include an injury to Brent Grimes and disappointing play from Brice McCain. This scenario has Miami adding Virginia Tech cornerback Kendall Fuller. Of the selection, Kadar writes:
Offensive line would be a strong choice here, but Miami's secondary needs young talent. Fuller is a potential top-10 pick because of his size and ability to play tight man coverage.
It is hard to argue anything about Kadar’s assessment. Selecting an offensive lineman would make a lot of sense for Miami with this pick, but adding a talent like Fuller is too tempting to pass up. He answers a need for the Dolphins and would be among the best players available in this scenario as well. Of course, he is also coming off a knee surgery repairing a torn meniscus that has him out for this season, and the Dolphins have not had a good track record in the past few years with taking players who are coming off injuries.
Fuller is not quite as big as former Dolphins cornerback Sean Smith but he is taller than Vontae Davis, another former Dolphins quarterback. He has room to add more muscle to his frame, and, and 6-feet tall, he would be taller than most of the rest of the cornerbacks on the roster (Tony Lippett (6-foot-3) and Zack Bowman (6-foot-1) are the only two to reach at least 6-feet). He is still seen as one of the most pro-ready picks in the draft, and could still garner a top 10-15 pick when everything shakes out throughout the rest of the year. He is a man-on-man, press corner, and, according to Rob Rang of NFLDraftScout.com, he is "often described as the most gifted of a family that included former Virginia Tech standouts and current NFL players Vincent, Corey and Kyle Fuller."
Fuller to Miami would make sense, but it is also a risk. The good thing is, this is an extremely early mock draft, with three-fourths of an NFL season to go before even the draft order will be finalized. Then we have all the offseason workouts from the draft prospects – hopefully to include Fuller – before anyone has a real idea of how the 2016 NFL Draft will play out.