The Miami Dolphins’ season ended more than a week ago, so with no more playoff games on tap for our guys in aqua and orange, the focus shifts to a very important offseason for the franchise.
The Dolphins are currently projected to be roughly $40 million over the cap limit and will need to make some cuts, trades, and restructures to give themselves some wiggle room heading into the upcoming season. The best way to field a competitive team while paying your stars the big bucks is to bring in cheap, quality talent via the NFL Draft — something the Dolphins haven’t done much of lately.
In the 2024 NFL Draft, the Dolphins will hold a first round selection for the first time since the 2021 NFL Draft. It is imperative that they fill a need with a standout player on a cheap contract if they hope to continue to compete for relevancy in the AFC.
Mel Kiper — ESPN’s senior NFL Draft analyst and the leading voice for NFL Draft coverage for multiple decades — released his first mock draft for the upcoming selection process. At pick 21, he has the Miami Dolphins upgrading their offensive line.
Troy Fautanu — a left tackle from the Washington Huskies — was Kiper’s pick for Miami in the first round. Fautanu — at 6’4”, 317 lb — is projected by some to start his NFL career as a guard before moving out to a tackle spot after he gets some seasoning at the pro level. The Dolphins could pencil him in as Terron Armstead’s potential replacement once the veteran decides to hang up his cleats (which could happen as early as this offseason).
Fautanu passed up on his senior year of eligibility after the Huskies’ defeat at the hands of the Michigan Wolverines in the National Championship game. He started 31 games for Washington throughout his tenure with the team, including all 28 games of the Kalen DeBoer era. DeBoer was just hired on as Nick Saban’s replacement at the University of Alabama.
For the 2023 college football season, Fautanu was named an All-Pac-12 First Team selection, an All-America Third Team selection, and was the Morris Trophy winner — an award given to the Pac-12’s best offensive and defensive lineman.
Kiper’s entire mock draft can be found here behind the ESPN+ paywall.