Staff picks for Dolphins at #22
Each contributing staff member selected who they would take with pick 22. The tie-breaker between Marshon Lattimore and Takkarist McKinley came down to Brian Miller’s vote. He anticipates Lattimore to either be off the board by pick 22 or the Dolphins to go in a different direction. Therefore, the Dolphins first round selection is Takkarist McKinley. Here is how the staff drafted at 22 and why.
James Anderson: Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
At the time he was rated top 5 (CBS still has him 5th) and getting him would be like getting Laremy Tunsil last season. The need wasn’t strong but passing on such value was just too much to consider making it an easy choice for me. The interesting thing was his descent down the draft board by most media outlets happened when everyone was making the pick. Concerns over his hamstring injury are understandable (DeVante Parker) and he had them earlier even though Lattimore claims it was a hip flexor.
He is rated first for CB and was the top performer for every exercise he participated in during the combine before he got injured. And Lattimore carries a full toolbox of skills not just a few, he can do it all. More than one evaluator has him starting right away and going to the pro bowl or finishing top ten. It would be nice to have an all around performer at defensive back and not have to mask any deficiencies from a young up starter.
Eric Frosbutter: Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
Miami finds themselves in a similar situation as they did last year. The Dolphins must find help along the front seven of the defense, and a guard to help improve the line. However, they also need some help at corner, and even though this is a deep draft at the position, they now look at themselves on the clock with Marshon Lattimore still on the board.
Lattimore is a potential top-5 selection in this draft, and the Dolphins have the chance to find a true star in their secondary. Similar to how the Dolphins drafted Laremy Tunsil last season, you have to take the best player available here that still fills out a need. Hamstring injuries have been an issue for Lattimore in the past so some may worry in a case similar to DeVante Parker, but the risk is definitely worth the reward.
Tyler Olson: Takkarist McKinley, DE/LOB, UCLA
The Miami Dolphins are looking just a couple of pieces away from having a stout starting defensive unit for the 2017 season. The defensive line is set, as are the starting cornerbacks (although we don’t know who will start, there’s three capable of being the guy) and Nate Allen could fill the weeks until TJ McDonald comes back from suspension. As far as the linebackers go Lawrence Timmons should man the middle and Kiko Alonso the WILL.
Koa Misi is the piece fans are unsure of. He’s always been an above average starter, doing enough to not lose his spot. A neck injury last season put him on IR and his job status on notice. That’s where Takkarist Mckinley comes in. He played on the line for the Bruins but is projected as a linebacker at the next level. Whatever he plays at the next level, Miami will welcome it.
Carlton Ray: Takkarist McKinley, UCLA, DE/LB
Oh my Dolphins could have used Takkarist McKinley last year, when their edge pass rush consisted of Cameron Wake and a bunch of non-descript blitzers. The Dolphins defense was solid at times, but when Wake would sit, no one could get to the quarterback. The addition of Lawrence Timmons at linebacker does not address this issue. The Dolphins have to go defense first, and while it would be nice to draft a top-notch cornerback like Marshon Lattimore, we already picked up Xavien Howard in the second round last year. It is time for Miami to rebuild its front seven defense, and the 6’2″, 250 pound McKinley is a good start in that direction.
Matthew Stevens: T.J. Watt DE/OLB, Wisconsin
While Marcus Lattimore would be a huge value here, and McKinley was the consensus pick, I went with Watt because he would fill two areas of need for the Dolphins. Watt can be a physical presence against the run at SLB on 1st/2nd down (15.5 Tackles For Loss) and then rush from the DE spot on 3rd down (11.5 sacks). The odds are unlikely that TJ turns out to be the star that his brother JJ Watt has become but the Dolphins defense doesn’t need starts, they need playmakers and TJ did that all of 2016 for the Badgers.