As we approach the NFL Draft (next week!!!), we all have our opinions on who the Dolphins should select. Will they trade up, trade down, stand pat, or a mixture of all three?
Draft interior offensive linemen
Miami’s biggest weakness at this point is the interior of the offensive line, which should be a surprise to approximately nobody. Liam Eichenberg is the weakest link on the rusty chain that is the middle of the offensive line. As I’ve pointed out a few times now, there are some quality guards and centers that should be available in the second round where the Dolphins pick — and they need to take one.
If Miami is able to get a young, talented and hungry offensive lineman with their first pick, a lot of the issues this line saw in 2022 could be alleviated. The Dolphins were forced to send Eichenberg out there because there was nobody better to play. Someone like Steve Avila, Jarrett Patterson, O’Cyrus Torrence or even John Michael Schmitz would come in and project to be an immediate upgrade.
Diamonds in the rough
When you only have four draft picks, and no first-rounder, you hope to find a gem in the later rounds.
There are some pretty good tight ends mocked to last through the third, fourth, fifth and even the sixth rounds that the Dolphins could use to replenish their barren tight end room. As little as you think tight ends may matter to a roster, any Super Bowl team must have at least an average tight end with some decent depth. When you look at the Dolphins roster, that… is not the case.
Additionally, there are a lot of wide receivers that will go a lot lower than they should. The Dolphins should be pretty set at receiver, but as a contender, they must account for the chance someone goes down with an injury. Looking at the mock drafts and big boards, there are some quality players that may last as late as the sixth or seventh round.
If the Dolphins want to build on an already established team and put themselves in the Super Bowl conversation, they must hit on their four draft picks and select prospects who are “plug-and-play” ready — players who can step in and make an immediate impact in week one.
The “perfect” draft
What I think is the perfect draft for the Dolphins entails acquiring the prospects that they believe can provide an instant impact, while not reaching and getting good value out of their draft picks. With only four picks, you really have no margin of error; you have to hit 4/4.
Here’s what I think a perfect draft would look like:
Round 2, pick 51: G Steve Avila, TCU
Round 3, pick 88: TE Sam LaPorta, Iowa
Round 6, pick 197: LB Jalen Graham, Purdue
Round 7, pick 238: WR Derius Davis, TCU
Boom, four draft picks that are four immediate contributors. Avila is a day-one plug at guard and replaces Eichenberg. LaPorta, from Tight End University, looks every bit of an NFL tight end and will contribute right away. Jalen Graham, while he won’t start, will contribute on special teams and may rotate in as a coverage linebacker in passing downs. And Derius Davis is an explosive return man, ready to carve out a role on special teams, who was also used as a gadget playmaker on end-arounds out of the backfield — a new toy for Mike McDaniel and co.
If the Dolphins can get this sort of immediate production from their draft class, it is a massive step towards emerging as a contender to come out of the AFC and make a Super Bowl run this year.