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ESPN 2020 NFL predictions have Dolphins franchise to watch at Draft, while landing first overall pick in 2021

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NFL: Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN is taking this week to look at the NFL and make predictions about the 2020 NFL season. While the typical questions like Super Bowl LV teams (Kansas City Chiefs, Dallas Cowboys, Baltimore Ravens, New Orleans Saints, Seattle Seahawks, Buffalo Bills, Philadelphia Eagles, Indianapolis Colts, and San Francisco 49ers were all mentioned) were asked of Mike Clay, Jeremy Fowler, Mina Kimes, Kevin Seifert, Mike Reiss, Dan Graziano, Jason Reid, and Matt Bowens, there were a couple of questions where the Miami Dolphins made semi-surprising appearances in the answers.

When asked in which team the writer was most interested in seeing for the 2020 NFL Draft, several writers answered Miami. Clay explained of his choice of the Dolphins, “Miami won five of its final nine games of the season and will head into the 2020 offseason loaded with salary-cap space and draft capital, including three first-round picks. Despite the solid finish, the Dolphins still have several holes to fill, and it will be intriguing to see how much they can improve the roster in one offseason.”

Fowler also selected Miami, writing, “They worked hard for this moment, trading any reasonably priced asset away for the right to select 14 times in April. Miami probably needs to hit on at least half of those, most importantly with a quarterback in the top 10. The roster simply isn’t talented enough right now, but man, the upside under Brian Flores is enticing.”

Seifert added of the Dolphins, “Accumulating draft capital has been their central goal for the past 12 months. Now it’s time to find out whether they can do a good job using it. They have five of the top 56 picks. How much of it will they blow on finding a quarterback, and how much will be left over for other positions?”

Meanwhile, Seifert also sees Miami as the favorite to select first overall in 2021. He explains, “Coach Brian Flores coaxed five wins from this overmatched group in 2019, in part because of some legendary individual performances from quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. But the history of Fitzpatrick’s second season as a starter for various teams isn’t good. A regression of one or two wins would be enough to be in the mix for the top pick.”

Also mentioned as potential first-overall selection teams in 2021 were the Cincinnati Bengals, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Carolina Panthers. Interestingly, Graziano’s answer about the Panthers includes a sentence explaining, “The Panthers are tearing it down to the bare bones and asking Matt Rhule to build it back up.” When the Panthers are tearing it down to the bare bones, it is part of an overall plan. When Miami did it last year, they were widely ridiculed as the worst team ever in the NFL, a disgrace to the game, and a team putting players in harm’s way. But, sure, it works for Carolina.

I think the experts who selected Miami as the interesting team to watch in this year’s Draft are probably putting their money on the safe bet. The Dolphins have 14 picks, they have three first-round selections, and they basically can control most of the process. After free agency, where the team heads into the signing period with the most salary cap space in the league (as of now), the Dolphins could use additions of veterans and the draft picks to quickly rebound from a tear-down last year. They should be the team to watch this April.

But, they should not be the team leading off in 2021. Apparently Seifert sees Miami fielding the exact same team in 2020 as they did in 2019, because apparently the difference between the two years for the Dolphins will only be the regression of quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.

What do you think of the predictions involving Miami?

You can check out the other predictions made, including where Tom Brady will play next year, who will be the 2020 league MVP, and who will win the Super Bowl over on ESPN using the link above.