A week from tomorrow the NFL will kick-off this years draft and the Miami Dolphins will eventually be on the clock. What direction they take is anyone’s guess.
While it’s hard to determine what players the Dolphins will target in round one, two, three of even seven, it’s easier to determine what positions the Dolphins should target. That is the teams needs. What Miami can not do is draft simply for need despite the fact they have many.
For the most part Miami can only write off quarterback, wide-receiver, left tackle, and running back from their list of needs. The Dolphins are pretty confident in those positions and have enough depth currently to spend a draft pick. Looking at the other positions it’s difficult to rank but hey, why not try.
Tight-End: If the right player fell to the Dolphins they might be able to justify spending a draft pick on this position. Outside of round one at least. Michigan product Jake Butt is a mid-round option but the Dolphins only have, currently, a compensatory third round pick and no 4th. It’s unlikely that he lasts until round 5.
Safety: Safety isn’t a position that Miami must address but more and more interest seems to be taking place in UConn safety Obi Melifonwu. Melifonwu would need to be drafted sometime in round one. If the Dolphins drop down from 22 he may be a target but many believe the Combine standout who has seen his stock rise since the Combine may be gone before even 22. If the Dolphins pass on Melifonwu it’s likely they don’t address the position until later in the draft where they can find a player who can play nickel and add depth at safety. The talk of Jabril Peppers from Michigan seems to have died off.
Defensive tackle: The Dolphins saw fit to release Earl Mitchell and did not address the position directly in free agency. Instead they appear to be ready to start Jordan Phillips. The issue is that the Dolphins have very little depth behind Phillips and Suh. The Dolphins will likely address the position in one of the first three rounds.
Defensive end: Many believe that the Dolphins top target will be an edge rusher and that very well could be true. Jordan Willis of Kansas State seems to be getting a lot of play lately. Miami needs to start finding replacements for their current DE’s including Cameron Wake. This years draft is deep however for edge rushers and Miami may opt to target one at sometime in the first two days.
Cornerback: Xavien Howard is a player that Miami firmly believes in but Byron Maxwell is a player that Miami will likely part with after the 2017 season. This gives the Dolphins an opportunity to address for the future and allow a player a season to develop. Corner depth in this draft is deep and Miami may be able to find a starting caliber or developmental player all the way into round five.
Guard: The Dolphins need a guard in a very bad way. They have opted to go the cheap route in free agency but there is no disguising the talent void at both right and left positions. The problem for the Dolphins this year is that only Forrest Lamp rates as a potential first round pick for them at 22. The Dolphins still need to address the position but more than likely, barring a Lamp pick in round one, the Dolphins will have to wait until one of their 5th round picks are on the clock and then hope they can develop that player.
Linebacker: No other Dolphins position is in greater need than linebacker. No matter what the local beat writers or other sites may want you to believe. Koa Misi is one hit away from never playing in the league again and Lawrence Timmons is a two year rental at most. The Dolphins also lack quality depth behind any of their starters. But Miam has a problem this draft. The draft is good on the front end but lacks the depth that other positions provide.
At first thought it may seem like a no-brainer at 22 but Miami may not see a player that really qualifies as a blue-chip linebacker at 22 and trading down in round one may provide better value for the position with less risk.
Overall the Dolphins have enough needs to justify trading down or staying put and while no position will guarantee a blue-chip player at 22 Miami should be able to find a day one starter nonetheless.