It’s March Madness and millions of people filled out their brackets. I am going to continue that theme but instead of focusing on college basketball, I am going to focus on whom the Miami Dolphins will select with the 14th pick of the 2015 NFL Draft. In my opinion there are eight suspects that make sense and I am going to ignore a trade up scenario as I don’t think the Dolphins have the resources to make such a move.
1. DeVante Parker-Wide Receiver-Louisville
2. La’El Collins-Offensive Line-LSU
3. Todd Gurley-Running-Back-Georgia
4. Trae Waynes-Cornerback-Michigan State
5. Landon Collins-Safety-Alabama
6. Eric Kendricks-Linebacker-UCLA
7. Brandon Scherff-Offensive Line-Iowa
8. Malcolm Brown-Defensive Tackle-Texas
Round One: DeVante Parker-WR-Louisville vs. Malcolm Brown-DT-Texas
DeVante Parker-Wide Receiver-Louisville (6”3, 209, 4.48)
Parker has ideal size to be an “alpha-receiver” standing at 6'3" with a strong, athletic build. Parker runs crisps routes and does an incredibly good job at catching the ball at its highest point. Parker is a great red-zone threat as he uses his body well to box out opposing defenders.
Malcolm Brown-Defensive Tackle-Texas (6”4, 320, 5.33)
Brown has the prototypical size you covet in an NFL defensive tackle. Brown has a quick first step that allows him to obtain consistent penetration. He has the ability to entertain multiple blockers and flashes ability to control the line of scrimmage.
The Dolphins invested a boatload of money into the defensive tackle position when they signed Ndamukong Suh and they are also very high on youngsters Anthony Johnson and AJ Francis. Parker is exactly what the Miami offense needs and after losing their best offensive weapon in Mike Wallace, the Dolphins will be looking to add someone here. A receiving core of Parker, Kenny Stills, and Jarvis Landry is as good as Miami has had since the “Marx Brothers”.
Winner: DeVante Parker-Wide Receiver-Louisville
Round One: La’El Collins-OL-LSU vs. Brandon Scherff-OL-Iowa
La’El Collins-Offensive Line-LSU (6”5, 308, 5.12)
A powerful specimen that plays with a mean streak which allows him to always play to the whistle. Extremely versatile as initially he can be plugged in at left guard and eventually be a starting left tackle. In fact, Collins reminds me much of Miami’s Branden Albert. Collins has very quick feet, a strong punch, consistent ability to anchor, and is dominant when he initiates contact.
Brandon Scherff-Offensive Line-Iowa (6”5, 320, 4.93)
As his 40-time indicates, Scherff is very quick for his size. Scherff plays with very sound technique such as a strong initial punch and great hand placement. He reminds me much of Cowboys’ excellent rookie Zach Martin and I feel his best position in the NFL is left guard.
This one is close to call as both would be great players that could be plugged into left guard and complete the rebuild of the Miami offensive line. I am going to give the nod to Collins because I see him moving to left tackle in the future and that will be a position of need for the Fins once Albert’s cap hit becomes too much for his production.
Winner: La’El Collins-Offensive Line-LSU
Round One: Todd Gurley-RB-Georgia vs. Eric Kendricks-LB-UCLA
Todd Gurley-Running-Back-Georgia ( 6”1, 225, 4.50)
Gurley is the best running-back to enter the NFL ranks since Adrian Peterson and I have him labeled as a one a decade type of talent. Simply put, Gurley is a game-changer. His physical build is ideal for the NFL which is why Gurley rarely goes down after initial contact. Even better, Gurley is a willing and capable blocker.
Eric Kendricks-Linebacker-UCLA (6”0, 230, 4.68)
Kendricks plays with great instincts and flows sideline to sideline very well. Eric is the brother of Eagles’ Mychal Kendricks. He is a student of the game that can diagnose plays quickly and reacts just as quick. One weakness in Kendricks’ game is his ability to take on blockers.
Kendricks is a very good football player and would allow Koa Misi to move to strong-side linebacker where he is better suited but Todd Gurley is just too good to pass up. Having a dominant runner like Gurley would take pressure off of Ryan Tannehill and a good runner like Gurley also makes the offensive line look better.
Winner: Todd Gurley-Running-Back-Georgia
Round One: Trae Waynes-CB-Michigan State vs. Landon Collins-SAF-Alabama
Trae Waynes-Cornerback-Michigan State (6”1, 185, 4.35)
The battle for best cornerback in the draft is between Washington’s Marcus Peters and Michigan State’s Trae Waynes. He comes with less baggage and he has great size and length for the position and a natural, fluid back pedal. His biggest strength is using his leverage against opposing receivers.
Landon Collins-Safety-Alabama (6”0, 224, 4.52)
An aggressive and physical player who is best suited to play strong safety at the next level. With that said, he is clearly the best safety in this draft and his knack for making big plays is quite appealing.
Brent Grimes isn’t getting younger and while I still have a lot of faith in Jamar Taylor, he is far from a proven commodity. Right now, Miami has Louis Delmas coming off a major injury and Michael Thomas as their free safeties so this is a position of need but Collins isn’t a great cover guy.
Winner: Trae Waynes-Cornerback-Michigan State
Round Two: DeVante Parker-WR-Louisville vs. La’El Collins-OL-LSU
Wide receiver and left guard are the Dolphins' biggest needs entering the 2015 NFL draft so you can’t really go wrong here. What I like about Collins is that he can start immediately at left guard and eventually transition to left tackle to replace Albert when his contract becomes too much to digest.
Parker is an alpha-receiver that perfectly complements Stills and Landry, completing the Miami receiving core. While Collins would keep Tannehill clean, Parker would provide Tannehill with the best weapon he has had at his disposal since being drafted by the team in 2012. Both positions are fairly deep in terms of draft talent but what has me leaning towards Parker is that Dolphins’ owner Stephen Ross is in the business of selling tickets. A big-play receiver is a better sell to the Miami fan base in comparison to an offensive line.
Winner: DeVante Parker-Wide Receiver-Louisville
Round Two: Todd Gurley-RB-Georgia vs. Trae Waynes-CB-Michigan State
This is another situation where it is hard to go wrong. Gurley is the best running back to enter the draft since Peterson in 2007 and Waynes is an immediate cover corner that would start opposite of Grimes. Waynes’ stock is on the rise after a great combine and even better pro day. He has the ideal size that NFL scouts covet and in today’s NFL, stopping the passing game is a priority.
Gurley is coming off a major injury which will scare some teams away and when you partner that with the fact that the stock of a running back in today’s NFL is declining, it will be tough to pull the trigger here. With all that said, a big ticket runner would take a lot of pressure off Tannehill and open up the Miami passing attack.
Winner: Todd Gurley-RB-Georgia
Final Round: DeVante Parker-WR-Louisville vs. Todd Gurley-RB-Georgia
I have both players in my top ten overall players in the 2015 NFL draft (Gurley-#2, Parker-#9). Both players are tremendous playmakers that make the Miami offense immediately better. To say this would be a tough choice is an understatement and I must mention that it is well documented that Miami has shown strong interest in both players.
The Minnesota Vikings were a bad football team but then they drafted Adrian Peterson, who blossomed into a top ten player in the NFL and made them a competitive team. The Dolphins are already a competitive team and a player like Gurley could take them to the next level. Gurley wouldn’t have to be overloaded immediately because the Dolphins do have Lamar Miller under contract for the 2015 season.
The Dolphins will still be able to landa good receiver in the second round of this draft as players such as Nelson Agholor (USC), Devon Smith (Ohio State), Phillip Dorsett (Miami), or Tyler Lockett (Kansas State). I suspect that if Miami were to look running back in round two, both Gurley and Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon would be long gone.
The Winner and the Miami Dolphins 2015 NFL Draft Pick: Todd Gurley-RB-Georgia
This column was written by Neal Driscoll. Follow him on Twitter: @NealDriscoll
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