As distant and “Brave New World”-ish as it is to say, the incoming draftees hoping to hear their name called during the 2017 NFL Draft are commodities in a marketplace. Cogs in a machine. Tall, fast, strong, talented pieces of meat.
The relative depth of each position in the NFL Draft affects how front offices approach addressing roster composition. Take, for example, the Dallas Cowboys selection of Travis Frederick. Although they had a 2nd round grade on him, they traded down and selected him in the 1st round. They only had 3 draftable centers on their board, 2 of which had Day 3 grades, so this alters how a team perceives the overall draft market.
The particular draft market + team needs/team schemes/individual fits = The NFL Draft. Roughly.
Say QB is thin, like this year, but you are starving for a West Coast QB. What do you do? The asymmetry in desperately needing a QB, especially in a lean QB market, causes teams to do crazy things. QB is simply that important in the NFL.
Let’s look at the 2017 NFL Draft from the perspective of “the particular draft market”, and how the Miami Dolphins will have to adjust their strategies based on the relative draft markets for each position group.
This is all my opinion, of course, and feel free to debate anything down in the Comments Section:
I see 4 guys with Day 1 or Day 2 grades. I’ve seen suggestions that the Dolphins may look at a mid-round QB, but it’d have to be a situation based on a player we really like dropping to us, which I strongly doubt happens in a thin class such as 2017.
I see it as a good problem for the Dolphins, though. I believe all 4 QB’s will be gone by 54, allowing positions of more substantial need to fall to us, not to mention the market might help generate trade partners at #22, depending how the board falls.
The earlier the run on QB’s (ideally at least 3 of the 4 go before #22), the more likely we are to have a high quality defensive player fall into our lap.
I don’t think this RB class quite turned into the “once-in-a-lifetime” class that it was made out to be pre-2016, but it’s legit. I see 10 guys with Day 1 or 2 grades, and I don’t think the Dolphins need to draft one unless it’s ridiculously awesome value.
This market certainly favors the Dolphins, as we don’t need to invest in a RB, which allows a deep defensive class to hopefully fall to Dolphins’ selections if other NFL teams draft the RB’s accordingly.
RB, in general, is a devalued position in the draft, so this may work against the Dolphins to a degree. However, I think at least 4 RB’s will be off the board by #54, if not up to 10 by #97, so this’ll allow more defensive talent to fall to Dolphins’ selections.
This might be the most favorable market for the Dolphins. We most definitely don’t need a WR, and I’d be shocked if we invested any draft capital in WR unless, again, ridiculous value presented itself.
I’ve seen anywhere from 10-20 WR’s valued in Day 1 and 2, so any WR’s that get selected by other teams help the Dolphins improve by virtue of the other positions that fall being more important in terms of need.
This is a legit TE class.
It’s possible 6 or 7 TE’s go in the 1st 3 rounds, but the 2017 TE class has intriguing depth throughout as well. I think a 1st round TE invest would be frivolous, unless O.J. Howard somehow falls. However, I could see a mid-round selection if the Dolphins like someone enough.
With Julius Thomas, Anthony Fasano, MarQueis Gray, Chris Pantale, and Thomas Duarte, the group can certainly improve, we should be ready to be opportunistic, but ultimately I think this is a market that favors the Dolphins. We can take advantage of value that falls, but not have to stretch for need. It’s a happy middle ground.
Not a good year to need a tackle, and thankfully that’s not us. Laremy Tunsil is young and Ja’Wuan James certainly isn’t perfect, but I don’t think an investment in OT is sound unless said player is moonlighting as a starting guard for the Miami Dolphins.
It may artificially drive up a draftee’s value if a team falls in love with a man-or-zone blocking scheme fit, but I only see 3, maybe 4, guys with Day 1 or 2 grades.
The market favors us, but ever so mildly. There just isn’t a lot of hoopla on this tackle class, although any of them that are selected before #54 will benefit the Dolphins in addressing more important needs.
I like this guard class, I see 6 guards worthy of Day 1 or 2 selections, and a healthy chunk of them would fit our scheme. Ethan Pocic and Pat Elflein can also play center.
Guard is also, in my opinion unquestionably, the most glaring need on offense, perhaps the team. Need distorts the market for teams - the more glaring the need, the more it distorts the market. One of the major caveats of the 2017 NFL Draft for the Miami Dolphins is the level of need they attribute to the guard position.
It’ll all depend how the board falls, but if the Dolphins deem OG important enough to grab a starter, we might not be able to wait that long. Could we afford to go D in the 1st round and hope someone falls to us at #54? Tough call.
The center group more or less merges with the guard position because it’s becoming more and more requisite for interior college linemen to play multiple interior spots, which is the case with Pocic and Elflein. Aside from them, you have maybe 2 more guys that sneak into Day 2 who are specifically center/guard types. Center is typically light in quantity and this year is no different.
I’m self-admittedly lukewarm on Mike Pouncey’s health, specifically his hip injuries. They scare me and I’m not sure how dependable he will be for us. If we’re able to secure a prospect who dual-tasks as a guard and center, it benefits the OL group tremendously.
Dripping wet with value, and this DE class has top-end blue chippers and depth throughout. You got tweeners (DE/OLB), guys who can bend and dip, and guys who can bull rush. There are new age DE’s and traditional DE’s; there’s a defensive end for every palate in this draft.
Look, Cameron Wake is getting old, William Hayes is not far behind and on and one-year contract, and Andre Branch will be 28 when the season starts. We have many routes to groom a successor. What a great year to want/need a defensive end.
A mildly thin class. 4-6 DT’s projected to go Day 1 or 2, probably towards the lower side of the range. Malik McDowell might be the most volatile player in the draft, and I’m not referring to any off-the-field stuff, but rather his projected draft value. I’ve seen him anywhere from the #3 overall talent to a 2nd rounder. Jonathan Allen is unlikely to be available at #22, but question marks exist with him as well.
This is probably the worst market for the Miami Dolphins in the draft. I believe we could use 1, if not 2, DT’s - it just so happens to coincide with a DT class that’s not setting the world on fire and is light on depth.
I think we’ll see 7-10 LB’s by the end of Day 2. Reuben Foster is the only “safe” LB commodity this year (and even those guys aren’t safe), but there is some depth. The tricky part with this market is that the Dolphins really need a LB, and we can’t forget one of the earlier axioms about the NFL Draft: need distorts the market.
Like offensive guard, how the front office looks at the LB position is one of the biggest cruxes to how the Dolphins approach the draft.
The CB group isn’t far behind the DE group in terms of depth, although lacks the equivalent of a Myles Garrett. This class is incredibly deep: I can see 12-16 guys going in the 1st 3 rounds.
It’s a phenomenal year to add a CB in the draft, and this CB class is just as versatile as the DE class: you have quick-twitch slot guys, tall/strong boundary guys, good zone coverage guys, and good man coverage guys. It’s a matter of preference.
There have been plenty of off-season rumors connecting the Miami Dolphins to improving the CB group, and it’s intriguing to see how they approach the position. I’d prefer a slot CB investment, because I like Tony Lippett and Xavien Howard on the boundary.
But when Adam Gase was asked about CB’s recently, he said, “you can never have enough.” Don’t be shocked if the Dolphins dip into the CB well sooner rather than later.
This is a fantastic safety class that has both top-end talent and depth throughout. We could see anywhere from 8-12 safeties drafted by the end of Round 3. There’s versatility in this group, too: guys who can cover deep middle, and guys who can play in the box.
For a team a little bit unsettled at safety, a gorgeous safety class is welcomed.
Knocking this draft out of the park will go a long way in our continued rise from the mud of mediocrity. Luckily for us, this is a deep defensive class overlapping with team needs. Compare this particular class with a class that was, say, deep in OT and WR but not on defense. That’s what we’re really talking about in this article: how different draft classes vary by position groups, and how that variation affects the relative approaches of the 32 NFL teams.
The Miami Dolphins are very fortunate, in that, there is a healthy intersection of what we’re looking for and the talent that’s available in the 2017 NFL Draft.