By: Jason Sarney
They say in a sport where playoffs consist of a best of seven series, Game 2 is of extreme importance. The Game 1 winner could put a strangle hold on the opponent at 2-0, potentially, while there could be the chance of an evening of the series at 1-1.
Football is not that sport in it's playoffs, but the Draft feels like it in a way.
In the grand scheme of things, Miami essentially could claim a Game 1 victory from Thursday night, as Chris Grier and the Miami front office held tight at number five, despite smoke-signals they were concocting a massive move to get a pair of top-5 selections, and selected Tua Tagovailoa.
The fan-base has not been in this much unison since the Miami Miracle, and it appears a new Savior is here.
At the end of the night, Miami came away with their potential decade-plus-long Quarterback, the second-highest ever selected by the Dolphins at #5. Bob Griese was a #4 pick.
They also found a tackle who could man the left side, or now perhaps more importantly, the right side which is Tua Tagovailoa’s blind-side. Austin Jackson from USC was the 18th pick, and while I will forever link him to a missed opportunity of selecting center/guard, Cesar Ruiz from Michigan, Jackson is a young prospect at just 20-years old, who already received an endorsement from the best to ever do it from either side of the Miami offensive line, Richmond Webb.
The initial confusion to me was two-fold, but each can be fixed Day 2. The Packers trade in giving up the 26th to move back to 30th only netted a 4th, which I believe is a tad too little.
The Packers selected Jordan Love to be the heir to Aaron Rodgers, and now the Packers placed a lineage of Favre, Rodgers and potentially Love. That is impressive, and frankly, no pun intended, I am envious with their Love of the process.
The Packers have potentially shown a masterclass in quarterback continuity through three decades.
Now we get to Noah Igbinoghene, who is a fantastic corner. The only issue I have is the thought-process with an already elite group of Xavien Howard and Byron Jones with a complimentary sophomore of Nik Needham on the rise. I can see how Brian Flores would want lock-down corners all over, so there is a grand-plan to this pick I can live with.
However with need at safety and interior line, not to mention another tackle, the cornerback selection was a mild shocker. Igbinoghene is a tremendous talent and can create a nightmare for league slot receivers. For this pick to sing, Miami must have a safety’s named called on Friday.
Now with Game 1 a solid win overall, this Round 1 works with a few asterisks heading into Friday evening.
*1- Will Grier look at the trade market, and realize those 4th and 5th rounders (5 total) could lead to a pair of extra 3rds, or even better?
*2- Will the line be added to?
*3- Will Tua get new weapons?
First off, when looking at some other deals, it seems as if there could be great opportunity to move around and get more 3rd rounders or even 2nd rounders. Grier could move UP to the top pick or so in the 2nd with, say that GB 4th he got, and select the top safety on their board. That would be a great move, or they could go with another lineman at their choice. They could easily stay put with that talent remaining as well.
Grier could also package a 4th and 5th to move into the 3rd again after his 70th pick and pick up more top-100 talent.
Secondly, the offensive line needs two more members by Friday, close of business.
The third asterisk is when the running back will be taken and perhaps could be a slot receiver.
So, with picks #39, #56 and #70 now, perhaps Day 2 can end with a few more players via trade-up.
Here is the outlook I am hoping for Friday during Day 2.
There is a very little shot Josh Jones lasts the 6 selections before Miami makes the #39 pick. A few teams need offensive line help and he is tough to pass up on here, book-ending the offensive line for Tua.
The safety market, in all honesty, has a big three and I am OK, yet, if the offensive line is addressed or running back is taken at #39 then the #56 spot needs a safety like Ashtyn Davis. If its pick #39, I would be shocked if Xavier McKinney is there, but would fall head over heals if Antoine Winfield, Jr. was the pick there.
The running back class is now turned into chaos with Clyde Edwards-Helaire being selected by the Chiefs to close the 1st round, and not DeAndre Swift. If Miami goes running back at #39, it would be hard to turn down the Georgia runner, but the Lions are in play for both a back and a safety. A trade up could be in the cards here with maybe a team like Indy or even Cincinnati to make the days 1st pick. If it is not a running back at #39, look for Cam Akers or even a slipping of Jonathan Taylor or J.K. Dobbins at #56.
The defensive pass rusher of my dreams, Alex Highsmith, could be in play from #56 to #70, but that is a high-end assessment. There are several teams after him, and I believe a trade-up is needed somehow and somewhere to get him, even if it is in picks 70-90 should Miami live a tad dangerously. I’ll trade up to that in a heartbeat if he is there.
Day 2, like Game 2, is when a win could turn into a dominant sweep of the draft.
You can follow Jason on Twitter @OrangeAquaman