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.
Late last year, ESPN’s Todd McShay released his first 2020 NFL Mock Draft. In this mock, the Dolphins selected Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa, Boise State pass-rusher Curtis Weaver, and Alabama OT Alex Leatherwood.
Let’s take a look at McShay’s updated mock draft and how it stacks up against the rest.
"Tua ... I would argue he's better than Joe Burrow. When he's right, he's Drew Brees from the left side."— First Take (@FirstTake) February 4, 2020
As you can expect, McShay’s mock draft starts with the Cincinnati Bengals selecting LSU QB Joe Burrow. From there, he has Washington selecting Chase Young, Detroit drafting Jeff Okudah, and the Giants taking versatile linebacker, Isaiah Simmons.
With the 5th pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Miami Dolphins select...
Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
Assuming another QB-needy team doesn’t trade up with Detroit or New York to cut in line, Tagovailoa is a really good start for a Miami team looking to aggressively kick-start its rebuild through the draft. Teams are approaching the lefty’s hip injury with different levels of cautiousness, but if he’s medically cleared, the Dolphins would be getting an exceptional signal-caller. Tagovailoa has elite accuracy and anticipation, but will he recover some of that twitch that made him truly special? A little extra good news in South Beach: Veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick, who just led the hapless Dolphins past the big, bad Patriots in Week 17 on the road, is in town for another year and would allow the team to ease Tagovailoa into action.
This pick should surprise no one.
If Tua Tagovailoa checks out medically, the likelihood that he ends up in Miami is excellent. However, unlike McShay’s mock draft, Miami might have to move up to #3 to land the premier QB. Nevertheless, I expect the Dolphins to get the QB many believed they had wanted from the very beginning. And maybe, just maybe, they will solve the QB situation that has plagued them since #13 retired 20 years ago.
With the 18th pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Miami Dolphins select...
18. Miami Dolphins (from PIT)
Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
Step 1: Draft a quarterback with sky-high potential but plenty of injury worries (see: Tagovailoa, No. 5 overall). Step 2? Maybe get someone to protect him. Thomas is raw, and this qualifies as a little high for him, but he has some power to his game. And after surrendering 58 sacks, tied for the most in the NFL, the Dolphins can’t really afford to ignore the line any longer. Miami has one more first-rounder (and two second-rounders) to dive in on other needs, including edge rusher, cornerback and the interior offensive line.
I’m not a draft analyst (well kind of), but I don’t think the odds are good that Andrew Thomas falls to #18. Nevertheless, the Dolphins desperately need help on the offensive line and getting a player that can protect Tua’s front-side, or backside should be a priority. Thomas is one of the best tackles in college football and would be a significant upgrade over Jesse Davis or Julien Davenport.
With the 26th pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Miami Dolphins select...
26. Miami Dolphins (from HOU)
Zack Baun, OLB, Wisconsin
Miami is back for a third turn, and as promised, it checks another box here with a quick, versatile edge rusher in Baun. His game jumps off the tape, and his 12.5 sacks show what he can do when he’s turned loose on the quarterback. But Baun is no one-trick pony, displaying the ability to play in coverage, too. Find the ball and you’ll find Baun. The Dolphins sacked the quarterback a league-low 23 times in 2019, and Taco Charlton led the team with five. By taking Baun, they continue what they started in 2018 in rebuilding that defensive line (first-round pick of Christian Wilkins) while also taking one of the best players available.
Now that Miami has addressed the QB position and offensive line, it’s time to add a pass-rusher on defense. In McShay’s latest mock draft, he has the Dolphins selecting Wisconsin EDGE Zack Baun. Some might think this is a bit of a reach, but by the time all is said and done, Baun will likely be selected on day one of the 2020 NFL Draft. And for a team that only managed to get to the QB 23 times in 2019, Baun would be a welcomed addition on Miami’s underwhelming defensive line.
What do you think of Todd McShay’s latest mock draft? Let us know in the comments section below.
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