It’s a huge roll of the dice to predict who the Miami Dolphins will select in the first round, let alone through the first five rounds. With only weeks away, this draft is one of the most difficult to project in recent memory.
Which got me thinking…..
We all have our very own ‘draft boards’ in our heads. Most of us even have our favorite draft crushes in each round, whether it be that sure fire first round pick that will help this team gatecrash the playoff party or that diamond in the rough that no one has heard about.
But before we start, I tried to infuse a few control measures to stop this simulation from becoming far from reality:
- In rounds 1 or 2, if there was a player judged to have an unrealistic chance of being available at the spot where Miami is drafting for both respective rounds, that player wasn’t taken. Follow me? So in other words, if a Mariotta or a White falls to Number 14, those players weren’t drafted. This control measure wasn’t used for rounds 4 and beyond. We’ve all seen players fall - did anyone have Lamar Miller on the board in round 4 of the 2012 Draft for example?
- The same goes the other way - if a player like Phillip Dorsett was available in round 5, that player wasn’t taken.
Now comes the thought process behind the way I drafted. The position needs were threefold:
- Critical Starting Needs: WR, DT, ILB/OLB
- Critical Depth Needs: OG, RB, OT
- Less Critical Depth Needs: CB, TE
Wide receiver has to be the number one need on this football team right now. The Dolphins desperate need that receiver with the height, route running ability and hands to threaten in the red zones.
Shortly following is defensive tackle. Many may be surprised at having defensive tackle so high on the board. However, I’m a firm believer in turning a position of strength into an elite unit. This team has tried to balance the strengths of the team evenly throughout the team. What has this resulted in? Mediocrity and a failure to reach the players. Having said that, if a defensive tackle was not taken in rounds 1 or 2, the unrestricted free agent market still has some good rotational options for the team.
Lastly, inside or outside linebacker is high on the board. With untried and untested depth at the linebacker position apart from Koa Misi and Jelani Jenkins and a dearth of unrestricted free agents players left available, this linebacker rich draft may be the best place to do it.
In respect of the depth signings that need to be made, the signing of corner Zack Bowman has reduced the need to take a corner in round 1 or 2. This doesn’t mean it won’t happen - if the board falls the wrong way and the team can’t trade down, don’t rule out this front office taking a corner on day 1 or 2 (albeit, I see this as unlikely). Tight end is also a less crucial need at this time with Jordan Cameron, Dion Sims and Arthur Lynch penciled in at the top of the depth chart. However, this draft has some good developmental type players in the middle to late rounds that could provide insurance should Jordan Cameron succumb to injury.
More critical depth needs include offensive guard. Dallas Thomas did not give up a sack last season while Billy Turner shows promise. They will need pushing, and providing the board falls right, this draft has some good options in the latter rounds. The starting offensive tackles are set, with Jason Fox behind them, but could still use a developmental late round player. Finally, this team needs a complimentary short-yardage running back for Lamar Miller.
Which bring me to my pre-mock draft predictions for 5 rounds…..
Round 1: WR - DeVante Parker
Round 2: ILB - Denzel Perryman
Round 4: RB - David Cobb
Round 5a: TE - Ben Koyack
Round 5b: OG - Jamil Douglas
Now time for all 14 mock draft simulations by round.....
DaVante Parker is my top choice here, followed by Danny Shelton and Eric Kendricks. Kelvin Johnson was a forced move as none of the above were available at 14. Parker would add an extra dimension to this offense in what is a critical year for quarterback Ryan Tannehill. A great consolation prize would be Danny Shelton, a mammoth of a man who could make this defensive line the best in the NFL. Remember, having an excellent defensive line will only make life easier for the linebackers and secondary. Eric Kendricks would also be a solid addition and is a player that can force turnovers, while Kelvin Johnson would make the secondary stronger, although this position shouldn’t be seen as high a priority at present.
If DeVante Parker wasn’t available in the first, Nelson Agholor and Philips Dorsett are both good fits for the team in the second. Denzel Perryman is also a player that I’m personally high on, while Xavier Cooper and Jordan Phillips would be solid rotational players at defensive tackle.
At this stage, the draft picks become more numerous as different mock draft simulators rank some of the players very differently from one another. I was actually very surprised that Jeremy Langford fell all the way to round 4 (and in some cases fell to the fifth!), along with Duke Johnson. Tyler Lockett was also a surprise that absolutely had to be drafted. Ifo Ekpre-Olomu and Cedrick Ogbuehi’s are also players that would have been higher had they not succumbed to injury. Both would likely have to sit out for all of part of this upcoming season, but would be well worth investing in for the future. David Cobb is also a personal favourite.
Round 5 provided terrific value. If Miami could get some more draft picks, this is one of the rounds to do it in. You name it - tight end, defensive tackle, running backer, wide receiver, linebacker….all positions had great value picks. My favourite had to be Ifo Ekpre Olomu, Jeremy Langford and David Cobb. These were three players I felt were steals in the 4th round, let alone the 5th.
This mock draft simulation isn’t without its inconsistencies and is most definitely not fool proof. However, if one thing was learned from the process, not all of your fantasy picks will be available per round when the Dolphins are on the clock.
Tick, tock…tick tock. The 2015 NFL Draft is near!
Alex Parish is an Associate Editor at The Phinsider. Be sure to follow me on Twitter@AlexParish89.