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2015 Dolphins Draft Picks
I'm not projecting trades until after free agency. This is something I could see Miami doing, not necessarily what I would do. Free agency will more than likely obliterate what I am about to type but here goes nothing...
1. Cin - Joe Burrow QB
2. Was - Tua Tagovailoa QB
3. Det - Chase Young Edge
4. NYG - Tristan Wirfs OT
5. Mia - Andrew Thomas OT
6. LAC - Mekhi Becton OT
7. Car - Jeff Okudah CB
8. Ari - Derrick Brown DL
9. Jax - Isaiah Simmons LB
10. Cle - Jedrick Wills OT
11. NYJ - Henry Ruggs WR
12. LV - Jordan Love QB
13. Ind - Javon Kinlaw DL
14. TB - Justin Herbert QB
15. Den - Jerry Jeudy WR
16. Atl - K'Lavon Chaisson Edge
17. Dal - Ceedee Lamb WR
18. Mia - CJ Henderson CB
19. LV - Kenneth Murray LB
20. Jax - Kristian Fulton CB
21. Phi - Justin Jefferson WR
22. Buf - AJ Epenesa DE
23. NE - Xavier McKinney S
24. NO - Cameron Dantzler CB
25. Min - Grant Delpit S
26. Mia - Zack Baun Edge
27. Sea - Yetur Gross Matos DE
28. Bal - D'Andre Swift RB
29. Ten - Josh Jones OT
30. GB - Austin Jackson OT
31. SF - Trevon Diggs CB
32. KC - Ross Blacklock DT
Miami's 2nd Round Picks
Miami's 3rd Round Pick
Okay, let's get the obvious question out of the way first. Why isn't Miami going QB at 5? Grier is cautious and I don't think he is going to reach for a question mark. Andrew Thomas was a top prospect all year, got rave reviews from Tony Pauline, and was heavily scouted by Miami during the season. He offers stability, need and most importantly value. He's played against and succeeded against the best.
CJ Henderson is exactly the type of CB Miami needs, especially with the injury history of Xavien Howard. Miami can't just rely on castoffs and long shots. Nik Needham has some promise and Logan Ryan would fill a short term role, but someone needs to be a secondary building block. Henderson provides top 20 value.
Zack Baun gives Miami its version of Kyle Van Noy without the hefty contract. Miami will probably sign an edge setter and then they can deploy Baun to attack the QB and chase after RBs.
Jonathan Taylor is a do it all running back with tremendous speed. I'm a little worried about the amount of carries he had in college but Miami needs talent. Pair him up with a veteran in year one to ease the burden.
Matt Hennessy could make Dan Kilgore a summer cap casualty or at least challenge for a starting guard role. He has a vicious temperament the interior will need to upgrade the running game.
Now the wildcard - Jalen Hurts. Chan Gailey wants an accurate, athletic QB to run his offense. Flores wants a leader who can battle through adversity. While Hurts doesn't have the best arm or the greatest resume, he isn't afraid to compete for his job. Personality-wise I think he'll be a breath of fresh air compared to the entitled attitudes of many 1st Round QBs. He can battle with Josh Rosen for the backup job and one of them will get snaps when Ryan Fitzpatrick either breaks down or melts down.
It is still February but I thought I would piece this puzzle together based on a few things I heard and read this week.
Omar Kelly has said numerous times that he heard Tua goes no lower than 3 and possibly 1st overall. He also highlighted a video with Steve Ross saying Miami likes Tua but must consider the alternatives.
Dan Patrick and his show hosts were pointing out that Burrow didn't seem all that enthusiastic about Cincinnati, nor should any QB, and that they are so far behind that it would behoove them to pursue multiple chips to further their rebuild.
Matt Cannata tweeted yesterday that he heard Ross has quietly been expressing interest in Burrow.
Then there is Tua, his family, and his agent oddly campaigning out loud to be in Miami. Almost as though they are nervous about an unfavorable situation.
Finally, you look at Miami's assets plus Chris Grier saying they can do whatever they want. Miami could part with some ridiculous package - 5, 18, 54, next year's 1st and next year's 2nd for 1st overall and say a 4th Rounder. They have nearly $100 million in cap space which can easily be used to target positions that would have been selected at 18 and 54.
This goes beyond a conspiracy theory. I think it is a legit possibility that is being discussed and is out there because the Tua injury risk is high and Cincinnati realizes they can accelerate their rebuild with a deal like this. No team outside of the Dolphins can provide that for them.
Question is, are you guys comfortable with Burrow as a viable franchise QB?
Tua Tagavoiloa's draft declaration has everyone thinking he is Miami's next quarterback. While it makes sense at face value consider that Miami has options beyond the draft and an arsenal of money and picks to get creative with. If they are uncomfortable with Tua's hip injury it might be time to get familiar with the alternatives.
Free agency is probably the least likely route given Brian Flores's public praise of Ryan Fitzpatrick. They want him back and probably aren't going to opt for the likes of Andy Dalton, Joe Flacco, Marcus Mariota, Jameis Winston or any other rehab project who hits the market. Dak Prescott not re-signing with Dallas might be tempting but I expect Mike McCarthy was brought in to win with Dak. Mariota makes for an interesting backup upgrade over Josh Rosen if Miami feels their young QB simply isn't equipped to elevate his game. Barring Tom Brady declaring he wants to take his talents to South Beach I don't think Miami is going the free agency route for its next QB.
The trade market is an interesting alternative. The Dolphins spent two picks last year to acquire Rosen so I don't think Chris Grier and company will be shy about any trade opportunities. Some uninspiring names could be floated - Derek Carr, Mitch Trubisky, Jacoby Brissett, maybe Cam Newton if Matt Rhule wants his own guy. I don't think Miami goes down that rabbit hole as it may negatively effect a locker room that loves Fitzpatrick. But what if one of these new coaches decides to pull a Kliff Kingsbury and deal away a young QB? What if Josh McDaniels brings Brady to Cleveland and wants to groom a successor of his own choosing? Think it is crazy? McDaniels sent Jay Cutler packing from Denver to get his own guy. Or, what if Matt Patricia sees more job security by investing in a guy like Tua where he could argue he needs a couple more years to build with his guy. Miami supposedly had some conversations regarding Matt Stafford a few years ago. While these scenarios are unlikely I wouldn't rule them out. Miami could take a chance on an upgrade and still have the ammo to draft a guy in 2021 if the trade doesn't pan out.
Do nothing. Seriously, its possible and probably the second most likely option. Miami has 13 draft picks and over $100 million in cap space to load up on areas of need. They have six picks in the top 100 and this draft is deep in things they need like pass rusher, centers, tackles, cornerbacks and running backs. They could give Fitzpatrick a chance to extend his career with a much improved roster while seeing if Rosen, still 22 years old, has what it takes above the neck. With two 1st Round picks and two 2nd Round picks in 2021 they could make moves to get a QB in what should be another good crop.
Drafting a QB this year is still the most likely outcome but boy are there some tough question marks. The top prospect is Joe Burrow and with Cincinnati having the 1st overall pick it would be nearly impossible to draft him. Grier could go nuts, offer multiple 1sts, Day 2 picks both this year and next to move up for the LSU stud, but we know that isn't happening. Tua is the biggest wild card because his entire lower body has injury history. No one knows for sure where his hip will be in three, six or even nine months. If healthy Miami may need to trade valuable resources to move up for him. It is 50/50 at this point. Alternatives would be spending a 1st Rounder on Jordan Love, Justin Herbert or Jacob Eason. Each of those guys is a project but we know Miami has done a ton of research on both Love and Herbert. Jalen Hurts becomes a Day 2 option but I get the sense Miami will save those picks to build the trenches. If they are going QB it will be in the 1st Round and the pick will be someone they envision as the face of the franchise. Jake Fromm declaring for the draft is a wildcard I'd keep my eye on. Despite an up and down season, he is the type of QB I could see Grier and Flores loving.
This is about the most comprehensive list of options I can give you guys. I don't envy the situation Chris Grier is in. Stephen Ross was patient in 2019 but will push hard for an answer in 2020. Tua was the logical solution but now comes with serious injury red flags. The alternative 1st Rounders are very boom or bust in nature. I wouldn't rule out a trade from left field happening in March or at draft time. Again, no one saw Rosen coming prior to draft week. Keep in mind that Chris Grier has a conservative nature about him and comes from the Parcells school of thought. He knows this is his shot to cement himself as Miami's long term GM and it hinges on getting a QB. They value leadership, intangibles, a good track record and durability. Do those attributes provide any clues as to what Miami's decision will be? Stay tuned.