We are still 8 weeks away from the NFL draft. And I've seen what, maybe 347 mock drafts? This week is the NFL combine. Nice little diversion for football starved fans. And a week for the NFL execs and coaches to dot their “I’s” and cross their “T's” with potential future draft picks. Some call the combine a meat market. The Sentinels Omar Kelly I think gave it the perfect name, "the Underwear Olympics." Whatever you call the NFL combine or the upcoming draft it is a very real opportunity for teams without hope, to get hope for the 2018 season.
And that brings us to the Miami Dolphins. You know, the team that always makes Darius Rucker cry. And most Dolfans as well. This week the Dolphins will be well represented in Indianapolis for the combine. They will have sit down conversations with Jarvis Landry and his agent to try and work out a landing spot for him when he is traded. And yes that is going to happen. There will be lots of conversations this week to line up all the dominoes for the upcoming NFL draft on April 26th.
I've been giving the Phins situation with Landry and the draft and the team needs a lot of thought. As have many other draft experts most of whom are a lot smarter than me. But hey, if everyone else and their mother are mocking the 2018 draft... why can't I? So here is mock draft # 348. Or at least I'll tell you what the Dolphins should do with their early picks and see what happens.
First, as I mentioned, the Dolphins will trade Jarvis Landry. I believe the most sound trade partner would be San Francisco. They have tons of money to spend and need more toys for their new young QB Jimmy G. Now here is where it gets interesting and where the dominoes start to fall. This trade is conditional on Miami and San Fran trading draft positions in the first rd. Miami moves to #9, and the 49'ers move to #11. San Francisco moves down 2 slots and gets one of the best slot receivers in the business. If the Niners want more candy, I wouldn't be against trading our 3rd rd pick for their 4th rd pick to sweeten the pie. What I'm saying is, it's doable and we move up to 9th and get rid of the Landry contract obligation.
At # 9 our options and odds of drafting a "great" player improve dramatically. These are the players the Dolphins want to be focusing on at #9:
1) Roquan Smith, arguably the best LB to enter the NFL draft since Luke Kuechly. Smith is a heat seeking missile with tremendous speed, high football IQ, and he played against the best competition in the Country.
2) Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame, yes I know... how do you draft a guard this high? When he is by far, the best O-Lineman in the draft. And when the Dolphins have a tremendous need at that position.
3) Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB/S, Alabama ... Perhaps THE best player, regardless of position in this year’s draft. (Close race between Barkley, Fitzpatrick, and Smith). Fitzpatrick probably will end up a Safety in the NFL eventually. But if he's there for the Dolphins he can most certainly play CB, or nickel for a year. He is a tremendous DB at any position. Coached by the best DB coach currently in the college ranks (hurts me to even say that), Nick Saban.
4) QB...at #9 almost a guarantee one of the top 4 will be there. If the Dolphins brain trust, is that an Oxymoron, strongly believe in the one who will be there for them, then I pray they don't regret passing him up at 9.
5) Bradley Chubb, DE, N.C. State... Excellent edge rushers who are also solid against the run are a premium commodity in the NFL. So Chubb probably won't even get to #9. That said, I do not think if Joey Bosa or Myles Garrett were in this year’s draft, that Chubb would be in the top 10 picks of rd one. But as it stands he will probably be in the top 5 selections in 2018. If for some reason he falls to #9. Look for the Dolphins to scoop him up.
There you have it. It is extremely unlikely that neither Smith, Nelson, Fitzpatrick nor Chubb, will be available for the Dolphins at #11. As these men, barring injury, are sure fire All-Pro potential type football players. There is an outside chance that one of the QB's falls to #11. But if the Phins really want one this early, do NOT take that chance.
Personally I take Roquan Smith if he's there. Imagine pairing him with a healthy Raekwon McMillan. And now you start to see a young nasty looking Dolphins defense.
The main reason for my wanting to move up to #9, is for Smith. As Oakland at #10, in every mock draft I've seen, is selecting Smith at that 10th spot. That produces another interesting scenario however. What if Oakland is in love with Smith? Heck, the Dolphins should be more than willing to oblige and trade back to #10 with Oakland for the #9 spot. If, and only if one of these players, Nelson, Fitzpatrick, or Chubb are available. And if Oakland throws in their 2nd rd pick as well. Again if they want extra sweetener, we can throw in one of our extra 4th rounders. Or a 3rd rounder in 2019? Either or.
And with that 2nd rd pick from the Raiders, I'm selecting QB. Either Lamar Jackson or Mason Rudolph. And with the Dolphins own 2nd rounder I'm selecting RB's Derrius Guice, Sony Michel, or Kerryon Johnson in that order, whoever is available.
There you have it. So simple right. So easy even a caveman can do it. Or maybe I am giving Tannenbaum too much credit. Let's see where the dominoes fall.