The NFL Draft is officially less than a month away, which means after this event, OTA’s are next. The NFL season is slowly but steadily approaching. What does this mean for the Miami Dolphins – nothing much – just a time for them to consider mortgaging their futures on the upcoming draft selections. So no pressure at all.
The NFL draft provides an opportunity for any team to build their core foundation. It’s these players that will have a team friendly cap structure for the next four to five years. If you are a Dolphin fan, you can remember the days of wasted second round picks, or the fact that they constantly traded away that selection. Or worse, the fact that not one player is on their current roster from the 2013 draft (Dion Jordan will be released soon).
Nonetheless, the Dolphins have a new regimen taking control over their draft selections. If I was part of that team, here is how I would set the tone for the Dolphins upcoming selection:
First round – 22nd overall:
This selection, I see going two ways. If the Dolphins sign Zach Brown, or if they don’t. As such, selection 1a (Assuming Brown signs) is UCLA DE Takkarist McKinley. McKinley is a violent finesse player, which is a rare combination. We need youth at the defensive end position and with Brown signing, secures the most pressing need for the Dolphins. The Dolphins do need to address the guard position, but Forrest Lamp is already off the board.
1b (Assuming Brown doesn’t sign) the Dolphins select Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida. Hassan Reddick is their first choice, but he’s off the board before the Dolphins select. Zach Cunningham is not worth a first round grade, in my opinion. Similar to McKinley, Davis is a very violent player, his play reminds me of LaVar Arrington, but with better speed. Pairing him alongside Kiko and Timmons, and the Dolphins finally have trio of LBs that can create chaos.
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Second round – 54th overall:
The way the board will be break out is going to make the second round that much interesting, and definitely impacts how the Dolphins will attack this round. They still need to take into consideration the signing of Brown. If the Dolphins don’t sign Brown, then once again they would have to look at defensive end in this spot. If they do sign Brown, now they have an option of taking the best player available:
2a (Assuming Brown signs) Marcus Williams Safety Utah. The last time the Dolphins drafted a player for Utah, it was in the second round and that player turned out to be alright (Sean Smith). Williams play on the field attracts attention. To be honest, it looks like he’s the smartest player on the field. His game recognition doesn’t make sense for a kid so young. He has that killer instinct. He would be able to pick up a playbook and start and play excellent ball for the Dolphins for the next 4 to 5 years.
2b (Assuming Brow doesn’t sign) Charles Harris DE, Missouri. The thought process with this draft selection is to select players on defense that hurt opposing players. The Dolphins D was too soft last year and got ran over. Harris is tough kid and he hates to lose. I wouldn’t be surprised if he slips into the first round, but if he’s there, the Dolphins have now selected two attacking players that play with a chip on their shoulder and attack the ball carrier.
Third round – 97th overall:
The Dolphins traded away their initial section in the 3rd round, understanding that they would potentially get a compensatory pick. They were lucky and did receive one, albeit in the end of the third round. Regardless if Brown signs the selection should be the same
3a – Sidney Jones – CB – Washington. The truth is the Dolphins will be using a third round selection on a player that might not even play this upcoming season and it’s okay. Jones is the top cornerback prospect in this NFL draft and would have easily been a top 10 selection if he didn’t hurt his Achilles during this pro-day. The Dolphins have Maxwell under contract for this year and next. With Jones on the roster, and if Maxwell under performs (meaning that he isn’t worth the 12 million cap hit) Jones, gives them the option of cutting and saving over 9 million in cap space. Also, you don’t have to worry about the skill level being dropped off, as Howard and Lippett proved to be okay. Not great, but okay.
Taking a step back at the top 3 draft selections, the Dolphins focus is 100% related to fixing their aging defense which makes sense, as Gase and company used the majority of their 2016 selections on their offence.
A combination of Takkarist McKinley, Marcus Williams and Sidney Jones
A combination of Jarrad Davis, Charles Harris and Sidney Jones
Shows a commitment on building something special, and allows the Dolphins to select three players that will automatically become starters in 2018. The foundation that the Dolphins continue to preach, now has three strong pillars to lead the team.