The Miami Dolphins surprised a lot of people when, with their first pick of the second round, they added Oregon safety Jevon Holland. It was not the position expected for Miami’s third pick of the draft, where a linebacker, offensive lineman, or running back seemed the order of the day. The Dolphins landed a free safety who can step up into the box and support the run as well as play as a big nickel covering the slot. Holland is an exceptional addition to the roster, continuing Miami’s trend of taking the top player at a position (first wide receiver in Jaylen Waddle at six, first edge rusher in Jaelan Phillips at 18, and first safety in Holland at 36).
The surprise of the pick, and the few minutes before when the Atlanta Falcons traded out of the 35th pick allowing the Denver Broncos to swoop in and select running back Javonte Williams just in front of Miami, dominated our round table discussion of Holland’s selection. The discussion featured Justin Hier, Josh Houtz, Kevin Nogle, and Craig T. Smith.
Nogle: “That was a crazy few minutes. To see the Atlanta Falcons trade out of the spot to the Denver Broncos seemed to clear the way for Javonte Williams to fall to the Dolphins, and, as this Draft proves, the analysts and fans clearly always know who the Dolphins are going to pick. I have never felt less prepared for a Draft than I did this year, with this pick starting that madness. The Broncos selected Williams, though I believe Miami may have still selected safety Jevon Holland even if Williams was on the board.”
Hier: “Watching the Denver Broncos leapfrog Miami for Javonte Williams hurt, but after hearing what Brian Flores had to say about newly minted defensive back Jevon Holland in the team’s press conference, it sounds like Holland likely would have been the pick regardless of whether Williams was on the board.”
Houtz: “I’ll admit, it did feel déjà vu missing out once again on my preferred running back. J.K Dobbins is a stud, and Javonte Williams will be too. But let me ask one vital question; was this really a surprise? Not only have most of us become accustomed to years of pain and heartache so this was inevitable. But let’s face it, the Dolphins do not value the position as much as the Fantasy Football faithful.”
Smith: “It happened again. I cannot believe it, but yep, it happened again. The Atlanta Falcons ultimately stuck it to the Fins on Thursday and Friday, taking Kyle Pitts from us instead of drafting a quarterback for the future or addressing their incredibly subpar defense. Then, they trade out of pick #35 to the Broncos instead of staying put and taking someone to address that clown show of a defense, instead they yield the pick to Denver, who snared Javonte Williams from under our noses. Falcons, may your football luck be forever terrible...oh wait, nevermind, I forgot you’re the sad-sack Falcons. Simply carry on.”
Nogle: “One of my favorite things in this year’s Draft was the fun Twitter interactions I had with The Falcoholic and SB Nation’s Associate Director for NFL Team Brands Jeanna Thomas because of this exact issue. Somehow, it seemed like the Falcons were doing everything they could to mess with Miami’s draft plans. First, they select Kyle Pitts in the first round, a pick we were all pretty sure they were going to make, but a quarterback could have been selected there. If Pitts had last to the Dolphins, I do not know what they would have done, because all the reports seem to say Jaylen Waddle was their guy the entire time. Then they do this trade right in front of Miami to allow the Broncos to select Williams. Again, it seems like the Dolphins were going to take Holland no matter what, but it was frustrating to see the Falcons keep doing things that hurt Miami.”
Smith: “All kidding aside (and I was fully kidding, despite the unpleasant fact that their choices were to Miami’s direct detriment), that was a swift kick in the pants. It seemed like the perfect spot to snare a running back of the future and Javonte Williams was just that. Instead, Miami took Oregon safety Jevon Holland. Admittedly, Holland is not a player that I had vetted in mock drafts or other pre-draft pieces. But seeing his production at Oregon (nine interceptions in his last two full seasons), it’s clear to see why the Dolphins’ brass was high on his upside. He just seems to be a guy that’s around the ball in coverage, so hey, who am I to argue? He also returns punts, which doesn’t hurt.”
Nogle: “I think that ‘returns punts’ part is important to this team. Everyone they selected throughout the Draft was a versatile player, able to do multiple things, including having special teams roles.”
Hier: “Holland was an absolute baller at Oregon during his two seasons on the field (he opted out for the Pac-12’s shortened season) and has been touted for his versatility (which seems to be Flores’ favorite trait in prospects) and leadership skills. The dude is also a certified playmaker; he racked up PBUs and INTs like Pac-Man chomping down on white dots during his collegiate career. Holland also displayed the sideline-to-sideline athleticism needed to chase down ball-carriers after the catch. He’ll likely slot into regular snaps on Miami’s defense quite early in his NFL career. If you want to read more about Holland’s story, check out this great piece from The Oregonian.”
Nogle: “I think the Dolphins added the player they wanted, with the versatility they want. The Dolphins are really good at looking ahead, not just to the current season but beyond. Bobby McCain and Eric Rowe are getting expensive. Holland and last year’s third-round pick Brandon Jones appear to be the safeties of the future for Miami. Holland over Williams was a surprise, but the Dolphins seem to have ranked them that was on their board and stuck to their board.”
Houtz: “And I must reiterate for the 100th time this offseason, ERIC STUDESVILLE TURNED MYLES GASKIN INTO A VERY GOOD RUNNING BACK, THE DOLPHINS LOVE HIM, AND THIS TEAM CLEARLY DOESN’T VALUE THE POSITON. Instead, they drafted Jevon Holland. A true free safety with range and coverage skills to play alone on an island or drop down and cover as a nickel CB. He models his game after Honey Badger. And most of all, Flores excitement rivaled that of Raekwon Davis last year. To sum things up, Jevon Holland is a very good player that will make an immediate impact. And more intelligent people than you and I love the pick—even if I did want the running back of my dreams.
Nogle: “The biggest winner out of this may be Gaskin who seems to have a clear path to being the starter for the Dolphins this year.”