For the first time in ages, January rolled around and Dolphins fans were anticipating something other than free agency and the draft. For the first time since I’ve been a member of this site (almost 7 years), the Miami Dolphins are one of 12 teams vying for a championship instead of being one of the 20 teams on the outside looking in. This is new ground for me and most everyone on The Phinsider, so I’m honestly at a loss on how to start this post. I guess a Ric Flair WOOOO is in order…
Ok, back to the lecture at hand. Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) is the lead draft writer for Bleacher Report and he produced his first of what will many countless mock drafts we will see between now and the end of April. Let’s take a look at it and see how the Dolphins scored.
First order of business is, well, the order. The top 20 picks are set. Playoff outcomes determine the order of the final 12 spots in each round. Miami’s first round selection is currently listed at 22nd in this mock, but can move back (25th at the lowest) if they win on Sunday. Second order of business is the picks. Of course, being a draft aficionado, I can’t sit quietly and not offer my choices based on the board available. Third order of business is the available players. It’s possible some of the players in this mock will return to school. All selections I make are based off of who’s available in the mock. Final order of business before we get to it is the selections in each round. Miller has posted not only the regular selections, but compensatory selections as well. Miami does not have a 3rd or 4th round selection due to a draft weekend trade with Minnesota last year to acquire wide receiver Leonte Carroo. However, Miller has given Miami a 3rd round compensatory pick (likely for Olivier Vernon) and two 5th round picks (Miller and Matthews).
You can look at the slideshow to get Miller’s write-ups for each pick and the rest of his selections. Here are my takes on each pick.
ROUND ONE, PICK 22: Harold Landry, EDGE, Boston College
My first reaction was “who?”. Granted, I’m not up to speed on all the prospects just yet. However, a “source” told me that Landry was a raw, but athletic edge defender. Miami needs some youth at the edge, and it’s difficult to complain about an edge defender. However, there was a prospect I like much better still on the board.
My Pick: Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt
I’m been on this bandwagon for a while, and for me, this would be a no-brainer. Cunningham is an instinctive, hard-hitting, 3-down cruise missile at middle linebacker. Acquiring him allows Kiko Alonso to move to WOLB (where I think he is a better fit). Cunningham can miss tackles on occasion, but he can shed blocks, make plays in the backfield, cover well enough, and would immediately help in run defense.
Honorable Mentions: Sidney Jones, Carl Lawson, Dan Feeney, David Njoku, Raekwon McMillan
ROUND TWO, PICK 54: Bucky Hodges, TE, Virginia Tech
To quote Armando Salguero, “Who scores TDs in the red zone?” Hodges is touted as a freaky athlete – a 6’6” 250 lb. target with 4.7 speed. He has the tools to be a mismatch for LBs or DBs. Miami has some decent TEs, including Dion Sims whom they will attempt to re-sign, but Hodges could be a X-factor at the position. The negatives are that he is basically an overgrown wide receiver and struggles blocking. He would mostly be relegated to being split-out as opposed to in-line. He can rely on athleticism too much and needs some polish to his game. I really can’t hate this pick too much, however there is one player on the board that really intrigues me.
My Pick: Vita Vea, DT, Washington
A mammoth 6’4” 330 lb. run stuffing defensive tackle with quick feet, plays faster than his size, also offers value as a pass rusher, and has been compared to former NFL standout Haloti Ngata? YES PLEASE! Jordan Phillips has shone some flashes. But he remains inconsistent. He plays too high at times and can get washed down the line too easily for a man of his size. I don’t think the Dolphins will give up on him. I also don’t think Vea makes it this far. But if he did, the Dolphins would be remiss not to consider playing him next to Suh. Miami’s run defense was awful in 2016. Adding Cunningham and Vea pretty much solves that problem.
Honorable Mentions: Adoree’ Jackson, Anthony Walker, Cameron Sutton, Pat Mahomes, Evan Engram, Jordan Leggett
ROUND THREE, PICK 103C: Kendall Beckwith, LB, LSU
Beckwith is a run stuffing LB that plays with great instincts and tackles well. There are some questions as to whether he can become a 3-down LB at the next level. Given Miami’s dearth of talent at the LB position, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to grab both Cunningham AND Beckwith, moving Cunningham outside on certain downs, or letting Beckwith play Koa Misi’s role at OLB.
My Pick: Jordan Leggett, TE, Clemson
“Wait a minute,” you say. “Leggett was chosen at 97th and isn’t available at 103”. Yes that is correct. I also don’t believe Leggett makes it out of the second round. But how can Miami draft a player that has already been selected? By trading up of course. Hear me out: Miami is sitting there waiting at 90 and Leggett’s name hasn’t been called yet. Leggett is a big target like Hodges, but offers more as a blocker. The thought of adding Leggett to the offense is enticing to Gase and he lets Chris Grier and Mike Tannenbaum know he wants to add him. Miami has the 103rd pick, which is worth 88 points on the trade value chart. The 90th pick is worth 140 points. That’s a deficit of 52 points. Enter in those three 5ht round draft selections. Miami can offer it’s 3rd round compensatory pick, it’s regular 5th round pick (167), it’s first compensatory pick in the 5th round (182), and it’s 6th round pick (208). Those picks add up to 139.6. That’s close enough. That’s 4 picks, but it could be well worth it to secure a top flight TE.
“Hold on there Duke! There’s no way they’ll trade all that. Plus, making trades in a mock draft is questionable anyway.” You’re right. So…
My Pick (without trade): Gerald Everett, TE, South Alabama
Everett is a move TE prospect that could become the next Charles Clay for Miami. He’s not the biggest TE prospect at 6’3”, but he has the ability to make tough catches and could become a mismatch for LBs and DBs. Not the weapon that Leggett or Hodges can be, but dangerous enough regardless.
Honorable Mentions: C.J. Beathard, Zach Banner, Samaje Perine
FIFTH ROUND, PICK 167: Corey Clement, RB, Wisconsin
Miller doesn’t offer any analysis after first round picks, but adding another running back seems a little superfluous. However, Miami’s running game right now is Jay Ajayi and hope. Kenyan Drake provides a nice change of pace and I’m sure the Dolphins think they can get more from him. Damien Williams is a Swiss Army Knife RB that makes the most of the touches he gets. But does anyone outside of the organization trust them to carry the load if Ajayi cannot? Clement provides perhaps another bell-cow back for the Dolphins.
My Pick: Keionta Davis, EDGE, UT-Chattanooga
Miami will most likely deal with defensive end in free agency. With targets like Chandler Jones and Nick Perry and with Miami likely having $40M+ in cap space, I can see them buying a big time EDGE player to put across from Wake. Plus they have Dion Jordan coming back and it seems they have a plan for him. Regardless, Davis is a developmental prospect from the I-AA (FCS) division that the Dolphins could use.
FIFTH ROUND, PICK 182: Jonah Pirsig, OT, Minnesota
Pirsig is a monstrous OT prospect at 6’8”, 325. That size likely prohibits him from moving inside to guard, so his role would be that of a swing tackle.
My Pick: Isaac Asiata, OG, Utah
Miami has the tackle position pretty much locked down with Branden Albert, Laremy Tunsil, Ja’Wuan James, and Sam Young. They need depth at guard. Isaac, the brother of Vikings RB Matt Asiata, is a solid run blocker and developing pass protector. He has played some at center and could provide depth at that position.
FIFTH ROUND, PICK 183: Derek Rivers, EDGE, Youngstown State
Yet another I-AA (FCS) edge prospect for the Dolphins. You can never have too much depth at this position. Rivers has the length, strength, and relentless nature to possible secure a spot on the roster.
My Pick: Xavier Woods, SAF, Louisiana Tech
Reshad Jones is a key piece of the Dolphins defense. His presence has been sorely missed. Bacarri Rambo has been hit-or-miss. While it’s likely Rambo will be retained and he can improve with a full offseason, it wouldn’t hurt to bring in competition with a player that has a versatile skill set.
SIXTH ROUND, PICK 208: Dalvin Tomlinson, DL, Alabama
Tomlinson would come in and compete to be depth at the 3-tech position.
My Pick: Joshua Dobbs, QB , Tennessee
Miami seems pretty set at QB with Ryan Tannehill and Matt Moore. However, Moore is on the final year of his deal and could receive some attention with a strong postseason performance in conjunction with his last three regular season games. T.J. Yates could be the backup next year and Brandon Doughty has been stuck on the practice squad all season. Dobbs doesn’t have the upside of Chad Kelly (also available), but also doesn’t have the serious off-field concerns either.
ROUND SEVEN, PICK 245: Dominick Sanders, SAF, Georgia
They have two former Georgia safeties on the team, why not add another?
My Pick: Marcus Cox, RB, Appalachian State
Ok, so this was my one chance to get this in here. Cox is the all-time leading rusher at Appalachian State, with over 5000 career yards. He has the potential to unseat Damien Williams as a reserve back that can be a threat on the ground or through the air.