Dolphins mock draft: five rookies who can take jobs and win-now

Aug 17, 2022; Miami Gardens, Florida, US; Miami Dolphins place kicker Jason Sanders (7) stretches during practice at Baptist Health Training Complex. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 17, 2022; Miami Gardens, Florida, US; Miami Dolphins place kicker Jason Sanders (7) stretches during practice at Baptist Health Training Complex. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /

The Miami Dolphins are so clearly in win-now mode that they’ve traded a good deal of their future assets — including multiple selections in this year’s draft — for players who can lead them to a Super Bowl this coming season. You look at players like Tyreek Hill, Bradley Chubb and Jalen Ramsey and you can only assume the Dolphins are all in on cashing their chips this season.

However, even with these flashy prime players, the Dolphins are still slated to have four selections in April’s draft. With no first-rounder, many would think Miami can’t draft a day-one starter and most of their selections would be for developing prospects for the future.

That’s where they’d be wrong.

Here are five players I see the Dolphins drafting who can contribute right away:

Round 2, Pick #58 (via Dallas): Luke Wypler, center, Ohio State

The Dolphins trade back six spots to acquire a fourth-round pick from the Dallas Cowboys.

The Dolphins’ biggest glaring need at this point may be the interior offensive line. Wypler, the 6’3, 303 lb redshirt-sophomore, earned honorable mention All-Big Ten honors as a 13-game starter at Ohio State this past season. While considered undersized, Wypler made up for it with his athleticism and quickness as the anchor of a Buckeye offensive line that was one point away from a CFP championship berth last season.

Wypler can easily slide in as a day-one starter in the middle of the Dolphins’ offensive line. If Miami wanted to keep Connor Williams in the lineup, they could shift him over to guard and send Liam Eichenberg to the bench. It would be an instant upgrade to the line.

Round 3, Pick #84: Luke Schoonmaker, TE, Michigan

I promise I’m not just choosing prospects named ‘Luke’ because that’s my name.

Schoonmaker would fill arguably the next biggest need on the roster, seeing as how there is currently only one tight end under contract. This isn’t just drafting for needs though — Schoonmaker is a really solid prospect who has met with several teams already.

An incredibly sound run-blocker, Schoonmaker will make his money as an in-line tight end who can block in the run game and also release off the line as a receiver. We all see the gaping hole Mike Gesicki has left in the Dolphins’ offense and while it won’t be completely filled with this selection, Schoonmaker offers the versatility and athleticism of a day-one contributor who can come in and do almost anything asked of him.

Round 4, Pick #129 (via DAL): Dorian Williams, LB, Tulane

When you look at the Dolphins’ roster, there are some really good linebackers, but none of which are fantastic in coverage. While the secondary looks to continue their solid performance from last season, especially with the addition of Jalen Ramsey, the linebacker unit should look to improve their coverage.

Linebacker Dorian Williams out of Tulane is the immediate answer to improving the first level coverage. Last season, in 367 coverage snaps, Williams only allowed 161 receiving yards total. While not a typical mold for a linebacker at 230 lbs, Williams is an elite coverage linebacker in the box, but has also played snaps on the defensive line and even in the slot.

Dorian Williams could come in on passing downs as a coverage defender against bigger tight ends or even smaller running backs out of the backfield — as seen in the clip above — making him yet another day-one contributor for the Dolphins.

Round 6, Pick #197: Keaton Mitchell, RB, East Carolina

When I watched Keaton Mitchell’s tape from last year at East Carolina, the first thing that stuck out to me was that he runs like someone I’ve seen before… Tyreek Hill.

Posting an official 4.37 second 40-yard dash at the combine, Mitchell has blazing speed. What makes him even more attractive as a running back is his sudden shiftiness that leaves defenders either on the ground or in space wondering what just happened. At 5’8 and only 179 lbs, it’s no surprise Mitchell is as quick and shifty as he is.

Mitchell was used as a primary back at East Carolina, but also took jet sweeps, ran routes out wide and returned kicks in college. That is where he can make an immediate impact for the Dolphins. With a crowded running back room, Mitchell would have to work to see significant usage as a back, but I could see him carving out a role as a utility weapon both on offense and special teams right away.

Round 7, Pick #239: Jake Moody, Kicker, Michigan

Over the last couple years, Jason Sanders has been frustrating to watch as a Dolphins fan. Coming off a five-year extension prior to the 2021 season, Sanders has been a rollercoaster ride the past two seasons.

Sanders connected on 74% and 81% of his field goal attempts the past two years, respectively, with his longest make being 55 yards. These are not numbers that just can justify such a long-term contract with multiple millions of dollars tied to him over the next several seasons.

Drafting a kicker, like Jake Moody from Michigan, could either help push Sanders, competitively, to live up to his contract. Alternatively, the rookie kicker could replace Sanders altogether, allowing the Dolphins to dump his contract and instead pay a 7th-round rookie contract.

Moody, who knocked down 12 of his 13 attempts at Michigan’s pro day, including a 63-yarder, is arguably the best kicker in this year’s class. A Lou Groza Award winner for the nation’s best kicker, Moody has proven to be a reliable and clutch kicker. In his last collegiate game, he booted through a 59-yard game-winner.

Drafting a kicker in the seventh round would provide an immediate special teams impact for the Dolphins, one way or the other.