The NFL Draft is approaching quickly and the Miami Dolphins are in position to add a boat load of young talent to their roster.
After already adding youth and explosive players to the offense and defense, do not expect the team to be done doing so. General Manager Jeff Ireland has spoke his mind, as well as Head Coach Joe Philbin, about getting quicker, younger and more explosive at every position!
Since the draft is almost upon us, this seems like the perfect time to point out five realistic options who fit the Miami Dolphins’ scheme the best.
1. Lane Johnson – OT – Oklahoma
Jan 26, 2013; Mobile, AL, USA; Senior Bowl south squad offensive lineman Lane Johnson of Oklahoma (69) against the Senior Bowl north squad during the first half of the Senior Bowl at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Johnson measures in at 6’6” 303 pounds. Do not let his size fool you, though. Johnson is an incredibly athletic offensive tackle, which was shown during the NFL Combine in February when the big ox ran a blazing 4.72 40-yard dash. Johnson led all offensive lineman in the vertical leap (34.0 inches), broad jump (9’8”), 3 cone drill (7.31 secs), and the 20-yard shuffle (4.52 secs).
Yes, Johnson has measureables that jump off the chart. But what makes Johnson a perfect fit for the Miami Dolphins? Well, his athletic ability combined with his brute strength. Johnson, a former Quarterback and Tight End at the University of Oklahoma, is easily the drafts most athletic offensive lineman making him a perfect fit for a zone blocking scheme. Why does this pertain to the Dolphins? I’m sure by now you have heard that Miami will be turning to more of a zone scheme this season for the running game. The team is looking for strong, athletic and lean offensive linemen (watch out John Jerry..).
Miami may have to trade up if the team wishes to snag Johnson. The team has ammunition to move up if Ireland and company choose to do so. But if Johnson sneaks past San Diego at 11, there is no reason the Dolphins should not jump all over the big ox from Oklahoma.
2. Tyler Eifert – TE – Notre Dame
Oct 13, 2012; South Bend, IN, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish tight end Tyler Eifert (80) makes a catch in the end zone for a touchdown against Stanford Cardinal cornerbacks Devon Carrington (5) and Terrence Brown (6) at Notre Dame Stadium. Notre Dame defeats Stanford in overtime 20-13. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Okay, before you tear me a new one just hear me out. Eifert by no means is the draft’s best blocking tight ends. Hell, he may be one of the draft’s worst blocking tight ends. But Eifert is a perfect fit for Miami because of two key reasons.
First off, Eifert is a clear red-zone target. Coming in at 6’6” 251 pounds, Eifert has the desired size offensive coordinators covet for tight ends. Eifert was known as Notre Dame‘s number one target – hell, their offense practically ran through Eifert at times. Yes, the Dolphins signed a tight end this off-season in Dustin Keller. But Keller is on the short side. Neither Keller nor Eifert excel as blockers. But Eifert would compliment Keller well based upon a size stand-point. Excelling in jump ball situations, Eifert is a perfect red-zone target for any NFL offense.
Secondly, Eifert is a mismatch. Possessing all of the desired measureables – he led all tight ends in all drills at the NFL Combine most notably a 4.68 40-yard dash – Eifert has the ability to beat linebackers and safeties in one on one coverage. During his tenure with Notre Dame, Eifert was used as a wide receiver as well as a tight end – similar to that of Michael Egnew, Miami’s third round selection during last year’s NFL Draft, during his tenure with Missouri.
Selecting Eifert would allow Miami to get quite creative on offense with their receiving corp – Eifert, Keller, Clay and Egnew can all play receiver (all of them are poor blockers besides Clay).
3. David Amerson – CB – North Carolina State
Sept 22, 2012; Raleigh, NC, USA; North Carolina State Wolfpack cornerback David Amerson (1) gestures to the crowd during the first half of a game against the Citadel Bulldogs at Carter Finley Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports
Amerson had quite an interesting ending to a brilliant career with the Wolf-Pack. Coming in at 6’1” 205 (I feel like he’s a bit taller than 6’1”, N.C. State had him listed at 6’3” which I feel like is more accurate) pounds, Amerson is a long and lengthy corner who knows how to take the ball away – had 13 interceptions in 2011, which is insane! Doubters will say, “Well he’s just too slow.” Take it away Lee Corso, “ NOT SO FAST MY FRIEND!” Amerson runs a 4.4 40-yard dash fellas.
Sure, Amerson had issues against teams with speedy receivers – Miami Fl., Tennessee, Clemson – but Amerson has had problems with man coverage. Amerson excels in zone coverage due to his length and ability to locate the football. He knows how to attack it at the highest point. Which is something Jeff Ireland and company is looking for in their corners. Big, fast, physical, long and can create opportunities on defense – Amerson fits that bill.
Oh and did I mention he is not afraid to get involved defending against the run? Amerson is quite a good tackler. But would be smart to add some muscle to his frame.
And hey, if he fails as a corner, Amerson will make one heck of a free safety for a team willing to take a chance on him.
4. Brandon Jenkins – DE – Florida State
Oct 29, 2011; Tallahassee, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles defensive end Brandon Jenkins (49) during the game against the North Carolina State Wolfpack at Doak Campbell Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports
Jenkins comes in at a lean 6’2” 251 pounds. Personally, I was torn on whether or not Jenkins would be a good fit for Miami. If Jenkins had declared for the draft last season he would have been a first round pick. After opting to return to Florida State he suffers a Lisfranc injury and was lost for the remainder of the season.
Why the huge drop in stock? Well, as I mentioned above, he was injured for much of the 2012 season. Also, he ran an alarming 5.0 40-yard dash at his pro day. Not to mention the kid only put up 18 reps of 225 lbs. at the NFL Combine.
But, when I watch tape on Jenkins his 5.0 is fake to me. It’s unreal. Jenkins shows the burst needed to play the RDE position, which is what the Miami Dolphins are in dire need of. Those 18 reps are not a part of his game. Sure, you would love to see that number around 23-28. But Jenkins is more of a speed rusher that utilizes a sick spin move rather than trying to over-power blockers.
The Phins need a pass rusher to pair with Cameron Wake, whom is an all-pro. I’m not quite ready to give up on last year’s third-round selection, Olivier Vernon. Jenkins, like Vernon, shows promise to become a force in the league if he can fix his technique and play at a high level on every down. Therefore I think that finding a pass rusher in the first two rounds is not a dire need. But hey, you can never have too many pass rushers.
5. Terrance Williams – WR – Baylor
Nov 3, 2012; Waco, TX, USA; Baylor Bears wide receiver Terrance Williams (2) catches a touchdown pass during the first quarter against the Kansas Jayhawks at Floyd Casey Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
In a way, I’ve been sticking my neck out for this kid for quite some time now. Williams measures in at 6’2” 205 pounds. A prototypical size for west coast style receivers. For much of the 2012 season, Williams was seen as a first round lock. Some mock draft “experts” even had Williams going to the Dolphins in the first round.
Williams put together quite a spectacular 2012 season for the Bears – 97 receptions 1,832 yards, 12 touchdowns- on his way to earning First Team All-American honors.
That being said, why the drop in value? Some view Williams as a potential bust candidate, especially after running a poor 4.52 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. Many thought Williams would push the low 4.3’s, including myself as that is the type of player you see when you watch him play. Many also are concerned about his route tree. It is incredibly raw. Baylor used Williams on go-routes, short slants, skinny posts and bubble screens. That’s about it.
But when you watch this guy on film, you see a future star…Williams is quick. Not overly fast. But quick, strong and willing to block. When taking a deeper look, Williams lacks the natural ability to catch with his hands. But this can be taught easily. One more key thing. Williams is also A RED-ZONE TARGET. What does Miami need? A red-zone target. Hmm..
Williams will likely get his name called in the third round of the NFL Draft in April. With the signing of Mike Wallace and Brandon Gibson, wide receiver is not too big of a need for the Dolphins anymore. But I would not be shocked if Jeff Ireland opted to take a receiver early in the draft to groom for the future – like I said above with Jenkins, you can never have too many receivers.