The Miami Dolphins are looking forward toward the 2017 NFL Draft, even as they still have some free agency options working, including an offer to linebacker Zach Brown. While they wait for Brown, who also has a reported offer from the Oakland Raiders, to make a decision, they are scouring the film, pro days, and private workouts of potential draft prospects around the country in an effort to build their plan for next month’s selection process.
Over at Behind the Steel Curtain Friday morning, big_jay71 put together a four-round 2017 NFL Mock Draft, including a list of team needs and a blurb about his thinking for each pick. Taking a look at what he did for the Dolphins, he starts with the team needs listed as linebacker, defensive end, guard, and tight end. Then, with the first-round pick for Miami, the 22nd overall selection, he projects Western Kentucky guard Forrest Lamp. It is a fairly common pick for the Dolphins at this point in the mocks, with many analysts realizing there is not a lot of day-one starting offensive line talent this year, so if Miami wants to get a starter, they are going to have to use that first-round pick to make it happen.
Of Miami adding Lamp, big_jay71 writes:
Miami is starting to show a lot of interest in Forrest Lamp. After trading Brandon Albert to Jacksonville, Laremy Tunsil will shift to LT, opening up a hole at the LG spot. They are also rumored to really like Zach Cunningham.
With their second-round selection, the 54th overall pick, Miami is projected to add Ohio State linebacker Raekwon McMillan. The write-up on the pick is just a short, one-sentence blurb, but it does make sense:
Koa Misi is coming back from neck surgery and will be a 2018 free agent.
Misi is a question mark for the Dolphins this year. He has not yet been medically cleared to return to football activities due to his neck injury, but the team and Misi believe that will happen in May. The Dolphins are not against upgrading over him - like the offer to Brown would suggest - but they are not ruling out keeping Misi as the third starting linebacker this year. McMillan is not necessarily someone who will come in and star right away, and maybe he should not even start right away, but he is someone who could challenge for that starting position - especially as a strong-side linebacker, exactly where Misi plays.
The Dolphins traded their third-round pick to the Minnesota Vikings in last year’s Draft, which means they do not make a selection with the 86th overall pick. The team, however, was awarded a third-round compensatory selection for the loss of defensive end Olivier Vernon in last year’s free agency. With the 97th overall pick, bog_jay71 predicts Miami adding Florida Atlantic defensive end Trey Hendrickson.
Hendrickson is a solid addition as a pass rusher, but he is going to need some time to develop into a player who can be a starter every day - thus why he is available in the third-round. He needs to work on both setting the edge against the run and on making sure he stays low in pass rushing, but he has the raw potential and, sitting behind Cameron Wake and Andre Branch (and Williams Hayes and Terrence Fede) could be beneficial for the 6-foot-4, 265 pound defensive end.
Big_jay71 explains the pick, writing:
Mario Williams was released and William Hayes will be a free agent in 2018.
Again, a fairly simple explanation, but one that makes sense and is not wrong. Miami has to address the defensive end depth this year, and a third-round developmental end could be perfect.
The Dolphins do not have a fourth-round pick this year, having also sent that selection to Minnesota in last year’s Draft.
While big_jay77’s mock covered just the first four rounds, Miami will also have three fifth-round selections and a seventh-round pick when the real NFL Draft arrives at the end of April.
What do you think of this mock draft? Three picks, three needs filled by the Dolphins. Personally, this feels like a very solid, if unspectacular draft for Miami, and something that may fit perfectly with #NewMiami.