By: Shawn Williams
In less than four weeks, I’ll be in Cleveland, Ohio, with a “Polish Boy” (if you don’t know, look it up, you’ll thank me later) in one hand and an iPhone in the other. That phone will be locked, loaded and at the ready to snap a picture of the moment Najee Harris becomes a Miami Dolphin (I’m taking the approach of aggressively speaking it into existence). Besides impatiently awaiting the second most important draft of this Dolphin rebuild, I have been working. Apart from the Alabama superstar running back, there are other draft picks and prospects to account for, and I need to ensure I have my list of can’t miss studs for Chris Grier to fawn over. Note* these are guys that I believe fit with Miami, this was done with a focus on the Dolphins, specifically.
With that being said, here’s Version 1. Enjoy, and take these guys to the bank!
University of Alabama
Show me one flaw in Najee’s game, and I’ll hold up a mirror and show you a liar. You’re go-to argument will be that is he’s 23, and that’s a real scary thought for NFL followers who see a tweet about someone complaining about a running back’s shelf life. Hopefully, you’re not one of “those people” that say running backs don’t belong in the first round. See, I thought that’s where elite talent is supposed to be taken, my mistake. Would you take Derrick Henry, or maybe Nick Chubb in the first? If the answer is no, well then, I guess there’s a reason you’re not an NFL front office exec.
Najee Harris is a forceful runner, who will run through, around or over a defender, depending on his mood or preference. He can also run thirty yards down the field and catch a beautifully thrown pass from former teammate Tua Tagovailoa, with the grace of a polished Wide Receiver. Harris is a perfect fit for Miami, ya gotta get him. Please.
Xavien Howard and Byron Jones remind of another great Dolphin secondary that featured Patrick Surtain and Sam Madison. Two of my favorite Dolphins ever, but they didn’t do it alone. Sam and Pat had Brock Marion roaming as one of the best safeties to don’ the colors (all the respect to Jake Scott), and that’s the exact type of player that X and Byron need to for an all-time great secondary.
Trevon Moehrig can be that man. He excels playing deep, and like X, has the knack for picking passes. I know, I know Bobby McCain. I love Bobby, he may just be the heart and soul of the team, and I don’t want to see him go, but my heart is now with another. I dream of Super Bowls, and I was a big fan of Seattle’s Legion of Boom. Give me my Earl Thomas, or Brock Marion for that matter.
I really don’t know what to think about Chase, Pitts, Smith or Waddle. They’re all fantastic option whom I believe will have success at the next level. I know a big part of the fanbase wants Kyle Pitts, and if Miami nabs him at 6, good on them. But Mike is the man, and I want an Alpha wideout.
Chase is a physical specimen, with soft hands, over exaggerated separation concerns, and probably the safest bet in the draft if we’re being honest. Just take him. Do it. F*** it, send it in.
University of Alabama
My head is with Ja’Marr, but Devonta has my heart. Who doesn’t want to see the band back together? Don’t we want the other half of the pass that took out Georgia in the ‘Natty? There is such a familiarity between Tua and Devonta (and Najee) that it’s hard not to envision the Miami Aqua Tide. Apart from all that, Smith is the reigning Heisman winner. Watching him run routes is like watching an angel glide, really fast, down the field untouched, because the route running is just that good. He may be small, but so is Jakeem Grant, and for some reason that was a thing last season. I’m okay with Chase, Smith or Waddle, but Smith has an intangibles you cannot teach. He and Tua can have long, injury-risked careers together making magic in Miami.
Let me preface this by saying, I like both Penei Sewell and Slater. I just like Slater for Miami a bit more, especially at Guard. I think Slater has elite, All-Pro potential as a guard. He is polished, super intelligent, and versatile. I don’t believe he’s best suited to play outside, and that’s fine, because someone needs to anchor the middle of the line. Pick 6 is way too high for a Center, but Slater is a T/G/C. It’s not the sexy pick, but it’s not one to scoff at either.
University of Miami
I recently fell for Jaelan Phillips while doing some scouting work for my man Hussam (check out his draft profiles, they’re definitely worth the random plug here). Phillips is a guy that can play all over the line, standing up, sitting down, hand in the dirt wherever he may be needed. This kid is as athletically gifted as they come and had the season and the numbers at “The U” to back it up. A slow start to his collegiate career at UCLA has led to some skepticism, but he wouldn’t be on this list if that mattered. I believe he’s the best EDGE in the draft. He can stop the run, and he’s big enough to take down Josh Allen. I’m sold.
Collins is a dynamic, do everything Linebacker’ they type Miami has sorely needed. Pairing Collin with McKinney, and Baker, and AVG could make an already strong defense, truly ELITE. I think this is the kind of guy that lasts 15 years in the NFL and plays everyone one of them at a high level. Every defender on this list, is someone I believe makes a major impact in Miami, but Collins is just a little bit better.
I love Linebackers, and Nick Bolton is 1b for me after Zaven Collins. Bolton is slightly more realistic in the early second, whereas Collins is rising up the first. Bolton is high, high motor (very Brian Flores), and it wouldn’t shock me at all if the Dolphins pick him up. Hussam thinks Bolton will end up on the weak side. I think he will end up destroying running backs, quarterbacks, wide receivers, and anyone else that tries to get past him.
University of Washington
And…..we have our 10+ sack guy! Joe Tryon is explosive, flexible, has a high motor (another B. Flo type), and can play in multiple schemes. He would make an excellent outside backer for us but can play with his hand in the dirt on pass downs too. Joe is definitely on my short list of second round guys, and the EDGE I see as the perfect fit for us, because we will be taking Najee at 18.
High energy, can get in the backfield, comes from a program that has seen really good linebackers as of late (Devin Bush, Rashan Gary). Could be a late 2nd or 3rd round guy for Miami, and acceptable option if we miss out on Nick Bolton.
If you’re like me, and still get a little sad thinking about the slot position the incredible Jarvis Landry vacated, then go watch Clemson highlights. After that, check out their pro day. When you’re done, send me a thank you note, and make sure it reads “Amari Rodger’s No Matter What”.
Miami has a couple “slot guys” with Albert Wilson, Lynn Bowden, even Allen Hurns. But none of them bring what Rodgers brings. He’s really a running back, that’s really good at playing receiver (remember, like Landry). He’s got the strength, vision, burst, and makes guys miss. Rodger’s is a perfect safety net for Tua, as he excels at sitting in the zone, or taking a slant or screen and just going. His hands are reliable and racks up the YAC. I could honestly go on and on about Mr. Rodgers, but I won’t. Just know, he will end up an absolute steal for whomever is smart enough to grab him.
Flo loves versatility at the Safety position, and Nasirildeen is that guy in this draft. He, like Eric Rowe, has the potential to be a tight end eraser. Hamsah can also play the run, and deep coverage, and man against running backs. He is the swiss-army knife Coach Flores has always wanted. The perfect sub-package defender. Oh, he can even play linebacker. This uber athletic Seminole is a third-round guy, that would be a first -round guy had he not torn his ACL at the end of the 2019 season. You know we love our injury risk guys.
I simply love Trey because he can knock your teeth out. The most powerful runner in this draft, a’ la Marshawn Lynch. Najee is my guy, and we already signed Malcolm Brown, but he makes this list because it’s my list, and I can do what I want.
Home run threat, can replace Jakeem in the return game.
Mike Gesicki loves cheering on his tight end teammates, so let’s give him his Penn State successor (but not 2022 successor, because he needs to be resigned ASAP). Pat is a versatile receiving weapon, much like Mike, but is also a capable blocker. He projects as a great fit for the 12 technique Miami runs, and can pair nicely with Gesicki and yes, there are TE’s not named Kyle Pitts in this draft.