With the start of the “Non-Tua” Mock Draft seeing Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons being my #5 overall pick, I want to bring up a few points before the next pick is explained. Please keep in mind, this is the “shall he not declare” draft, so QB is not for the 1st round here.
Secondly, I am a person preaching to solidify the offensive line. I believe the quickest and easiest fix is to get what you pay for. If I want a plumber to fix a leak, I am not banking on he new rookie, I am calling Roto-Rooter.
We need pros to free up the clogged lanes our runners have seen, and the leaky faucets our QBs have had to deal with. Sign free agents Brandon Scherff and Joe Thuney to give a proven veteran presence on the line, and use the plethora of Day 2 or 3 picks to add youth and depth to it. We will cover that later in this series, so have no fear.
Lastly, the “big splash” free agent in the off-season should be, and will be the market’s best pass-rusher, Yannick Ngakoue. If Miami doesn’t welcome him with a Shula-style, Kansas City Filet Mignon carved in number 91, they missed.
Before the anarchy... giving the best free agent in the class an iconic number is nothing short of an homage to Cameron Wake. The organization will not hand that number to a rookie. It will be rewarded, and or gifted.
We now know that if I am in my Mock War Room Chair, I am heading into the draft with those three free agents, which is a popular opinion in #DolphinsTwitter.
Having presented my mindset, and splashy free agent period, let us now add to the #5 overall pick, Isaiah Simmons, who now becomes the Dolphins man-in-the-middle, and Holy Trinity completion to Raekwon McMillan and Jerome Baker, making this a formidable and youthful core.
So to refresh, the Dolphins are looking at a linebacking group of McMillian, Baker and Simmons, making them all drafted in yearly succession in that order. The hopeful re-signing of outside linebacker Vince Biegel is a conversation for another day, and Andrew Van Ginkel is making waves since his late season splash onto the scene.
Looking at the improving front-four, we have interior men Davon Godchaux and rookie-no-more, Christian Wilkins. The Dolphins improve their lack of a pass-rush with the hopeful Ngakoue addition, but to be honest, I am not checking off the pass-rushing box yet.
There are more picks for that....
Here was the board of 20+ players available at #18 as per my Draft Network simulated mock, based on their predictability model.
Looking at the board there is talent galore, and more picks shortly there after the 18th. I’m crossing out wide outs and running backs, simply because a) there is a massive depth to both positions this year and b) the current receiver room is very strong in Miami with the return of a healthy Preston Williams.
A cornerback would be wise here but there is more depth later, and it seems this organization has a keen eye for bargain shopping at that position, i.e. Nik Needham. A potential first round grade for a player from a team may not mean they “have” to draft him in the first round. More on that in another article.
With the offensive line hopefully improved before April Fool’s Day, we can wait on it. Let’s move to the other line, that defensive one, and create havoc on both sides of the ball.
Now here is the thing, regardless of him being available in this Mock, I am a realist and can assume Epenesa wont be available here in reality, but I will not discount a slight trade-up to “get-their-guy.”
Plenty of fun “mock-trade” articles will come post-Super Bowl, and I do predict up and down trade action with the Fitzpatrick Baker’s Dozen picks the Dolphins have. I would prefer 8 or 9 very good players, so sacrificing a few selections in deals is not a terrible move. Especially with the talent they have found in other markets than seven draft rounds in April.
Imagine Epenesa being available just outside the top-10... Fact is, Epenesa is high on any team’s board that needs a pass-rusher, and Miami has enough chips to entice any team to move back a few spots to pick up some picks later in the process should a sack artist not be on their first round wish list.
A.J. Epenesa is a top-3 pass rusher in this class. In this model with him available at 18, here is the Miami front 7 if this Mock’s first two picks comes to fruition.
Ngakoue, Wilkins, Godchaux, Epenesa with McMillian, Simmons, and Baker in the next tier.
Laird have mercy.
What coaching staff doesn’t love athletes, and triple-sport ones at that? Epenesa was a track and field All-American in high-school and starred in basketball as well.
I do realize this is an extreme long-shot, yet one can dream, no?
As done in the Simmons breakdown, you don't need my words to further sell you on Epenesa...if even if means moving up a bit to get him.
This kid made it...
I was once told from a source who experienced this draft process first hand, that the board is a living, breathing entity that changes with each pick.
If this prospect is available with the 18th pick, consider it X-mas all over again. In all honesty, I would sacrifice a gift next year to perhaps guarantee I get this gifted pass-rusher in Vegas.
To be continued...
I teased you all if you didn’t catch it....