At the end of each week, we update the Miami Dolphins Mock Draft database, taking a look at the picks from all around the web, and seeing who is being projected to be the team's first round draft choice. While that update is still four days away, there have been enough changes to it over the last few days to warrant taking another look. Instead of doing a full update to the database, however, we are going to take a little bit closer look at the top five (which becomes six due to ties) prospects being mocked to Miami, using some of the prospect profiles available.
Each profile is linked back to the individual player's breakdown, which typically has even more detail into why that particular analyst wrote what they did about the player. We used our own breakdowns from here on The Phinsider, as well as NFL.com and CBS Sports. We've also included thoughts from Pro Football Focus, which comes from their 2016 PFF Draft Guide (which is likewise linked below).
T1. Vernon Hargreaves III, cornerback, Florida (12.8%)
- The Phinsider (Josh Houtz) - Vernon Hargreaves is as NFL ready as any cornerback in this year's draft. He possess the skill-set to redirect a wide receiver at the line and the quickness to run stride for stride down field. VH3 has the ability to read the quarterback's eyes, reacting to the play before the wide receiver ever finishes his route. Even though his size remains an issue, Hargreaves would be a day one starter for the Dolphins, opposite of Byron Maxwell. Miami desperately needs a young cornerback with the ability to cover the NFL's best and VH3 is that guy. Even though it seems unlikely Hargreaves will be available when the Dolphins select at 13, he is everything the team desires at cornerback. Whether he lands with the Dolphins or elsewhere, Hargreaves will make an immediate impact in 2016.
- PFF 2016 Draft Guide - Few cornerbacks have the movement skills and football acumen of Hargreaves. He stepped right into a prominent role as a true freshman and will likely do the same at the NFL level, and he's one of the most scheme-diverse players in the draft. The NFL is enamored with six-foot-plus corners, but the league's shifty route runners need players to keep up with them as well and Hargreaves has a chance to develop into one of the best corners at keeping them honest.
- NFL.com - While scouts have voiced some concerns about Hargreaves' size and recovery speed, you won't find anyone who doesn't admire his competitiveness and consistency of production. Hargreaves has a level of suddenness and explosiveness in his movements that should always have him near the ball. With top-notch ball skills and exceptional instincts that drew praise from Alabama's Nick Saban, Hargreaves possesses the football makeup to become a Pro Bowl cornerback.
- CBS Sports (Rob Rang and Dane Brugler) - Hargreaves plays with a decisive reactor to maintain proper positioning and make plays on the ball (38 career passes defended), but his timing and spacing have room for improvement. Although he has only ordinary size, Hargreaves is above average in three main areas for the position: play speed, instincts and competitive toughness.
T1. William Jackson III, cornerback, Houston (12.8%)
- The Phinsider (Josh Houtz) - The Dolphins will have an important decision to make when the team is on the clock at 13th overall. Assuming Vernon Hargreaves is gone, I expect the Dolphins to highly consider William Jackson III. Miami could try to get cute, trading down several spots and still landing Jackson, although this option seems unlikely. Jackson fits the scheme that the Dolphins intend to run and has the ideal size to succeed within the defense. Furthermore, he flashed elite speed at the combine, running a 4.37 forty. His 1.52 10 yard split was tied second with Jalen Ramsey. Jackson has quick hips and a fluid motion that allows him to compete against the best. If drafted by Miami, he would likely start opposite of Maxwell giving the Dolphins a much needed playmaker in the secondary. Even though it may take time for Jackson to adjust to the speed of the NFL, he will be given every opportunity to start. Jackson possesses the physical traits to excel in the NFL, whether that be with the Dolphins or elsewhere. I expect big things from William Jackson III in 2016 and beyond.
- PFF 2016 Draft Guide - With Ramsey more of a moveable chess piece on defense, William Jackson III may be the best pure cornerback available in the draft, and is one of the few top players at the position who ticks all of the boxes for some teams when it comes to measurables and size as well as play. Last season he graded outstandingly well and he seems to have everything teams want in a top cover guy with room to get even better
- NFL.com - Tall cornerbacks with length who can run and play the football are usually in high demand and that could be the case for Jackson as well. While he has the traits for the position, the league is turning into small and fast or big and strong at the receiver spot and handling those two elements could take a year or two for him to improve in before he becomes a full-time starter.
- CBS Sports (Dane Brugler) - His body type, arm length and physicality at the catch point are why Jackson might be the first senior corner drafted. Projects as a day two pick.
T1. Ezekiel Elliott, running back, Ohio State (12.8%)
- The Phinsider (Josh Houtz) - There aren't many flaws in Ezekiel Elliott's game. He is as NFL ready as any running back coming out of college since Adrian Peterson himself. Although some might be against drafting a running back in the first round, Elliott is a special kind of back. He has a solid 225-pound frame that allows him the strength and power to get positive yardage on every touch. Furthermore, Elliott possesses above average speed, using his elite vision and quickness to find the open running lane. Elliott may be the safest prospect in the draft and will undoubtedly be a starter from day one. If the Dolphins were to have the opportunity to draft Elliott, the decision could not be easier. Elliott will be a starter in the NFL for the next decade and the Dolphins can only hope he's available when the team selects 13th overall.
- PFF 2016 Draft Guide - In years gone by - when running back was one of the league's most important positions - Ezekiel Elliott would be seen as one of the marquee names in the draft. Now, with most backfield jobs held by committee, he may slip in the draft because he doesn't have the most spectacular pure-running skills. Make no mistake though, Elliott is one of the best available players in this draft, and can step in and carry an offense from day one.
- NFL.com - Elite, three-down running back who has the ability to excel in every facet of the game. Elliott has rare combination of size, athleticism, pass-catching and blocking skills and his competitive nature is always bubbling on the surface. While he's had to handle a heavy workload over the last two seasons, Elliot should still come out of the gates as one of the most productive young running backs in the league.
- CBS Sports (Dane Brugler) - Elliott is extremely well-rounded as a runner with ideal size for the position along with coordinated footwork that is always in sync with his eyes. He runs with natural pad level and fantastic forward lean, using his balance, leg drive and relentless fight to move the chains and pick up every inch he can. Plays with a strong intensity for the game. Elliott needs to become more consistent as a receiver and needs refinement as a blocker, but it's tough to find weaknesses in his run style, which is why he could projects as one of the top running backs and a likely first-round pick in the 2016 class.
T4. Eli Apple, cornerback, Ohio State (11%)
- The Phinsider (Josh Houtz) - Miami visited with Eli Apple several times throughout the draft process, showing significant interest in the 20-year-old cornerback. The 6-1, 199-pound corner has the perfect skill-set to compliment Byron Maxwell in Miami's secondary. It will be up to defensive coordinator Vance Joseph to decide whether or not Eli Apple is the right cornerback for the Dolphins at 13. One thing is for certain, Apple's best years are still to come and whatever team chooses to draft him must remain patient. After all, Cornerbacks rarely make a seamless transition to the NFL and Apple should be no different. Nonetheless, Eli Apple is an intriguing prospect. His ideal size allows him to match up against the best receivers in the NFL, an attribute coaches desire in the pros. He may not be my favorite cornerback in this year's draft, but the Dolphins could do a lot worse than drafting Eli Apple in the first round. Whether selected by Miami or elsewhere, Eli Apple has a bright future ahead of him.
- PFF 2016 Draft Guide - Eli Apple may be the main beneficiary of a cornerback class lacking a lot of size at the top end. He displays the ability to play man coverage extremely well, and has the size and speed profile NFL teams are looking for, but he has never earned PFF grades that match the best cover corners in this class, and has enough flaws in his game that he is not a surefire top pick. He'll likely be drafted higher than his play suggests he should be, but the potential to become an excellent corner at the next level is definitely there
- NFL.com - Highly recruited two-year starter who is entering the draft as a draft eligible redshirt sophomore. Apple's size and strength allows him to compete against physical receivers, but he also has the talent to mirror and match as a man defender. Covering for longer could be challenging early on after playing with talented defensive fronts who ravaged quarterbacks. Apple will have to learn to trust his feet rather than grabbing so often or he'll find that quarterbacks and refs will find him often.
- CBS Sports (Dane Brugler) -Apple possesses several traits for the cornerback position that translate well to the next level with his size, length and athleticism. Apple isn't afraid to be physical and contest at the top of routes, but he's still learning what he can get away with and what will draw flags - desired length for the position, but NFL teams will be forced to live and die with his hands-on contact while he figures it out.
He is also an aggressive run defender, but needs to be more measured with his break down mechanics as a tackler. Apple is still very young and with that comes discipline issues, but he consistently stays in phase in press or off-man coverage and has upside.
T4. Darron Lee, linebacker, Ohio State (11%)
- The Phinsider (Alex Parish) - Darron Lee is a true Swiss Army knife player who can cover, blitz and defend the run, evidenced by his 66 tackles, 11 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks in 2015. Lee also looks a little bit too lean for the NFL, and will need to add some strength to enable him to become a consistent pass rushing threat. However, Lee is a high character player that teams will fall in love with, playing as a natural football player with confidence in the Kwon Alexander and Ryan Shazier mold.
- PFF 2016 Draft Guide - His 40 time might wow, but there are far too many aspects of Lee's game that don't project to the NFL level. His amount of impact plays didn't match up with his physical skills.
- NFL.com - Lee's level of NFL success might very well be tied to scheme fit and his ability to add more muscle to his frame. His athletic traits and ability to make plays should make him a starter, but he won't unlock his full potential unless he gets strong enough to handle the rigors of an NFL linebacker.
- CBS Sports (Dane Brugler) - Lee is a fantastic athlete with long arms and aggressive hands, but needs to develop his functional strength to consistently stack and shed at the line of scrimmage and keep himself clean. Although he is still young in linebacker years, he is a high character competitor, playing with sky-high confidence and natural football instincts to pick things up quickly. In the mold of Ryan Shazier or Kwon Alexander, Lee is a versatile run-and-hit linebacker with an attacking mind-set that fits today's NFL.
T4. Shaq Lawson, defensive end, Clemson (11%)
- The Phinsider (Josh Houtz) - Shaq Lawson is a quarterback's worst nightmare. His massive frame and exceptional pass rushing skills, will make him one of the first defensive players selected in April's draft. Lawson can play in either defensive scheme,whether it be as a defensive end in a 4-3, or an outside linebacker in a 3-4. He is exceptionally fast for his large frame, being timed as the fasted defensive end in the draft. Lawson is a team leader, who eats, sleeps and breathes football. Although it is unlikely Shaq Lawson will be available when the Dolphins select at 13, Lawson would be exactly what the Dolphins need at defensive end.
- PFF 2016 Draft Guide - The junior has prodigious strength that should only improve in an NFL weight room. His discipline against the run will translate well to the NFL, but his skillset doesn't profile to a feared third-down pass rusher.
- NFL.com - Productive backup for two years before putting together an All-American season in his first year as a full- time starter. Lawson is built like a full-grown man and combines his instincts, toughness and power to fill up a stat sheet and set an early tone. Lawson's frame and game are easily translatable to the NFL, but his average athleticism and pass rush skills will likely have teams viewing him as a 3-4 edge setter or a 4-3 base end. Lawson may also have value as 3-4 defensive tackle in an upfield scheme.
- CBS Sports (Dane Brugler/Rob Rang) - Lawson's heavy hands allow him to stack and hold his side of the line of scrimmage. He is a power player with the lower body athleticism to be equally dominant against the run and the pass, putting his draft value in the early rounds.