This week's Mocking the Draft 2016 NFL Mock Draft shakes things up a little bit, in large part because Dan Kadar was not running it. Kadar is currently running the SB Nation NFL bloggers mock draft, so the Mocking the Draft weekly update moved over to Adam Stites. How different does Stites see the first round as compared to Kadar?
Stites starts his mock draft where just about everyone starts a first-round projection at this point: Ole Miss tackle Laremy Tunsil coming off the board with the first overall pick by the Tennessee Titans. He follows that with the Cleveland Browns selecting North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz, the San Diego Chargers picking Oregon defensive end DeForest Buckner, and the Dallas Cowboys adding Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa. The top five then rounds out with the Jacksonville Jaguars using their pick to grab UCLA linebacker Myles Jack.
Where the mock draft shows just how different Stites and Kadar see the actual Draft just over three weeks before the selections start for real, is demonstrated with the Miami Dolphins' pick with the 13th overall selection. Kadar has spent several weeks projecting a cornerback to the Dolphins, typically Mackensie Alexander from Clemson. Stites mocks Alexander to the Kansas City Chiefs with the 28th overall selection, with Miami addressing an offensive need.
According to his projection, Stites has the Miami Dolphins using the 13th overall pick on Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott.
About the pick, Stites writes:
Elliott in Miami is a match that makes so much sense that I wouldn't be surprised at all if the Dolphins try to trade up a few picks to make sure it happens. In the best case scenario where he makes it to No. 13, the Dolphins get the top running back in the draft class to replace Lamar Miller and pair with Jay Ajayi.
Elliott would be a great pick for the Dolphins, but I think Stites is probably correct: Miami may need to trade up if they want to make sure they can select him. After having already traded back five spots, moving from the eighth pick back to 13th in a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles to bring to Miami cornerback Byron Maxwell and linebacker Kiko Alonso, it does not seem likely the team will then spend the capital needed to move back up in the round.
Miami has spent much of the offseason looking for a replacement for Lamar Miller, who signed a free agent contract this offseason with the Houston Texans. A combination of Elliott and second-year running back Jay Ajayi would provide Miami with the pair of running backs they seem to want to have for the season, though it would still leave the team without a "proven" back near the top of the depth chart.