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Mel Kiper Mock Draft 2.0 2020: Dolphins pick Oregon’s Justin Herbert in latest ESPN mock draft

Can you quack? Can you quack like a duck?

Pac-12 Championship Game - Oregon v Utah Alika Jenner/Getty Images

Now that the 2019 NFL season has concluded, we are now entering the lull that is the NFL offseason. It will only last a few weeks, as the NFL combine and start of Free Agency are right around the corner. But while some get to enjoy Baseball, time with their loved ones, or the XFL, others are ramping up for the 2020 NFL Draft.

Which means it’s officially Mock Draft Szn.

Most analysts will post a mock draft every few weeks, and fans will go crazy with excitement. But the truth is, mock drafts are very rarely right. ‘Very rarely’ is a vital underestimate. And yet, I’ve been reading mock drafts since the first time I was able to sign on the worldwide web.

Back on January 24th, Mel Kiper released version 1.0 of his 2020 NFL mock draft. In this mock draft, the Miami Dolphins selected Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa, LSU pass-rusher K’Lavon Chaisson, and Georgia RB D’Andre Swift.

Let’s take a look at Kiper’s updated mock draft and how it stacks up against the rest.

Like all mock drafts, Kiper’s latest begins with the Cincinnati Bengals drafting Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow at #1 overall. Ohio State pass-rusher Chase Young follows it to Washington. Where things get a bit crazy is at #3, where Kiper has the Lions selecting Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa.

Tagovailoa is believed by many to be a once-in-a-generation QB ;). And Mel Kiper has compared him to Drew Brees, as have others. So, why would the Lions pass on that type of player, regardless of their ‘win-now’ situation? No trades are made in Kiper’s mock draft, so he selects the talented QB at #3.

With Detroit passing on Ohio State cornerback Jeffrey Okudah, he falls to the New York Giants at #4.

So, who do the Dolphins select now that Tagovailoa is no longer on the board?

With the 5th pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Miami Dolphins select...

5. Miami Dolphins

Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon

With five picks in the first two rounds of this draft, Miami has to add a quarterback, right? What’s tough to predict is whether the Dolphins will instead look to the deep quarterback class in free agency, where they will have almost $100 million to spend. Would they rather have someone like Jameis Winston, if he doesn’t return to Tampa? What about Andy Dalton, who is likely to be cut by Cincinnati? Luckily, free agency happens before the draft in the NFL, so we’ll know in a month. For now, I think they should go with the top quarterback on the board, and that’s Herbert. I said during the season that he is a maddening evaluation because of his inconsistencies as a thrower, but he is rising after an MVP week at the Senior Bowl. Herbert has the highest ceiling of any of the quarterbacks in this class.

With reports starting to surface that Detroit’s asking price for the #3-overall pick has become too much, the Dolphins have begun to leak their apparent love affair for a prototypical passer, Justin Herbert. And although he might not be the apple of their eye, no team in the NFL has done more work on Herbert than Miami.

Is Justin Herbert to Miami all a smokescreen? Probably. But he is arguably the most talented QB after Burrow and Tagovailoa. Selecting Herbert allows Miami to make all three selections in April’s draft and wouldn’t cost Chris Grier a bounty of draft picks in the process.

If Tagovailoa isn’t the QB the Dolphins draft in round one, there is an excellent chance Dolphins’ fans will be extremely disappointed when Justin Herbert’s name is announced on April 23rd.

With the 18th pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Miami Dolphins select...

18. Miami Dolphins (from PIT)

Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia

With the Dolphins still in the beginning stages of their teardown-and-rebuild project, they have a lot of positions they could upgrade. This is one of the worst rosters in the league. And with three first- and two second-round picks, they have a chance to add some immediate starters. If I’m giving them a quarterback at No. 5, let’s help Justin Herbert here with a left tackle. Thomas has dropped a little bit since he went in the top 10 in my Mock Draft 1.0 last month, but that’s because this tackle class is so good at the top. A pure left tackle with great feet, Thomas doesn’t have the ceiling of Laremy Tunsil, but he’s a really solid player. Given its depleted roster, Miami should go with the best prospect available in Round 1, and that’s Thomas at No. 18.

At one point, Georgia OT Andrew Thomas was once projected as a top-10 draft pick. This is a perfect example of why you don’t put too much stock into mock drafts, especially in late December. However, as we saw in Todd McShay’s second mock draft, Thomas falling to #18 seems like a real possibility. And for a team that has glaring holes throughout the offensive line, landing a player that can play at tackle or potentially guard is a necessity.

Are there better offensive lineman at #18 that could help Miami? Maybe so. But I think this pick is right on target with what the Dolphins should and will do in April’s draft. Landing a dynamic offensive line talent like Andrew Thomas would be the perfect selection with Pittsburgh’s first-round pick.

With the 26h pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Miami Dolphins select...

26. Miami Dolphins (from HOU)

D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia

That’s three first-round picks, three offensive players for the Dolphins, with Swift taking over as the No. 1 running back to help Justin Herbert and run behind Andrew Thomas. Swift is the best receiving back in this class, and as I mentioned last month, I have a higher grade on him than I did on Josh Jacobs last year. This is a great way to build the Miami offense, though it still needs some pieces to get back on track. If an edge rusher like A.J. Epenesa falls to this pick, don’t be surprised if this team pounces.

If you listened to the latest episode of Phinsider Radio, you would have heard Matthew Cannata discuss the Dolphins’ interest in veteran free agent Melvin Gordon. Now, maybe Gordon to Miami happens, perhaps it doesn’t. But one thing we do know is the Dolphins have a glaring weakness at running back. A vulnerability that will almost certainly be addressed in the draft, regardless of what veteran presence Miami brings in this offseason.

With that said, drafting an RB in round one of a loaded draft class isn’t wise. And although I do like Swift’s skill-set, I’m not even sure he’s the best back in the class. This also seems to be the popular pick among draft analysts, which seems a bit safe to me.

I’d much rather the Dolphins draft a pass-rusher or continue to build the offensive line than select a running back in round one.

What do you think of Mel Kiper’s latest mock draft? Let us know in the comments section below.


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