The Miami Dolphins are in the middle of a Wildcard hunt, looking to make their first postseason appearance since 2008. The team moved back into a tie on Sunday for the final Wildcard spot when they beat the Arizona Cardinals and the Denver Broncos lost. They also, however, lost quarterback Ryan Tannehill for the year with a knee injury. While there is still a lot of football remaining this regular season - and potentially the Playoffs - for the Dolphins, and there will be a lot of storylines to cover, it is also getting late in the season, which means it is starting to be time to consider future draft prospects Miami could consider in the 2017 NFL Draft.
In other words, it is getting close to mock draft season.
Every week, SB Nation’s Dan Kadar has been building - and will continue to build - mock drafts for next April’s selection meeting. This early, he typically tries to find a theme for each mock draft, and this week he decided to go with an all-SEC first-round. As he wrote, "Is this absurd? Of course. But with 136 more days until the 2017 NFL draft, there is plenty of time to get serious."
For the Miami Dolphins, in this version of a 2017 NFL Mock Draft, Kadar has them using the 20th overall selection on Alabama tight end O.J. Howard. He explains the pick by writing:
Yes, another Alabama player. Maybe it’s by design, but the Dolphins are getting a minimal amount of receiving production out of tight end Dion Sims. Howard is a good all-around tight end who can work the seam or stay in to block.
I am not going to talk about Howard specifically, but rather the idea of Miami using a first-round pick on a tight end. The Dolphins need a lot of defensive help this offseason, especially adding youth at the defensive end positions, re-working the linebackers, and probably adding more talent at cornerback. You could even add in a defensive tackle and, possibly, a young safety to develop. Some of this can, and probably will, be addressed in free agency, but the Draft is going to be critical for the defense this year.
Which bring us back to the tight end position. Is it the right move for Miami to select a tight end in the first round? I would argue that it might be. Dion Sims is fine and could develop into a solid, possession type of tight end. When you look around the league, however, finding that athletic, mis-match of a tight end is a huge desire of many teams. Being able to put two tight ends on the field at the same time, with both capable of being receiving options, is a giant benefit as well. If Miami could find that tight end in the first round to pair with Sims, the team could have one of the missing pieces to becoming a fully dynamic offense.
I think the majority of the draft should be focused on the defense, but if the Dolphins see a tight end they want to grab in the first round, that could be the right move to make.
What do you think of the idea of taking a tight end in the first round this year?