The 2020 NFL Mock Draft season is officially upon us, with first-round projections popping up all over the internet. One of our favorites is from SB Nation’s Mocking the Draft, where Dan Kadar takes a weekly look at the first round and tries to piece together what could happen. This week, he tried to project what would happen if Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa falls.
Tagovailoa dislocated and fractured his hip mid-season, threatening his position as a top prospect in this year’s selection process. Will he be medically cleared by the league and teams? Will the injury scare off some teams? Given the Miami Dolphins have been routinely projected to select Tagovailoa with the fifth-overall pick, the idea of a fall for the quarterback is one that should be of interest for Dolphins fans.
Kadar starts his latest 2020 NFL Mock Draft with the Cincinnati Bengals using the first pick on LSU quarterback Joe Burrow. He then follows that with the Washington Redskins selecting Ohio State defensive end Chase Young, the Detroit Lions adding Auburn defensive tackle Derrick Brown, and the New York Giants picking Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons.
Which brings us to the Dolphins. With the premise that Tagovailoa is going to fall, the Dolphins land a stud at a position of obvious need. Kadar projects Miami to select Georgia offensive tackle Andrew Thomas with the fifth pick. He explains, “If the Dolphins somehow don’t end up with Tagovailoa, they should have their first choice of offensive tackles. Thomas is a very good left tackle prospect with athleticism and quick feet. The Dolphins have to build the offensive line this offseason, and they could start in earnest at No. 5”
Kadar has Tagovailoa continue to fall over the next several picks, though he still lands as the second quarterback selected. According to this projection, the Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders select the Alabama quarterback with the 12th pick.
Miami holds three first-round picks this year, so they are not done adding to their roster with the selection of Thomas. While quarterback continues to be a concern, Burrow, Tagovailoa, and Justin Herbert (14th to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers) are all of the board for the Dolphins with the 18th overall selection, a pick they have from the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Minkah Fitzpatrick trade. Instead, Kadar has them addressing the other side of the line of scrimmage, picking up a pass rusher. With the 18th overall selection, Kadar projects Miami to add Penn State defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos. “If the Dolphins punt on taking Tagovailoa, there’s no reason to draft someone like Utah State quarterback Jordan Love in the first round,” he explains of the pick. ”At that point, you may as well wait on a 2021 class that should have Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence and Ohio State’s Justin Fields in it. Gross-Matos is a player who can line up all over the defense and pressure the quarterback.”
Love, he projects, going to the New Orleans Saints with the 24th pick - two before Miami is back on the clock with the Houston Texans’ pick, a selection added in the trade of Laremy Tunsil and Kenny Stills to Houston. With the 26th pick, Miami adds Georgia running back D’Andre Swift, according to Kadar. He writes, “If the 2020 draft is truly the one where Miami doesn’t take a quarterback, having good options on offense for 2021 is going to be key. Miami already has a solid group of wide receivers, but it needs a legitimate lead running back. Swift is arguably the best running back in the draft with his vision and pass-catching skills.”
I love the idea of adding Swift here. Miami has three picks in the first round, so a running back - a position many feel is not one where a first-round pick is necessary - on the opening night of the Draft is one they can afford. It also gives the Dolphins three Week 1 starters at three positions of huge need for the club.
With Kadar’s mock, Miami has a franchise left tackle, a pass rusher, and a potential star running back to begin their rebuild. That is an amazing haul on opening night of the Draft.
The Dolphins likely are keeping Ryan Fitzpatrick in this scenario, a move that could make sense as the team fills other holes on the roster. They could look to use a second-round pick - they have two - on a quarterback, with Georgia’s Jake Fromm and Washington’s Jacob Eason still on the board. There are options available for Miami at the quarterback position if they do not select Tagovailoa.
But would the fan base recognize a great first night if it does not include a quarterback?
How would you grade a Thomas, Gross-Matos, Swift first round for the Dolphins?
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