Before we get to the picks, a few blanket statements of what I believe and some chatter I am hearing from sources around the Dolphins that will help better explain my picks/predictions in this mock draft.
1) This Dolphins team rebuild job is a 2 year deal. This team isn't going from 6 wins to the playoffs overnight after losing all of the talent they did this offseason. 2016 will be a long season, so it's about the future and building a sustained winner long term, not a quick fix. I know in the press they have said otherwise, but that's just "coach speak" and "GM speak" and don't fall for it folks.
2) I would be stunned if not shocked if the Dolphins took a Running Back before Rd 3. And I will not have them taking one until much later in the draft because its not a "valued" position in the league anymore. Not to mention there are still guys in free agency who Miami can sign. It's a position that the Dolphins can "Kick the Can down the road" on for another year and worry about RB a year from now.
3) Vance Joseph....Vance Joseph....Vance Joseph. From chatter I am hearing Vance Joseph the Fins defensive coordinator has a lot, and I mean a lot of say in who the Dolphins like defensively. Joseph has a certain size CB he likes on his team and he has a certain speed he likes at LB. Vance Joseph has a lot of say and is almost a co-head coach on this team from things I am hearing internally from sources.
With all of that said, let's get to the MOCK!
1st Round, Pick #13--The Miami Dolphins select ELI APPLE CB/OHIO ST
A redshirt sophomore who has all the talent in the world. Everyone talks about Jalen Ramsey and how great he is, well if Apple stayed in college for 1 more year, then a year from now he would be a Top 5 pick and being talked about as the "Jalen Ramsey of the 2017 draft." Apple has the size and speed Vance Joseph loves. He has the size and speed that you need to be an elite CB in the NFL in this era. Eli Apple has it all. The best part about Apple is that he is an ascending player and we haven't seen his best football yet. As I said above, if a team like Miami is in the mindset that this is a 2 year rebuild job (and from chatter I am hearing they understand that) then you take Apple at #13, he will take his lumps this year at times, but in a year you might have a young elite CB on your hands who is ready to dominate. Will he be a day 1 starter; yes...but he will struggle at times this year and you have to accept that and have patience. Reminds me a little of the Olivier Vernon pick in 2012. Vernon left college early and fell to Round 3. If Vernon stayed in school one more year he was a lock 1st round draft pick the next year and a top 15 pick according to many. Apple came out early and will fall to middle or late Round 1. If he stayed in school he was a Top 5 pick. Miami will think big picture here and understand the value they get with Apple even if it means he struggles in year 1 some. The kid has all of the measurables and Miami has a huge need at CB its an easy pick to make.
Other 1st round thoughts: If a team offered Miami something to move down I think they would. As much as they love Apple they could still get him later possibly. Or they will just outweigh the fact more picks means more better players and they are fine with letting Apple go and adding more better players through more picks. A trade down I see as very real. There was an "internet rumor" that the Fins might go big to trade up, I guess possibly but I don't see it and would say its a low % of happening. Ezekiel Elliott if he falls to #13, um NO. Miami will pass on him.
2nd Round, Pick #42--The Miami Dolphins select GERMAIN IFEDI G/TEXAS A&M
A tackle who can play guard and as we know from Adam Gase's history that is what he loves. Ifedi is a monster of a man who has good feet. In the NFL he will be a right tackle or a right guard (most likely a guard.) Let's just be flat out honest, the Dolphins don't have one proven quality offensive guard on their roster. Dallas Thomas is horrible. Billy Turner is a back-up at best. Jamil Douglas showed lack of concentration and made a million mistakes last year. The Dolphins did nothing in free agency to address this position (and don't give me Jermon Bushrod, please) to me this pick makes a ton of sense. He will be a Day 1 starter on this offensive line. He has the ability to swing over to tackle if Juwaun James ever got hurt and missed time. Ifedi is the perfect fit for what Miami wants to do on offense under Gase. Most of his flaws are easily fixable and he is a starting right guard from Day 1 of his NFL career.
3rd Round, Pick #73--The Miami Dolphins select Deion Jones, OLB/LSU
Speed, Speed, Speed. Jones is an athletic freak who was a 1 year wonder at LSU. The Dolphins defense is old and slow. They need to add speed and get much more athletic, especially in the front 7. Jones is an undersized "WILL" linebacker who will need a year or two in an NFL workout program to build up his frame some but you can't mistake the kid's ability and speed. Year one this kid is a special teams beast and a 3rd down linebacker who can cover. In year 2 and 3 you will work him into being a starter after he gets more playing time. The fact he was a 1 year wonder at LSU is a bit misleading. Yes, until his senior season he didn't play much or do anything. Why you ask, because all the guys in front of him on the depth chart at LSU were all NFL players (all still in the league) so the kid was buried on the depth chart for being behind great players. Can't knock him too much for that. But when he did start in 2015 he was an amazing linebacker for LSU. This defense needs some youth, some speed, some guys who can move and make plays in space. Jones is the perfect fit for this defense and someone who's best football is ahead of him. Yes, again, Miami much show patience as Jones in year 1 won't give this team much of an impact on defense and will be a special teams player only really.
4th Round, Pick # 107--The Miami Dolphins select Charles Trapper, DE/Oklahoma
After the Fins grabbed Jordan Phillips the DT from the Sooners last year in Round 2 they will go back to the Oklahoma well and take his teammate Charles Trapper. Cam Wake is 34 coming off a major injury, his best days are behind him. Mario Williams has a ton of red flags around him these days after his play last year with only 15 total tackles in 15 games. Andre Branch stinks folks, hate to break the news to ya. With the Fins losing Vernon and Shelby they need to add a young DE to the rotation who can be the future. The tape on him isn't great but he had an amazing combine and looks to be a very good run stuffing DE in a 4-3 defense who will grow as a pass rusher. In round 4 of this draft with the old DE's already on Miami's roster he is a perfect fit and someone Miami can slide into their DE rotation over time.
So that's my 4 round mock. If some big news breaks in the next 12 days before the draft I might tweak this some, but if not and things stay clam heading into April 28th this is my official 4 round Mock Draft. I know some of you are flipping out because no running back was taken, but again, it's not that big a need for this Dolphins team. This team can go out and trade a late round pick for a vet RB, or sign Foster or Hillman. Plus I think Miami will grab a running back between Rounds 5-7.