Needs: The Dolphins had a terrific 2016 season in which they made the playoffs despite Ryan Tannehill going down at the end of the year. They remained relatively quiet in free agency, and there was nothing wrong with that. They just need to add two or three Week 1 starters in the draft.
They'll look to do so at tight end, linebacker, safety and cornerback, which makes these six players intriguing targets in the early rounds of the draft.
Picks: First round (22), second round (54), third round (97), fifth round (166, 178, 184), seventh round (223).
The Dolphins added Julius Thomas this offseason by trading Branden Albert to the Jaguars, but he’s an unreliable player. Thomas has played just 21 games the past two seasons, totaling 736 yards and nine touchdowns in that span. Njoku would give Ryan Tannehill an athletic, dynamic weapon at tight end who he can use all over the field -- not just in the red zone like Thomas.
Njoku is an athletic freak who can dominate with seam and option routes, outbodying every defender he comes across. He can split out wide or put his hand in the dirt as an inline tight end, which would give the Dolphins good flexibility on offense -- especially with a strong group of receivers already.
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Josh Jones, S, N.C. State
Miami already has one Jones at safety (Reshad), and adding another would be wise. Josh Jones is a Day 2 prospect who fits perfectly as a free safety. Although he has experience at both safety spots, his athleticism makes him an intriguing player as deep defender. He ran a 4.41 40-yard dash at the Combine, so he has the speed to range sideline to sideline and stay with receivers on deep passes.
With Reshad Jones being more of a strong safety and the Dolphins lacking a free safety, Jones would be a great selection in the second round. He's already visited the Dolphins, so there's certainly interest on Miami's end.
Willis is rising up draft boards fairly quickly thanks to his sky-high ceiling. At 6-4, 255 pounds, he has the size to hold up as either a 4-3 end or 3-4 outside linebacker. And his speed (4.53) makes him one of the better athletes for his size. With Cameron Wake on the tail end of his career and the Dolphins needing another pass rusher, Willis would be a great fit.
Miami has reportedly showed a lot of interest in Willis, too. In order for the Dolphins to land him, though, they'll likely need to take him in the first round, or move up to the top of the second.
Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
After Myles Garrett, Barnett may be the most talented pass rusher in the class. He's not refined and doesn't have a large repertoire of moves to get around opposing tackles, but the potential is certainly there. That's not to say he can't get after the quarterback, though. He logged 12 sacks as a junior, which was the sixth most in FBS.
If he somehow falls to the Dolphins at 22 -- which he may not -- they should pounce. Even a trade up for him in the first round would be a good idea, considering their lack of talent at defensive end outside of Wake.
Sidney Jones, CB, Washington
Jones isn't going to wow anyone with eye-popping athleticism and speed, but he can certainly cover receivers and get his hand on the football. With eight career interceptions and 21 passes defensed, he is a guy who knows how to play the ball when it's in the air.
Unfortunately, he probably won't be ready for the start of the season. He suffered an Achilles injury at his pro day and will be sidelined for a few months. He's vowed to play in 2017 after undergoing surgery, but his rookie year will likely be a red shirt season. If he slips to Miami's second-round pick, he'd be a good value there.
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Raekwon McMillan, LB, Ohio State
The Dolphins signed Kiko Alonso long-term this offseason, which was a big move. He plays middle linebacker in Miami's 4-3 defense, which means McMillan would likely play the strong side. Fortunately, that's where he fits best in the NFL. He's a downhill player who loves to hit, using his 4.61 speed to chase down running backs on the edge. He still needs to improve when taking on blocks and filling the hole, but he's still an intriguing prospect.
The 22nd pick might be a bit rich for McMillan, but if the Dolphins opt to move down a bit, he could very well be the selection. They need help at linebacker and have for a few years now.