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NFL Mock Draft 2017: NFL.com 3-round projection fills needs for Dolphins

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NFL: 2016 NFL Draft Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

The offseason is always full of people trying to guess what every one of the 32 NFL teams will do with their own free-agents-to-be, what free agents they will sign, and which prospects they will draft. The projection of the draft, especially the first round, is always one of the most discussed and debated topics throughout the offseason, and everyone seems to have a mock draft of their own. This early in the draft process, mock drafts are probably better used as a chance to get to know some of the draft prospects rather than actually a model of how the draft could unfold when it arrives at the end of April.

On Monday, NFL.com’s Chad Reuter posted a three-round 2017 NFL Mock Draft, attempting to predict how teams will fill roster needs in the first two days of the selection process. Taking a look at the Miami Dolphins’ selections, the team does a pretty decent job of filling those needs with their first three selections.

Reuter has Miami using their first round pick on a popular choice for the 22nd overall selection, even if Dolphins fans do not necessarily see the position as a need to address that early in the Draft. He gives Miami Alabama tight end O.J. Howard. He explains the choice, writing, “Howard can be a safety valve for Ryan Tannehill and a good run blocker on the edge.”

Howard is a good selection, and one the Dolphins may have to consider with the pick if he is still on the board. Assuming Miami re-signs Dion Sims, the addition of Howard with Sims could give the club some flexibility with how to use two tight end formations, as well as give them an athletic, seam-route type of receiving threat that Jordan Cameron was expected to be before concussions sidelined him.

Of course, Dolphins fans want to see Miami improve the defense this offseason. While some of that could come from free agency, Reuter gives them a linebacker in the second round, picking up insider linebacker Raekwon McMillan from Ohio State. He then turns around and gives the Dolphins an offensive lineman in the third round, using a compensatory pick projected from last year’s loss of defensive end Olivier Vernon in free agency to select Miami guard Danny Isidora.

McMillan is considered a late first or early second round pick, and is the second ranked inside linebacker, according to CBS Sports’ big board. Isidora is ranked a fourth- or fifth-round pick, according to CBS Sports, the tenth guard on their board.

Those three selections could fill three of the biggest needs for the Dolphins heading into the 2017 season, and all three could be starters, or key contributors, by the end of the season. How would you react to a draft that falls like this? Would Miami be putting themselves in position to make a second-straight playoff run?