With the newest rumors popping up regarding the Miami Dolphins potentially showing trade-up interest in Joe Burrow, let’s assume a deal is made in this March 31st, Full 1st Round Mock Draft as we head to April.
I won’t attempt to guess the specifics, but thinking about some past NFL deals moving up a few spots, specifically just four, it could be very tolerable for Miami to explore to cost.
Tolerable for Miami, while helpful for Cincinnati who only have the standard 7 picks in the Draft. Let’s hypothetically assume that where there is smoke there is fire and the #1 is dealt for a combination of Miami 2020 and 2021 picks with a player or two sprinkled in.
Miami has brought in 10 free agents and shown no signs of wasting picks in bringing in Franchise-tagged players. This tells me that they are looking at their stockpile, and they may be able to give the Bengals some meat, without empying the pantry and going hungry. And they also got themselves the main course.
The Next six picks were pretty standard when you think about it as Washington improves their defense with Chase Yong and the same to be said in Detroit as the Lions select the draft's clear-cut best cornerback in Jeffrey Okudah. So a pair of Buckeyes go back-to-back. The Giant's find a linebacker who can very well be the franchise's next game-changer in that level of the defense for New York, in Clemson's Isaiah Simmons.
Picks #5 and #6 will be of course connected to the #1 JOe Burrow and the Miami Dolphins for decades to come. The reason the Dolphins and Bengals deal makes sense is that whatever the compensation is, Cincinnati will be able to rebuild, as Miami is simply spoiled with draft-pick riches. After the smoke cleared, Justin Herbert replaces Andy Dalton officially. The Los Angeles Chargers rejoice, as they are able to take a shot on Tua Tagovailoa, without moving a hip, er, a spot.
The top-10 finished up with clearly obvious picks as Javon Kinlaw stays in the Carolinas with the Panthers to bolster their defensive live, and Tristan Wirfs will help protect second-year quarterback Kyler Murray while he looks for DeAndre Hopkins in Arizona. Derrick Brown will give the Jaguars help on their defensive front, and you can even flip-flop these lineman with Jacksonville and Carolina.
It is worth noting, that there is an element to this draft unlike any other year in this social distancing and lack of travel thanks to Covid-19. With that said, there could be a lot in "location-based drafting" going on, as teams may find it a lot easier logistically driving a few hours within state-lines or close enough to not have to get on an airplane. As crazy as that sounds, it could be a factor, which I am weighing in here in a few situations.
The Browns need help on the line as do the New York Jets, so a 1-2 tackle punch will go off the board, and Mekhi Becton will help the Browns on the left side, while Wills can be a bruising force for New York on the right side, and perhaps an early "steal" for the Jets.
The Raiders need to sell tickets in Vegas and need a play-maker, so who better than Jerry Jeudy out of Alabama? The Niners, who moved up earlier in the month with the Colts have the 13th pick to help quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo get his team a bit more firepower vertically to add to a top-tier team running game in CeeDee Lamb of Oklahoma.
The first half of the 1st Round is shaping up, and Andrew Thomas will be Tom Brady's bodyguard in Tampa Bay, which is a very wise move to make their new Hall-of-Fame bound signal-caller happy. In Denver, John Elway knows how to make a quarterback happy, as well as wide receivers, so why not give Drew Lock some help with Henry Ruggs III from Alabama? This gives the school two wide-outs in the top-15. Next up at #16, the Falcons truly can use a lock-down corner and C.J. Henderson fits that bill perfectly as the Florida Gator will need to check those Tampa Bay targets as well as Michael Thomas and those young and improving Panther wide-outs.
Next up are the Cowboys who can use help getting to quarterback as well as the secondary, but K'Lavon Chaisson is a rusher with extreme speed and a tremendous up-side to give Texas a new sack-sheriff in the State. The LSU prospect can materialize into a double digit sack-artist right away, but even falling short at that will still give the Cowboys a formidable player to contribute right away.
To finish up the top-20, the Bengals take advantage of the Miami deal and improve their defensive line with Iowa's A.J. Epenesa, and Jon Gruden then throws a curveball and rolls his dice in his new digs. I referenced selling tickets with the Jeudy pick, and it's no certainty that Derek Carr is the man on the Strip for the near and not so distant future. Utah State's Jordan Love is already a regional star, so what better way to get season-tickets sold than a 1st round set of Aces in the Raider's pocket? The Jaguards lost Jalen Ramsey in an deal last year with the Rams, so Kristian Fulton out of LSU would make sense to help a team with plenty of needs.
The Eagles head into pick #20 and get a much needed weapon for Carson Wentz not named Ertz in Justin Jefferson. So yet another LSU Tiger gets a teleconference call as the Eagels likely Skype or Zoom to weclome him to Philly. Cornerback Jeff Gladney from TCU will help the Vikings secondary out as they have another pick a few spots later to find their replacement for Stefon Diggs.
The Patriots lost a number of defenders to free agency, and an edge pass-rusher makes sense here at #23, however with no 2nd rounder Bill Belicheck is always a threat to pick up the phone and trade back for more picks. If he stays put, and with a potential QB of Love gone, it's too early for them to take a player like Jalen Hurts or Jacob Eason, so they go with defensive end, Zack Braun out of Wisconsin. He is a very smart player, and seems like a fit on New England as it covers a need, and I can't see the Patriots going quarterback in the 1st unless Love is there.
The 5th LSU Tiger gets selected and stays local New Orleans as Patrick Queen will rock the second defensive level of the field for the Saints at linebacker. The Vikings have another 1st rounder and wide-out Denzel Mims from Baylor takes over for Diggs after the trade to Buffalo.
The Dolphins were able to retain a 1st rounder with pick 26 in this Mock, and they need a number of positions filled, mainly offensive line to help their new Franchise quarterback. That lineman could be Josh Jones from Houston. A 6'5" 310 lbs. left takle who can be coached up and potentially a near-decade long protector for Burrow.
At pick #26 Seattle, is in need of a pressence on the edge so Penn State pass-rusher, Yetur Gross-Matos is the guy here. He is long and lean at 6'5'' 264 lbs., and can get to foes in the NFC West like Garoppolo, Murray and Goff. Kenneth Murray from Oklahoma fits the Ravens like a glove at linebacker with the 28th pick, as does Neville Gallimore for Tennessee. Gallimore can be a potential anchor to the Titans defensive line as two Sooner's go back-to-back.
The Packers are now up at #30 and while they have Davante Adams already, Aaron Rodgers can use a different type of pass-catcher and Jalen Reagor is a crisp route-runner and could perform well in the slot receiver role and can play on the outside as well. Auburn cornerback Noah Igbinoghene can immediately help in San Francisco. Rounding out the 1st Round will be the Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs. They can add help defensively or even a running back but with the offense being added to rivals around them, getting a corner is also a major need as Alabama's Trevon Diggs will be the night's last selection.
With an action packed 1st round, there are plenty of quality players left in a loaded class, and the names to listen for in this Mock heading into Day 2 and Round 2 would be the running back class as I dont believe teams value the position as high these days. Safeties are also around as none went in Round 1. Offensive lineman, cornerbacks, recievers and of course Quarterbacks domninated the round, as names like Grant Delpit and Deandre Swift remain with Jacon Eason and Jalen Hurts as the quarterbacks who could be targets for teams like Indianapolis, Las Vegas, New England or Jacksonville in Round 2.
Here is the Final Board.
Follow Jason on Twitter at @OrangeAquaman
By: Jason Sarney
With weeks away from the NFL Draft creating a wave of smokescreens, one massive cloud seems to be gaining steam as we head toward April. The Phin Maniacs Mock Draft Series continues with a "move-up," you could say, in the works based on news as recent as March 31st around noonish.
Before tooting my own seashell-horn, the Miami Dolphins have now officially become "news" that they are interested in moving up to the number 1 overall pick, of course indicating they are enamored with Heisman winning quarterback from LSU, Joe Burrow.
Can’t say I didn’t see this coming when analyzing just how much capital they have to a) make the deal and b) still have several remaining picks, or simply, a standard for most NFL franchises following the selection of a potential franchise saving QB.
Prominent Dolphins Beat Writer, Armando Salguero, who is famous for being, “told stuff” by people in the know in Miami Gardens, tweeted my dream news today. He has made a career of breaking some juicy stories, and a great one at that. This one could be the big fish many have been waiting for, and frankly, my line as been in these waters for about a month.
So just 24 hours or so after a Mock Draft series with Jordan Love and Justin Herbert kicked off Parts I and II, respectively, the series may have to be Three and Out, after today’s break by Mr. Salguero of the Miami Herald.
So this article will focus on the “how,” because we already know the “who” in Burrow. The “what,” will be those compensation picks to land the star signal-caller. The “when” is anytime potentially, and the range is from reading this article up until April 23rd. The “where,” at the moment is, well, since we are talking passers, up in the air thanks to world situations beyond anyone's control.
I will attempt to tell you “How..” this can happen with Miami’s inventory of 14 2020 picks, 9 2021 picks, as well as players that may become expendable pretty soon. Always remember, online mock simulators can not add rostered players to sweeten deals…please keep that in mind.
Having those 2021 picks, let’s see what we can cook up.
Here is the deal before showing you the accepted “offer” on FanSpeak’s Simulator. They only allow for Four Slots of picks offered, so please, keep the following in mind.
As I have referenced in articles, podcasts and Tweets, Miami General Manager Chris Grier has enough “chips” to be a bully, and essentially offer a fair deal, with specifics. Those are a) retain a 2020 1st rounder b) retain those HOU 2021 1st and 2nd rounders c) offer players over picks to sweeten deal, namely, Josh Rosen.
Nothing against the young man, but with Ryan Fitzpatrick and now in this case, Joe Burrow, Rosen only makes sense to “throw-in” so Cincinnati has as a starter option right away in the well traveled QB, and an assumed drafted quarterback at now pick #5.
Having said that…here is the road to Joe Burrow, and it’s not down Broadway.
The MIA 5th, and the MIA 2021 1st and 2nd rounders. Now mind you, they still have those 1st and 2nds from HOU, so they are going to head into 2021, as of now, with a standard 7-pick draft in 7 separate rounds. They even have a chance at those HOU picks being top 10 or better, perhaps. And this deal allowed for the 18th to be retained.
Again, with Grier having all those chips, he could simply swap a requested 18th, for 26th and close the deal.
This is a heavy move, and purely speculative as everything is these days. There was a forth pick that had to be given, in the 26th overall, but MIA still has basically two years worth of picks to go in this years draft, and a franchise QB already in the can.
Here was the haul after the move.
As you can see, and of course taking this with a grain of sea-salt, there is a chance and a way to have your Quarterback, and fill your team too. It is just a matter of creatively using the assets.
This Mock saw a few Day 2 and Day 3 trades to get more ammo as well, since it's time to go up and down the board and get guys they want, and still come out with 12 players.
Add that to 10 new Free Agents, 7 picks next year, and all that is returning and ask yourself...is this team ready to roll?
By: Jason Sarney
As we get to one day away from April, NFL fans can rejoice as the Draft seems to be the only game in town with what is going on in the world. Mock Drafts are a helpful distraction in these times, and with nearly a month to go until players know their new teams, it’s as fun as ever guessing who goes where.
In this Phin Maniacs Mock Draft series, Part 1 aimed for Jordan Love, and the draft was handled around him.
Part 2 today, deals with another 1st round quarterback prospect, who is perhaps the 2nd most polarizing passer in this year’s class. With Tua Tagovailoa, there seem to be varying degrees of extremes. With these two guys, it seems to be a love’em or hate’em deal.
Hypothetically typing and thinking, as all Mocks are, let us pretend the Dolphins had a plan of waiting for Justin Herbert, who they thought is their best choice after dealing with another area that could help any quarterback and any team.
With that setup, let’s take a look at – The Herbert Draft:
As mentioned, the Dolphins have a plan in Herbert in this faux-draft, and if I am pretending I am the one calling the shots, I am saying to myself, “address the biggest need, then see what happens.”
Yes, this sounds scary when a franchise like Miami is desperate for an elite QB they can call the savior of the Franchise. Yet , with the ability to solidify an offensive line, and get firepower for Herbert, this draft played out as best a Duck and a bunch of Dolphins can hope for…swimmingly.
With the #5 pick, the Miami brass looked at the worst weakness on the team from last year, which was undoubtedly the poor collective performance of the offensive line. Get ready for some tough-to-stomach truths.
In 2019 Miami was ranked 32nd in rushing yards, tied for last with the Jets in yards per carry, 25th in the league in rushing scores, and led the league in QB hits while tying the Panthers for the most times allowing a quarterback sack.
I don’t care who is throwing the ball. No one can succeed for a full season, plus a hopeful playoff berth, with an offensive line ranked so low. There was simply limited time for consistent air offense, and limited space for rushing room and holes for running backs.
This draft saw a strategic opportunity to get arguably the best offensive tackle in the class, with a twist. Jedrick Wills spent his Alabama years manning the blind side of a certain lefty, which means he is a ready-made NFL right tackle. Jesse Davis is penciled in at that slot at this moment in time.
Although the line improved in free agency with left guard Ereck Flowers and center Ted Karras, there are still bookend tackles needed. The Wills pick is a move that means Miami can potentially find another one of those tackles later to set the left side up for success.
So, Miami made an Alabama player a 1st round pick in the Top 5 and his college teammate is left wondering for about 10 minutes what his NFL future holds. Tua went to the Chargers, and in this alternate universe, the two 'Bama boys at picks #5 and #6 will still be attached in some way.
While half of the Miami fan base is reeling in disbelieve, the savvy football fan realizes that there are a) more quarterbacks in this draft b) two, call them – viable options – on the roster in Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh Rosen and c) there is that 2021 QB named Trevor Lawrence, as that emergency break-the-glass play.
The Dolphins have four picks in the first two rounds next year thanks to the Texans, a team that already is a contender for a tough season and a potential Top-10 draft slot if Bill O’Brien deals the way he has been.
Moving on, the Dolphins now are in wait-and-see mode for their upcoming two picks in the 1st round after nabbing a stud tackle. Who else can say that this year?
As the process continues in the Mock as it will, in reality, picks change things and each selection creates a potential rift in the “normal” or “expected selection.” Looking at picks 6-17, the drafts next two signal-callers were still available, being Justin Herbert and Jordan Love. A quick look at the market of teams in-between the 18th and the 26th, I picked up the fake-phone and called Seattle.
With that 26th pick less than a dozen selections away, the 2nd roll of the dice was taken, and the trade offer of the 27th, 101st and 144th was accepted after efforts to collect their 2nd round pick in compensation didn't fly. This deal allowed Miami to pick up another 3rd as well as a valuable 4th rounder in between their oasis of a huge pick gap until pick 141.
With Seattle picking a tackle in Josh Jones, that plays well as there are a few left tackles that rank a tad higher on the Dolphins board, or my fake board. And with a huge run of wide receivers taken, that means Miami now will have back-to-back picks following the Seahawks trade with plenty of needed positions available with top-tier talent.
The 26th and 27th picks are very strategic in Caesar Ruiz of Michigan and the consensus 3rd QB on most boards, Justin Herbert. Ironically, another Dolphins Quarterback was once drafted 27th overall, but I digress.
Ruiz, a Michigan interior lineman is a plug-and-play right guard, who can certainly take the reins from Ted Karras in 2021. Ruiz is the exact kind of inside offensive lineman you can rely on to improve the run game.
At the 27th pick, Miami takes a shot and now has a shotgun-style QB, with a brand-new right tackle and the drafts top interior lineman in Ruiz. They may even become a center-QB battery with the flexibility Ruiz brings to a line.
Moving up 8 spots, and one in front of the Jets this early will cost a few picks, and with the number of picks left, there was not a worry to toss a 4th and two of those three 5th rounders to Atlanta to move up and get a "Lighting" type runner to match with the "Thunder" of Jordan Howard.
Round 1 is complete and Miami picked up a franchise right tackle and center (who can play guard) along with a Quarterback in Herbert to watch and learn a season from Fitzgerald. This move turns Josh Rosen into trade-bait. And a potential pick-up of a 3rd or 4th rounder if a team comes calling, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
The Dolphins head into Round 2 with their 39th selection and low-and-behold, there is a top-5 left tackle sitting there and that is Austin Jackson. At 6’6’’ 310 lbs., the USC big-man can be the final cog in an instantly improved offensive line that reads from right to left, Wills – Ruiz – Karras – Flowers – Jackson.
With the 56th pick up next, there was a bit of worry as running back Deandre Swift was an early pick at 14th overall, so the next two backs are close to being selected. With some extra ammo from the Seattle deal, another call was made and this time to another bird, the Falcons.
The deal was accepted, and Miami selects Ohio State single-season all-purpose yards record holder, JK Dobbins. Dobbins is a shifty and speedy runner who can take the ball through the gaps and hit the outside for long gains and has the strength to get yards after contact.
He is a capable pass-catcher who can contribute a few receptions a game, but Dobbins could be a terrific runner to eventually become the lead-back for Miami.
With the next pick being #70, Miami needs a safety and thankfully there is a coach in the war room who jumped up in excitement, in Gerald Alexander. Alexander is the new Miami defensive backs coach, fresh off a stint at the University of California as their DB coach. His former player, Ashtyn Davis, provides a starter at the free safety position and the familiarity with his coach will make his transition to the NFL smoother than most of his peers.
After the Davis pick, Miami has six players in the top 70, and they aren't done in the third round yet, thanks to the Seattle deal earlier.
With the 101st pick being the next selection up for MIA, there is too long a wait for the pass-rusher who could be the next great Miami sack artist. Alex Highsmith will be in every Mock Draft of mine. He is a relentless worker, who was a walk-on turned scholarship player at the University of Charlotte. He can be a rookie-rusher and one day a staple on the defensive edge. The only aspect better than his performance on the field is how he handles himself off of it. This is a Miami guy, a Flores guy, and instant fan-favorite at pick 103 if we go a tad ahead.
WR from Florida Van Jefferson goes to ay 101 and the Dolphins have players #7 and #8 in the top 103 picks. Jefferson is a guy who provides slot-skills and has NFL pedigree. Van's dad, Shawn was the wide-out who once had an up-close-and-personal meeting (savage tackle) from Zach Thomas.
With the amount of impact players already selected, and the trades made to do so, Miami has a few picks left in the 7th to give them 10 new rookies to add to 10 brand new free agents.
If you are counting at home, the trades lost four picks but really, do you expect 14 rookies on this opening day roster? The top 8 picks in this model will make the cut, and the 7th round dart-throws of a solid blocking tight end from Oregon in Jacob Breelan, he can room with his buddy Justin Herbert in training camp, and help protect him and give him a weapon he is familiar with.
Coach Alexander wasn't done hyping his guys, and Jaylinn Hawkins is a potential strong safety who has great size at around 6'3''. Not the worst idea in the world bringing in a pair of safeties who are both familiar with each other and their coach.
Hawkins is actually training in California as we speak, with best friend from high school, Dolphin cornerback, Nik Needham. I will bet a Golden Bear nickel than a California defensive back is drafted by Miami.
So there you have it! A ten-player haul with a full offensive line to match with the new additions of Karras and Flowers. Add on the running back and wide receiver that will grow with the quarterback in Herbert. Throw in a safety and edge pass-rusher in Davis and Highsmith to improve two levels of the defense. Close the process with a tight end to help the offensive line and a family face at safety to fight to make the roster or very least, practice squad.
Part I in this series had a different feel, and I happen to like the offensive mindset here, as Ryan Fitzpatrick can truly have a fantastic final year in the sun, as Justin Herbert watches, learns, and gets ready to lead a stacked offense in 2021, that will have more to add to it come next off-season and next year's draft.
By: Jason Sarney
With the NFL Draft four weeks away, it is the peak of Mock Draft season for the next month! April’s 2020 NFL Draft will be a monumental and seismic shift in the direction of one particular franchise, The Miami Dolphins.
The Miami front office has the reality of preparing for the annual selection meeting in an uncertain world with an unknown future at the moment. As they plan in reality, Mock Drafts are fan fantasies that rarely comes to fruition.
NFL Mock Drafts are as fun as it gets for football obsessed fans. Becoming a virtual General Manager is helping many get through that uncertain reality we are all facing. However, Mock Drafts bring a debate within fan bases, friends and foes. It is this mindset that Phin Maniacs will bring a series of Mock Drafts that will have the same two components.
The first being, to play the board with the best players available at needed positions as long as it does not deviate from the plan of getting their quarterback. Going into this study, to me there were about a half dozen roads to travel, which means there are a handful more of these to come on Phin Maniacs.
There is the Tua-Mock later in the series, the Joe Burrow Trade-up Mock, The Herbert, the Love, and the fantasy version of the “no-running-back-strategy,” the “no-quarterback-in-2020 Mock.”
We are going to begin, not with the obvious one being Tua Tagovailoa at pick #5, but with the “sit-back-and-wait” mindset of Jordan Love being the Miami Dolphins “guy” in this hypothetical Mock Draft.
Having said that, the luck of the draw led to picking Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons, simply because he is too good to pass up, and could be the anchor in coach Brian Flores’ defensive scheme.
An athlete of Simmons’ stature and ability can see him roam all areas of the field with a likely home-base of middle-linebacker, bringing back the days of former greats in Miami of Zach Thomas and Brian Cox.
While Simmons is a much different player than both in size and ability, all three posses the leadership skills and ferocity completely necessary for a difference-maker at the position.
Simmons can do it all, and with pick #18, Miami now must focus on the protector for their current quarterback room composed of assumed 2020 starter, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and his presumptive backup as of now, Josh Rosen.
There is no certainty in the NFL Draft as it is a living, breathing organism which changes every pick and every trade.
In this Mock Draft, at #18 Miami selects the best available left tackle in a class that arguably has four or five potential decade-long starters for their teams. Top heavy, no pun intended here, but the left tackle class thins out after the big boys are taken in the top 20 picks.
Luckily in this model, pure left tackle Andrew Thomas of Georgia is the perfect pick at #18 for the Dolphins to protect the #26 pick, the quarterback who will be the apprentice to Fitzpatrick's masterful teaching on how to be a pro and survive in the NFL as long as he has.
Of course, I am talking about training camp’s 3rd-stringer on the rise and final quarterback in the room, Utah State’s Jordan Love in this case. He will find valuable NFL tutelage from Fitz, as well as Josh Rosen, who has dealt with a two year period unlike most 1st round drafted quarterbacks.
Josh Rosen will be in a position to fight to retain the back-up role/2021 potential starter, or even be relegated to trade-bait, making it a viable chance he sees his third team in three seasons, and four if you include college.
The first round was a massive haul for Miami in getting a captain on the defense in the middle of the linebacking group in Simmons. He is joined by guys like Kyle Van Noy, Jerome Baker and Raekwon McMillian anchoring the group that includes the depth of Vince Biegel, Andrew Van Ginkel and newly signed free agents in Elandon Roberts and Kamu Grieger-Hill.
The offensive line vastly improves with an instant starter to protect a room of righty passers in Fitz, Rosen and Love, as Andrew Thomas takes the main security role in South Florida. This is hopefully your next Richmond Webb. Frankly, Miami would happily take 70% of Webb's career production from Thomas, as #78 was the legendary protector of the legend of legends, Dan Marino. Miami must leave the first round with a stud left tackle.
Thomas will join newly acquired guard, Miami-breed Ereck Flowers and with Ted Karras at center, there is seemingly a secured side to the line for Jordan Howard to run behind and for any quarterback to feel safe on his blind-side. The right guard spot will be up for grabs as well as the tackle spot. Michael Dieter and Shaq Calhoun could battle for the guard slot and Jesse Davis could man the right tackle for now.
April 23rd could be declared a win with a three-player upgrade of Simmons, Thomas and Love. Day 2 will need to address areas like the backfield, both defensively and offensively as a safety and running back surely need to be on the radar.
As stated earlier, the draft is a living creature to an extent, and that means human error is involved. Grant Delpit should not be around here, so I am not going to be the Mock-owner to pass on the all-around safety from LSU. You could simply replace Delpit with Minnesota safety Antoine Winfield, Jr. if it makes you happy in this fantasy to make this a bit more realistic. Either way, you get the point. The defensive secondary needs to be of primary concern on Friday, April 24th.
Now that a perfect storm is brewing and “Thunder” has rolled into Miami Gardens in the form of Jordan Howard, Phin Maniac's Luis Sung told us all in our PodCast, no downpour is significant or scary without a bit of “Lightning.”
While there is that storm coming, there is still more Thunder on the way at pick #56 with interior offensive lineman, Tyler Biadasz out of Wisconsin. This is another apprentice situation to learn from a veteran, this time the mentor is Ted Karras. If the Dolphins choose to utilize Biadasz right away with his outstanding run blocking in the form of right guard, that is still a need, and an option if we are talking hypothetical situations.
Since the running backs at and around picks 39 and 56 went elsewhere, the three-headed class of tier-one runners were gone, being Deandre Swift, JK Dobbins and Jonathan Taylor.
There is a backup plan for Miami and luckily Florida State’s Cam Akers fell in the lap of a team looking for a complement to Jordan Howard and Patrick Laird. This backfield now feels a little like a Patriots group of Sony Michel (Jordan), James White (Akers), and Rex Burkhead (Laird).
This is New England South, right?
After the luxury of picking an unique six-pack of players in the top-70 selections, the Dolphins nearly have a full draft of immediate contributors. They possess eight more picks as their total of 14 picks is six players deep after Round 3.
This is now trade up territory with a gap of no picks until 71 selections away, which will leave Miami waving goodbye to dozens of high-ceiling prospects.
This is where three 5ths and three 7ths come into play with their standard 6th.
In this Mock Draft, The Draft Network provides a premium service for trades-ups and in this case, there were two. As the board hit the 90th pick range, I was getting nervous that a pair of New England picks closing out the top-100 would have my sleeper pass-rusher on the "edge" of being taken by a rival.
Brian Flores, who knows how Bill Belichick thinks and scouts, needs to whisper into the ear of Chris Grier and beg for a trade up. We called the Las Vegas Raiders, rolled the dice, and they turned down an offer of Miami’s 141st and 153rd for their 91st.
They said no, and asked, “is that the best you can do?”
We responded with a final offer of that 154th additionally, and they said, “deal.”
Alex Highsmith, remember that name, is going to be a 3rd round pick, and Miami better get another 3rd towards the back-end of it, as 70th may just be 20 picks too soon for the walk-on to scholarship player from the University of Charlotte.
The Highsmith deal means a few less picks since the deal netted Las Vegas an extra two picks, but if you expect to see 14 roster'ed rookies come Week 1, you are kidding yourself.
The next deal is for another need on the offensive line, so to speak, and that being blocking help that can also produce yards and points! Thaddeus Moss is a traditional in-line blocking tight end that can complement receiving-threat, Mike Gesicki.
Yes, Moss is the son of Randy and that fact is known as much as the fact Gesicki used to play basketball. Like every other tight end since Tony Gonzalez and Antonio Gates inspired the concept.
What Moss brings, is a tough and skilled run-blocker. Line him up on a weaker side for help, or solidify those sweeps and runs to the left on the new strong-side with these rookies. Moss pulverizes his targets and pancakes them before being a red-zone threat and target in his own right in the endzone and middle of the field, mainly.
The trade-ups to another 3rd and the move to get back into the fourth gave this draft 8 players in the top 111 selections, all of whom can be immediate contributors along with the 10 free agent additions.
That math brings you to 18 impactful new Dolphins, with three dart-throws of picks left to tell you about. Since they are dart-throws, these three 7th rounders are likely practice squad picks, or could even smell the roster mid-season.
James Proche is a speedy slot-receiver from SMU and a pair of Wolverines from Michigan in Jon Runyan (OT) and Lavert Hill (CB) may make owner Stephen Ross simile a bit more woth some fellow alums after getting 11 new players in a draft to go along with his free agency haul.
That’s 21 new players to add to a core, returning unit of DeVante Parker to lead the receivers with perhaps the best keep secret, once again, at the position in second-year star-in-the-making, Preston Williams. Rumor is, he is ahead of schedule in his rehab from last season's knee injury.
The core gets slot help from Proche if the team decides to part with Albert Wilson. Depth of veteran Allen Hurns and young contributor Isaiah Ford will give secondaries headaches, and migraines when you throw in 3rd year breakout tight-end candidate, Gesicki.
Howard and now Akers man a backfield with Laird, as Kalen Ballage and Myles Gaskin battle for supporting roles. They run behind a line that reads left to right, potentially, like Thomas – Flowers – Karras – Biadasz – J. Davis. And lest we forget, fullback Chandler Cox.
On defense, the linebacker unit is fearsome as can be in Simmons, Baker, McMillian, and Van Noy heading the group and Roberts, Grieger-Hill, Beigel and Van Ginkel coming in rotationally to help in certain situations and of course for some, on special teams.
As for the much needed improvement on the pass-rush, Shaw Lawson will help set the edge on the defensive line for Emmanuel Ogbah, Taco Charlton and Alex Highsmith, while line-pushers and run-pluggers like Davon Godchaux and Christian Wilkins sure up the middle.
The secondary, with Xavien Howard and free agent prize-piece, Byron Jones, has to be a Top-5 duo in the league by logic and math. They are the 2nd and 3rd highest paid in the NFL at the position, with Jones topping Howard slightly.
Second year pass-breakup machine Nik Needham now has two of the best in the game to learn from and spell, and in certain situations contribute on the field together as an Island-cluster of lock-down corners. This is sure to sarcastically highlight teams’ trips to South Florida with a 60-minute tour of the states highway of mini islands.
“The Florida Keys” will make sure the receivers entering Miami Gardens take caution of the under-toe. Lifeguards suggest no passes to be allowed, as the waterways around the Hard Rock are closed on Sundays, and hopefully... some Monday Nights soon.
Safety Grant Delpit patrols the middle of the secondary with Bobby McCain, Eric Rowe and Adrian Colbert adding to the island-set of defensive backs.
Enter "The Keys," at your own risk.
The Dolphins need something to make this whole experiment work. The catalyst to a two-year process of dismantling and rebuilding. That catalyst has been agonizingly lacking with this franchise for two full decades...save a flash of it at times, in all fairness.
Will Jordan Love be the straw to finally stir the drink that will lead Miami fans (of legal age) to sip a beverage of choice in celebration and not sorrow? This model leads to three Miami quarterbacks, all getting the potential chance to show us all who can get the results us mad scientists are looking for.
Can Ryan Fitzpatrick succeed and get four or five more wins than 2019 with this group, in a wide-open and Tom Brady-less AFC East? If he can’t, can Josh Rosen?
And if Rosen can’t…is some time around Week 8 the moment when Jordan Love can introduce himself to Miami, and once again, we all fall head-over-heels for the new passer we have all been waiting for and dreaming of?
And if this process of quarterback appraisal leads to a nightmarish and early divorce, well, there is a young kid on the way up. Miami still has their full 2021 draft, and most of Houston’s to get the quarterback of their dreams in Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, should Love break everyone’s heart. Always keep that in mind.
All we can do at the moment is Mock Draft, and if you are me, listen to Aerosmith while doing so, and literally…"Dream On."
By: Jason Sarney
Football, in many ways, can be directly compared and correlated to certain aspects of everyday life. The faith and family aspect of the game of football is everywhere around us. To take a few quotes and paraphrases from the epic Al Pacino speech from Any Given Sunday, as Coach Tony D’Amato for the once-proud Miami Sharks franchise...
“You find out life’s this game of inches. So is football.”
While this is one of the truer quotes within an epic 5-minute cinematic speech with the perfect subject matter, the movie master of the “speech” goes on to say things like…
“The inches we need are everywhere around us.”
“Now either we heal as a team or we’re gonna crumble, inch by inch, play by play, 'til we’re finished.”
Say what you want about the nuances and accuracy of how director Oliver Stone depicts professional football before the turn of the century. However, it hits the nail on the head on what this game means to people. Additionally, it pinpoints the efforts and the detail and the sacrifice made by those involved inside of this game. Those who live and die with the heartbreak and exhilaration of this game. That one inch, one move, one risk, one trade, or one pick, that can send a franchise into heaven or into hell.
Now as the legendary fictitious coach said at the time of the speech when he goes from morose to motivational…it sounds a lot like the state of Miami Dolphins the last decade, metaphorically speaking.
“We’re in hell right now, gentlemen, believe me. And, we can stay here -- get the s**t kicked out of us -- or we can fight our way back into the light. We can climb outta hell one inch at a time.”
Let’s replace the word “inch” with “piece.”
The pieces Miami needs were, and are, everywhere around them. And based on what happened just a week or so ago in free agency, it seems the Dolphins front office is collectively bringing the organization and its rabidly passionate fan base out of hell…one piece at a time.
Back to Sir Al’s legendary rant, as he channels Vince Lombardi to fuel his player's inner desire to fight for every inch…
"You got to look at the guy next to you. Look into his eyes! Now I think you’re gonna see a guy who will go that inch with you. You're gonna see a guy who will sacrifice himself for this team because he knows when it comes down to it, you’re gonna do the same for him!"
This quote, every word of it, describes the character and the content of the Miami free agency class.
When the Miami class introduced themselves to media members last week, it was clear they are all ready to fight, claw, and live and die for Coach Brian Flores.
Coach Flores shares the intensity and passion that Pacino channeled through his D’Amato character. Flores, whether in the locker room or on the field, inspires to bring the very best out of his players. So much so, that four of his former players from New England had Miami, and Flores, on the very top of their lists.
Former Patriot linebackers Elandon Roberts, Kamu Grieger-Hill, and Kyle Van Noy are all now Dolphins, as is the once New England center, Ted Karras.
Van Noy, who refuses to label himself a position said, "I don't like being called a defensive end or a linebacker but a football player.”
In his praise on his former positional coach as a Patriot, Van Noy said that Flores brings, “energy each-and-every day and that’s the coach you want to play for.”
He then added emphatically, “who doesn’t want to play for a coach like that?”
Karras told reporters last Wednesday regarding his coach, "he's intense and he is prepared to win." Karras added, "I really respect Coach Flores and I'm glad to be in his organization."
The team-first sentiment was also echoed by a former cadet of Hargrave Military Academy, new Miami defensive end Shaq Lawson, who takes pride in a stat-less form of the game that can help a teammate, that being “setting the edge.”
"I take pride in that. You don’t want to get out of your gap,” said Lawson.
This is a sacrificial type of situation, as the edge-setter does the dirty work to make life a bit easier for a pass-rusher on their way to a hopeful sack. Lawson is the type of guy that would lay on a wire for a teammate so he could cross the line of scrimmage and get to the quarterback without any praise.
Clearly, Flores is a coach that when speaking, his players listen. This was corroborated by another former Patriot linebacker who heard from Flores, specifically every single day in New England, while one of Flores’ linebackers.
Elandon Roberts told the media, regarding coach Flores, his decision was made easier by "how good a leader [coach Flores] is on and off the field." and then adds... "I'm all in, 100% all the way."
It’s the words of these new Dolphins that have confirmed what we all saw in 2019, that this is a coach and team, ready to fight and die for that inch. And before a new class of "pieces" join this unit, it is obvious there is a certain type of guy that this coaching staff and front office are searching for.
Come the NFL Draft, this team will be adding "pieces" who will heed the words and message of both Flores and his fictional counterpart in D'Amato.
Now, what are they gonna do?
That is anyone’s guess, but I will tell you this…
“In any fight, it’s the guy who’s willing to die who’s gonna win that inch.”
The Dolphins are building with these types of "pieces" and will continue to do so. Players that, as Pacino said and as coach Flores searches for…
“...see a guy who will sacrifice himself for this team because he knows when it comes down to it, you’re gonna do the same for him!”
As Pacino closes his pre-game speech in the films game-action finale, as the window of mediocrity also is hopefully about to close in Miami, there is one thing abundantly clear what the Dolphins are becoming.
After more "pieces" are brought in, those building blocks will help Miami, player-by- player and inch-by-inch become what they must to succeed.
"That’s football guys. That's all it is.”
By: Jason Sarney
When looking at the areas of the Miami Dolphins that need improvement, mainly from the last few seasons, look no further than the offensive line. During last week’s free agency windfall, the offensive line added two key components to improve as a group. A group that was ranked close to the bottom of the league in 2019.
In terms of yards per carry the offensive line gave to their ball-carriers, the Dolphins rotational group collectively ranked 31st in the league with a mere 3.3 yards a rush attempt.
They were 25th in the league with just 10 seasonal rushing scores and they tied for worst in the league in terms of sacks allowed with 58. That’s an average of 3.6 sacks per game.
Miami needed help and that arrived in the form of 6’6’’ 330 lb. guard, Ereck Flowers. The Miami product now will have the opportunity to play “all three levels” in Miami, high school, NCAA, and NFL.
Flowers was a product of Miami Norland High School and attended the University of Miami as a Hurricane. After being drafted in the 1st round by the New York Giants in 2015, the 9th overall selection spent a year in Jacksonville and last season as a Redskin.
While playing guard mainly, Flowers has the versatility to play tackle, and although the plan for him is not yet set in stone, it is likely Flowers will command the left guard position. He will line up with another new veteran on the line to his right, in center Ted Karras.
Flowers was asked what makes for good offensive line play, and the hometown hero said, then added, “Preparation. That’s from coaching to the players in both aspects; being on the same page, with most o-line players, its muscle memory."
That preparation has started, even at home during this new world we are living in with the Covid-19 scare. Miami fans can be confident that Flowers is, "putting the work in," he stated. Fitness and dealing with the Miami heat and humidity should not worry Flowers, as he is adapted to the South Florida climate and even will be utilizing his home training devices plenty.
"I actually have a Peloton,” Flowers said, as the Zoom interview session came to a close. Flowers comes home with a brand new three-year deal, and he hopes to fit in like he never even left the state, as he helps pedal the Dolphins to an eventual Super Bowl finish line within those contracted years.
By: Brandon Liguori
Fix the offensive and defensive lines, draft the franchise-changing quarterback in April and hope for a successful, injury-free football season. These three tasks seem simple yet are quite difficult.
As the 2020 new league year officially began last Wednesday at 4 p.m., the Miami Dolphins made it official, signing Ereck Flowers to a three-year deal, Shaq Lawson to a three-year contract, Kyle Van Noy to a 4-year deal, Byron Jones to a five-year contract, Jordan Howard to a two-year deal, Clayton Fejedelem to a three-year deal, Emmanuel Ogbah to a two-year deal, Ted Karras to a one-year deal, Kamu Grugier-Hill to a one-year deal and Elandon Roberts to a one-year deal.
Three former Patriots (Van Noy, Karras, Roberts) will reunite with current head coach Brian Flores this upcoming season, who spent his entire coaching career in New England. Flowers, the former Miami Hurricane, spent four seasons with the New York Giants, before playing one season in Washington.
Starting all 16 games a season ago for the Redskins, Flowers is positioned to hold the starting left guard spot for Miami in 2020. Lawson, who was mainly a backup during his four seasons in Buffalo, will compete for a starting spot on the defensive side of the football.
Van Noy, a two-time Super Bowl champion with the Patriots, will likely share linebacker duties with Ohio State products Jerome Baker and Raekwon McMillan, but has the potential to play any position on the defensive side. A year after Xavien Howard received the highest-paid contract for a cornerback, the Dolphins will pay Byron Jones $82.5 million over the next five years.
Miami, however, hopes Howard can stay on the field on a consistent basis, as the former 2018 Pro-Bowler has missed 15 games over the past two seasons due to knee injuries. Miami’s ground game as a team in 2019 was one to forget, allowing them to grab Howard, the former Philadelphia Eagle who sustained a shoulder injury that cut his 2019 season short.
Howard will likely handle the running back duties in 2020, as Kenyan Drake was shipped to the Arizona Cardinals a season ago and Kalen Ballage struggled heavily, but do not be surprised if Miami uses a first or even second-round selection on a highly-graded running back, as the Dolphins hold five total picks within the first two rounds.
This morning, when speaking to media members, Howard said he is “back 100%” from his shoulder injury. C Ted Karras, who worked with Tom Brady his entire career, will get a chance to work with Ryan Fitzpatrick and/or if Miami decides to draft Joe Burrow, Tua Tagovailoa or any other quarterback left on the board.
Karras said this morning he received a couple of offers from other teams but was ultimately drawn to the Dolphins in part because of Brian Flores. All of Miami’s newest FA signings shared a mutual love and respect for Flores, who showed promise in his first full season as a professional head coach. Yes, the Dolphins opened the season 0-7 but concluded with five wins in their final nine games with practically a practice squad-like roster.
As Tom Brady’s historic 20-year run with Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots came to a surprising close, moving to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the message now becomes clear: the AFC East is officially a wide-open division.
By Jason Sarney
The Miami Dolphins are bringing in more defensive help to bolster their defensive line, and edge rusher Shaq Lawson is the former 1st round pick that now leaves a rival in the Buffalo Bills to help that unit.
Lawson, who is a draft-class mate of fellow recent Miami acquisition Emmanuel Ogbah in 2016, was the 16th overall pick out of Clemson. This means he has Dolphins-ties, of course to another defensive lineman with collegiate Tiger stripes, non-other than Christian Wilkins.
Lawson was also a former roommate at Hargrave Military Academy with Miami defensive back Cordrea Tankersley, who of course, attended Clemson as well.
Surely a background at Hargrave, as well as familiarity with numerous new teammates will make Lawson a locker-room voice and field general, so-to-speak.
When asked about that aspect of his game, being leadership and his overall mindset on his teammates Lawson said, “they are going to see that from day one when I come in the building. I’m very competitive, always want to win. “I feel like I’ve never had a bad day in the locker room.”
There is no reason not to believe it, and any former rival coming aboard a new unit will undoubtedly be a valuable resource in future battles. Specifically, on the cold, enemy whatever-turf of Buffalo.
While in Buffalo for four seasons, his sack numbers were mortal, as he averaged about four a year to total 16.5 on his career. In a theme similar to Miami fans recently, there has been a lack of a formidable pass-rush since the healthy days of Cameron Wake, and even the we-hardly-knew-you days of Oliver Vernon, not to mention Jason Taylor.
Lawson will help “set the edge,” which he says is a call to duty more important than it sounds. Lawson said, "I take pride in that. You don’t want to get out of your gap.”
To me, it sounds like Lawson is the type of guy that would lay on a wire for a teammate so he could cross the line of scrimmage and get to the quarterback without any self-fanfare.
Lawson is a high-energy, highly competitive leader, which comes to no surprise to those tracking what type of person and player is coveted by the defensive-minded head coach of the Dolphins Brian Flores.
It's players like Lawson, who will take their job as seriously as can be, to achieve a common team goal that are being added to this team.
This is becoming a pattern that has been developing for a year in Miami, and the acquisition of Lawson is proof positive that there is a new Sheriff in town in Flores that Miami fans haven’t been used to in decades. And apparently, he knows exactly what type of soldier he is looking to deploy on his field of battle.
By: Jason Sarney
The Miami Dolphins brought in 10 free agents last week, and perhaps one of the biggest in terms of on-field presence, as well as personality and performance, very well may be linebacker Kyle Van Noy.
Van Noy is part of a free-agent haul that includes three former New England teammates of his. As stated throughout this afternoon of interviews, Van Noy reunites once again with Ten Karras, and fellow linebackers Elandon Roberts and Kamu Grugier-Hill.
Van Noy is a self-proclaimed “football player.”
Don’t tag his with a position on the field, as he stated with a confident bravado this team needs with leadership and rings to back it up…” roll the ball out there.”
Van Noy began that phrase by saying, “I am going to go on the plan for me. I envision myself playing everywhere like I've have been. I don't like being called a defensive end or a linebacker but a football player.”
The former BYU standout was drafted by New England in the 2nd round of the 2014 NFL draft at pick number 40. He has recorded 17.5 sacks, 2 interceptions, and has forced 5 fumbles while recovering 4. His 10 passes defended proves his claim he can do it all, including score, as he has a pair of touchdowns to boot.
Stats don't measure his overall value, as there is certainly a "C" in the future on his jersey.
Of course, another former Patriot under Brian Flores as a New England linebacker coach, Van Noy may just be the president of the coach Flores fan club, which seems to be filling up like a 1960’s Beatles concert.
When asked about the decision on why he signed with Miami and play again for Brian Flores he said, “this is an easy question to answer. I respect him as a coach. What he brings to the table, what he is all about on the field and off.”
He then added, “who doesn’t want to play for a coach like that?”
He said coach Flores brings… “energy each-and-every day and that’s the coach you want to play for.”
Van Noy is aware that he will come in as a leader and do what is needed of him on and off the field which is the exact player and person this organization strives to acquire.
Not only is Van Noy doing all he can to create make-shift workouts during a health pandemic, but he's also doing so safely at a nearby Ranch where his thoughts are the only things he needs to prepare for the 2020 season.
"I can get a workout in. There is a hill I can run and some weights I can lift. It’s me, myself, and I."
Back to the leadership role, and his overall awareness of the times, Van Noy is eager to get to Miami. Van Noy fits Miami like an Isotoner glove. Once he is down in South Florida, he will no doubt bring a passion for the game, as well as his charitable work within the Kyle Van Noy Foundation. And with work like that on Sundays as well as the six other days of the week, he will surely hit a cord with Fin Faithful with hopefully plenty of years worth of memories to comes...and more importantly, wins.
And a ton of jersey sales.
By: Jason Sarney
The Miami Dolphins entered free agency knowing they needed to improve the pass-rush. Finishing the 2019 season ranked 29th in sacks made this an easy guess in terms of crossing off need entering the upcoming NFL Draft.
The Dolphins brought in a pair of ace pass-rushers last week, one being Emmanuel Ogbah of the Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs. Although he will be fitted for a ring, Ogbah did not play in the game, hosted in Miami, as he was recovering from a pectoral injury.
Ogbah, who mush have been impressed with his future home digs in Hard Rock Stadium knew it was tough not participating in the contest, yet certainly took in the experience.
"It was definitely tough to watch, but happy for my teammates." "It was a cool experience, the Super Bowl; it was dope!"
Now fully rehabbed, and ready to do as much training as these current times in the world allow, Ogbah is ready to work, as is his new teammate and fellow incoming Dolphin, Shaq Lawson.
The pair of defensive ends were each drafted in the 2016 class, with Ogbah being the 32nd overall pick to the Cleveland Browns, where he spent three seasons and accumulated 12.5 sacks. In 2019 for Kansas City, Ogbah only played in 10 games, yet equaled a yearly-best 5.5 sacks.
Lawson, who was drafted by Buffalo in the same year at 19th overall corroborated with Ogbah via telephone when talking about the 2020 NFL season.
To quote both new additions, as well as former Jet, Bart Scott, they simply, “can’t wait.”
Ogbah takes his talents to Miami Gardens, as he is always thinking and communicating with his family back home in Nigeria. It was clear that Ogbah is living his dream while creating nightmares for opposing Quarterbacks.
What also is clear, is Ogbah’s job and role on the Dolphins which he says is, “doing my part to help this team win. I am here to rush the passer and make this team better."
By: Jason Sarney
The Miami Dolphins have been missing a power running back for a long time. Not since the days of Ricky Williams, has there been excitement on 3rd and short or 1st and goal from the 2-yard line.
The physical runner that is Jordan Howard comes to the Dolphins after stints with the Eagles as well as the Bears. Drafted by Chicago in 2015 in the 5th round out of Indiana University, Howard has a career yards per rushing attempt of 4.3 and started his career with two straight 1,000-plus yard seasons for the Bears.
Howard has scored 30 touchdowns in his four NFL seasons and looks to bring his power running style to Miami.
Howard, who models his game after the beastly runner that his Marshawn Lynch, describes his style as physical rather than make you miss. It is clear Howard likes to create contact, and that could help the Dolphins when defenders are breaking down in the fourth quarter, as the former Hoosier eluded to.
“I'd rather hit them, then they hit me,” Jordan said as you can almost see the inner smile in him as he imagined pressing his internal truck-stick as if he were playing a video game.
Howard is another free agent coming to Miami, who has heard nothing but good news and reviews about his new coach, Brian Flores. He attributes Flores to the heart the Dolphins showed in their victory against Howard’s former team back in December.
Although Howard didn’t play, he had front row seats to witness Miami defeat the Eagles.
“They had a lot of fight,” Howard said as he went on to speak well about his new organization, it’s coaches and his new teammates.
Howard will become a huge part of what Miami looks to do, that being bringing a power component back to the Dolphins via the run, and Howard is eager to be a big part of that plan.
Stay with us as pass-rush specialist Emmanuel Ogbah, chats with the media on another Zoom live-conference!
By: Jason Sarney
The Miami Dolphins shocked the NFL world when they signed cornerback Byron Jones to what was, at the time, the highest awarded salary at his position. Second on that list, albeit now third, is current Dolphins Xavien Howard.
The Jones signing brings a potential combo that could be reminiscent of the legendary Dolphin duo of Sam Madison and Pat Surtain from the late 1990’s-early 2000’s.
Jones comes from the Dallas Cowboys, where he sent receivers to an island of limited to zero targets when he checked them, as the new Miami cornerback bookend to Howard, could just make this the best tandem in the league today.
Jones, who was drafted a Cowboy in 2015, can play all over the defensive backfield. A former 1st round pick, the 27th overall selection is a perfect player for coach Brian Flores’ system. The former UConn Huskie had a terrific year for Dallas in 2018, and was a Pro-Bowler as well as being a second-team All-Pro.
Back in 2015, Jones created a buzz at the NFL Scouting Combine, as he set a new world record in the popular drill of the standing broad-jump, by leaping 12-feet, 3-inches. He easily broke the previous record held by Jamie Collins, which was 11-feet, 7-inches.
Broad-jump aside, Jones creates havoc in the secondary, as his blanketing coverage will now send quarterbacks looking the way of receivers checked by Howard, and last year’s undrafted rookie phenom, Nik Needham. The Dolphins have arguably created a triple-headed monster in the defensive backfield, especially with the way Flores rotates and schemes his defensive formations.
Jones stated early what his addition could mean for the Miami secondary, as he boasted, “the most important part is really having no weak links."
Jones shared his excitement of being a new Dolphin as it was obvious, he is ready to come into a young team and be an instant leader. When asked why he chose Miami in free agency, his responses had the same overall mindset.
"I love to idea of joining a young team and being a catalyst for change,” he led with.
As he added to why he signed with Miami, he stated emphatically, "I wanted to be a part of building something special. I like the young roster and I like the coach. For me, it was a good fit."
The fit has a lot to do with Coach Brian Flores, as although they have not met face to face since Jones signed, the new Dolphin has heard nothing but rave reviews of his new head man.
"He's a young coach and I love that. He's got young energy.”
That energy is visible as well as what is heard through the league grapevine. “I hear he's intense, Jones said happily.
He added, "I heard a lot of good things about him around the league,” and “that's exciting for me just to be on a team he's leading.”
Jones concluded his interview with a visible eagerness to become a part of a building process with a young team.
"I am fired up to play for Miami. This is a young team going in the right direction.
As far as what Dolphin fans can expect from their new lock-down corner…
"I can bring leadership and good man-coverage."
"We're going to have some fun."
The live-action continues at 2:00 with running back, Jordan Howard!
By: Jason Sarney
The Miami Dolphins added veteran leadership from a familiar source in last week’s free agency binge. Former New England center and current Miami Dolphin, Ted Karras, is joining friends down south.
Karras was a Patriot from the start of his career and was drafted in 2016 in the 6th round as the 221st overall pick. Karras is looking forward to getting down to Miami and meeting his old friends and new teammates once the world gets back to normal.
When the current pandemic is over, Karras will see "familiar faces," like Kyle Van Noy, Elandon Roberts and a Patriot from a few seasons ago, and yet another new Miami linebacker, Kamu Grugier-Hill.
Karras, who is a leader in his own right, comes to Miami to anchor the line at Center, and no doubt provide mentor-ship and tutelage to younger linemen. Karras himself is a current student, finishing up his degree in business administration.
In terms of reuniting with his former coach in Flores, Karras said, "he's intense and he is prepared to win."
Karras added, "I really respect Coach Flores and I'm glad to be in his organization."
Karras knows firsthand that Flores is a coach who can improve a team quickly, as he was asked about the Dolphins from earlier in the season as a rival, versus their Week 17 contest when he was still a Patriot up in New England.
Karras said while speaking as a former New England center, "Obvious improvement; we (NE) lost the last game." "Was a tough lose for us."
He added in praising his new head coach, “"I think [Coach Flores] is a smart tough coach...." "I am very much looking forward to practicing and playing in his organization."
There was certainly familiarity with being in front of the lense, as Karras is taking Zoom courses while earning that degree while his genes carry entertainment and film credits.
Karras is the nephew of the late Alex Karras who was a former NFL great as a Pro Bowl defensive tackle for the Detroit Lions & then actor. You can tell the Karras personality is with Ted, as he was engaging and showed lots of excitement to reunite with Flores as well as those familiar faces.
Speaking of a familiar face, just watch legendary comedy Blazing Saddles to see his uncle as "Mongo," or remember a simpler time in life when Ted’s uncle played the man of the house in Webster, as the iconic TV character, George Papadapolis.
The Dolphins are hoping the nephew of the former NFL great can have similar success in Miami!
Join us at 1:30 PM on Twitter when cornerback Byron Jones meets and greets the Miami media!
Free Agency started out with a bang for the Miami Dolphins and the shots kept coming, which reverberated around the league to the tone of 10 key additions to Coach Brian Flores’ team.
General Manager, Chris Grier, showed patience and poise in this process as several rumored free agent targets were Franchise Tagged. Whether players like Yannick Ngakoue or Joe Thuney were even on Grier’s radar is knowledge only to those with access to Miami front offices, so perhaps they were never part of the plan. With 14 Draft picks in the upcoming Draft, the speculation was that Grier could use them as potential chips to lure a team to deal those tagged players and send them to Miami for contract negotiation.
The plan was not what many assumed, as the Miami front office is proving that there is a specific pattern and plan to their off-season. That plan is to load up on players where there is key need such as cornerback, linebacker, guard and a presence on the edge of the defensive line.
Ten new Miami Dolphins are going to officially say “Fins Up,” to several media and fan sites, as PhinManiacs.com is lucky enough to be able to bring live-Tweet info during 10 separate Zoom-based press conferences.
In a true sign of the times we live in today, stay with us all day as 10 new Dolphins greet us and chat about their football paths, and what it now means to be a part of the Miami Dolphins.
Here is the schedule and make sure to stay with Phin Maniacs all day!
· 11 a.m., LB Elandon Roberts
· 12 p.m., C Ted Karras
· 1 p.m., S Clayton Fejedelem
· 1:30 p.m., CB Byron Jones
· 2 p.m., RB Jordan Howard
· 2:30 p.m., DE Emmanuel Ogbah
· 3:15 p.m., LB Kyle Van Noy
· 4:30 p.m., DE Shaq Lawson
· TBD, T Ereck Flowers
· TBD, LB Kamu Grugier-Hill
By: Jason Sarney
At the start of the Dolphins live Zoom-based teleconference with their new Free Agents, Linebacker and part-time specialist when called upon, Elandon Roberts spoke to several Miami beat writers, and websites for the Fin Faithful on Thursday morning.
Roberts was asked several questions from prominent names in Miami Dolphins reporting and coverage, but before some of his words, let us deep-dive into his career thus far.
The new Dolphin and former Patriot was draft by New England in the 6th round in 2016. The 214th overall selection was utilized in a few different ways by the Patriots over his four seasons there, as he even scored against his new teammates this past December as a fullback Week 17, where he made it appear he was a lead-blocker for who is now his former running back.
Roberts has recorded four sacks, 206 total career tackles and has both forced and recovered a fumble. He has even showed leadership as a defensive captain while in New England last season.
There is no question his relationship with former New England linebackers’ coach and current head coach in Miami, Brian Flores, had much to do with his choice to come to Miami.
Roberts told the media, regarding coach Flores, his decision was made easier by "how good a leader [coach Flores] is on and off the field." and then adds.... "I'm all in, 100% all the way."
Roberts, who like as all is dealing with this current situation in the world as best he can, said that he is... "controlling what I can control." He added that he is....(about staying home) "Doing the right things."
He closed that question with.... "I'm looking forward to getting to my teammates.”
It are those teammates he will one day join, two being fellow teammates from New England and new Dolphins, Kyle Van Noy, Ted Karras and Kamu Grugier-Hill from a few years back. It is then he will be getting assimilated to his new surroundings and football home, while preparing to take things, “one day at a time with the Dolphins,” when asked about their chances in the Tom Brady-less AFC East.
One thing is for sure, and this is directly from Elandon Roberts himself as he closed his interview, “"I love that I'm a Miami Dolphin."
By: Jason Sarney
The Miami Dolphins need the next great pass-rusher in the upcoming NFL Draft, which at the moment is set for April 23rd. With a number of viable options to add to the edge pass rush, Miami could be searching for the next Jason Taylor, Cam Wake, or Adewale Ogunleye at the start of Round 3. Highsmith recorded 14 sacks in his final season at Charlotte, in a career that began as a walk-on. He earned a scholarship, and worked as hard as any player to improve and succeed.
His 4.7 40-yard dash time, mixed with his strength and nose for the ball, adds to the potential of him being a possible sack specialist.
Highsmith performed at a high level against premier competition at the Senior Bowl back in January in Mobile, Alabama. He recorded a pair of sacks, and instantly created a buzz and improved his Draft stock. Keep an eye out for this prospect, as the way he handles himself on the field is trumped by the way he handles himself off the field. He is a model human being, and you will never see anything negative about him.
Whether it is in Miami or not, he is a potential sleeper superstar in this league
By: Jason Sarney
An American treasure that we lost this week once said, “You've got to know when to hold 'em. Know when to fold 'em. Know when to walk away. And know when to run.”
The late, Great, Kenny Rodgers passed away earlier this week and the Country Legend’s most famous song correlates very well to the Miami Dolphin's off-season at the moment. After a year of staking chips and a week of bringing in even more assets, the Miami Dolphins are ready for the month that is leading up to the big event that they have been waiting for.
The Gambler, in this case, is Chris Grier. The hand the Miami General Manager was dealt when the smoke cleared after a 5-win season in 2019 was essentially like a 2-6 off-suit, if we are speaking Mr. Rodger’s language of poker.
Grier, who threw in hands that never led to a winning pot like Laremy Tunsil, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Kiko Alonzo, Kenyan Drake and Kenny Stills, has been grinding this session of Hold’em as if he were “Kinish” in the legendary movie, Rounders. For the uninitiated to one of Matt Damon’s gems of a film, “Joey Kinish” was a character who literally made a living grinding out money through winning hands of poker.
The NFL is not poker, but it is certainly similar in mindset and strategy, as well as patience, preparation and planning. Chris Grier is not dealing with actual chips here but the virtual cards dealt to the teams around him at the table will dictate what he is able to do with his cards.
Back to the 2-6 off-suit.
As the chip-leader in the 2020 draft, Grier has the luxury of being the bully at the table. Meaning, he could bluff, raise, re-raise and essentially control the table or board of the NFL Draft.
Most players would fold’em, if they were looking at that 2-6 off-suit to open betting, as many aren’t willing to grind it out and risk a flop to start things off.
Worse yet would be to slow-play the hand, and even have a card thrown on 4th street that remarkably helps another team at the table and flushes you out. And then, as the stress mounts, you may have to swim through a potentially murky river of useless cards while losing precious chips. Remember, in this example, the Ace up the sleeve doesn’t help you here in this particular case.
What any savvy player would do in Grier’s case, would control the pot. Control the board and dictate the moves. We all know what he is holding from a pick standpoint. 14 picks in 2020 and 9 in 2021. Call the 2021 the chip reserves in his pocket that he’d prefer to not reach for, but in a pinch, they are there for him.
Grier must play his hand precisely right and at the same time, he needs the right cards to fall in the appropriate order.
What are the odds he lands a 3-4-5 on the flop? Not good.
So, the odds of a standard draw of 1-2-3-4 in terms of players selected before Miami at #5 are very low to land the Ace that can lead to high-percentage winning hands every time they play ball. In actuality, the odds of four players taken, mixed with no trade ups from other teams, as well as say, Tua Tagovailoa just sitting there at #5 are basically the same as expecting to hit your straight right off the bat.
What Grier must do, is eliminate the competition by using his chips, raising and re-raising until other players on those teams, the General Managers, simply know when to Fold’em.
As the clear chip leader, Grier as the opportunity to stare down four other teams at the table, and simply push more chips in to secure his hand, and that could even mean wining it before seeing the other cards.
There must be a trade up to the Top 3 if the Miami Dolphins will land a Top 2 quarterback in the 2020 Draft. If that is their intention, and the Franchise savior at QB is sitting and waiting for them this season, then chips must be pushed in. And they must be pushed in early, a few weeks (or cards) before the hand is complete on April 23rd-25th.
The Miami GM, who has been grinding it out as a satellite player in the Miami Front Office for 20-years, is ready for the Main Table. It’s the World Series of NFL Drafts in 2020, and ironic as this piece and life itself is, we all should have been in Las Vegas to see it unfold.
Regardless of what the other 31 competitors are planning with their hands, the Miami Dolphins will walk taller the next few weeks than most. Much like a person with several bracelets from past successes and victories, Grier and the Miami Dolphins are looking for their first collaborative “score.”
If they play their cards exactly right, and the chips fall where they may, in April, September through February can sooner than later can get Miami that bracelet.
Although in the NFL, they don’t shoot for bracelets.
They grind it out, each and every day of the year…for a ring.
Follow Jason on Twitter @Jason_Sarney
With several options for the Dolphins, including staying at pick #5 or trading up, this Mock Draft will focus on a scenario where Miami hangs tough at number five, and still gets Tua Tagovailoa. How did this mock finish with the other remaining picks?
Jason Sarney of www.PhinManiacs.com takes you through the process with plenty of highlights of the prospects who could be wearing Orange and Aqua soon.
Click on the YouTube Link to listen and view Jason's Live Mock!