Early draft entrants could be good for Miami Dolphins

COLUMBUS, OH - SEPTEMBER 1: Nick Bosa #97 of the Ohio State Buckeyes celebrates after recovering a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown in the second quarter against the Oregon State Beavers at Ohio Stadium on September 1, 2018 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
COLUMBUS, OH - SEPTEMBER 1: Nick Bosa #97 of the Ohio State Buckeyes celebrates after recovering a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown in the second quarter against the Oregon State Beavers at Ohio Stadium on September 1, 2018 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images) /

The Miami Dolphins are still in the heat of battle, but it’s never too early to look ahead to the draft. The early draft declarations have already started with bowl season right around the corner.

Let’s look to see if any of the early entrants could be a potential fit for the Miami Dolphins next April.

Before we begin, the Miami Dolphins are sitting at 6-6 after their win against the Bills this past Sunday and are still holding on to some playoff hopes. That record coupled with the Fins strength of schedule has them projected to land the 13th pick, according to ESPN’s estimation.

There were some major declarations on Tuesday that could have first-round implications: North Carolina State’s Kelvin Harmon (WR), Central Michigan’s Xavier Crawford (CB), Oklahoma State’s Justice Hill (RB) and Florida State’s Brian Burns (EDGE). A full list of early declarations can be viewed here courtesy of The Draft Network.

Those were the biggest announcements at the time of this writing, so it could become outdated quickly with the way these declarations have been coming out. Let’s dive in.

Brian Burns, Florida State, EDGE: Burns definitely makes sense for the Dolphins. The unit could use an injection since Cam Wake is 36, Robert Quinn has spells of ineffectiveness and Charles Harris is failing to live up to his former first-round billing.

Nick Bosa, Ohio State, DE: Yeah, keep dreamin’.

Rashan Gary, Michigan, DT: He’s not a particular favorite of mine, but he’ll be a realistic option for the Dolphins in the teens. I think he’ll drop during the process, so he could become a second-day target even.

Greedy Williams, LSU, CB: He’s CB1 on a lot of draft boards. While corner is definitely a need that needs addressing for the Fins, it likely won’t be Williams, barring some sort of trade-up. Williams is top-10 as it stands.

Xavier Crawford, Central Michigan, CB: This wasn’t one of the bigger declarations. Crawford will probably go Day 3, so the Dolphins could scoop him up in the 5th round as a developmental project.

Sean Bunting, Central Michigan, CB: Bunting, the other CMU corner, is a late rounder and could be drafted in the sixth or seventh round. He could be the next Cornell Armstrong. Doesn’t that sound exciting?

Noah Fant, Iowa, TE: Fant is the cream of the crop in a loaded tight end class. I have a hard time believing the Dolphins will invest a high pick or even a mid pick into the position considering they double-dipped on TEs in the second and fourth rounds of the 2018 Draft and signed Nick O’ Leary to a one-year extension.

Justice Hill, Oklahoma State, RB: Hill could be the beneficiary of one the weaker running back classes this decade. This class lacks that pinnacle RB that has been taken in the top-10 the past four drafts: Saquon Barkley, Leonard Fournette, Ezekiel Elliot, Todd Gurley. Miami could likely nab Hill in the third or fourth round if they don’t resign Frank Gore and aren’t satisfied with a Kenyan Drake, Kalen Ballage and Senorise Perry group.

Rodney Anderson, Oklahoma, RB: Anderson is a better prospect then Justice Hill. He’ll go in the third round, I’m predicting. That will be too early for the Fins to address any potential running back needs though.

N’Keal Harry, Arizona State, WR: Harry is one of the premier wide receivers in this class. He’s somewhat polarizing and could go as high as the teens or could drop into the second round. It’s hard to imagine it at this point after so many injuries, but Miami has a really good receiving corps, they’ve just been decimated. If Devante Parker remains with the team over the offseason, I’d be surprised if the Miami Dolphins draft a WR at all.

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D.K. Metcalf, Ole Miss, WR: He’s one of the other big-ticket names at wide receiver. His season was derailed with a neck injury, but it must have healed well enough for Metcalf to enter the draft process and be comfortable about it when the Combine rolls around.

Kelvin Harmon, NC State, WR: He’s another top notch WR and could creep into the first round. I wouldn’t put him on par with a healthy Metcalf but maybe in the same tier as Harry. I don’t expect Harmon, Metcalf or Harry to be considered in the first round unless there’s a major shakeup in free agency.

Ed Oliver, Houston, DT: Oliver is one of the best talents in the 2019 Draft. I don’t expect him to be available for the Dolphins if they stay in the early teens. Oliver would be a great fit considering the Fins defensive line woes. It’ll take some sort of Laremy Tunsil-type situation to snag him though.

Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, Florida, CB: Gardner-Johnson is a poor man’s Minkah Fitzpatrick. This wouldn’t be a good fit, but some other team could find a decent nickel corner.

Dax Raymond, Utah State, TE: I have Raymond tabbed as a draft riser as the process plays itself out. Utah State’s incredible season will help elevate his stock. While he won’t be a good fit because of the Miami Dolphins already-loaded tight end room, he’ll be a good pick for someone else.