The wait is over and the 2016 NFL Draft is set to begin tonight at 8:00 p.m EST. With all the speculation and smoke screens coming from both analysts and teams alike, the Miami Dolphins have to decide on who bests matches need and talent.
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Holding the 13th pick, Mike Tannenbaum and company have to address the glaring needs at cornerback, running back, offensive and defensive lines, and linebacker.
Everything is predicated on how the early round plays out, particularly between selections 3-10. Depending on availability, the Dolphins best option at 13 would be Ohio State running back, Ezekiel Elliot, the team’s best option to replace Lamar Miller.Having struck out on C.J. Anderson and Chris Johnson, the former Buckeye would assume the starting role, backed by Jay Ayaji and Damien Williams.
After Elliot, Miami’s depth at cornerback would receive a huge boost if Florida’s Vernon Hargreaves is the selection. Losing Brent Grimes and releasing Brice McCain left the team in need of two potentially starting cornerbacks, having Byron Maxwell as the only proven starter. While Eli Apple has ideal blend of size and speed, Hargreaves is the only corner worthy of a top 15 pick and the best fits value and need after Elliot.
Despite the concerns over his recently operated knee, UCLA linebacker, Myles Jack would be the third best choice with the pick. Jack possesses freakish athletic ability and cover skills and would make a fine complement to Kiko Alonso in passing situations. If the Dolphins brass feel confident in their medical reports, they would be wise in pulling the trigger.
Should the Dolphins find themselves out of the running for either prospect, the only other option would be selecting Clemson defensive end, Shaq Lawson who possesses similar traits to the departed Olivier Vernon, in terms of size and speed. Lawson would ideally be playing opposite of Cameron Wake and Mario Williams.
If for some reason Tannenbaum cannot land one of those options with the 13th pick, the Dolphins best option would be to trade back and stockpile draft picks, possibly moving to back end of the 1st should Kansas City or Denver decide to trade up and add one of the drafts premier quarterbacks in Paxton Lynch, tabbed by analysts as a mid to late 1st round selection. The Dolphins could add an extra second and third day selection, which given the number of needs, works to their favor.
Given the depth in this years crop of cornerbacks, nabbing an extra second and third day selection give Miami the option to double down at corner, similar to 2009 when Ireland selected Vontae Davis and Sean Smith. The rumors regarding trading up for Elliot would only short change the team in the immediate and long term. The Dolphins cannot afford to lose picks as they are more than one player away from contention.
Who would be your selection if you were making the pick?