ESPN's Todd McShay released his annual "way too early" mock draft, in this particular case taking a look at the prospects for the 2017 NFL Draft. McShay opens his mock by explaining, "Let's start by emphasizing the first part of the headline above: way-too-early. There's a reason we use that terminology for this piece. I have not studied tape on most of these players. I've simply done my best to match up many of the top players on my preliminary list with teams that make sense." He also adds that he is basing his evaluations on what be has seen in person or on TV, and not the film work he will do by the time the 2017 Draft arrives.
He also adds that the draft order is based on the projected records for the 2016 season from Football Outsiders. And, that is where things do no look overly bright for the Miami Dolphins.
Without actually giving the records (which Football Outsiders are expected to release this summer with their season preview), the Dolphins forecast has them selecting fourth overall in the 2017 Draft. If that is the case, Miami will have had a miserable season under new head coach Adam Gase, and a lot things will have had to have gone horribly wrong for the Dolphins. Unfortunately, there is no way to know why Football Outsiders have such a gloomy prediction for the Dolphins, at least until they release their season preview.
Moving back to the 2017 Mock Draft from McShay, the Cleveland Browns use the first overall pick to select quarterback Deshaun Watson from Clemson, followed by the San Francisco 49ers also picking a quarterback, this time Miami's Brad Kaaya. The New York Giants then use the third overall pick to add Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett.
As for the Dolphins' fourth pick, McShay has them looking at a first-round running back, picking up LSU's Leonard Fournette. He explains:
Fournette has averaged 6.13 yards per carry in his first two college seasons, scoring 32 rushing touchdowns. If there's a concern, it's that he'll put too much wear on his tires before getting to the NFL -- he had 300 carries in 2015 and has totaled 487 for his career. But you just don't see this kind of game-breaking ability very often.
Will the Dolphins be looking for a running back in the 2017 Draft, or will Jay Ajayi and Kenyan Drake be able to establish themselves as the runners the team needs? Will the Dolphins actually be so bad that they are selecting fourth overall?