The Miami Dolphins have a desperate need at linebacker and tight end. You know it. I know it. The Dolphins front office knows it.
Last week, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reported the Dolphins were valuing the need of a linebacker over most positions. That assessment and thinking process may have changed based on general manager Chris Grier’s comments on Wednesday.
So if you are thinking the Dolphins are guaranteed to go after one or both of those positions in the top three rounds– guess again.
Grier believes this year’s linebacker and tight end class is deep. Deep enough to draft someone in the middle or second half of the draft as opposed to the 1st round where many suspect the Dolphins will pull the trigger on a linebacker like Georgia’s Roquan Smith or Virginia Tech’s Tremaine Edmunds. South Carolina tight end Hayden Hurst is also seen as a potential 1st round candidate.
“I think there is depth at both of those positions,” Grier said. “Every draft you have guys that you like at the top; but I think you can find value and the draft’s always shown there is value through that. I think the tight end group is a deep group this year, and there’s some good linebackers, especially mid-to-late rounds, as well.”
So if Grier believes he can wait and find a quality player to address the those needs as the draft unravels, this create options for the Dolphins regarding chasing another position of need or trading down.
Washington’s Vita Vea is one of the 1st round defensive tackle prospects the Dolphins are most interested in. Quarterback is another position the Dolphins haven’t ruled out on the off-chance one of the top prospects falls to the Dolphins spot at No. 11. The Dolphins have a strong need at DT after cutting ties with Ndamukong Suh, and questions still remain on Ryan Tannehill‘s ability to become anything more than a middle-tier QB.
Some linebacker prospects thought to come off the board on Day 2 and Day 3 include USC’s Uchenna Nwusu, Georgia’s Lorenzo Carter, BYU’s Fred Warner, Ohio State’s Jerome Baker, and UCF’s one-handed Shaquem Griffin.
Mid-to-late round tight end prospects include Stanford’s Dalton Schultz, North Carolina State’s Jaylen Samuels, Indiana’s Ian Thomas, and WISC’s Troy Fumagalli.