As we enter draft week, the talk is all about what to do with that first round selection number 13. It is fairly clear what fans feel about the core needs. Many are looking to fill vacancies left by the departures of Cameron Wake, Robert Quinn, and are still reeling a year later from the departure of Ndamukong Suh. There are glaring needs at right tackle as well with Ja’Wuan James moving on.
The fan base will be excited to draft any of the quality defensive tackle or defensive end prospects. My personal belief is that quarterback needs will be more of a developmental prospect this year and not a franchise cornerstone. If something crazy happens that Dwayne Haskins makes it past the Giants and the Broncos, maybe the Dolphins find a trade partner, but he will not slide outside of the top ten. At this point, 2020 will be the year the Miami Dolphins participate in the quarterback market.
So going into the draft, how do the Dolphins brass fill out the rest of the roster? They have the following picks to achieve this:
2nd Round (48)
3rd Round (79)
4th Round (117)
5th Round (152)
7th Round (235)
7th Round (236)
Mr. Irrelevant is pick 254, putting the Dolphins seventh round picks right in the middle. For the purpose of this article, we will focus on the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th round selections. These middle round picks need starter potential and not special teams talent. That is the prism by which we will look at these picks.
I think the Miami Dolphins will take a top tier defensive line talent. My preference would be the intelligent leader of Christian Wilkins, but they may very well go with a splashier defensive end there. An argument can be made that beef in the middle of the defensive line can be found in later rounds to compliment what they already have in Davon Godchaux and Vincent Taylor. I’m not sure there is a Pro Bowler in that group, but if there is one, it will be Godchaux that takes the next step.
The second-round pick selection I have the Dolphins targeting Garrett Bradbury (center) out of NC State. He’s very strong with huge hands. His athleticism and quickness is unquestioned and was on display at the Senior Bowl. Being a tight end in high school contributes to his great feet. I think his strength (34 reps) and hand size will make him dictate the game at his will. Finally a solid replacement for Mike Pouncey.
Then, in my opinion it would be in the Dolphins best interest to go back to the interior offensive line and select Max Scharping (guard) out of Northern Illinois with their third-round pick. I really like drafting guys in the middle rounds from second-tier college programs. He played right tackle last year with a projection of sliding inside. That experience and possible line flexibility is the kind of pick the Dolphins desperately need. His wingspan is 80 inches and he is 6’6”. He will be a mauler at the next level and will be a great addition should the Dolphins organization see him as I do.
With the offensive line additions, I can see the Miami Dolphins burning a pick here on a developmental prospect at quarterback. With the fourth-round pick a prospect like Tyree Jackson (quarterback) makes all the sense in the world to me. Jackson left a year early so that additional development can happen on the Dolphins roster.
What better player to learn the position from than our current all-world smart guy Ryan Fitzpatrick?
Jackson's got every tool in the book besides accuracy. If he completed more than 55 percent of his passes he would be considered a first or second-day pick. Think Bills QB Josh Allen here But also, who were his skill position guys outside of Anthony Johnson? Tyree Jackson is the definition of developmental prospect with Cam Newton upside.
For the fifth-round selection I can see the Miami Dolphins keep it local and select Joe Jackson (defensive end) out of the University of Miami. He has all the tools to be successful. His issue is consistency. The write up on him is that he ran too hot and cold. His 2018 projection had him much higher than his current one.
This is a classic buy low opportunity. My only concern here is that he has a 3rd to 5th round projection so it’s likely a team takes a luxury shot on him in round three or four. Might be worth trading one of our next year picks to go get him. He can be coached up and fulfill his raw potential.
It is clear, the Dolphins absolutely must address the trenches this year. The back seven is actually in pretty good shape. If Miami can get some scheme help and produce creative pressure up front, the back seven will benefit. The skill positions are filled with exciting young players that the team will take the “next man up” approach with.
It is an exciting time to be a Dolphins fan. I don’t remember a time when we had so much confidence in the leadership of the team. This rebuild (oh, I mean youth movement) is the most exciting thing we've seen in a decade.
Embrace it, have fun, let’s go Miami!
This story was written by Steven Paulsen. Follow him on Twitter: @SarcasticPhin
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