The Miami Dolphins are holding on to three first round picks in the 2020 NFL Draft, their own pick, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ pick (from the Minkah Fitzpatrick trade), and the Houston Texans’ pick (from the Laremy Tunsil and Kenny Stills trade). That makes this year a critical one for a team in the beginning stages of a rebuild. Where do they target when the selection process begins? ESPN’s Todd McShay released his first 2020 NFL Mock Draft, giving us an idea of what Miami could do.
McShay used a draft order projected from ESPN’s Football Power Index, which gave Miami the fourth pick, the 20th pick (Pittsburgh), and the 24th pick (Houston). The Dolphins start right where many fans seem to want them to start.
The Draft starts, according to McShay’s projection, with the Cincinnati Bengals selecting LSU quarterback Joe Burrow. The New York Giants then follow with Ohio State defensive end Chase Young, then the Washington Redskins add Alabama wide receiver Jerry Jeudy. That moves the Dolphins on to the clock
With the fourth pick in McShay’s 2020 NFL Draft 1.0, the Dolphins select Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. McShay writes of the pick:
Let’s start off the Dolphins’ draft -- which includes three first-rounders and an assortment of picks -- with a franchise quarterback. There obviously are some medical concerns, but with Ryan Fitzpatrick still under contract for 2020, Tagovailoa wouldn’t need to be immediately forced onto the field. And when he does get the call, he brings high-end accuracy and excellent anticipation.
Tagovailoa makes sense for the Dolphins, even if the hip injury, which headlines McShay’s “medical concerns,” forces Miami to sit him for a year. The Dolphins could look to add a veteran in free agency or hold on to Ryan Fitzpatrick or Josh Rosen for the 2020 season if they do not believe Tagovailoa’s hip will be ready for the season.
The Dolphins come back on the clock at pick 20, and address one of the top holes on their defense, grabbing a pass rusher. According to McShay, Miami selects Boise State defensive end Curtis Weaver with the 20th overall selection. He explains:
It makes the most sense, considering the range, value and need, to go with an edge rusher here for Miami’s second pick. Weaver is extremely productive -- 13.5 sacks this season -- and one of the more underrated talents in the class. Stacking him next to 2019 top pick Christian Wilkins is certainly a good place to start in rebuilding the defensive line.
He is not wrong, as Miami needs the edge rusher, and a combination of Christian Wilkins and Curtis Weaver could be a formidable start to a defensive front that attacks opposing quarterbacks.
Finally, with the 24th pick, McShay has Miami staying on the line of scrimmage - which is probably where they will spend a large portion of this Draft - but flipping sides of the ball. With the 24th overall selection, McShay templates Alabama tackle Alex Leatherwood to Miami.
Miami has allowed an NFL-high 54 sacks, and there are two games yet to be played. And if you’re going to use a top-five pick on a quarterback with an injury history, you better take a long look at your offensive line, too. Leatherwood can play tackle or guard and has good pop and quickness. This is a great value pick here to close out Miami’s eventful first round.
If Leatherwood is available at 24, I think the Dolphins would have to pull that trigger. He makes a ton of sense for a team that simply cannot find an effective offensive line this year. I love this selection. Bolstering the line of scrimmage - on both offense and defense - is key this offseason if Miami wants their rebuild to be effective.
What did you think of McShay’s first move for Miami this year?