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2015 Dolphins Draft Picks
There isn't a lot of bad things to say about Koa Misi except that he cannot stay healthy. The Dolphins, knowing that his career is flirting with retirement on any play drafted "The Ohio State" LB Raekwan McMillan. He is a linebacker with a lot of smarts and instincts and is a tackling machine. There are questions that he can be a 3-Down linebacker as he is weak in pass coverage. If you are looking for a sideline-to-sideline linebacker, well, he isn't it. That would be Kiko Alonzo. ESPN Insider gave him an "Exceptional" in height/weight/speed and that is sure to bring some excitement for us Dolfans. We will have to see, but I am excited to see that we made a move to improve our linebacking group with another hard-hitting tackler. I think he will excite us with some of his tackles this year, and even beat out Koa Misi at some point this year.
“This is an Alpha guy, a two-time captain, a guy who makes all the calls. He is a tackling machine. He is a big body in the middle. The guy can run. This is a guy we feel really strongly about.” Dolphins general manager Chris Grier.
Overall Football Traits
Inside Linebacker Specific Traits
|2||Does a good job reading his initial key, and then locates the ball quickly on his secondary run read. Quality patience from maintaining gap integrity for cut back as back side run defender.Improve awareness in coverage as a junior. Still will be a quarter coun late diagnosing play action or misdirection passes.|
|Take-on Skills||1||Savvy take on skills. Knows when to take on and when to slip. Usually takes on with proper shoulder but also knows when to 'wrong shoulder' the blocker. Sifts through traffic very effectively and uses his hands to keep blockers from reaching him.|
|Range vs. Run||2||Very good speed on a straight-line (4.61 forty-yard dash). Quality pursuit angles and wades through traffic well. At his best between the tackles but makes plenty of plays outside the tackle box. Does show some tightness if forced to quickly redirect.|
|Tackling||2||Good overall tackler. Closes quickly and packs a heavy punch. Strong wrap and drives his legs through contact. Occasionally will attack too high but doesn't fall off many tackles in a confined area. Shows some some tightness and vulnerability in the open field against more elusive runners.|
|3rd Down Capabilities||3||Off the field on some obvious pass downs. Adequate range in zone coverage. Instincts continue to evolve. Showing better understanding of route combos and faster eyes picking up crossers. Has some tightness and will struggle to match up one-on-one versus quicker RBs. Has closing burst as a pass rusher but limited upside in this area. Doesn't show much of a counter when reached as a blitzer.|
Status ReportA team captain as junior, McMillian has appeared in all 41 career games while starting all 26 games the past two seasons (2015-'16). Team leading 102 tackles in 2016. McMillan is an instinctive and physical inside linebacker with quality range as a run defender. Improved every year in coverage and tested well at combine. However, there are still questions whether he can be a three-down linebacker at the NFL level. McMillan hasthe potential to be off the board within the top 75 selections of the 2017 NFL Draft. -- March 15, 2017
1 = Exceptional2 = Above average3 = Average4 = Below average5 = Marginal
McMillan couldn't pull off the double Butkus Award win as the best linebacker at both the high school (won in 2013) and collegiate levels (finalist in 2015), but his play during his three years in Columbus won over NFL scouts. He graduated from high school a semester early to join OSU football for spring practice, which paid off in the fall when he played in all 15 games, lining up for more snaps than the starter in nine of those contests. He won second-team All-Big Ten honors in 2015, leading the team with 119 tackles (four for loss, four pass breakups). McMillan didn't rack up quite as many tackles as a junior (102, seven for loss) but still gained recognition for his play as a second-team All-American and first-team All-Big Ten selection.
McMillan signed with the Buckeyes as one of the more highly touted prep prospects in the country, opting to travel north to play for Urban Meyer despite growing up in the heart of the SEC. Though he did not start as a freshman, McMillan actually logged more playing time in nine games than the man playing ahead of him (senior Curtis Grant), checking in with 573 total plays, including 471 on defense. McMillan registered 54 tackles, including 6.5 for loss and 2.5 sacks on the season. He also intercepted a pass against Maryland, returning it 24 yards for a touchdown.
With such an impressive debut on a team which ultimately won the national championship, optimism was high that McMillan would take the next step as a sophomore. McMillan did more than that in 2015, taking over the starting role in the middle and emerging as a Butkus Award finalist with a team-leading 119 tackles - the most from a sophomore at Ohio State since Steve Tovar's 125 stops back in 1990.
McMillan's numbers behind the line of scrimmage dropped slightly (four, including 1.5 sacks) in '15, but he showed greater awareness in coverage, batting down four passes as a sophomore after registering just one in his first year.
This is not to say that McMillan is simply an old-school battering ram. In fact, he shows impressive diagnosis skills to read the play, including the spatial awareness to "slip" blocks simply by taking efficient angles to the ball to beat blockers to the action. McMillan does not possess the same degree of athleticism as his former teammate, Lee (who was clocked at an eye-popping 4.47 seconds in the 40-yard dash at 232 pounds), but he is a coordinated athlete whose quick, choppy steps help him beat backs to the corner and make plays in coverage.
McMillan's dedication to his craft has impressed the Ohio State coaching staff, who already named the third-year junior a co-captain for this season.
WEAKNESSES: As his team-leading tackle numbers prove, McMillan was adept at "cleaning up" a year ago, but scouts are eager to see how he responds now that opposing blocking schemes will be focusing on him. McMillan lacks ideal flexibility, struggling to change directions quickly in tight quarters and occasionally allowing ballcarriers to slip by him. He shows a propensity to misread runs and keep his eyes glued in the backfield too long in coverage.
Further, McMillan is more efficient than explosive in pursuit, raising some questions about his pure speed and potential to remain on the field on passing downs against NFL competition.
Finally, while a generally reliable tackler, McMillan is often more reliant on the power he generates as a face-up hitter to knock down ballcarriers rather than reaching his arms out to catch runners in pursuit or to punch out the ball.
IN OUR VIEW: As a glass-eating, run-stuffing middle linebacker, McMillan is perfectly suited to traditional Big Ten football and may post the gaudy numbers this fall to actually win the Butkus Award as the nation's top linebacker (like he did in high school). If he is to continue Ohio State's legacy of first-round defenders, however, McMillan must convince scouts that he possesses the speed and playmaking ability to remain on the field on all three downs.
--Rob Rang (@robrang), Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler), 9/20/16
WHAT THE EXPERTS ARE SAYING ABOUT THIS PICK.David Jeremiah (NFL.COM) *
Why they did it: The Dolphins needed help at linebacker and finally got it in the second round. McMillan will compete immediately with incumbent outside linebacker Koa Misi, who has struggled with injuries and inconsistency the past couple of seasons. Miami was 30th against the run last year and needs to get more physical in the front seven.
Biggest question: How high is McMillan's ceiling? He was the fifth- or sixth-best player on Ohio State's defense last season, according to most draft projections. Is that worthy of a second-round pick? The Dolphins need impact players immediately on defense and McMillan too often didn't stand out among other stars with the Buckeyes. It will be interesting to see if that changes with the Dolphins.
McMillan (6’2/240) arrived at OSU as a five-star recruit and did not disappoint, starting for 2-of-3 years and leading the Buckeyes in tackles in each of those two seasons. McMillan broke out for second-team All-America honors as 2016 junior, then turned pro. McMillan is an above-average athlete with 51st-percentile SPARQ results and 4.61 speed, but he showed coverage limitations against backs and tight ends and lacks ideal change-of-directions skills. Still, McMillan possesses NFL-caliber Mike ‘backer traits with fundamentally sound tackling and plus blitzing ability.
FOX Sports *
The Dolphins needed a linebacker ... but a space linebacker. I think that McMillan is a middle linebacker and question if he was a better option than Zach Cunningham, who was also available.
Todd McShay (ESPN) *
Team captain. 41 career games. Highly productive. Every time I watched them, he’s the guy finishing things up. He’s a big, physical, run stuffing. A great tackler. And he kept getting better. He started to deliver his sophomore year. This past year I thought he had his best year. There are some coverage limitations but you are getting a tough guy in the middle of your defense.
Mel Kiper (ESPN) *
Can he be an everydown player with those coverage issues? He’s not a guy that’s going to get after the quarterback.... A little too one dimensional for today’s NFL where they’re throwing it all over the yard. This would have been a great pick in 1985, 95. I wonder if he can play every down in today’s NFL.
Luke Easterling (Draft Wire) *
“Raekwon was one of my favorite players in this class," he told the Miami USA Today site. "I spoke with him at length during the season and came away impressed with his intelligence and intangibles. He’s a leader who can make plays all over the field, against both the run and pass. Adjusting to NFL speed is something every rookie has to deal with, but I think his football IQ will make things slower for him than most. Another great value pick for Miami.”
The Miami Herald's Armando Salguero has been telling us that DE Charles "Black Ice" Harris was one of two defense ends that the Dolphins wanted at pick 22. Once again 'Mando shows us that he does his research well. So, let's just say that the Dolphins got their man and are still high-fiving in the Dolphins War Room.
(Note: Jammer will comment in this area here once he gets his thoughts together on this pick. I am going to start to fill in all of the expert analysis on him below with youtube videos, ESPN Insider, NFL.COM, Ian Wharton, etc. So, come back to each draft pick often as you will see more and more information.)
WHAT THE EXPERTS ARE SAYING ABOUT THIS PICK.
What He Brings:
An athletic and explosive athlete who was a former high school basketball standout, Harris is a speed rusher who has very good first step quickness and bend turning the corner. He's got a chance to become an impact edge defender if he can add bulk and improve his core strength. -- Kevin Weidl
How He Fits:
Miami needs to get younger at defensive end and Harris projects as a situational pass-rusher who can help improve a Dolphins pass rush that finished tied for 19th in sacks last year. Playing behind Cameron Wake and free-agent signee William Hayes early on will allow him to get stronger and improve his ability to defend the run. -- Steve Muench
MIKE MAYOCK (NFL.COM) *
"Really solid pick here. I think he can play four-down or 3-4 linebacker; in Miami, it's four-down. He has a good first step and is explosive off the edge. This young man is adept at a pass rusher." -- Mike Mayock
The Miami Herald identified Harris as one of the Dolphins' prime pre-draft targets. They badly needed a defensive end. Harris (6’3/253) turned pro after his redshirt junior year at Mizzou, finishing his career with 34.5 tackles for loss and 18 sacks, and earning second-team All-SEC from the conference’s coaches in 2016. On tape, Harris exhibited a sensational spin move and explosive get-off, but was often overpowered in run defense. Harris disappointingly tested as a ninth-percentile athlete at the Combine with 4.82 speed and a brutal 9-foot-1 broad jump. A film-versus-metrics conundrum, Harris is a favorite of devout film watchers. Ultimately, Harris is likely best suited for a situational pass-rusher role in the pros.
PETE PRISCO (CBS) *
This is another pass rusher the scouts liked more than the draftniks. They had to get pass-rush help.
ANDY BENOIT (MMQB) *
Cross-apply the earlier analysis of the Eagles here. First-time defensive coordinator Matt Burke hails from the Jim Schwartz school. He believes in straightforward zone coverage. Which means it’s impossible for the Dolphins to have too many pass rushers. (Zone coverage can’t work without a quality four-man rush.) Harris will learn behind Cameron Wake, who at 35 might need to assume an even more reduced role but can still bend around a corner. With Andre Branch re-signed and ex-Ram William Hayes now aboard, Harris doesn’t have to contribute heavily right away.
BLEACHER REPORT *
Strengths: Initial quickness, pursuit.
Weaknesses: One-dimensional rusher, discipline.
For an edge-rusher, having exceptional first-step quickness is like being a 7-footer in basketball or a pitcher with a 90 mph fastball. It's the skill that not only gets you in the door but also forgives a bunch of other sins and shortcomings.
Charles Harris explodes off the ball, beating his blocker to the edge on snap after snap. That burst makes him a weapon. Harris also hustles well in pursuit against screens and does a good job sifting down the line on running plays away from him.
Everything else about Harris is average. He doesn't have many fancy moves, is OK at using his hands, can get pinned on runs in his direction and stymied when he doesn't win off the line. He lost his cool in the LSU game, committing unsportsmanlike-conduct penalties and shoving an opponent after the snap, so his emotions and late-game focus need to be monitored.
But first-step wins mean a lot, and the Dolphins are getting a pass-rusher with a coveted skill that cannot really be taught. Harris corrects several years of bad decisions in the quest for a good complementary rusher to Cameron Wake (drafting Dion Jordan, letting Olivier Vernon walk, signing what was left of Mario Williams). There are stronger pass-rushers on the board, but most of them come with questions. The team knows what it's getting with Harris.
FOX SPORTS *
The Dolphins needed a defensive end more than was widely believed and Harris is a perfect fit for Miami's 4-3 front.
USA TODAY *
A new edge presence in Miami, Harris should be able to exploit the attention commanded by DT Ndamukong Suh and DE Cameron Wake. Nicknamed "Black Ice" because you don't see him until it's too late, Harris had 16 sacks over the past two seasons as the latest talent to emerage from Mizzou's pass rushing pipeline.
Harris had 16 sacks over his last two college seasons and that kind of production would look good on a Miami defense that finished 22nd in the league in that category last season. Cameron Wake should make for a good mentor for Harris, who would ideally wind up filling Wake’s shoes as the team’s top pass rusher at some point down the line.
GIL BRANDT *
He played better in 2015 than he did last season, but I think scheme changes might have had something to do with that. Though he doesn't have a ton of high-level football experience as a starter, he's got great character and projects as an end who will rack up sacks in the NFL for a long time to come.
JAMES WALKER (ESPN) *
The Dolphins received trade offers from two teams interested in moving up to the No. 22 pick. But after successfully fooling everyone by hiding their interest in Harris, the team felt it was best to complete the plan and take the player it wanted to select as far back as March.
more to come >>>>