Miami Dolphins early needs for 2016 draft
By Brian Miller
Yes, the 2015 season hasn’t started and the Miami Dolphins are an exciting team. An exciting team with needs. The 2016 NFL Draft is still eight months away but that doesn’t mean we can’t look at a few positions that the Dolphins may need to address in next years draft.
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2015 will be a critical year for the Dolphins as they will evaluate several players at key positions. Most NFL general managers begin scouting for the draft during the NFL season and Dennis Hickey will likely be no different. The question becomes will anyone step up enough and prove to the coaches and GM that their particular position doesn’t need addressing.
Let’s take a look.
Honestly, I don’t like using first round picks on corners but I will admit that using 2nd round picks and later hasn’t exactly worked out for the Dolphins. Jamar Taylor is getting better but also has a serious issue with freak injuries. Regardless of how well Brent Grimes plays this year, the Dolphins have to start looking for a replacement. Grimes is currently 32 years old and it won’t matter if he makes the pro-bowl this year, next year he will be 33 and the Dolphins can’t wait until the last minute.
On the other side behind Taylor the Dolphins invested fifth round picks in two cornerbacks, Bobby McCain and Tony Lippett but both are considered projects. The Dolphins may need to look hard at the corner position early in next years draft given Grimes’ age and the youth on the other side.
Jelani Jenkins is an up and coming standout but aside from him there really is no one that stands out. Koa Misi is jumping back outside and Chris McCain couldn’t show enough to make a case to start. That leaves Kelvin Sheppard to start in the middle and frankly he doesn’t look all that good. The Dolphins may have found a gem in Zach Vigil but how much playing time he gets this year and how quickly he can mature into the position is hard to see. Misi will need his contract extended soon and the Dolphins may not want to give money to a player who realistically can be replaced by a top draft pick.
The truth here is that the Dolphins are weak at linebacker. They lack solid depth and they lack game changing starters in two of the three positions. The Dolphins are hoping that 2015 will shed some light on what they have but they are looking for a 100% answer when in reality they might be lucky if they get 25%.
The Oline seems to be the neglected ugly stepchild. The Dolphins spent big on Branden Albert and Mike Pouncey and at right tackle they drafted someone to play the position. Guard however seems like an afterthought. The Dolphins lack quality depth along the line at every position and while Jamil Douglas was added this year he is an unknown quantity. The Dolphins need Douglas to develop quickly if not for this year then to put one position of need out of the books next year. Dallas Thomas is in the same boat. The Dolphins hope that their patience with Thomas will finally pay off and of the three positions listed here, offensive line might be the easiest to fix without spending in free agency or high in the draft. It is all dependent on the interior lineman not named Pouncey.