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Mel Kiper Mock Draft 2020: Final NFL projection from ESPN analyst

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Cincinnati Bengals v Miami Dolphins Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

The NFL Draft is just a few hours away, with all of the speculation and rumors coming to an end as the picks are actually made. Will the Miami Dolphins crush the first round with all three picks? Will they use some of their 14 picks over the three days to move up and grab a bigger name?

It will be intriguing, and it will be unpredictable. But, predictions are still going to happen. In his final 2020 NFL Mock Draft, ESPN analyst Mel Kiper, Jr., has taken a final shot at projecting the first round. His prediction starts with a change for the Miami Dolphins with their fifth-overall selection.

Instead of Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert, Kiper goes back to the Dolphins looking at Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. Of the selection, Kiper writes, “It’s smoke screen season, and I’ve gone back and forth on this pick a few times. But I just can’t see Miami passing on a quarterback, and Tagovailoa is higher on my board than the rest of the QBs.”

He then has Miami using the 18th pick, one they received from the Pittsburgh Steelers in a trade of Minkah Fitzpatrick during the 2019 season, to add to the defense. He sees Miami adding South Carolina defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw, a pick that could be a steal for the Dolphins. Kiper writes, “This is great value for Kinlaw, who is my 11th-ranked prospect. Put him next to 2019 first-round pick Christian Wilkins, and that’s an outstanding interior defensive line. Miami still has another first-round pick to get a tackle.”

With Miami’s third first-round selection, the 26th pick, the Dolphins land the protection they need for their new quarterback. Kiper projects Houston tackle Josh Jones to Miami here, explaining, “This is where the Dolphins can get an offensive tackle. Jones made 45 career starts at left tackle for the Cougars. If Miami is going to take a quarterback at No. 5, it should protect him.”

Aside from maybe your personal view of Tagovailoa, this mock seems like a perfect one for Miami. They land their quarterback, a tackle to protect him, and one of the top defensive prospects to shore up the line. This is actually a great job by Kiper.

Of course, it will all change as soon as the Draft actually begins.