The Miami Dolphins have spent the offseason focused primarily on building an attacking defense, upgrading their linebacker corps, rebuilding their secondary, and adding to the defensive line. The team clearly is looking to make the defense formidable, fixing the run stopping issues from last year, while making sure they can get after quarterbacks in pass rushing situations. The focus on the defense thus far in free agency does not mean the team is not looking for ways to upgrade the offense as well, with needs being addressed on both sides of the ball, according to Todd McShay.
McShay released his fourth 2016 NFL Mock Draft on Thursday, updating his first-round projections for the entire league, as well as adding a second-round mock to the posting. In both of those picks, McShay sees the Dolphins looking to upgrade both sides of the ball.
McShay starts Mock Draft 4.0 with the Tennessee Titans selecting Mississippu offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil, followed by the Cleveland Browns picking North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz and the San Diego Chargers selecting Florida State defensive back Jalen Ramsey. The Dallas Cowboys then use the fourth overall pick on Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa, and the Jacksonville Jaguars round out the top five picks with the selection of UCLA outside linebacker Myles Jack.
The Dolphins originally owned the eighth overall pick, but they traded that selection to the Philadelphia Eagles, receiving linebacker Kiko Alonso and cornerback Byron Maxwell in exchange for a five position move back in the Draft. The Eagles, according to McShay, then use that eighth pick to select Notre Dame offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley.
That leaves a big name on the board past the Eagles, a name that does not often get past them in mock drafts around the internet. That name, in fact, falls all the way to the Dolphins' 13th pick, where the team uses their selection to grab Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott. It is a pick most Dolphins fans will quickly get behind.
McShay writes about the pick, "The No. 5 player on our board, Elliott has the skill set to be an every-down RB from Day 1. He's an exceptional blocker and a threat to catch the ball out of the backfield, while also showing great vision and suddenness in the open field. The Dolphins need some semblance of a run game to take the pressure off QB Ryan Tannehill."
Elliott would give Miami the running back they need to pair with second-year running back Jay Ajayi. It would mean the team enters the season without a true veteran running back in the group, but it could also mean the team goes into the season with the talent at the position to make them forget about Lamar Miller's defection.
McShay continues his mock draft into the second round, where the Dolphins hold the 42nd overall selection. There, he sees Miami adding a young player at a position where the team already has older veterans as the starters. If Cameron Wake is able to return from a torn Achilles tendon, Miami will start the year with a 34-year-old Wake and a 31-year-old Mario Williams as the starting defensive ends. With the 42nd pick, Miami adds defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah from Oklahoma State, according to McShay.
He explains the choice, writing, "He's an explosive athlete with elite measurables, but that doesn't show up on tape frequently enough. Ogbah needs to play with more consistent effort, improve as a hand fighter and develop more of an plan as a pass-rusher."
The Dolphins adding Ogbah, who would be behind Wake on the depth chart, could give him the time to do exactly what McShay says he needs, and give him one of the top pass rushers in the league to use as a mentor. Ogbah would give the Dolphins the young defensive end to groom as a replacement for Wake whenever the veteran chooses to retire, and it gives them a replacement for Derrick Shelby, who the team lost in free agency. With Wake, Williams, Andre Branch, and Terrance Fede all on the roster, the team could select him, give him playing time, but not have to relay on him to be the starter from day one. It could be a good selection for Miami.
Of course, it does leave the team open at some positions of need, specifically guard and cornerback, both of which could use a day one starter if Miami can find one. It could be a dangerous choice, but it is one that the team may have to make. If they feel some combination of Jermon Busrod, Billy Turner, Dallas Thomas, Jamil Douglas, and Kraig Urbik can man the two guard positions, and if they believe Jamar Taylor, or any of the other cornerbacks can man the starting cornerback position opposite Byron Maxwell, then maybe they do not need to address those two positions in the first two picks. It is a lot of "ifs" but it is all up to a new coaching staff who will have to evaluate the players currently on the roster and how they fit into a completely new system.
How do you feel about McShay's mock draft for the Dolphins? Do the picks make sense? Are they the right selections?