The 18th pick is where a mock draft gets a little trickier. Even putting trades aside, what direction did the teams in front of us go?
James Anderson: Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama – This addition would really set up the defense for success. McKinney could fill the “jack of all trades” role that Minkah Fitzpatrick bolted from. While he might not be as good as Minkah, he might develop into something close. The defense is designed for players to fill many roles.
Nick Belloto: Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama – In the simulation I ran specifically for this mock draft, Wills was still on the board. If that’s the case on Thursday, it’s an absolute ‘no brainer’. Wills has successfully protected Tua for the last few years and with a left-handed quarterback you need a quality right tackle.
Dale-Paul Jordan: The Dolphins got their QB, now they need to protect him. The Dolphins had one of the worst offensive lines this past season and their rebuild needs to focus on the trenches. There might be a player in this draft that has a ‘Tunsil-like’ side. Reports have come out that tackle Mekhi Becton from Louisville is a raw talent with a dangerous punch. Watching the game tape, it looks like he’s a grown man playing against high school students. He is exactly what the Dolphins need on their line.
George Keim: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama – In most mock drafts the tackle run starts early leaving the Dolphins to have to reach at 18 if they want a tackle here. If that happens, Jeudy may be available. Conventional wisdom says the Dolphins don’t need a wide receiver but a talent like Jeudy is tough to pass on; especially if Tua is the pick at five. Jeudy instantly becomes a ‘safety blanket’ for the young QB; having played with Jeudy at Alabama. Miami maximizes value here and takes a dynamic receiver.
Pablo Rosero: Cesar Ruiz, C, Michigan – Tyler Biadasz is a solid option in the second round but Ruiz is the top option at center in this draft. As the anchor of the Wolverines offensive line, Ruiz proved he can play all three interior line positions but he could fill the hole the Dolphins have had at center since letting Mike Pouncey leave for the Chargers.
Matthew Stevens: Like my colleague Dale-Paul, I think that Mekhi Becton could fall a little in the draft; although I think it may have more to do with concerns about his weight than the drug test. Becton is a massive man with surprisingly nimble feet. He can maul defenders in the run game and it could take 2.5 seconds just to ‘orbit’ this big man in the passing game.
Brian Miller – K’Lavon Chaisson, Edge, LSU – Dolphins fans are not going to be thrilled that an offensive lineman’s name wasn’t called here but I don’t see a top OT falling this far this year. There is a good chance that this could be a selection of a quarterback as well and I would not rule that out at all. There is a big part of me that thinks either Tua or Herbert falls out of the top ten if they are not taken at six and if teams know this, Miami may indeed go elsewhere at five and pick a QB here. Chaisson, however, makes a lot of sense for the Dolphins and Brian Flores’ defense.