Early Mock Drafts
By Justin Juliano
Even though it is still early, many websites are posting 1st round NFL Mock drafts for 2018. This is a little ridiculous considering the combine will slide players up and down draft boards for reasons that are really not football related, and many team needs will be addressed in free agency which starts March 14th. But some of the so-called draft experts have some interesting picks for the Dolphins which I would like to address.
Your Miami Dolphins will be picking at number 11 when the draft starts April 26th. And you’ll be sitting on the edge of your seat hoping for a new playmaker (not an offensive lineman) to root for. In the mock drafts that I have read recently the experts have the Dolphins selecting anyone from Baker Mayfield at quarterback from Oklahoma to Connor Williams offensive tackle from Texas. Now this is understandable considering how many holes (and they have a few) the Dolphins have. But some of these mock picks just don’t make any sense.
Let’s start with anyone who says the Dolphins pick an O-Lineman with their first pick of the draft. This is really a head scratcher for a few reasons. The team fielded 3 1st round picks on the o-line in 2018, Tunsil, Pouncey, and James, and they could not get the job done. What is another 1st rounder going to do? Now there is speculation that the team may rescind the fifth-year option on James, but do you do that just to spend another 1st on the o-line? What the Dolphins offensive line needs is better coaching (preferably without a drug habit), not another high draft pick. Other teams do a lot more with a lot less on the o-line. They will probably draft for o-line depth but most likely this will occur in the mid to late rounds.
I have also seen where the Dolphins take a defensive lineman in the first. Also, probably not going to happen. You see the Fins already have a ton of cash tied up in Suh, Wake, and Branch. They also used a first round pick last year on Charles Harris at defensive end. Back to back 1st round picks at the same position is not the best strategy for any team. William Hayes, the run stopping specialist at defensive end may leave during free agency, but I think it is more likely that the Dolphins sign a veteran to add depth.
And the last strange mock pick is at cornerback. The Fins have Howard, who flashed last year. He just needs to be a little more consistent. Tony Lippett was looking improved before the injury and by all reports is on schedule to be back. And then there is Tankersly, who many said was expected to red shirt last year, played better than most of us thought he would and showed a lot of promise. With the Dolphins having recently hired Tony Oden as the new defensive backs coach there is hope that this group will improve. This group can also be improved by adding a veteran in free agency to bolster the depth in the secondary.
So, at this point what are the most likely positions for the Fins to draft at 11? I like the Baker Mayfield QB pick, but I don’t think he will be there. Look I’m not against Tannehill, but I don’t think he is elite either. Plus, look what happened when he went down, the team clearly didn’t trust Moore and panicked and signed Cutler. Good teams draft a QB every year (see New England), maybe not in the first, but somewhere in the draft. This is a philosophy the Dolphins need to adopt. I think the Dolphins will have to trade up to get a 1st round QB and they don’t have a lot to work with, so I would be surprised if they can move up in round one. So, I don’t see them taking a QB here unless one falls to them.
I do like the Roquan Smith LB UGA pick at 11. Even though a lot of mock drafts have the Raiders taking him at 10, if he makes it past them I think this has to be the pick. He is a game changer. Add him with Alonso and McMillan and we have a strong talented linebacking corp. The team would still need to add a veteran for depth, but the unit would immediately be upgraded. If he is gone by the time the Dolphins pick I believe that they should trade back. There will be good linebackers available later in the first round. In a perfect world the Dolphins could trade back a little and pick up an extra draft pick to fill some needs and draft the best player available. The Dolphins need to draft a QB, TE, LB, and probably a RB. And they need to add depth at o-line, d-line, and linebacker. But let’s see what happens in free agency and that should narrow it down a bit.