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2015 Dolphins Draft Picks
Imagine this scenario:
Miami cuts Tannehill, Parker, Quinn, Alonso, Sitton, and Spence. Frees up $50 million. They move TJ McDonald to LB.
They re-sign Ja'Wuan James and sign Trey Flowers, Malcom Brown, AJ Cann, and Tyrod Taylor. Based on contract structure that might eat up a little less than $30 million. They still have nearly $40 million for draft picks, new contracts for Laremy Tunsil and Xavien Howard, plus a bunch to roll into next year.
QB: Tyrod Taylor
RB: Kenyan Drake
WR: Kenny Stills/Albert Wilson
TE: Dwayne Allen/Mike Gesicki
OL: Laremy Tunsil/AJ Cann/Dan Kilgore/Jesse Davis/Ja'Wuan James
DL: Trey Flowers/Malcom Brown/Vincent Taylor (add Davon Godchaux for 4-3 front)
LB: Jerome Baker/Raekwon McMillan/TJ McDonald (add Charles Harris for 3-4 front)
CB: Xavien Howard/Bobby McCain
S: Minkah Fitpatrick/Reshad Jones
Obviously they'll rotate additional secondary guys for nickel and dime looks.
Doing this allows you to draft BPA and target guys you want rather than fill needs. You could do just about anything you want in Rounds 1-3, even getting people to replace a current starter on that above list who may become too expensive. This would also give you the chance to trade up for a QB you like in Round 1 if need be.
ESPN and the NFL Network have confirmed several soon to be Miami coaching hires. We all know Brian Flores will take over as head coach with Jim Caldwell serving in an assistant head coaching role. It was announced yesterday that Patrick Graham will be the defensive coordinator and that he worked with Flores in the Patriots organization from 2009-2015. It is being heavily rumored that Chad O'Shea from the Patriots will be plucked to be the offensive coordinator and will be implementing Caldwell's offense.
A couple of things to note - Caldwell was the offensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens in 2012 which used hard running and play action on their way to a Super Bowl victory. No more pass happy screens and quick outs. As was pointed out by several Dolphin analysts on Twitter, the defense will be something of a hybrid that has a 3-3 and 4-2 alignments requiring a strong nose tackle a 3-4 type defensive ends. Charles Harris may finally have a role in this defense that fits his skill set but Miami will have word to do in both defensive line and linebacker evaluations.
So who stays and who goes? The Ryan Tannehill era should be over. I don't believe there will be a big trade market for him due to his bloated salary and alternative free agent options. Expect him to be the first big cut unless a team like Cincinnati or Washington offers a conditional late round pick. Others who I believe will be released (based on information being leaked by Miami reporters) include Devante Parker, Dan Kilgore, Josh Sitton, Ted Larsen, and Luke Falk. If we are to believe the rumors of letting older guys walk than do not expect Miami to re-sign Frank Gore, Marqueis Gray, Sam Young, and Brock Osweiler. It is possible David Fales is re-signed but I believe he and Falk were Gase guys and do not have the arm strength to do what Caldwell wants. He already brought in his project guy in Jake Rudock who offers better arm strength and mobility than either Fales or Falk. If Armando Salguero is correct, Miami will not be offering a deal to their big free agent right tackle Ja'Wuan James. He'll be the biggest tackle name in free agency but as we all know his play has been up and down. Why have I not included Danny Amendola on the cut list? I've read his leadership and experience with Flores could keep him on the roster to help guide the younger players.
On defense, expect guys who fit the traditional 4-3 defense to be let go and that will include Robert Quinn, Kiko Alonso, and maybe Akeem Spence. The two big free agents on defense are Cameron Wake and William Hayes. As painful as it may be I can see Miami letting Wake chase a championship with another team. He is 37 years old and Father Time will eventually catch up to him. Hayes' injury history makes him an expensive luxury and its time to see both Davon Godchaux and Vincent Taylor in bigger roles with the new defensive alignment. It is also possible Miami looks to trade Reshad Jones although that would mean a large cap penalty. He can still play at a Pro Bowl level and general manager Chris Grier may opt to see if he can land a late Day 1 or early Day 2 pick. The safety room is a bit crowded with Jones, Minkah Fitzpatrick and TJ McDonald. McDonald fits the box safety role Flores will look to use and Fitzpatrick has the speed and fluidity to transition to free safety (unless Miami wants to test him again at boundary corner).
I don't want to get too far into free agency because so many unexpected cuts are coming in the next few weeks. One player's name I keep hearing is Patriot defensive end Trey Flowers. I don't think Miami is going to spend a ton of money this offseason but Flowers is 25 years old and the perfect fit for what Flores wants to build. I doubt New England lets him escape, but keep an eye on this one. Yes, Miami will sign a quarterback. Soon to be released Joe Flacco makes sense as he played under Caldwell in 2012. The next obvious choice is Miami native Teddy Bridgewater who supposedly wants a chance to come home and play. Tyrod Taylor, Robert Griffin III, and the soon to be released Blake Bortles are Plan C options. Brad Kayaa, who played at the University of Miami, could also find a backup role if Caldwell likes him. We had previously discussed Nick Foles but I don't think Miami pays for him. Word is that Foles will be the target of Jacksonville with his former coordintator John DeFilippo landing a job there.
Jammer Mock 1.0
And now to a Miami Mock Draft. I'll also provide the picks I think will happen prior to Miami's first selection and then give Day 2 options.
1. Arizona Cardinals - Nick Bosa Edge Ohio State
2. San Francisco - Quinnen Williams DT Alabama
3. New York Jets - Josh Allen Edge Kentucky
4. Oakland Raiders - Rashan Gary DE/DT Michigan
5. Tampa Bay - Ed Oliver DT Houston
6. New York Giants - Dwayne Haskins QB Ohio State
7. Jacksonville Jaguars - Jeffrey Simmons DT Mississippi State
8. Detroit Lions - Clelin Ferrell Edge Clemson
9. Buffalo Bills - Jonah Williams OT/OG Alabama
10. Denver Broncos - Drew Lock QB Missouri
11. Cincinnati Bengals - Devin White LB LSU
12. Green Bay Packers - Brian Burns Edge Florida State
13. Miami Dolphins - Christian Wilkins DT Clemson
Okay, before everyone starts screaming let's take a peak at the options. Yes, Kyler Murray is available and some Dolphin analysts and Twitter warriors are screaming for him. The problem is that analysts I trust (Ben Allbright, Daniel Jeremiah, Matt Miller) are all saying the same thing - Twitter loves Murray more than the scouts. Another comment came from former Bears personnel guy Greg Gabriel who said he knows Chris Grier well and is certain Grier won't be the guy to chance it that early with Murray. He may end up being a top 10 pick, but for now I go with the best information available.
Other options would include LSU cornerback Greedy Williams, Clemson nose tackle Dexter Lawrence, Oklahoma guard Cody Ford, Alabama safety Deointe Thompson, and Mississippi State edge Montez Sweat. Yes, add Kyler Murray to the group but don't even think about Duke quarterback Daniel Jones. He is the quarterback I am convinced gets a ton of hype and then falls to everyone's surprise (think Mason Rudolph last year).
So why Wilkins? Miami's biggest weakness is in its trenches. Wilkins is a top 10 talent and would seem to be a good fit as a defensive end who could dominate. He is 6'4" and around 310 lbs, a very similar size to Ndomakung Suh. He'll command a lot of double teams which would free up the linebackers to chase down running backs and open up blitzing lanes to get after the quarterback. You could argue it is a toss up between Wilkins and Greedy Williams as to who would be the best talent available. In this case I go with Wilkins as he solves a lot of problems for Miami.
Day 2 prospects will also focus on filling the trenches because that is where the best talent grades out in this draft. It is also possible Miami looks at a cornerback but we still don't know if they intend to play Fitzpatrick there. Name to consider for Round 2 are Mississippi State center Elgton Jenkins, Ohio State defensive lineman Dremont Jones, Wisconsin offensive tackle David Edwards, Florida offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor, Boston College defensive end Zach Allen and Washington State offensive tackle Andre Dillard.
In Round 3 you'd be looking at Kansas State center/tackle Dalton Risner, Oklahoma offensive guard Dru Samia, Penn State guard Connor McGovern, Ohio State guard Michael Jordan, Northern Illinois offensive tackle Max Scharping, Texas defensive end Charles Omenihiu, and Alabama defensive tackle Isaiah Buggs.
Now those were a lot of "needs" options. There is some great wide receiver, tight end and running back talent available as well. Miami needs a big, physical target for its new quarterback and someone to compliment the speed of Kenny Stills. If North Carolina State's Kelvin Harmon or Iowa State's Hakeem Butler are available you should not hesitate to pull trigger. I don't know if Kenyan Drake or Kalen Ballage have futures in a power run game so Miami could consider Iowa State's David Montgomery or Kentucky's Benny Snell.
Finally, let's circle back to signal caller. Adam Schefter reported Miami has their eyes on the 2020 draft crop and while that seems logical it strikes me as strange to announce that in January 2019. There are several Day 2 options at quarterback for Miami to gamble on and I think arm strength/mobility are key traits. At the East West Shrine practices Miami was seen speaking with Boise State's Brett Rypien and Ole Miss's Jordan Ta'amu. Neither scream future starter but maybe it offers a glimpse of who Miami will study at the Senior Bowl. Keep your eyes on Auburn's Jarrett Stidham and Buffalo's Tyree Jackson. If Daniel Jones falls out of the first round he would be an option. It is also possible West Virginia's Will Grier is considered, but his arm strength and PED history might turn off the Miami brass.
Well there you have it, every possible incorrect prediction I could come up with. So much will change over the course of free agency and prospect evaluation. I will try to do an update toward the beginning of March when free agency kicks off and most major cuts are completed.