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Todd McShay's "Grade A" Three-Round Mock Draft:Three Areas of Need Addressed By Dolphins

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ESPN’s Todd McShay updated his 2016 NFL Mock Draft earlier today, projecting the first three rounds for each NFL Franchise. For the Dolphins, McShay addresses three areas of need, landing three potential starters in the process.

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The Miami Dolphins spent most of their offseason trying to fill the holes left behind by the previous regime.  Miami made a big move this offseason, sending the 13th overall pick to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for cornerback Byron Maxwell and linebacker Kiko Alonso.  The Dolphins believe they landed two starters in the trade with Philly, allowing the team to address needs elsewhere in the upcoming draft.  Even with the addition of Maxwell, Miami still has a significant hole to fill at cornerback, in addition to defensive end, running back and guard. If McShay is right, the Dolphins will fill three areas of need, within the first three rounds of the NFL Draft.

Todd McShay released his fifth mock draft of the 2016 NFL draft season, this time following in the footsteps of fellow ESPN colleague Mel Kiper Jr.  McShay explains the process;

"Mel has been doing this so-called "Grade: A" Mock Draft for a few years, so it was only a matter of time before I got roped in. The concept is simple: I play general manager for every team. This isn't me projecting picks; this is me making them, for three full rounds, based on what's best for each team at that slot."

McShay’s "Grade A" mock draft begins with the Tennessee Titans picking Mississippi offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil, followed by the Cleveland Browns selecting North Dakota State quarterback, Carson Wentz.  With the third overall pick, the San Diego Chargers select defensive end DeForest Buckner. The Dallas Cowboys then use the fourth overall pick on California quarterback,Jared Goff followed by the Jacksonville Jaguars who pick UCLA middle linebacker, Myles Jack.  After trading away the 8th overall pick to the Philadelphia Eagles, McShay has the birds selecting Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott.  Elliott has become the consensus pick for the Eagles in most mock drafts, further proving that the trade with Miami could inevitably net Philadelphia a game-changing running back.

With several good players still on the board at 13,  Todd McShay has the Miami Dolphins selecting the best defensive end available; Clemson's Shaq Lawson. McShay writes about the pick,

" Mario Williams (31) and Cameron Wake (34) are both getting up there in age, so the Dolphins need to find a way to infuse some youth along their D-line in this draft. The more I watch Lawson, the more I love his game. It wasn't a fluke that he led the nation with 25.5 tackles for loss; he plays with a combination of quickness, power, technique and relentlessness that is hard to stifle. Fuller and Dixon would both fill two of the Dolphins' bigger needs entering the draft."

The addition of Shaq Lawson would give the Dolphins a young, pass rushing specialist to add to a defense already filled with pass rushing talent.  Furthermore, he would add youth to a rapidly aging defensive line, allowing both Wake and Williams to rest throughout the game. Lawson is a physical specimen, and would make an immediate impact as a relentless pass rusher and as an edge-setting defensive end. Shaq Lawson would be a home-run pick, if available for the Dolphins at 13.

For my 2016 NFL Draft Player Breakdown article on Shaq Lawson, click here.

In the second round, McShay has the Dolphins selecting Virginia Tech cornerback, Kendall Fuller.  Fuller fills a significant void in the Dolphins secondary, and would almost certainly compete for the starting job opposite of Byron Maxwell.  Despite his lack of size, Fuller proved he was capable of competing with the best in college football.  He recorded six interceptions as a freshman, even though he suffered a fractured wrist early in the season.  If Fuller can stay healthy, he has the skill-set to be a special player in the NFL.

Lastly, McShay has the Dolphins selecting Louisiana Tech running back Kenneth Dixon in the third round.  Dixon, had an impressive collegiate career, rushing for 4,483 yards and 72 touchdowns.  He isn't a physically powering running back, but he possesses the skill-set to make defenders miss in the open field.  His quick feet and explosiveness make him a threat to score from anywhere on the field.  With the addition of Dixon, the Dolphins would have the perfect tandem to successfully execute Adam Gase's offense.

How do you feel about Todd McShay’s three-round mock draft?  Likes? Dislikes?  Let us know in the comments.