Top 5 linemen that should be available at 51 for the Miami Dolphins in 2023 NFL Draft
By Brady Vernon
Ask any Miami Dolphin fan about the offensive line and you’ll be met with a grimace expression. The past decade-plus has been a frustrating period for one positional unit because Miami hasn’t failed due to a lack of trying.
From spending day two capital on Jonathan Martin and Dallas Thomas to hoping former first-rounder Austin Jackson finds his way Chris Grier believes he can. Nevertheless, if the Dolphins are going to be all-in this season and next, the offensive line still needs talent.
Here are five offensive linemen that should be available when the Dolphins come on the clock for the first time in the 2023 NFL Draft with the 51st overall pick:
1. Anton Harrison, OT, Oklahoma
Truthfully, it's hard to predict when the tackle class, which will get shallow rather quickly this year, will end up. The toughest part about predicting it for the Dolphins is that the Pittsburgh Steelers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which hold the 49th and 50th picks, are tackle-needy teams as well. Nevertheless, if things go the way they did in The Athletic's Dane Brugler's 7-round mock draft, Harrison lands with Miami.
A big reason why Harrison might be available at 51 is because of the RPO scheme at Oklahoma. Harrison didn't have a ton of true pass sets, making him a tough evaluation for some teams. However, he'd likely transition into the Dolphins swiftly. Harrison is quite athletic running a 4.98 40-yard dash, which is in the 93rd percentile according to Mockdraftable.com. He spent most of his time on the left side but did start one game at right tackle last season for the Sooners. Harrison would certainly be a good addition in Miami, but things also have to fall the Dolphins' way, and there's a decent chance they do.
2. Matthew Bergeron, OT/G, Syracuse
Bergeron is another prospect who could be gone before 51 dependent on when the run of tackles occurs. It also matters whether NFL teams believe he's a tackle or a guard. Either position works for the Dolphins. Miami clearly values positional flexibility on the offensive line; see Robert Hunt, Liam Eichenberg. Bergeron can fill what spot best fits him.
The Syracuse tackle - played mostly on the left side, but had five-plus starts at right tackle - struggled with better competition in his career as a tackle. Although, his strengths as a run blocker and ability to move in space make him appear to be a decent guard prospect despite not playing the position. This clip from the Notre Dame game isn't the most impressive film, yet, the ability to jump and engage a block at the same time showcases those strengths.
Matthew Bergeron (#60) with the jump block! pic.twitter.com/rWQo3XKJyF— Nate Tice (@Nate_Tice) April 16, 2023
3. Nick Saldiveri, OT/G, Old Dominion
Is Nick Saldiveri worth the 51st pick? Probably not. Would he be considered a reach? Not necessarily. As mentioned before if there is a run on tackles before the Dolphins make their first pick of the draft, Saldiveri could be a good option. There isn't a ton of true consensus first-round prospects, thus the middle tiers of players are closer than we might assume.
Saldveri made 30-plus starts as a right tackle at Old Dominion. Unlike other past draft picks, he wouldn't need to transition to a different position if the Dolphins like him. On the flip side, he too might be a better guard in the NFL. The Draft Network compared him to current Miami Dolphin center Connor Williams, who was a tackle at Texas before moving to guard with the Dallas Cowboys. Saldveri put good flim on against both Virignia Tech and Virginia, ensuring he could hang with better competition. He'd fit the Dolphins' scheme well and there is good reason to believe is best football is ahead of him.
4. John Michael Schmitz, C, Minnesota
It seems unlikely that TCU's Steve Aliva or North Dakota State's Cody Mauch, meaning guard might not be a good option at 51. How about center? Yes, aforementioned Williams was a good center for the Dolphins last year outside of some snap issues. However, he's spent most of his NFL career at left guard. And the Dolphins are all about position flexibility and Williliams moving to guard would do a lot.
Schmitz started over 30 games for Minnesota, an offense that ran a ton of RPOs and similar system to Miami last year. He's not an uber twitchy athlete, but his wrestling background is present because he is strong and tough with his hands. Maybe Miami needs more of that to help with the third-and-short difficulties from last year.
5. Joe Tippmann, C, Wisconsin
Tippman is another center prospect that could allow Williams to slide back over. Tippman is more of that center that can pull and showcase his athletic ability in space. Tippman is adequate in both the pass and run game. He is taller than most centers but still can anchor well in pass protection. Tippman was part of The Athletic's Bruce Feldman's Freaks List, noting that he 'is a terrific combination of strength (635-pound back squat and 455-pound bench) and athleticism, clocking a 4.31 pro agility time and a 1.65 10-yard split,' before the 2022 season.