The Miami Dolphins were aggressive in free agency but still have many needs in the upcoming draft.
After an organized and sound approach to free agency, the Miami Dolphins must now turn their attention the NFL Draft.
Whenever and however that may take place.
Now that the dust has settled on the free agency period, Miami can utilize the draft to build a foundation for sustained success.
Let’s take a look at five position groups that could be a high priority.
Perhaps the worst kept secret this offseason is that Miami will likely take a quarterback at the top of the draft.
Whether with their current pick, or perhaps with a trade up to either No. 3 (Detroit) or even the top pick from Cincinnati.
— josh houtz (@houtz) March 20, 2020
Miami has been linked to Tua Tagovailoa for what seems like an eternity, and there is a possibility that he is still on the board with pick No. 5.
If he is their guy, the Dolphins will likely use whatever draft capital necessary to bring him to Miami.
Other (perhaps less than ideal) options could be Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert or Utah State’s Jordan Love.
This draft is short on quarterbacks after the top four, with Joe Burrow being consistently mocked to Cincinnati with the top selection.
Regardless, this should be the year Miami takes their first shot at a quarterback in Round One since Ryan Tannehill in 2012.
2. Offensive Tackle
Now that Miami has their signal caller, they must protect him.
They brought in both Erick Flowers and Ted Karras to shore up the interior of the line, but outside remains an issue.
Several high upside tackles could still be on the board with Miami’s next pick at 18, or even their third first round selection at 26.
Miami could even double down on the tackle spot and turn the offensive line from a liability to a strength in one day.
USC’s Austin Jackson may be available with their other second round pick (56) depending how the board falls.
Matthew Peart (UConn) is another to keep an eye on in the third round.
3. Interior Offensive Line
Continuing the theme Miami will likely commit some draft capital to filling out the interior of the offensive line.
Flowers and Karras are starting caliber, but nowhere near upper echelon.
Given Miami’s deficiency in both pass protection and running the football, they need some maulers in the trenches.
If they don’t go another direction, the late first round and second round could set up well for them in this area.
One player to watch is Michigan’s Cesar Ruiz, who could go in the first round.
This is a pretty deep draft for interior offensive linemen, particularly in the middle rounds.
Miami should have no problem supplementing the middle of their line.
Another position with solid depth in the draft is safety, where a myriad of players project in the early rounds.
Miami bolstered their secondary with the addition of cornerback Byron Jones, who along with Xavien Howard form a lethal tandem outside.
Now they must turn their attention to the middle where the departure of Reshad Jones means a changing of the guard is coming.
They retained Adrian Colbert but must add a true game changer on the back end.
Alabama safety Xavier Mckinney could be the first safety off the board, if he is there at 18 Miami should run to the podium.
2020 NFL Draft: Post-free agency 7-round mock draft https://t.co/eBogLuUsBt
— Pro Football Network (@PFN365) March 22, 2020
LSU’s Grant Delpit is another projected to go in the late first round and would by no means be a consolation prize. He could still be on the board at 18 or even at 26 if the board goes another route.
The next tier are no slouches by any means, with Antoine Winfield being one of the most intriguing prospects. Winfield’s father was an excellent NFL player and the apple did not fall far, his football IQ and ball skills will be in high demand.
5. Running Back
Unlike the previous two position groups, this projects to be a pretty thin running back class.
Running back position in 2020 isn’t terribly difficult to get figured out.
1) D’Andre Swift
2) Clyde Edwards-Helaire
3) Cam Akers
4) Jonathan Taylor
5) J.K. Dobbins
6) (no one)
7) (no one)
8) (no one)
9) (no one)
10) Everyone Else
— Chris Kouffman (@ckparrot) March 20, 2020
Depending on who is sitting there at either 18 or 26, Miami’s best option could be to hang tight in regards to the running backs.
D’Andre Swift should be the first running back off the board but the separation in talent amongst the top five is not vast.
Value should be a priority here, if Clyde Edwards-Helaire is sitting there at pick 39 in the second round, he may be too good to pass up.
His pass catching would be a perfect compliment to Jordan Howard, who is more of a between the tackles runner that offers little in the pass game.
Cam Akers is another to watch in the third round where Miami has pick 56.
There could be some hidden gems on Day 3 as well if the Dolphins are patient.
With trades and players going higher or lower than projected, Miami has flexibility to make moves up or down in the draft.
Time will tell how everything plays out in the most important NFL draft for this franchise in a long time.
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