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2019 NFL First Round Mock and Dolphins 7-Round Mock

Travis Wingfield

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32 First Round Pick Projections and 9 Dolphins Pick Projections

My final mock of the 2019 draft season is also my first — at least when it comes to picks 1-32. Pumping out multiple 32-team simulations feels like an exercise in redundancy.

Team-oriented mocks, however, help the fan base become familiar with the particular positions that will offer the most value with each pick – hence the multiple seven-round mocks I have personally divulged on the podcast for the better part of the last three months.

This entry will satisfy both aspects of the mock season. In order to best gage the available talent at picks 48 and 78, I felt it necessary to run through the first 77 picks, pick-by-pick.

Should you choose to do the same, you’ll come across the same realization that hit me near the end of round-one — the board is quickly picked clean.

Without any further hesitation, let’s get to the official Locked On Dolphins NFL Mock Draft 1.0.

1. Arizona Cardinals – QB Kyler Murray – Oklahoma

The decision to hire Kliff Kingsbury leaves little to the imagination for this year’s top pick. A no-brainer, the Cardinals inject the best play-making quarterback to enter the league since Michael Vick into an offense that was previously lifeless.

2. San Francisco 49ers – DE Nick Bosa – Ohio State

The best player on many-a-draft-boards, Bosa fits both BPA and needs-drafting philosophies at this pick. John Lynch needs to start getting his drafts right if he is to retain his job and this is an excellent first step in securing his standing in the Bay Area.

3. New York Jets – DT Quinnen Williams – Alabama

The casual Jets fan will be disgruntled by another interior defensive lineman, but the knowledgeable Jets fan will recognize that their team just secured one of the three elite talents in the class. Williams was mostly unblockable at Alabama and could help recharge the career of Leonard Williams.

4. Oakland Raiders – DE Josh Allen – Kentucky

Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden get the apple of their collective eye with college football’s most productive pass rusher in 2018 falling to the fourth pick. Allen starts on the edge from the work go in Oakland.

5. *TRADE* Cincinnati Bengals (from TB) – QB Dwayne Haskins – Ohio State

Keeping Haskins in-state, Zac Taylor attaches his job to a cerebral, 21-year-old quarterback with plenty of room to grow. Paying a second-round pick to go up and get Haskins, to groom behind Andy Dalton (at least for a few games), is a small price to pay for a potential franchise signal-caller.

6. New York Giants – DT Ed Oliver – Houston

New York stays true to Dave Gettleman’s philosophy of focusing on trenches. This time, Gettleman gets it right with the rare specimen that is Ed Oliver. Oliver can play, quite literally, any position on the defensive line while offering pass rush and run-stopping prowess.

7. Jacksonville Jaguars – TE T.J. Hockenson – Iowa

Doubling down on the ground-and-pound mentality that brought Jacksonville to the doorstep of the Super Bowl two years ago, Doug Marrone gets a multi-faceted player with an extremely high floor. Hockenson functions in both aspects of the offensive game plan and helps ease the transition for new Quarterback Nick Foles.

8. Detroit Lions – DE Brian Burns – Florida State

Looking to replace the production lost via Ezekiel Ansah and Eli Harold, Matt Patricia bookends his newest toy (Trey Flowers) with an athletic marvel in Burns. Burns’ first step, and ability to turn the corner, could lead to terrific sack production at the next level.

9. Buffalo Bills – OT Jawaan Taylor – Florida

After giving Josh Allen a track team at the skill spots, it’s time for GM Brandon Beane to protect his franchise quarterback. Mitch Morse solidified the interior while Jawaan Taylor is a plug-and-play starter at right tackle — currently a massive void on Buffalo’s roster.

10. Denver Broncos – QB Drew Lock – Missouri

John Elway can talk about Joe Flacco entering his prime (LOL) all he wants, but if Elway enters the year without a contingency plan, it’s difficult to see him returning in 2020. Reports have linked Elway to Lock for months and it finally comes to fruition with the 10th pick.

11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – LB Devin White – LSU

Acquiring more draft capital and landing the top linebacker in the draft is a homerun for Bruce Arians and company. White is a three-down linebacker with an infectious attitude that can replace the production and leadership vacated by Kwon Alexander’s departure.

12. Green Bay Packers – OT Jonah Williams – Alabama

The best tackle, on tape, in college football last year, Williams’ long-term projection is to take over outside in Green Bay. He can start at guard immediately and gives the Pack a contingency plan behind Right Tackle Bryan Bulaga, who has missed games all but two years of his nine-year career.

13. *TRADE* New York Giants (from MIA) – QB Daniel Jones – Duke

Without a Josh Rosen deal done, Gettleman phones up Miami with an offer to get ahead of Washington to get the successor to Eli Manning. The Giants are loaded with mid-round draft picks and decide to send the 96th and 133rd picks to Miami to secure the QB position.

14. Atlanta Falcons – OC Garrett Bradbury – NC State

Thought by many as the best lineman in this class, Atlanta gets some much needed interior help. Alex Mack is 33, but Bradbury can play guard before transitioning into the Falcons’ long-term center.

15. Washington – WR D.K. Metcalf – Ole Miss

With the board developing in this fashion GM Bruce Allen will likely work the phones to see about Josh Rosen, so why not give him the top WR on the board? Metcalf is a difficult cover, despite some stiffness, and provides a shot in the arm for a wanting Washington passing offense.

16. Carolina Panthers – OT Dalton Risner – Kansas State

Carolina has done a poor job of protecting Cam Newton recently, and with the emphasis on the ground-game, a nasty mauler in the mold of Risner makes a lot of sense. He can play Right Tackle and Center giving the Panthers options.

17. *TRADE* Houston Texans (from MIA) – OL Cody Ford – Oklahoma

After Miami’s first trade, the board broke perfectly. With two more offensive linemen coming off the board Houston’s urgency to get Deshaun Watson some help grew tenfold. Ford is, far-and-away, the best OL prospect on the board and Miami scoops up another third-round pick to slide back six spots satisfying the team’s desire to acquire multiple additional picks.

18. Minnesota Vikings – OT Andre Dillard – Washington State

The run of the offensive line made for a near nightmare scenario for the Vikings, as Dillard is the last remaining lineman with a potential top-20 grade left on the board. Minnesota has two starting tackles in-house, but could certainly use an upgrade over Brian O’Neill.

19. Tennessee Titans – DT Christian Wilkins – Clemson

Jurrell Casey has been the entirety of Tennessee’s interior pressure for far too long. The Titans pluck a terrific football player, a better human being, and a real pain in the ass to deal with on third downs in Wilkins.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers – LB Devin Bush – Michigan

It’s tremendous to see the growth Ryan Shazier has made in his recovery from a devastating spine injury, but the Pittsburgh defense has never been the same since he went down — enter Devin Bush. Bush is the three-down thumper the Black and Gold desperately needs.

21. Seattle Seahawks – S Chauncey Gardner-Johnson – Florida

Seattle needs better safety play after losing two legendary members of their famed Legion of Boom (Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas) the last two years. CGJ is an immediate 100% snap-taker who can play single-high or come down and cover the slot.

22. *TRADE* Green Bay Packers (from BAL) – TE Noah Fant – Iowa

The Jimmy Graham experiment went awry quickly and Aaron Rodgers needs another weapon in the middle of the field. After splurging on defense in free agency, Green Bay spends its two first-rounders on supporting its all-time great quarterback.

23. Miami Dolphins – DE Chase Winovich – Michigan

Double majoring in preparation and production, Winovich has vaulted up draft boards throughout the process. His combine workout was elite, his interview skills were reportedly terrific, he’s sharp on the white board and he can play both the run and the pass. Winovich checks every box that the Dolphins want in a player.

24. Oakland Raiders – WR Hakeem Butler – Iowa State

Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams are an excellent start to reshaping the passing targets Derek Carr has at his disposal, but adding a power forward to the group is too attractive to pass up. Butler plays the game above the rim and can help the Raiders red zone woes.

25. Philadelphia Eagles – S Nasir Adderley – Delaware

Philadelphia adds another versatile safety in Adderley. His range, cover-skills, and return ability make him a viable option to get onto the field as a rookie before eventually taking the reins for an aging group.

26. Indianapolis Colts – DE Rashan Gary – Michigan

Each draft has a story about a player falling, and this year that distinction belongs to Mr. Gary. His production never matched the traits, but GM Chris Ballard knows value when he sees it. The Colts dramatic shift from a finesse team, into a bully, continues with another solid addition to the trenches.

27. Oakland Raiders – CB Byron Murphy – Washington

The cornerback slide ends with Oakland going to the BPA strategy. The Raiders have some nice corners in-house, none of which can match Murphy’s versatility across schemes or rare instincts for the position.

28. Los Angeles Chargers – DT Dexter Lawrence – Clemson

The nimble, 340-pound Lawrence is an oxymoron by every sense of the word. He’s immovable against the run and will occasionally offer interior pressure. Lawrence could stand to drop 10 pounds and really capitalize on the rare power-quickness combination he already presents.

29. Kansas City Chiefs – CB Greedy Williams – LSU

The cornerback run starts now with Kansas City looking to supplement a pass defense that never recovered from the loss of Marcus Peters. Play makers that can help get the ball back to Patrick Mahomes are a point of emphasis in this KC defense.

30. Baltimore Ravens – DL Jeffery Simmons – Mississippi State

A gamble by Eric DeCosta, Simmons is a top-five talent that stumbles down the board because of a recent ACL tear. The numbers aren’t great on players recovering from injuries that rob them of their rookie campaigns, but the last player with Simmons’ upside to experience something similar is Dallas’ star linebacker, Jaylon Smith.

31. Los Angeles Rams – OC Erik McCoy – Texas A&M

McCoy climbs up boards the more folks plug in his tape – he’s really, really good. The Rams need interior line help and can utilize McCoy’s versatility to double down on their complex running scheme and screen game.

32. New England Patriots – DE Clelin Ferrell – Clemson

Like Rashan Gary, Ferrell takes a tumble down the board because of the premier defensive line talent ahead of them. Ferrell’s slide is the Patriots gain as Bill Belichick pounces on a good looking prospect at a position of need.

 

That brings us to the rest of Miami’s draft. I forecasted one more trade for the Dolphins, this time coming up the board in the second round. With the offensive line talent flying off the board, Chris Grier finds it paramount to move up to secure a plug-and-play Guard at the top of round-two.

Dolphins Trades
Acquired picks 17, 96, 133 in exchange for pick 13 with New York Giants (Daniel Jones)
Acquired picks 23, 87 in exchange for pick 17 with Houston Texans (Cody Ford)
Acquired pick 36 in exchange for picks 48 and 96 with San Francisco 49ers (Chris Lindstrom)

 

Round (Pick) Position Player School
1 (23) DE Chase Winovich Michigan
2 (36) G Chris Lindstrom Boston College
3 (78) S Darnell Savage Maryland
3 (87) DT Trysten Hill UCF
4 (117) OLB Justin Hollins Oregon
4 (133) C Lamont Gaillard Georgia
5 (152) RB James Williams Washington State
7 (235) CB Derek Baity Kentucky
7 (236 WR Penny Hart Georgia State

 

This is the framework of an ideal mock draft for Miami. Adding two more picks and hammering out a BPA strategy, while checking off the list of needs, this group of players adheres to the requirements filed by the new Dolphins brain trust.

Let’s go pick-by-pick and explain these selections.

1. (23) DE Chase Winovich – Michigan

A high-motor pass rusher with an obsession for preparation, Winovich falls into a similar bucket as Minkah Fitzpatrick did a year ago. He out produced the more physically gifted Rashan Gary at Michigan, and topped off his impressive final collegiate season with a near-perfect run up to the draft. Some might assume this is too high for Winovich, but he’s not going to be around when Miami picks again in round-two.

The Plan: With minimum development needed in his game, Winovich steps in as an immediate contributor. Miami’s multiple front scheme will balance Winovich across multiple roles including the 7-tech, 5-tech, and the occasional two-point on-ball edge linebacker role.

2. (36) OG Chris Lindstrom – Boston College

After picking up three additional picks via the two round-one trade backs, the Dolphins saw the decade-long solution at left guard starring back at them at pick 36. San Francisco was open for business needing more draft capital of their own.

There’s a theme with these players regarding their love of the game and Lindstrom falls right in line. He’s a mauler, a technician, and a leader. Lindstrom might go off the board earlier than this and he’s a legitimate option in the first if Miami are inclined to trade down. The Dolphins have spent a lot of time with Lindstrom during the process.

The Plan: Starting 47 games at BC, almost exclusively at right guard, Miami’s lone 16-game participant happens to be the RG incumbent, Jesse Davis. Lindstorm is a better player, however, and allows Miami to kick Davis out to right tackle removing Zach Sterup from the starting line-up.

3. (78) S Darnell Savage – Maryland

An alpha leader of the Maryland defense, Savage is the type of presence that’s impossible to ignore in a shared room. He has the explosiveness to showcase more range than we saw at Maryland, but he’s at his best when he can drive out of his zone position, lay the wood, and rob underneath and crossing routes. He slots right in as the long-term replacement for Reshad Jones.

The Plan: If Reshad Jones is in fact immovable, Savage is afforded a year to get his feet wet. Minkah Fitzpatrick and Jones will play the base downs but Brian Flores is a big believer in three-safety packages (60% of the time last year) making Savage a primary defensive player early. Once Jones is gone, Savage will fill that role patrolling the hook-zone, robber role, and playing near the line-of-scrimmage.

3. (87) DT Trysten Hill – UCF

Strangely only starting one game last year under a new coaching staff, Hill’s tape is eye-catching — just as his combine workout was in March. He’s an interior pocket collapser with tremendous quickness, but he needs to refine his hand placement and technique – a project well within Marion Hobby’s wheelhouse.

The Plan: Coming off the bench initially as a sub package interior rusher, Hill’s technical refinement won’t be a concern in year-one — his only job will be to go get the quarterback. By 2020 Miami could realistically roll out a front line of Taylor, Godchaux and Hill.

4. (117) OLB Justin Hollins – Oregon

Miami is pretty well set at two linebacker positions, but Hollins gives them the inside-outside option they presently lack. Hollins is twitchy as all get out and could get even better with his length. He will need some development before he’s ready to play, but he provides Miami with a potential replacement for Kiko Alonso in 2020.

The Plan: Slotting in as the fourth linebacker initially, Hollins will use his rookie season to develop some nuance as an edge rusher. With his length and explosiveness, Hollins is a prime candidate to become a staple of the linebacker unit, but he needs to improve his functional strength and contact balance.

4. (133) OC Lamont Gaillard – Georgia

Gaillard’s draft projections are all over the place, so I stuck him smack dab in the middle of Miami’s class. He has the power to anchor against stout interior rushers, and enough athleticism to get out in space and up to the second level. Gaillard is the perfect competition for Daniel Kilgore.

The Plan: Miami have expressed their interest in letting someone compete with Kilgore (under contract for another season). Gaillard is power player who could use some seasoning and a year under Pat Flaherty’s tutelage — he serves as the primary backup center during his rookie season.

5. (152) RB James Williams – Washington State

Comfortably in this position for months, Williams was one of college football’s best pass catching backs in 2018. He can run the full running back route tree and is elusive in open space in the screen game.

The Plan: An immediate impact player on special teams, Williams will play the Rex Burkhead role on offense contributing with roughly 20% of the offensive snaps, primarily as a pass catcher. If Kenyan Drake is not brought back (expiring contract), Williams will see his role expand extensively in 2020.

7. (235) CB Derek Baity – Kentucky

Baity plays much larger than his frame and has the technique refinement that could eventually get him on the field on defense. It’s his desire and will to lay the wood, and exceptional tackling technique, that makes him a core special teamer as soon as his rookie season.

The Plan: Sure-tacklers always have a role on special teams. In the 7th round, if that’s all Baity ever becomes, the Dolphins will gladly except that ROI.

7. (236) WR Penny Hart – Georgia State

Hart’s Senior Bowl was impressive but his workouts, thereafter, were not. This might be a tad low, but his poor offseason puts Miami in a position to find a developmental slot receiver with game-breaking ability both on offense and in the return game.

The Plan: Potentially beginning his career on the practice squad, Hart’s primary value is at the return position, though that job is held by the dynamic Jakeem Grant. Hart provides early insurance behind Grant and Albert Wilson on the WR depth chart as both return from an injury.

Alternatively, here is a mock draft free of trades.

 

Round (Pick) Position Player School
1 (13) DT Christian Wilkins Clemson
2 (48) S Juan Thornhill Virginia
3 (78) OT Chuma Edoga USC
4 (117) OLB Justin Hollins Oregon
5 (152) S Mike Edwards Kentucky
7 (235) CB Derek Baity Kentucky
7 (236 WR Penny Hart Georgia State

 

With the multiple pathways (many needs) Miami can travel, a satisfying class almost doesn’t exist without acquiring more picks. With the two extra picks in the first mock, I feel confident in my ability to add reinforcements to the position rooms that need it most.

The focus, for both drafts, prioritized character, athletic traits, and defined roles within the program. Adding Wilkins to the Davon Godchaux and Vincent Taylor rotation essentially solidifies my interior defensive line. Wilkins can provide an interior rush the moment he arrives in Davie, FL.

Thornhill is the day-one center field safety (think Duron Harmon (61% of New England’s snaps last year)), while Edoga competes for the opening day right tackle job.

Hollins fits the same description from the original mock while Mike Edwards plays on special teams in year-one with the hopes of taking over Reshad Jones’ position in 2020.

Derek Baity and Penny Hart fit the bill for the three, aforementioned focal points.

A reminder that Locked On Dolphins will have the quickest, most comprehensive Dolphins draft coverage anywhere on the web next weekend.

Here, you can find the draft profiles we did last year. Film study, quotes from teammates and coaches, athletic measurements, scheme fit, projected role; everything about these players will be detailed on Locked On Dolphins dot com — as well as the Locked On Dolphins podcast.

@WingfieldNFL

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Thomas

    April 21, 2019 at 8:03 pm

    There is no way Miami drafts 2 safeties. They may not even draft 1.

  2. Avatar

    Thomas MacDonald

    April 21, 2019 at 8:04 pm

    There is no way Miami drafts 2 safeties. They may not even draft 1.

  3. Avatar

    Mike Zwilling

    April 23, 2019 at 6:43 am

    Dude get a new job.. Pass on elite talent for garbage

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Miami Dolphins

Are the Dolphins Done Reshaping the Roster for 2020?

Kevin Dern

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Unless you’ve been in the deepest of quarantines by now you’ve familiarized yourself with Miami’s offseason moves. The Dolphins brought in 12 free agents, 11 draft picks, traded for a running back, and signed 10 undrafted free agents. That’s 34 new names on the 90 man roster as we [hopefully] gear up for training camp in a month and a half.  Despite all the moves, Miami currently has four roster spots open. That’s 86 spots, not counting Durval Queiroz Neto, who is roster exempt, so the question has to be asked: Are they done for now?

We all know that changes will happen in camp. There could be a surprised UDFA or two that makes the roster. Someone could, and likely will, get injured to free up a spot. But, for right *NOW* are the Dolphins done?

I tend not to think so. So who might they be after? I don’t have any inside information, but from what media information we know, and some of my own speculation, I’ve got four names I suspect Miami might be onto. Two big fish and two guys that might be a little more under the radar.

Logan Ryan
The biggest name thus far Miami has been linked to is former Titans and Patriots Cornerback Logan Ryan. Sports Illustrated’s Alain Poupart had this story on May 14th.

https://www.si.com/nfl/dolphins/news/the-latest-on-the-status-of-logan-ryan-and-the-miami-dolphins-interest

Aside from the obvious connection to Dolphins Head Coach Brian Flores, Logan Ryan checks a lot of boxes Miami’s looked for this offseason.  Ryan’s a smart, team-first guy. He’s got position flexibility – able to play on the perimeter or in the slot and he already knows Miami’s defensive system.

But, corners in this league are expensive. It appears that Logan Ryan wants a one-year “prove it” deal. He’s betting on himself and cited Titans QB Ryan Tannehill as one of the reasons why. And per the Miami Herald, Logan Ryan’s agents have told the Dolphins he wants $10M or more for a year. That’s pricey, but Logan Ryan might be worth it; let’s take a look.

In this first clip, you can’t see him at the snap, but he’ll come in from the slot on the offense’s left side and isn’t afraid to stick his nose in against the run and stops Nick Chubb for a short gain.

Later in the same game, he gets a sack on Baker Mayfield (Yes, this play was ruled a sack). Ryan will come in from the right side of the screen, again the offense’s left, on a slot blitz. He gets blocked but is able to redirect and chases Baker Mayfield down for the sack.

Finally, in this clip, he plays press man against T.Y. Hilton from the slot. That’s a valuable skill Miami will like. Hilton’s going to try and break outside, but Logan Ryan reads the play, and showcases a nice burst to secure the pick.

Ultimately, signing Logan Ryan gives Miami a proven slot player who can also play man coverage on the perimeter, allowing Miami to matchup their defense however they please. He’d also gives them a buffer from having to having to give Noah Igbinoghene a ton of snaps right off the bat, if they so desire. At worst, you could spoon feed Igbinoghene at first until he’s grasped his role, then you can increase his snaps. And with Ryan looking for a one year deal, that might be amenable to all parties.

Larry Warford
It’s not too often at this stage of the offseason there’s a 29 year old (turns 29 on June 18th), three-time Pro Bowl guard is available. But that’s just what Larry Warford is. Saints Coach Sean Payton once said that he likes his guards to “have mass and ass” in order to keep a clean, firm middle of the pocket for Drew Brees to operate. Well, if there’s one rookie quarterback this year that is built like and operates like Drew Brees, it’s Tua Tagovailoa. And, between you and me, I think Tua’s going to end up playing a lot sooner than people think.

What adding Larry Warford would likely do for Miami is solidify four of the five starting offensive line spots. If Miami signed him, I think it’s safe to assume Miami would have (from left to right) Austin Jackson, Ereck Flowers, Ted Karras, Larry Warford, and a battle between Jesse Davis and Robert Hunt. That’s a battle that Miami likely would want Hunt to win, as you can keep Jesse Davis as a swing tackle and guard. It would also allow them to bring Solomon Kindley along slowly. I didn’t watch it, but have heard that either Flores and/or Grier compared Kindley to Shaq Mason, who was a project that the Patriots brought along because he didn’t have much pass-blocking experience coming from Georgia Tech’s option offense. Well, with Kindley it gives you a chance to hone his game in total for a year or two while getting a veteran who walks in the door the best lineman the Dolphins would have.

Three quick clips of Larry Warford for you coming up.

First, we’ll see Warford and RT Ryan Ramczyk block up a T-E game. The DT is going to go outside and J.J. Watt comes inside to Warford. They switch it with relative ease and Warford is so big that J.J. Watt can’t generate a pop to knock Warford back and collapse the pocket.

Next, and this one is quick. It’s a jet sweep to Kamara going the other way, but look at Larry throwing bodies out the club! That kind of punch is something Miami haven’t had in a guard since Richie Incognito was in town.

Finally, we see a rep against DT D.J. Reader, who got paid this offseason. Reader’s listed at 347lbs, and someone that large shouldn’t be moved that easily.

Warford gives you size, smarts and strength inside. And, if Miami are going to possibly have a rookie RT in Robert Hunt, that kind of veteran presence can help bring him up to speed quickly. For my money, I’d sign Larry Warford over Logan Ryan since Miami’s Defensive Staff seemed to be able to bring in DBs off the street and get them up to speed enough to start in the same week. Kudos to Josh Boyer for that, but I think there’s more value in bringing in Warford now, and possibly for the next two or three years, than there is for Logan Ryan on a one year deal.

That said, both players would make the Dolphins better and I’m not opposed to Logan Ryan by any means.

Damon Harrison
Okay, so you’ve probably heard of “Snacks” Harrison before. But did you realize he was still out there as a free agent? Kudos if you did. Miami signing “Snacks” doesn’t seem like it’d be in the cards. Harrison is 31 years old, had a tough year last year with injuries in Detroit to the point he contemplated retirement, but hear me out.

Wind the clock back to 2018 when Brian Flores was calling the Patriots Defense. Same defense Miami’s running now. The Patriots had over 1,000 total snaps on defense that year. Danny Shelton played just 31% of them, with 324 total snaps. NT in this defense is a part-time position.

That year the Patriots gave out the following snaps to interior defensive linemen:

Malcom Brown – 456 (43.7%)
Lawrence Guy – 519 (49.8%)
Adam Butler – 379 (36.3%)
Danny Shelton – 324 (31.1%)

With Miami’s drafting of Raekwon Davis, you sort of assume he and Godchaux are going to take on the roles of Malcom Brown and Danny Shelton. Christian Wilkins takes on the role of Lawrence Guy, and perhaps Raekwon Davis takes some of those snaps as well to keep him fresh. As of now, I’d expect Zach Sieler to take on Adam Butler’s workload, which was a rotational DT and someone who can be used on passing downs; Sieler has more skill there than Godchaux or Davis in my opinion.

But what if Miami were able to bring in “Snacks” Harrison to take on that NT role? It’d allow you to give Davis more focused snaps and let him use some of his upfield ability to help spell Godchaux and take on that Adam Butler role. It might mean the end for Zach Sieler in Miami, who is on an Exclusive Rights Free Agent Tender for this year. No harm if you move on.

So what would snacks bring to the table? First, like Logan Ryan, he knows the system to some degree having played under Matt Patricia in Detroit. There may be some differences here an there, but he can pick that up, and it’s a specialized role. Two, he’s a proven run-stopper. Even last year with the Lions with all his injuries he was still effective. Let’s take a look.

Here’s a back-to-back play sequence against the Eagles in Week 3.

First, Harrison’s actually lined up at 3-technique against Brandon Brooks, one of the most underrated players in the NFL. “Snacks” will never confuse for Aaron Donald and he doesn’t muster much of a rush, but he stays with the play and gets his hand up to deflect Carson Wentz’s pass.

The very next play is what he does best. Lined up as a true NT, he ushers Jason Kelce away with one arm, plays down the line horizontally and stops Miles Sanders for no gain. That’s what you like to see out of someone who is 6’3” and 350lbs.

Against the Packers you’ll see him as a 3-technique again and he defeats a double-team by Billy Turner and Bryan Bulaga and makes a run stop on Aaron Jones.

The final clip for “Snacks” comes when he gets a sack of Aaron Rodgers later in that same game. He’s going to work off a double-team by Billy Turner and Corey Linsley, gets around it, and though he’s out of his pass rush lane he keeps working and dumps Rodgers for a sack.

The knocks against “Snacks” are that he’s older than every player on the Dolphins roster save for Ryan Fitzpatrick. He battled through injuries, contemplated retirement and told ESPN that he was “hell-bent” on getting out of Detroit. Did he not like the system? The coaches? How does that parlay into Miami if he signs here considering Flores and Patricia’s backgrounds intertwine in Foxboro? While I think this signing might be more unlikely than both Logan Ryan and Larry Warford, it wouldn’t shock me given Miami’s defensive scheme and the players that Brian Flores has traditionally seen in that role.

Mike Weber
Going a little off the beaten path here. The Chiefs waived Mike Weber, who was a seventh round draft pick for the Dallas Cowboys in 2018. Weber rushed for 1,000+ yards as a redshirt freshman at Ohio State, replacing Ezekiel Elliott. An injury in summer workouts the next year opened the door and J.K. Dobbins passed him on the depth chart, but Weber still rushed for 626 yards and 10 TDs that year. He tallied nearly 1,100 yards and nine more TDs as Dobbins backup in 2018, and declared for the Draft.

Going to Dallas, Weber wasn’t going to get much of a shot behind Ezekiel Elliott, especially after Elliott’s contract extension. He also was beaten out by Tony Pollard in 2019 for the backup job. Weber spent time with the Chiefs on their practice squad during their Super Bowl Run.

Weber has yet to collect a carry in the NFL during the Regular Season, so I don’t have clips for you here. My rationale for Miami possibly being interested in Weber is that Miami had a strong interest in J.K. Dobbins during the Draft this year. Weber played in that same offense at Ohio State and put up big numbers as well. In my opinion, he was more physical as a runner, but lacked the explosiveness. He goes 5’10” 210lbs, so he’s bridging the gap in size between Jordan Howard and Matt Breida.

Kalen Ballage hasn’t proven very effective doing much of anything. Patrick Laird is a nice story, but is probably best served by playing on special teams. We didn’t see much of Myles Gaskin in 2019, save for the Bengals game in Week 16, so he’s still a bit of an unknown. With four open roster spots, what’s the harm in bringing in Weber for a look?

We’ll see what Miami does, and they could very well opt to do nothing. But Logan Ryan, Larry Warford, Damon Harrison, are three guys I think they ought to consider. Each of the three, in my opinion, makes the position group on the Dolphins better they moment they walk in the door. Mike Weber would be more of a reclamation project, but I like his odds of competing against Kalen Ballage, Patrick Laird, and Myles Gaskin for a potential roster spot.

Stay safe and FinsUp!

 

 

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Miami Dolphins

Setting the Edge: Miami’s New Additions Up Front

Kevin Dern

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It’s no secret that Miami’s defense was bad last year. The Dolphins ranked 32nd in the league in points allowed, mostly due to giving up 102 points in the first two games alone. Their run defense, which was an eyesore under Vance Joseph and Matt Burke during the Adam Gase tenure remained problematic in Brian Flores’s first year. Miami gave up 135.4 yards per game, 27th in the league, and 4.2 yards per carry, 22nd in the league. Not good.

Miami’s pass defense wasn’t sterling by any means. Injuries to Xavien Howard, Reshad Jones and Bobby McCain hurt. Trading away Minkah Fitzpatrick didn’t help. But I think we all can appreciate that Miami’s passing defense progressed throughout the year despite having to field a secondary that consisted of: Eric Rowe playing two positions, Nik Needham, Ryan Lewis, Ken Webster, Tae Hayes, Nate Brooks, Adrian Colbert, Walt Aikens, and Montre Hartage at various points.

The Dolphins will have a hopefully healthy Xavien Howard and Bobby McCain back. They signed the premier free agent corner in Byron Jones, drafted Noah Igbinoghene in the first round and drafted Brandon Jones in the third. They also signed safeties Clayton Fejedelem and Kavon Frazier, who have some starting experience in the past with Cincinnati and Dallas respectively. Things are pointing up more solidly in the back end of the defense.

But what about the additions to the front?

The interior players from last season remain largely intact with Davon Godchaux, Christian Wilkins, Jerome Baker, and Raekwon McMillan all returning. Zach Sieler only played in three games but looks promising and his Week 16 performance against the Bengals was arguably the best game for a Miami defensive lineman since Cameron Wake was still on the roster. Kyle Van Noy will likely play a good chunk of his snaps off the ball, as he did under Brian Flores in 2018. Elandon Roberts will at the very least be good depth up the middle.

And the edges of the defense?

First, I think it’s important to distinguish that Miami uses both defensive ends and outside linebackers as edge defenders in different formations. So, to label them all as EDGE players, as seems to be common practice these days, is a bit misleading as it relates to the Dolphins defense. My purpose for this article is to breakdown how the Dolphins got better on the edges this offseason and what we can expect from them in 2020.  Here’s whose on the roster right now:

Defensive Ends
Shaq Lawson
Avery Moss
Emmanuel Ogbah
Jason Strowbridge
Curtis Weaver

*Emmanuel Ogbah, Jason Strowbridge and Shaq Lawson all can play tighter techniques to the ball when called upon (ex: 3, 4i, 4 and in some cases 0).

Outside Linebackers
Vince Biegel
Trent Harris
Andrew Van Ginkel
Kyle Van Noy

*Kyle Van Noy will very likely see snaps off-the-ball as a traditional ILB in addition to edge reps as an OLB. Biegel and Van Ginkel will also get snaps as stand-up DEs (ex: standup 5 or 6 tech in a 3-3-5 Bear front)

If you’ve read my articles on LockedOn before, you’ll know that I believe we’ll see Brian Flores defense really take shape this year. When Flores ran the Patriots defense in 2018, his most used formations were the 4-2-5 (307 snaps), 3-3-5 (226 snaps), 3-2-6 (132 snaps), and 4-3 (97 snaps). Last year’s use of the 3-4 I think was more built out of necessity. Miami’s edge players were bad at setting the edge, and with their ever-changing personnel I think Patrick Graham used more 3-4 looks because it was easier to coordinate. I think this year, with the improved personnel, we’ll see more of what Brian Flores was running in New England in 2018.

One note to consider is that prior to the bye week, we saw more examples of the 4-2-5 and 3-3-5 formations, often with the same personnel. Below are several screenshots from Miami’s games in Weeks 1-3.

Standard 4-2-5
DL:  Moss, Godchaux, Wilkins Harris
LB:  Baker, Eguavoen

3-3-5 formation with 4-2-5 personnel
D-line: Moss, Godchaux, Wilkins, Charlton (OLB)
LBs: Baker, Eguavoen

3-2-6 formation with three DEs (Ruby)
D-line: Biegel, C. Harris, Moss
LBs: Baker, Eguavoen

4-3 Over
D-line: Moss, Wilkins, Godchaux, C. Harris
LBs: Eguavoen, McMillan, Baker

* Note Miami will play under and even looks out of 4-3 personnel.

Let’s get one thing straight. Miami’s defense is very multiple. They will play these formations with non-traditional personnel. For example, if we go back to 2018 when Brian Flores was calling the Patriots Defense, watch their Sunday Night Game against the Packers. New England opens that game with 4-2-5 personnel but using three DEs in the grouping. They used Trey Flowers as a 3-technique on 1st and 2nd downs that drive. Miami will do similar things, for instance, they had Taco Charlton line up as an OLB in their 3-3-5 look seen above.

My gut feeling is that this year, Miami’s defense will more closely resemble the 2018 Patriots in terms of what they deploy, both in formations and in personnel packages, than it will resemble anything Miami ran last year post-bye week.

For a more in-depth look at that, I’ll reference you to this piece I wrote in February of 2019 shortly after Brian Flores was hired. Inside the Film Room.

The remainder of this piece will cover the following additions Miami made this offseason and how they will fit: Emmanuel Ogbah, Shaq Lawson, Kyle Van Noy, Jason Strowbridge, and Curtis Weaver.

As a whole, this group should give Miami much improve ability up front on the edges of the defense. Primarily, Ogbah, Lawson, Van Noy and Strowbridge should provide an immediate shot in the arm for the run defense. The first three and Curtis Weaver should all prove to be better pass-rushers than anyone Miami deployed on the edge last year, be it a DE or OLB.

Emmanuel Ogbah
First things first about Ogbah. He’s big. And he’s long. At 6’4” 275lbs he’s got 35.5” arms and 10” hands. He’s got power and some explosiveness – 35.5” vert and 121” broad jumps. These are things to note about him. Ogbah was having a really nice year with the Chiefs notching 5.5 sacks before an injury cut short his 2019 campaign. He uses that length and power really well to set the edge against the run, and those long arms have come in handy as he’s got 20 career deflected passes.

In this first clip, you’ll see Ogbah (#90) at LDE for the Chiefs. His play recognition here is excellent as he feels the tackle release to setup for a screen. Ogbah slows his rush immediately and looks to get into the pass lane. The Jaguars had a double screen called and Foles goes the opposite way.

Clip number two shows Ogbah’s ability to affect the passing lanes. His rush against Ronnie Stanley seems a bit off, and I think this may have been a game-planned spy attempt as the Chiefs blitz a corner from that side. If it’s not, then Ogbah has good recognition to stop his rush and drop into the passing lane and get his hands up to deflect Lamar Jackson’s pass for an incompletion.

Against the Packers, Ogbah showcases his length and speed in this pass-rush. He uses his long arms well to engage Bryan Bulaga in a bull-rush move. He’s able to start to turn the corner and executes a rip move to free himself and sack Aaron Rodgers.

In our final clip of Emmanuel Ogbah, we’ll see him against the Vikings. Here he’s able to set a hard edge against LT Riley Rieff and he’s able to get upfield enough to force Dalvin Cook to cut inside into traffic where he’s stopped for a short gain.

Overall, Ogbah’s a guy that is going to set a hard edge and has some pass-rush ability. While I get that Dolfans may be upset that 91 isn’t “retired” the way 54 and 99 are, I think it’s fitting as he’ll be deployed like how the Patriots deployed their #91 Deatrich Wise. Ogbah can play on the edge all three downs. He’s long enough and strong enough to play tighter techniques inside. There are a number of reps of him at a 4i-technique being able to stop the run. It wouldn’t surprise me if Miami tries to utilize him as an inside rusher on 3rd downs, much like the Patriots did with Wise. The plus for Ogbah is that he’s a better athlete. He’ll be able to collect some wins as a pass-rusher from 6, 7 and 9 technique looks on 1st and 2nd downs in addition to setting the edge against the run.

Shaq Lawson
Another player coached by Marion Hobby here. Shaq is a player that’s had an odd start to his career. Drafted by the Rex Ryan coached Bills, he wasn’t a super scheme fit there and dealt with some injuries. Starting only 17 career games, none in 2019, Lawson carved out a nice niche for himself in the rotation-happy Bills D-line last year. My thought is that he is going to get opportunities to replicate some of the looks that Trey Flowers did for the Patriots and continues to be put in with the Lions, coached by Matt Patricia, who runs another Patriot-styled scheme.

Our first clip of Shaq is against the Dolphins in Week 11. He’s going to be lined up outside RT Jesse Davis in what you’d call a wide-5 technique. Lawson’s a bit slow off the snap, but he’s able to make himself small and is able to cross Jesse Davis’s face with a quick swipe move and makes a tackle for no gain.

The second clip isn’t necessarily a great pass-rush rep, but the reason I want to showcase it is because of where Lawson’s aligned. He’s in a 3-technique look against RG Evan Boehm. Lawson does a nice job hand-fighting with Boehm, eventually getting free inside despite giving up more than 50lbs to Boehm. This is important because Miami incorporates a lot of the 3-3-5 looks and 3-2-6 looks in passing situations that necessitate DEs being able to play inside. A lot of the pass-rush games, which we’ll see when I talk about Kyle Van Noy, come from a wider edge player coming around into the backside A or B gap. Lawson’s ability to get push in the pocket here is key in executing those games, and in this rep he’s able to get in Fitzpatrick’s face to help force an incompletion.

We’ll move to Buffalo’s week 12 matchup against the Broncos for our next rep. Part of the pass-rush games that is so important in this defense it the ability for players to be able to rush inside and get into A and B gaps. Here Lawson is lined up in a 4-technique over Broncos LT Garrett Boles. He gets a good jump on the snap and is able to cross into the backside A gap, beating the LG across his face to get middle pressure and a sack against Brandon Allen.

Our final clip of Shaq Lawson comes from the Bills vs. Patriots Game in Week 16. You probably already know what it is. Lawson’s lined up in a 5-technique and reads the fake jet sweep play and is able to stop Sony Michel for a big loss. He’s able to fight inside of the double-team block by the LT and WR from a nasty split. This shows Lawson’s get-off and is play recognition skill. He makes a great play tracking this down from inside. At worst, even if he misses the tackle, he’s mucked the play long enough for the CB to be able to force this back inside where it’s going to get a very minimal gain if anything.

Overall, I think Emmanuel Ogbah might end up being the better of the two DEs signed for Miami. Especially at the start. But I think there’s more to unlock with Shaq Lawson. If Marion Hobby can get him to work on his explosiveness of the snap and getting that more consistent, that will go a long way toward helping him. He’s a strong end capable of lining up in tight techniques like 3, 4i and 4. He’s shown ability to rush interior gaps, and that ability may lend itself to doing some, let’s say unique, things that Trey Flowers got to do with the Patriots, like playing a 0-technique in some of their LB heavy nickel looks and in their “playground”/radar defense. While I’m not sure Lawson will get looks like that off the bat, I think that’s something feasible down the road a bit if he can make his get-off more consistent and continue to develop his hand fighting abilities.

Kyle Van Noy
The Dolphins had to, HAD TO get better on the edges of the defense. Case in point they signed two DEs and drafted two more. Brian Flores spoke after the Draft about how players not filling the stat sheet doesn’t mean they had a bad game.  I believe that was in reference to Miami drafting Raekwon Davis. But it could be applied to Kyle Van Noy.

Van Noy may be the most important free agent signing and his impact will likely be rivaled only by Byron Jones for the hidden benefits they bring to the defense.  Why do I say this? It’s because of the many different things Brian Flores and Josh Boyer will be able to do on defense because of Van Noy.

First, he’s able to play ILB, and play it quite well. He can do this in 4-2-5 looks where he’s paired with someone. He can do it in 3-3-5 looks where he’s the guy.

Here you can see him lined up behind Adam Butler in a 3-3-5 look. The interesting thing to note here is that the Patriots had 4-2-5 personnel on the field with Deatrich Wise, Butler and Adrian Clayborn up front. They used Trey Flowers as an OLB in this look opposite Dont’a Hightower.

You want him to rush off the edge? No problem. Here in this GIF you can see the Patriots “playground” defense. Van Noy will be on the left side and rushes outside the left tackle.

In this clip against Dallas from 2019, we’ll see the Patriots in a 2-4-5 look (which is a 4-man front, but with OLBs instead of DEs. Miami rain this a lot against Philly and in Week 17 against the Patriots last year). Jason Witten shifts over to Van Noy’s side and Kyle is able use his arms, get extension and maintain good leverage to set the edge and help with the tackle as other defenders arrive to make the stop. Textbook!

Going back in time to 2018 against the Vikings, I want to give you two plays that were back-to-back in the game. First, we see Van Noy lined up over the RT. At the snap he’s going to drop into the short middle and read Kirk Cousins. He follows Cousins’ eyes to TE Kyle Rudolph and Van Noy just sits down in the zone right in front of him and Adam Butler gets a sack. That’s a hidden play there because Rudolph was open until Van Noy flowed that way.

But the real treat to Van Noy’s game is his prowess with pass-rush games. This is the very next play. The Patriots are in their 3-2-6 look, Diamond, but have RE Adrian Clayborn lined up head-up on TE Kyle Rudolph, whose got a short split. Clayborn helps reroute him at the snap then rushes (something we could see Ogbah and Lawson do?). But watch Van Noy here. He’s going to be lined up off-ball over the Vikings RT. He feints a rush upfield, stops and then loops around to the backside A gap. Adam Butler and Dont’a Hightower crash towards the strongside to effectively set “picks” (Ogbah, Lawson, Raekwon Davis, Wilkins) to allow Van Noy the free run at Cousins. Van Noy unloads on him and forces an incompletion.

He doesn’t notch a tackle, sack or pass deflection. Merely a pressure here. But his ability do run these pass-rush games is OUTSTANDING. Watch the 2018 AFC Championship Game and the Super Bowl victories.

Want one more? Okay, fine you’ve got me! This is in the Super Bowl victory over the Rams on a 3rd down in the first half. The Patriots are lined up in a 4-2-5 look, their marble concept (DB inserted over the nasty split or TE) and Van Noy is the MLB. He simply sits in the underneath zone and takes away two different receivers – almost like a spy. Then Jared Goff scrambles and Van Noy explodes to chase him down for a 14 yard loss on a sack!

I expect Kyle Van Noy to be featured in multiple roles in this defense. Remember the picture of Miami’s 4-2-5 look way at the beginning? He can play either LB spot in that look – outside where Eguavoen is or as the MLB where Jerome Baker is. He can play ILB in 3-3-5 looks. He can set the edge as an OLB in 2-4-5 looks. You can use him in all manner of ways in pass-rush games. And regardless of where he plays, he’s very smart! You’re going to get good reps out of him. Knowing this system already will likely propel him into a leadership role on the defense, which in my view, will help younger guys like Jerome Baker, Raekwon McMillan and Andrew Van Ginkel. He can make sure they’re on top of their alignments and assignments and give them a living, breathing example of what it means to be a smart, tough and physical player. Do I sound like Coach Flores yet?

Jason Strowbridge
If you’ve followed me on Twitter leading up to the Draft, you know I’ve mentioned Strowbridge frequently as someone I’ve liked for Miami. And getting him in the 5th round is a bit of a steal in my opinion. He took on a role as a DT and 3-4 DE at North Carolina, getting minimal reps as a DE in a four man D-line. With the Dolphins, I think he’ll slot into the same position as Emmanuel Ogbah and be a part of the rotation behind him.

His experience playing tighter techniques as a Tar Heel will be one thing Miami will likely try to build on in pass-rush packages. Here’s a clip from Voch Lombardi’s film review of the Senior Bowl with Strowbridge rushing as a 3-technique.

Our next clip of Strowbridge comes from the Tar Heels Bowl Game against Temple. We’ll see Strowbridge lined up at LDE in a 4-man line. He’s able to use an arm over move to defeat the TE and uses his explosion to get into the gap ahead of the pulling guard and help make a TFL.

In this clip against Virginia Tech he’s able to use quickly recognize that both the RG and RT down block and he’s able to get inside of the TE who’s trying to reach him and gets inside of the backside guard pulling. That play recognition is key and he’s able to make a tackle for no gain. Strowbridge doesn’t always exhibit the greatest get off/explosiveness off the snap, but when he does, his eyes take him to the ball well.

In our final clip, we’re looking at something subtle that I think the Dolphins will appreciate. Remember Kyle Van Noy’s pass-rush against the Vikings from above? Well, it’s plays like this from the front line that allow those pass-rush games to happen. Here we see Strowbridge lined up at 3-technique to the near side. He rushes from the B gap to the A gap and is able to occupy the RG and the C, allowing the LB to have a free run at the QB. While the LB fails to make the sack, you can see how this translates to what Miami will be wanting to do.

Jason Strowbridge will need some coaching up, there’s no denying that. But his length, power and experience playing tighter techniques will come in handy. I think his workload will steadily increase as the season moves on. But at first, I think he can help spell Ogbah at Big DE in 4-man lines and might give Miami something as an interior player on 3rd down pass-rush packages.

Curtis Weaver
I think most people are aware of the “good player, bad body” stigma that Curtis Weaver’s carried throughout the Draft process. Daniel Jeremiah said as much when Miami selected him. Weaver could be a tremendous value pick for the Dolphins. I haven’t seen Boise State a lot, but Weaver seems to be strictly a stand-up DE, and I’d think that he’d be that for Miami starting off. Think Chris Long at the end of his run with the Patriots. Weaver can be a 3rd down pass-rusher right off the bat. But I think he’ll need to learn to play the run better in order to earn more snaps.

In our first clip we’ll see that Air Force brings a wing-back into pitch phase to fake an option play. Weaver is the stand-up DE nearest to us. He’s able to read that the motion player isn’t getting the ball before he fully steps into his rush. He uses a rip move to get around the RT and does a nice job turning his rush path into the QB.

This clip showcases Weaver’s strength. Here he’s able to split a double team for a sack.

In the final clip with Curtis Weaver, we’ll see him use his length to set the edge against the run. Marion Hobby will be charged with coaxing this ability out of him more consistently. But when he does, this will help him see more reps.

How all these pieces come together should be very fun to watch. Miami now has a pair of Big DEs – Ogbah and Strowbridge and a pair of Rush ends in Lawson and Weaver. Kyle Van Noy will be playing himself. We’ll also likely see guys like Vince Biegel, Andrew Van Ginkel and Raekwon McMillan get some snaps on the edge as Brian Flowers wasn’t shy about having those three play on the edge last year.

Another added benefit to this, could be that we see Christian Wilkin’s pass-rush potential unlocked more in his second season. With some of these new edge additions able to rush from multiple spots, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Wilkins benefit on twists across the line.

While I won’t make any predictions on which of these guys leads the Dolphins in sacks, I will make two others:

1) These edge defenders will help Miami’s run defense improve. A lot.

2) In terms of pass-rush and the totality of the defense, this group of guys will allow Brian Flores and Josh Boyer to run the defense the way they want to and not be constrained into boiling it down like they did in 2019.

That final point is something we as Dolfans should all be very excited about! #FinsUp

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Miami Dolphins

Miami Dolphins Trade Charles Harris to Atlanta Falcons

Jason Hrina

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Image Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins are replacing former first-round picks with late-round prospects.

According to Jason Butt, the Falcons beat writer for The Athletic, the team has traded former 1st-round pick (22nd-overall in 2017) Charles Harris to the Atlanta Falcons for a conditional 7th-round draft pick in 2021.

Current conditions are unknown, but they’re expected to involve Harris either making the final roster, or being active for a certain number of games in 2020.

Trading Harris comes less than 24 hours after the Dolphins released fellow 2017 1st-round draft pick (28th-overall to the Dallas Cowboys), Taco Charlton. It was widely debated which of these pass rushers the Dolphins would draft that year, naively missing out on a much-better talent (drafted 30th-overall) in T.J. Watt.

Taco Charlton ironically ends up joining the Dolphins last year after being released by the Cowboys, and instantly saw more action than Harris. In 10 games with Miami, Charlton logged 396 defensive snaps (39.6 per game); in 14 games, Harris played 429 (30.64 per game).

Charles Harris showed promise his rookie season, but was never able to grow as a pass rusher. During his three years in Miami, Harris combined to accumulate: 3.5 sacks, 34 solo tackles, 10 tackles for a loss (TFL), and 23 quarterback hits. Think Cameron Wake had a down year for the Tennessee Titans last season? In the 9 games he was active for, Wake was still able to get 2.5 sacks and 11 QB hits.

Even more detrimental than his lackluster pass rush was Harris’ inability to set the edge in the running game. Infamously being flushed out on big runs, Harris was a liability on first & second down, and couldn’t generate the necessary pass rush on third down. The team tried their luck at outside linebacker, but the results were just as disappointing.

Teams can never have enough pass rush in today’s NFL, making defensive end a premium position to solve. That said, when Harris was drafted in 2017, Cameron Wake was still performing at a high level, and the team extended Andre Branch to a 3-year, $24m deal less than two months before the NFL draft. Defensive end wasn’t necessarily a need, and seeing such limited production from Harris only exemplifies our disappointment over the last decade.

A likely candidate to be cut after the team drafted defensive ends Jason Strowbridge (154th-overall) and Curtis Weaver (164th-overall) in the 5th-round, receiving compensation for Harris is a pleasant surprise, and speaks to the type of shrewd moves general manager Chris Grier has made over the past year, including:

  • The Laremy Tunsil haul.
  • The additional 2nd-round pick Miami acquired from the New Orleans Saints in the 2019 draft that led to them drafting Raekwon Davis.
  • The additional 6th-round pick they received from the Seattle Seahawks for the 5th-to-last pick in this year’s draft; which, at the bare minimum, is a 50-slot jump.

Miami now has 11 draft picks in 2021, with additional draft picks coming in rounds 1, 2, 6 and 7. And this doesn’t take potential compensatory picks in mind.

A new era is certainly blossoming under Brian Flores; unfortunately, it’s evident there wasn’t much of a foundation for him to build off of.

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