My annual Dolphins mock draft (with trades)
With only a week left before the actual NFL Draft, now would be a good time for me to publish my annual Dolphins mock draft.
I thought about following the leads of others and posting multiple mock drafts but decided to spend my time running several mocks (15 in all) and then consolidating the results into a single mock.
Like my other colleagues here at Phinphanatic.com, I am using the Fanspeak Draft Simulator with the “Composite” draft board BUT decided to sign up for the Premium service so I could facilitate trades.
First round, Pick 17 (Trade with Chargers)
With the top four quarterbacks gone, as well as both linebackers Roquan Smith and Tremaine Edmunds, I wasn’t overly thrilled with the option available at 12. Thankfully the Los Angeles Chargers called and offered picks 1-17, 2-48 and 5-155.
Although players like TE Dallas Goedert and DT Taven Bryan were available, I decided to stick with the player I targeted all along: LB Leighton Vander Esch (LVE).
The 6’4″ 256lb linebacker is an ascending prospect who is a tackling machine (141 last year) and can also play the pass. LVE can step in immediately at MLB if Raekwon McMillan isn’t ready week 1 or he can share SLB duties with T.J. McDonald during his rookie year.
Second round, Pick 42
While there were several good players available when the Dolphins selected here, there was no way I was passing up on FS Justin Reid.
It’s no secret that Gase was unhappy with how the combo of T.J. McDonald and Reshad Jones played together in 2018. It’s widely regarded that both players are best suited to play strong safety, therefore, the Dolphins don’t have a true free safety to help in pass coverage.
Reid ran a 4.4 at the NFL Combine and collected 5 interceptions as a junior last year. His selection here allows Miami to move McDonald to linebacker where his skill set would be much better suited.
Second Round, Pick 48
With the second round pick they acquired in their first round trade-down Miami once again fortifies the secondary but this time select CB Mike Hughes.
While Xavien Howard has earned a starting job entering the offseason, Cordrea Tankersley was very uneven in his first season with the team. Hughes provides solid competition in 2018 with the skills to become a likely starter in 2019.
Another reason this pick makes sense is because the departure of WR Jarvis Landry means the Dolphins lost their starting punt and kick returner. Although he was used sparingly in that role at Central Florida, Hughes averaged 31.8 yards (with 2 TDs) as a kick returner and 16.1 yards (1 TD) on just two punt returns.
Round 3, Pick 73
Even with the emergence of Kenyon Drake, and the signing of the “ageless wonder” Frank Gore, the Dolphins will still entire the draft looking to add a running back. The fact that this RB class is stacked means that talented backs will fall in the draft. Miami’s selection of RB Kerryon Johnson is a fortunate benefit of this fact.
In his three years at Auburn, Johnson rushed for 32 touchdowns and averaged 4.8 yards per carry. While scouts question his long-term durability, it didn’t stop Johnson from consistently carrying the ball 20 times a game last year. Add to that his ability to catch passes and Johnson can provide 20 touches a game next season for the Dolphins.