With only one game left of the NFL season, we are already looking ahead to free agency and the draft. That means we get to compile endless amounts of mock drafts in an effort to entertain both you and ourselves. For our very first one here on PhinManiacs.com, we’re bringing you a double dose with the picks done by Jeff Hyde and analysis on each selection done by Matthew Cannata. We hope you enjoy and as it always is with mock drafts, this will be an ever-changing document headed into the draft in just a few months.
Selection (JH): Round 1 - Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia
With comparisons from Marshawn Lynch to Herschel Walker, I doubt you’ll hear many complaints about taking Todd Gurley with the 14th pick of the Draft. The Dolphins have invested heavily in the offensive line the past few years, it’s time to add the finishing touches to the project. Gurley, 6’1 230, is the big back that the Dolphins could’ve used this past season, but he also provides another option as a feature back alongside Lamar Miller. Despite Gurley’s knee injury, the combination of him and Lamar Miller in the backfield could be too sweet to pass up for the Dolphins at #14.
Analysis (MC): There is nothing wrong with Gurley as I believe he’s going to be a fantastic player in the NFL. I do think though that the Dolphins have many other needs they need to address before looking at a running back. It’s no secret the Dolphins need to balance their offensive attack and a two-headed monster with Miller and Gurley will certainly make that work. If the Dolphins can address ILB, DT and WR in free agency (not an easy task), then trading down a few spots to pick Gurley wouldn’t be something I’d be upset with.
Selection (JH): Round 2 - Paul Dawson, LB, TCU
The Dolphins are missing a linebacker with the skills to do everything well and become an anchor for their defense for a long time. Dawson is their guy in round 2. Though Dawson is listed as outside linebacker, his best fit at the next level in a 4-3 middle linebacker. He has incredible instincts, good speed and the tackling ability to be a huge piece of the Dolphins defense for years to come. He’s a little undersized for the position, but is very fundamentally sound. Drafting Dawson will allow Koa Misi to move back outside to his ideal position, instantly upgrading the linebacking corps.
Analysis (MC): When picking in the first and second round of the draft, you want to try your absolute best to hit on sure things. Dawson is a nice player but he isn’t a sure thing at inside linebacker. Remember that Earl Mitchell was projected to be a great fit in the 4-3 defense but after one season, the Dolphins are already looking to upgrade that are of the line because he simply wore down as the season went on. I don’t think the Dolphins can afford to experiment with a linebacker learning the nuances of being in the middle. I would like to see a true ILB here – perhaps Denzell Perryman from the University of Miami or Eric Kendricks from UCLA.
Selection (JH): Round 3 - Nelson Agholor, WR, USC
The word that always comes to mind when watching Agholor is “fluid”. He runs very good routes and always makes the subtle adjustments needed at the receiver position to comeback and get the ball. His production was tremendous at USC this past season catching 104 passes for +1300 yards and 12 touchdowns. Agholor is very good and fearless in the red zone as well. He isn’t afraid to catch the ball in traffic. Agholor has had issues with drops in the past, but was significantly improved in this area this past year. At 6’0, 185, his skill set draws comparisons to Emmanuel Sanders, or Paul Richardson.
Analysis (MC): If Agholor drops to the third round, the Dolphins should think about pouncing on him as he is projected by many to go in the middle to late second. However, I would also have to think a ton about drafting Tyler Lockett from Kansas State in this spot. Lockett won’t be an outside receiver but he will be an impact player in the slot, replacing Brandon Gibson. He can take the top off the defense and is a threat all over the field. Think of Julian Edelman when thinking of Lockett. That’s the type of player you’re going to get.
Selection (JH): Round 4 - Ellis McCarthy, DT, UCLA
With the likely departure of Randy Starks, and the uncertainty surrounding Jared Odrick’s future with the team, the Dolphins will be looking to fill the DT position with a big bodied rookie tackle. McCarthy, 6’4 330, is a guy who will take up space, and has the athletic ability to require a double team in certain situations, freeing up rush lanes for linebackers and creating one on one matchups for the two talented defensive ends outside for the Dolphins. The Dolphins could look to the earlier rounds to find their stud DT, but with DT AJ Francis also vying for the position next season, a guy like McCarthy could provide the Dolphins with a low risk/high reward option to compete with Francis in the offseason.
Analysis (MC): I’m surprised that Jeff hasn’t picked a cornerback yet as the Dolphins are uncertain at that position. I don’t think they need another defensive tackle as they have two young guys – Francis and Anthony Johnson. Let those guys compete for the rotational spot as long as you sign one in free agency. If that happens, I would go with Ladarius Gunter from the University of Miami in this spot. He is 6-1 and 200 pounds with 32-inch arms. Despite his big frame and size, he moves very well on his feet and can stay with the fastest ones on the field.
Selection (JH): Round 5 - Dezmin Lewis, WR, Central Arkansas
Dez Lewis is a small school prospect with big time potential. Dolphins GM Dennis Hickey’s favorite kind. Lewis has the size (6’4 215) the Dolphins desperately need at the WR position, but also adds a terrific route tree to the mix. He runs great comeback routes and screens, but can also use his long strides to separate from defenders on crossing patterns as well. Lewis is looked at as a fringe top 100 player in this draft, but doesn’t have high end speed which could potentially cause him him to fall a bit. If that’s the case, the Dolphins would love to have him in the 5th.
Analysis (MC): Lewis wouldn’t be a bad pick here, especially if the Dolphins re-vamp their entire wide receiver unit. Lewis would be one of the developmental guys who takes a year or two to really learn the nuances of the position in the NFL. Jeff is right that he’s one of the small school players that Hickey loves to draft. We’ll see if he continues that trend this year.
Selection (JH): Round 6 - Adrian Amos, FS, Penn St.
Described as a fierce competitor, Adrian Amos has the ability to compete for a chance to fill the hole left by Louis Delmas as the Dolphins free safety. I think the Dolphins will ultimately address this position in free agency, or bank on injured FS Michael Thomas to come back, but Amos can learn to position this offseason while contributing heavily on special teams. Amos is a guy that will most definitely bring a fire and intensity to the Dolphins secondary.
Analysis (MC): Like Jeff said, Amos would be a good fit for the secondary and can help on special teams right away. He’s 6-1 and 214 pounds so he can hang with the physical receivers in the NFL, which is something the Dolphins have been lacking the past several years. With Tannebaum looking over Hickey’s shoulder, I expect this trend to disappear.
Selection (JH): Round 7 - Quinn Backus, SS, Coastal Carolina
A linebacker during his time at Coastal, Backus will most likely be converted to safety at the next level due to his small stature. Backus, 5’10 215, will take Jason Trusnik’s role on the Dolphins. I envision Backus being a special teams monster and a leader at the next level. He was a three time Big South Defensive Player of the Year during his college career and was known as a tremendous tackler/playmaker totaling 410 tackles 9 forced fumbles and 8 interceptions over those three years. The Dolphins can use his playmaking skills as a chess piece in special packages on defense, but mostly on special teams.
Analysis (MC): Two safeties in a row? I’m not opposed to it as doubling down is never a bad idea. However, I would lean more towards an offensive lineman in this spot. More specifically, an offensive guard. One name that comes to mind is Jon Feliciano from the University of Miami. However, he might not be around. If he isn’t, then the Dolphins should look at Jarvis Harrison from Texas A&M. Harrison is 6-4 and 344 pounds. Harrison can spend a year getting in NFL shape and learning from one of the best offensive line coaches in the league, John Benton.
This column was written by Jeff Hyde and Matthew Cannata. Follow Hyde on Twitter: @Jeff__Hyde and also be sure to follow Cannata: @PhinManiacs.
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