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2015 Dolphins Draft Picks
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.
The Miami Dolphins need a quarterback. They currently have young projects in Luke Falk and Jake Rudock on the roster. They will free up either $13 million or $18 million (post June 1 designation) when they part ways with Ryan Tannehill. Something will be done this offseason, but will the move be to acquire the next guy who offers us hope?
A rebuild is coming and it could be ugly in the short term. On Sunday, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that the Dolphins will be looking to the 2020 crop of quarterbacks in the draft. It seems a bit odd that a team would announce this before completely evaluating who will be available this offseason. A tweet from Dolphin analyst Chris Kouffman also raised my eyebrows. He mentioned that Miami conducted rebuilds in 2005 and 2008, and in both instances they decided to build a TEAM first and then go after a quarterback. He notes that they passed on Aaron Rodgers for Ronnie Brown and Matt Ryan for Jake Long. In the latter situation we now know the plan was to take Joe Flacco but Baltimore beat them to the punch so they settled for Chad Henne.
To add to Schefter's report, the hype surrounding the 2020 list of quarterbacks could be larger than the 2018 class and the 2012 class before that. In both cases you saw four quarterbacks taken in the first round but in neither year were all four players anointed before the first snap of their final college season. 2012 saw the rise of Robert Griffin III, Ryan Tannehill and Brandon Weeden from mid round afterthoughts to big time prospects. In 2017, not a single analyst was pegging Baker Mayfield as an upper first round pick, let alone first overall. Now we have all eyes on April 2020 when Tua Tagovailoa, Jake Fromm and Justin Herbert will presumably enter the draft. Add Jacob Eason, Jordan Love, Nate Stanley and Jake Brentley as players who have the ability to vault themselves into the conversation.
But is the waiting game the correct approach? The 2017 quarterback class was considered okay at best. Mitch Trubisky came out of nowhere, Patrick Mahomes was a talented yet wild project, and Deshaun Watson went from media darling to "does he have the size and arm to survive in the NFL?". All three quarterbacks led their teams to the playoffs this year and appear to have nice careers ahead of them. Do you think Chicago, Houston and Kansas City regret not waiting until 2018? In the past we've heard about Sam Bradford, Matt Stafford, Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota being can't miss picks. None have been to a Conference Championship game let alone a Super Bowl. Meanwhile third round guys Russell Wilson and Nick Foles, both from the 2012 draft, are Super Bowl Champions. So do you wait for the hype or target a guy you think has that IT factor to lead you?
Speaking of Nick Foles, he was one dropped pass away from heading to another Conference Championship. He was driving his team toward a 4th quarter comeback, on the road, and against the top seeded Saints. For two years in a row he has shown clutch play in the brightest of spotlights. It is possible he'll be a free agent or available in a trade. He turns 30 years old heading into next season and as the Sun Sentinel's Dave Hyde notes, a quarterback can play another decade in today's protect the QB NFL. Would you pass on a chance to sign him or maybe trade for him just because you'd rather wait to see if a 2020 rookie may be awesome?
The 2019 Draft will feature three quarterbacks with skill sets that NFL teams covet. Dwayne Haskins is a prototypical pocket passer with a great ability to read the field. The knock on him is he only started for one season and struggled under pressure. Kyler Murray came out of nowhere to win the Heisman Trophy and has analysts seeing him as another Baker Mayfield type prospect. The problem is his 5'9"/190 lb stature isn't exactly ideal for the NFL. Drew Lock has the best pure arm talent I have seen since Matthew Stafford was drafted in 2009. There is not a throw he cannot hit, but, he is a system quarterback who struggled mightily against good competition.
I don't know the answer to solving Miami's quarterback riddle, but I'm darn certain there is not a wrong way to approach it. I can't argue against "Tank for Tua" or "Bomb for Fromm" as both seem to be legit franchise types. Then again, so did Josh Rosen and Sam Darnold. I'd bet dollars to donuts most of you would rather have Patrick Mahomes or Baker Mayfield. In 2006 the San Diego Chargers opted to keep Philip Rivers and let Drew Brees walk in free agency. Brees has already won a Super Bowl and just put together another MVP caliber season. Rivers is no slouch, but he has choked in the playoffs repeatedly and proven to be inferior to Brees. Will the Eagles stick with their younger quarterback, Carson Wentz, or hang on to Nick Foles and continue riding his success? What if Wentz, a proven commodity, hits the trade market?
Maybe Kyler Murray is the next Russell Wilson. Maybe Drew Lock is the next Derek Carr (an MVP candidate at one point). Maybe Nick Foles can be the Drew Brees that Miami passed on in favor of the more dynamic Daunte Culpepper. Anything is possible and my hope is that this little write up encourages everyone to keep an open mind. Miami needs a quarterback and there are plenty of options. Tanking for Tua is an option, not THE option. Miami cannot pass on the chance for a signal caller because "maybe" Tagovailoa, Fromm or Herbert offer more sizzle. Let's hope the decision makers feel the same way.