Like most people I have seen hundreds of mock drafts published over the last three months. I have participated in a few but choose to only publish one serious mock draft per season.
Since I only publish one per year, I think I am entitled to publish two ‘versions’, don’t you? Each round will have two picks, the first one will be who I hope is available while second will be the player I believe will be available in that round.
In Scenario #1, DE Derek Barnett from Tennessee falls to Miami at pick #22. Barnett broke Reggie White’s sack record (32) in
college, but many experts don’t believe he possesses the quickness to make that production translate in the pros. While nobody is projecting Barnett to be the next Reggie White, nonetheless, he posted three seasons with double digit sacks and was also great at stopping the run (52 TFL).
While this scenario seems unlikely, several mock drafts have been published over the last week projecting Barnett to last into the late teens-early 20’s so it isn’t a big reach. If he’s there, Miami gets a defensive end that will anchor the line for the next 10 years.
In Scenario #2, Derek Barnett is gone when the Dolphins makes their selection in the first round and therefore trade down 4-5 slots in the first round and pick up a 4th round pick. The best players left on the board for Miami at this point include S Jabrill Peppers, DE Takkarist McKinley, LB T.J. Watt and LB Jarrad Davis. While any of these players would potentially improve the Dolphins roster, I used certain criteria to narrow down the pick.
Peppers was the first one eliminated partially because of his ‘diulted sample’ but mainly because he’s a player without a true position.
McKinley could become the Dolphins future top pass-rusher but Miami wants a DE that can also help against the run and that’s considered a weakness for McKinley. So it came down to Watt and Davis.
Davis is an excellent linebacker who is capable of stopping the run and dropping back in coverage but doesn’t help the Dolphins need for a pass rusher. OLB T.J. Watt (Wisconsin), on the hand, has shown to be able to do both of those AND is adept at rushing the passer.
The biggest knock on Watt is that he’s relatively new to the position, having only started one season at linebacker, but had a monster year in that one season (11.5 sacks, 15.5 TFL). Watt would supplant Koa Misi as Miami’s starting SLB on 1st/2nd down and move to DE in pass rushing situations; effectively filling two needs/positions with one pick.