ESPN’s Mel Kiper, Jr., has released his first 2017 NFL Mock Draft, providing his first look at how the actual NFL Draft could unfold in April. Kiper points out in his introduction to the mock that NFL teams do not yet have “big boards” and are just starting their evaluation processes. There are the college all-star games, the NFL Scouting Combine, medical evaluations, pro days, and private workouts still to be completed, plus the league will have free agency before the draft finally gets here in April.
All that said, the Kiper first-round mock provides another chance to look at some of the top draft prospects for this year.
Jumping past the first 21 picks, we look at the Miami Dolphins, who, as a playoff team from this year, will be among the final 12 picks made in each round. Kiper has the Dolphins selecting Florida linebacker Jarrad Davis. He then writes of the pick:
As a steady and reliable linebacker with a nose for the football, Davis' versatility stands out. He could play inside or outside linebacker at the next level, though he's not a guy who will get 10 sacks on the outside in a 3-4. He can be an every-down guy.
Davis does make sense for Miami, in part because of the versatility Kiper describes. Miami has a middle linebacker in Kiko Alonso, but there is thought that the team could be looking to move Alonso to the outside, moving a new addition into the middle. Having Davis with the same flexibility could be a great move for the Dolphins and keep their options open for getting the three best linebackers on the field next season.
The Dolphins could look to address the linebacker position in free agency, but if they do not, it has to be near the top of the needs when the Draft does get here.