Drafting on need alone is never good, but the Miami Dolphins would be wise to target these four positions early in the 2017 NFL Draft.
The 2017 NFL Draft is approaching quickly and the Miami Dolphins are a team that can take their franchise to that next level if they bring in a strong rookie class. There are some positions that need addressing in early rounds more than others.
Earlier, I covered four positions Miami should still target in free agency prior to the draft. Now we turn our attention to the draft and take a look at what four positions they should be honing in on through the first two days. Their picks in the first three rounds fall at pick Nos. 22, 54 and 97. This means barring a trade they can only improve on three of these four positions by the end of Friday night.
Miami has done a great job improving their linebacking corps over the past two offseasons. Both Kiko Alonso and Lawrence Timmons are huge upgrade, and Alonso is young enough to be a staple of the defense for a long time. It was clear in 2016 that his injury woes are behind him in regards to his ACL injury.
The Dolphins will almost certainly address this position early in the draft. Koa Misi just isn’t cutting it as a starter and there isn’t anyone left in free agency that will either. There was some talk Reuben Foster could fall after questions were raised about him off the field at the NFL Combine. This seems more like wishful thinking to me. Foster is too good to drop all the way to 22nd. Jarrad Davis out of Florida is more realistic possibility. His versatility, speed and intelligence is impressive, however, they would have to spend a first-rounder on him. Zach Cunningham is loaded with talent as well.
I would love to see them draft Ohio State linebacker Raekwon McMillan in the second round. Not only because I’m an avid Wu-Tang Clan fan, but because he brings everything they need in the linebacker. Not only does he have ideal size and outstanding intelligence, but his speed and ability to diagnose plays also makes him an asset in the passing game as well.
Currently the Dolphins defensive line and pass rush is one of their greatest strengths. The pass rush is anchored by Cameron Wake with Andre Branch, William Hayes and even Ndamukong Suh contributing from the defensive tackle position. With that said, Wake can’t play for ever. While he was absolutely incredible last season, he’s still 35 years old. Now that Dion Jordan is officially gone, they need to fix that brutal mistake.
There will be a plethora of pass-rushers available in the first round for them. Taco Charlton is popular pick for Miami. Charles Harris name has been thrown around too. Although it’s questionable how he would fit, trading back a bit and grabbing T.J. Watt might be the best move. Pick 22 may be too high for Watt and Charlton or Harris would both be better options there if available, but they could use some extra picks being that they are without a fourth-rounder. Still any of these options would be solid and there will be plenty of talent left if they wait until Rounds 2 or 3.
Miami has been struggling to fix their interior offensive line since the Jonathan Martin/Richie Incognito debacle. Their line has been among the worst in the league ever since. As much as you’d hate to use a first-round pick on an offensive guard, Forrest Lamp out of Western Kentucky may be the right pick here.
Lamp is a special talent and exactly what the Phins have been looking for. It’s not a sexy pick, nevertheless, it would fill Miami’s greatest need and may possible provide the protection Ryan Tannehill has so badly needed.
While these positions are not listed in any particular order, I do think defensive back is the least pressing of the four. The issue is almost undoubtedly the best value in the first and probably even the second round will be at defensive back. This draft is loaded at both corner and safety.
There is a chance cornerbacks Kevin King and Gareon Conley could both be sitting there at pick No. 22. While I wouldn’t like to see them draft any defensive backs here, I believe safety would be the better choice. The two options they should look at is Jabrill Peppers and Obi Melifonwu. Peppers is more intriguing and the bigger name, but Melifonwu is the smarter pick. I love the kid’s talent and tenacity.
I actually like the Dolphins secondary and don’t believe it’s a huge issue. Especially after Week 8 when T.J. McDonald returns from suspension. I would like them to potentially make a move up into the fourth round and grab Miami Hurricanes cornerback Corn Elder. This is a deep draft and if the Dolphins take advantage they can be on the verge of building something special.