As we know, the Dolphins are heading into the 2020 NFL draft with 14 picks. And although I don’t think they will make that many selections between April 23rd and April 25th, they have set themselves up nicely to address these needs, and so much more.
A few weeks ago, in free agency, Miami added a starting guard, center, cornerback, defensive ends, and a football player to their 53-man roster. They also added several players that can bring depth on both offense and defense- in addition to being critical contributors on special teams.
However, there’s still plenty of work to be done.
Let’s take a look at five areas the Dolphins must address in the 2020 NFL Draft.
(Please note: ‘Predictions’ are nothing more than players I like. Some have met with the Dolphins, others have not.)
The truth is, Miami has yearned for a quarterback since Dan Marino retired 20 years ago. And although they tried several ways to find the next great signal-caller, there’s still an astronomical hole that needs to be filled before this team can regain its prowess at the top of the AFC East.
No one truly knows which of the top-4 QBs Miami covets most, but we can assume LSU’s Joe Burrow is off-limits. That leaves Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert, and Jordan Love as realistic possibilities. Maybe they trade up to make sure they get Tagovailoa, or sit tight and take the best quarterback available. But we know, is Miami will draft a QB on April 23rd.
It’s now up to Chris Grier and his reconstructed front office to figure out which of these QBs can fill the void left behind by the greatest QB ever to play the game. Until that happens, Miami will continue to hover around mediocrity.
Prediction: Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama
#theleftarmofgod pic.twitter.com/IaknNSeiUC— josh houtz (@houtz) April 4, 2020
In 2019, Miami’s rushing attack ranked 32nd in the NFL. Yes, a lot of this had to do with the offensive line, but the group of backs also played a significant role in this dismal statistic. In FA, Miami brought in former Philadelphia Eagles’ running back Jordan Howard, who at only 25-years-old, could still make an impact on Sundays.
The 2020 draft class is loaded with potential superstars at RB, and I fully expect the Dolphins to draft one within the first three rounds. Which RB, however, is anyone’s guess.
Prediction: J.K. Dobbins, Ohio State
ohio state RB @jkdobbins22 carried the ball 301 times for 2,003 yards and 21 TDs in 2019-breaking the buckeyes single-season rushing record. dobbins is one of the top prospects and would be a glove fit in miami's offense.— josh houtz (@houtz) January 9, 2020
here's a look at some of j.k dolphins best runs in 2019. pic.twitter.com/7D637oIWEN
Much like the QB position, Miami’s offensive line has been dreadful for the last decade. The last time the Dolphins’ had an offensive line that could dominate the point of attack was back when Tony Sparano coached our beloved Dolphins (RIP coach).
The Dolphins signed Ereck Flowers and Ted Karras in FA, but there’s still plenty of work to be done on Miami’s offensive line. I fully expect Miami’s front office to address offensive tackle on day one and then potentially double down on the position in day two. I also don’t think it’s crazy to think they have their eyes set on some interior lineman, whether that be at center or guard.
One thing we do know is that this coaching staff covets versatility. And they will be doing whatever it takes to find big, meaty, offensive lineman that fits this description. Because until the offensive line is fixed, the rest of the offense will suffer.
Prediction: Josh Jones, Houston, and Matt Hennessy, Temple
Josh Jones, OT, #Houston:— Jordan Reid (@JReidNFL) February 3, 2020
• Springy pass sets (+ athlete)
• ++ Upside
• Strong hands/grip at the POA
• Huge factor in the screen game
• Plays through the echo of the whistle
• GREAT fit in a zone blocking scheme pic.twitter.com/wnTGIhWbeO
A lot of the Dolphins spending this offseason was directed towards the defensive line. Emmanuel Ogbah and Shaq Lawson both signed fair contracts and brought in to help add some stability not only in the run game but as pass-rushers as well.
Perhaps, this was done as some suggest because Miami doesn’t like this year’s crop of defensive lineman. But that doesn’t mean there’s still not a need for help not only on the interior defensive line but off the EDGE as well.
I fully expect the Dolphins to add some meat upfront and some speed off the edge. In which round, is anyone’s guess.
Prediction: Marlon Davidson, Auburn and Alex Highsmith, Charlotte
charlotte DE alex highsmith puts the LT on skates. pic.twitter.com/0j0rFAGUX7— josh houtz (@houtz) December 20, 2019
One of the first things the Dolphins did this offseason was part ways with veteran safety Reshad Jones. And although at one point Jones seemed like one of the most dynamic playmakers on the roster, he’s been nothing more of a shell of himself as of late.
So, now the Dolphins have a hole in the secondary. One that I don’t believe can be filled by Eric Rowe or Bobby McCain—who I think is better suited in the nickel. New England’s defense primarily needed three safeties to run correctly. Rowe will continue to be utilized in the box, and most importantly, covering opposing tight ends.
But if Brian Flores, Josh Boyer, and Gerald Alexander want to bring the team’s defense together, one—if not two safeties—are necessary. And much like offensive tackle and running back, I believe this will be addressed in one of the first three rounds.
Prediction: Ashtyn Davis, California
ashtyn davis is a free-range safety with no added hormones or antibiotics. pic.twitter.com/aamO4BlNS8— josh houtz (@houtz) February 21, 2020
The Dolphins have plenty of needs throughout the roster. But these five need to be addressed before the team can expect any improvement in 2020 or beyond. Thankfully, with 14 draft picks, Chris Grier and his staff should have an easier time than most filling all of his team’s needs.
If not, it might be time to start looking at the chefs rather than the ingredients.
This article was written by Josh Houtz. Follow me on Twitter (@houtz)