The Miami Dolphins added three players on the 2016 NFL Draft's second day, bringing their draft class to four players thus far. They still have three picks remaining in the final four rounds of the selection process, and could address some of their remaining needs with those selections. What have the Dolphins done thus far and where do they still need to look? We update our draft needs for the club this morning.
Miami started the Draft by addressing what was our top listed need at the time, picking Ole Miss offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil, a move that addresses the team's need at guard, most likely with Tunsil filling in at left guard until he is ready to move over to tackle and Branden Albert is ready to retire. The first pick in Day two, Miami's second round choice, then added cornerback Xavien Howard, filling their second ranked need. Moving into the third round, Miami again added a check mark to the top of their needs list, this time picking up Alabama running back Kenyan Drake, and knocking off their third ranked need.
The team was not done, however, as they traded back into the third round to select Rutgers wide receiver Leonte Carroo, adding depth to the position group, which was a part of our final need.
Overall, through the first three rounds of the Draft, Miami is looking to land their top ranked player at a position of need with each selection, and they are doing it systematically, and without overpaying for trades. It has worked well thus far.
The draft needs as the team prepares to enter the final day of the selection process has been updated:
1. Linebacker (1)
Previous Ranking: 4
The Dolphins added Kiko Alonso this offseason, which pushed linebacker down the needs list some, though it did not completely remove it. Adding competition to the position group, which, along with Alonso includes Jelani Jenkins and Koa Misi as the starters and younger players behind them like Neville Hewitt, Mike Hull, and Zach Vigil, as well as veteran Spencer Paysinger. If the team were to add a starting caliber linebacker early, it would not be a surprise, but it is not as critical an addition as it was before the Alonso addition. The Dolphins could look for a middle linebacker, pushing Alonso outside to the weakside position and allowing Jenkins and Misi to battle for the starting strongside position, but any linebacker position could be considered.
2. Defensive tackle (1)
Previous Ranking: 5
Adding a defensive tackle to play next to Ndamukong Suh can not be ruled out, though it may not be an early round addition. Earl Mitchell could continue to start next to Suh, whileJordan Phillips, who is entering his second year in the league, could challenge for the top spot or at least see increased playing time from last year. Phillips may be the upgrade to the position the team needs, but a true run-stuffing defensive tackle, someone who will allow Suh to penetrate and get after the quarterback, could be on the Dolphins' wish list.
3. Defensive end (1)
Previous Ranking: Not ranked
Defensive end was not included in the original list of needs, but it moves up ahead of the depth players now. Miami could look to add a defensive end as a developmental player behind Cameron Wake and Mario Williams, as well as ultimately being a replacement for one of them, whenever they retire. The Dolphins do have several depth options already behind the two starters, including Andre Branch, Terrence Fede, and Chris McCain all in positions to make the roster, plus Cleyon Laing,Damontre Moore, Julius Warmsley, and Jordan Williams all making their case for a job. Adding a young player to continue to groom and work his way up the depth chart could make some sense, and, as the NFL cliche says, you can never have enough pass rush.
4. Double down on Guard (1)
Previous Ranking: 2
Miami should be looking to upgrade the guard position early in the Draft, and they could do it by doubling down on the position. The team added Jermon Bushrod, Sam Young, and Kraig Urbik to compete for the two starting guard positions, along with the incumbent trio of Dallas Thomas, Billy Turner, and Jamil Douglas. Ideally, both starting guards are of those six players, but it is more likely the team finds one starter there, then adds another in the Draft. There are not a lot of guard prospects at the top of the Draft, so Miami could wait to pick up a player, or they could look to grab a tackle, someone like Jack Conklin or Ronnie Stanley, then move the rookie, Ja'Wuan James, or Branden Albert inside to guard. There is also the possibility the team takes Ryan Kelly, a center prospect, and moves him to guard while giving them a backup center for Mike Pouncey as well.
4. Depth at Tight End, and Tackle
Previous Ranking: 6
If Miami can address some of the above-listed needs while adding depth to the
wide receiver, tight end, and/or offensive tackle positions, it should be a successful draft. The team has the top three wide receiver positions seemingly locked in with Jarvis Landry, DeVante Parker, and Kenny Stills. Matt Hazel and Griff Whalen should battle for the fourth spot, but the team could add someone else to enter that competition. Tight end is headlined byJordan Cameron and Dion Sims, but behind them, the team hasJake Stoneburner, Dominique Jones, and MarQueis Gray behind them, where the position could use an additional option - otherwise, Stoneburner should win the third spot on the depth chart. The offensive tackle position could use a young, developmental left tackle to sit behind Branden Albert - and even Sam Young, who should be the primary reserve tackle - learning and waiting for whenever Albert retires.