NFL mock draft season is underway, and the big guns are starting to come out. On Wednesday, ESPN’s Todd McShay jumped back into the mix with the 2.0 edition of this 2017 NFL Mock Draft. His selection for the Miami Dolphins will keep a top prospect playing in his college stadium.
Interestingly, McShay does not have the most popular pick for Miami thus far this offseason, Vanderbilt linebacker Zach Cunningham, in his first-round projection. Miami is likely going to be shopping for linebackers in both free agency and the Draft this year, and Cunningham seems to be a player that can give the club an effective player against both the run and the pass. McShay, however, has not moved Cunningham into his first 32 picks yet this season.
The other most popular pick for the Dolphins this offseason has been Alabama tight end O.J. Howard. McShay has him coming off the board with the 19th pick, going to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, three picks before Miami. Where does he have the Dolphins going for their selection?
Right to their own stadium.
McShay has the Dolphins selecting University of Miami tight end David Njoku with the 22nd overall selection. He explains the pick:
Njoku comes with loads of upside, thanks to rare athleticism for the position and big-play ability, including 16.2 yards per reception. There's not much of a gap between Njoku and Alabama's O.J. Howard for the No. 1 TE ranking. Both Jordan Cameron and Dion Sims are set to be free agents for the Dolphins, so the fit would make sense for Njoku to stay in Miami.
Another interesting note - and maybe a demonstration of how early we are in mock draft season - is comparing McShay’s mock draft to the three-round mock from SB Nation’s Dan Kadar we looked at earlier this week. Kadar has Miami selecting Cunningham in the first round, but then backs that up with Njoku in the second round. Both mocks give Miami the Hurricanes tight end, but obviously they do it with different gradings of the same player. Will McShay be proven to be correct with Njoku being a first-round selection, or can the Dolphins wait until the second-round to pick up the University of Miami prospect as Kadar suggests?