A seven-round mock draft at the start of the year? Yes please.
Thanks to Luke Easterling over at Draft Wire, this is exactly what we have.
While there is still a lot to happen before Miami are ready for draft night, it’s still good to see how an entire draft can pan out and add some names to the list of players Miami have been linked with.
There are no trades in this mock so bare that in mind.
Round 1 – Christian Wilkins | DL | Clemson
With both Dwayne Haskins and Kyler Murray off the board, to the Giants and Jags respectively, Miami opts to go defensive line and draft Clemson’s Christian Wilkins.
This pick makes even more sense after Miami hired DL coach Marion Hobby, who helped recruit Wilkins.
There’s an immediate connection in the building and it certain is a position of need after Suh departed last off-season.
Of the pick, Easterling says: “Free-agent departures and draft busts have left this unit in shambles, but this draft is the perfect time to reload.
“Wilkins was arguably the most impressive athlete in all of college football throughout his career, and that’s saying something for a 300-pounder.”
Some mocks has Wilkins as a second round pick but that has more to do with the abundance of talent at the position that will see Day 1 guys fall.
So this isn’t a reach by any means.
Round 2 – Oshane Ximines | EDGE | Old Dominion
As he looks to be the first player drafted from his school, Oshane Ximines has plenty of question marks around how he will fare at the next level, this isn’t what Miami fans will want to hear.
That he is on the board in the second round will mean that the NFL views his lack of athleticism as a concern.
His lack of bend will need to be fixed drastically if he is to succeed at the next level and Phins fan don’t want another edge bust like they have seen with Charles Harris.
Like Harris, Ximines may be viewed as a rotational player in the NFL.
So the upside? His violent hands and the fact that he did produce, recording 32.5 sacks in his time at Old Dominion and had 11.5 in his final year.
And against upper-echelon talent, he showed up – his two sacks and seven tackles helped Old Dominion upset Virginia Tech.
Under Matt Burke, Ximines would likely have very little chance of succeeding in Miami.
But Brian Flores should be able to get the best out of a player who has what it takes to be a first round pick.
If he can clean up his technique, he can develop into a quality starter.
Round 3- Kendall Joseph | LB | Clemson
Going linebacker in the third round two years in a row could be the Dolphins hoping lightening strikes twice.
They will also be hoping another Clemson player from the 2019 draft class can make a difference.
Joseph is seen a coverage linebacker and given Kiko Alonso may be out the door soon, there is an immediate need for a replacement.
Raekwon McMillan and Jerome Baker finished the year strongly but that third linebacker is still a problem position.
There’s no reason why Joseph can’t see the field from Week 1 having seen him make plays for the current national champions.
#34 MLB Kendall Joseph ain’t scared pic.twitter.com/OrrC2Kmk75
— Jon Ledyard (@LedyardNFLDraft) July 25, 2018
“My favorite thing about Joseph is how sharp his mental processing skills are” says Joe Marino of TDN. “He illustrates strong read-and-react skills and rarely takes the cheese for false keys.
“He plays with obvious preparation and has a strong feel for dissecting misdirection and counter plays.
“His football IQ shows up in pass defense where his feel for coverage spacing and zone awareness is excellent.”
That profile screams “total opposite of Kiko Alonso” and Joseph would give Flores another option at the LB position in 2019.
Coming from Clemson, Joseph was part of a lot of success and that will be the type of player Flores will want on his defence.
Round 4 – Lil’Jordan Humphrey | WR | Texas
Humphrey’s ability after the catch will see him make plays in the NFL.
Viewed as a slot receiver, the Texan Longhorn may struggle to find meaningful snaps with the likes of Jakeem Grant, Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson all likely to return next season.
— Lil'Jordan Humphrey (@LJ_Humphrey23) January 25, 2019
However, his work in congested areas and his wide catch-radius could see him used as a key weapon on third downs.
And at 6’4”, this a wideout who uses his size to his advantage.
Miami needs more big-bodied targets who aren’t afraid to go up and get the ball.
Round 5 – Jarrett Stidham | QB | Auburn
This is an interesting pick.
Depending on which scout you listen to, be it online or on a podcast, Stidham is either loved or hated.
Jarrett Stidham. Pure, easy throwing motion with great velocity and touch/accuracy today. Was a surgeon in Red Zone work. I like him. A LOT. ##NFLDraft2019
— Louis Riddick (@LRiddickESPN) January 25, 2019
Mello of the Stick to Football podcast loves him and Stidham impressed those who were at the senior bowl practices, winning the practice awards for his showing at the senior bowl.
“He has a lot of good talent,” Mello said recently. “He wasn’t able to show that as he was getting eaten alive every Saturday because his offensive line was absolutely terrible.
“It wasn’t really a fair evaluation of him, I know everybody s*** on him.
“It’s very hard to play the position of quarterback when you have guys from Alabama right in your face. No-one can make that throw, Pat Mahomes would struggle if his line couldn’t protect him.
“It’s not fair to these guys that they didn’t get that look and now he comes here and he can prove what he can do.”
I’m glad to see Jarrett Stidham is getting love from not only me but also @JimNagy_SB and the Senior Bowl. Dude had a great week in Mobile.
— Mello (@melloesquire) January 25, 2019
It is very unlikely Miami find the QB of the future in Stidham but there’s no reason why he can’t prove many wrong and work his way to be the starter come Week 1, especially if Miami don’t bring in a Teddy Bridgewater or another experienced signal-caller during the off-season.
The Auburn QB has been drafted in the second round in some mocks, that is how good he can be.
He may need time to sit, which is where Bridgewater etc come in. But there is long-term starter talent in Jarrett Stidham.
Round 6 – Evan Worthington | S | Colorado
A senior who is likely to be seen as solid depth on the roster, Worthington definitely has some upside.
CU SR S Evan Worthington (@EVW_6) will be playing in the @Shrine_Game. He has a strong safety build, but has proven to successfully handle the role as a single-high defender. He illustrates great rally to the ball with short area explosiveness. He’s my No. 8 rated safety.
— Gavino Borquez (@GavinoBorquez) December 12, 2018
Best used as a box safety in the NFL, Worthington “should be able to match up NFL tight ends well,” according to Benjamin Solak of the Draft Network.
With injury concerns and average ball skills, taking a flyer on him in anytime before the sixth round would be a reach.
Flores and his coaching staff would be most likely to use him primarily as a run defender but in 2017 he did lead Colorado in interceptions with three and he finished third on the team with 86 tackles, so he wouldn’t be totally lost in coverage.
— CoachMcChesney/🏈Development/CFBRecruiting (@SixZeroStrength) October 14, 2018
— Chase Goodbread (@ChaseGoodbread) January 16, 2019
Round 7 – Tony Pollard | RB | Memphis
A running back who can also play wide receiver, Pollard will have to shine from Day 1 to make the roster.
Should he stick around, Miami are getting a player who excels in open space and will be a nice compliment to Kallen Ballage and Kenyan Drake.
He is also a great punt returner so his versatility is a huge bonus.
Incoming offensive coordinator Chad O’Shea loves using backs in his passing game and one of the weaknesses of Pollard is his hands.
Kenyan Drake and Kalen Ballage thinking about Chad O’Shea incorporating backs in the passing game. pic.twitter.com/rNzUBERgfk
— Travis Wingfield (@WingfieldNFL) January 24, 2019
That is something he will have to work on if he is to get reps in the backfield over the aforementioned Ballage and Drake, let alone as a wide receiver.
Being taken in Round 7 means he will always have an uphill struggle to make a roster spot.
But he has the intangibles to not only defy the odds in Miami but contribute in regular season games.
The full mock can be found here
State of the AFC East
With the aging empire of the New England Patriots hopefully coming to an end in the coming years the arms race and power struggle will enter overdrive. The Patriots have run this division for over a decade but all things must come to an end, with Tom Brady nearing his goal of playing till 45 and Bill Belichick turning 66 there is blood in the water, and the rest of the East will look to grab the crown and run with it.
New England Patriots
Tom Brady’s play has declined but that hasn’t stopped New England from being a powerhouse, the offensive line will welcome Isiah Wynn back the former 1st rounder, he tore his Achilles in camp 2018. The skill positions are mixed, Sony Michelle provided a solid rookie campaign but there are holes in the wide receiver and tight end positions. Rob Gronkowski is pondering retirement meanwhile Chris Hogan, Phillip Dorsett, and Cordarrelle Patterson are all set to hit Free Agency. Defensively New England has excelled on maximizing talent with what they have but with that being said they have some notable players departing such as Trey Flowers, Malcom Brown, and possibly the McCourty twins.
Free Agent Acquisition:
Markus Golden (EDGE)
Pick 32, 1st round:
Kelvin Harmon (WR)
New York Jets
The New York Jets are not a star-studded team and will be ongoing a scheme change led by Coach Adam Gase. Offensively it would be easier to name what they do have then to name what they don’t, Sam Darnold is the only true “bright” spot on the offensive side of the ball. Multiple reports state that Isiah Crowell will be released in the coming month so half back will need to be addressed, in addition to wide receiver, tight end, and offensive line. On the opposite side of the ball things seem to be a bit more promising with Leonard Williams, Jamal Adams, Marcus Maye. New York will need to add a true pass rusher along with some other linebackers and defensive backs as well.
Free Agent Acquisition:
Le’Veon Bell (HB)
Pick 3, 1st round:
Josh Allen (EDGE)
Buffalo has a good defense that is paired with the 31st ranked offense, they are in need of talent to surround Josh Allen with. Josh Allen needs an entire cast around him, most importantly an offensive line who can buy him some time, but it doesn’t stop there. After releasing former fullback wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin and Charles Clay the only player who can truly garner some targets is aging halfback Lesean McCoy. Although the defense has played well they are also in need of some attention, with Kyle Williams retiring they will need another defensive tackle in addition to a true edge rusher. This roster is still being rebuilt and could use talent on almost every level offensively but they need to give injury prone Josh Allen some decent offensive line play.
Free Agent Acquisition:
Trenton Brown (OT)
Pick 9, 1st round:
Jawaan Taylor (OT)
Our beloved Miami Dolphins will be going through many changes and a complete rebuild directed by Chris Grier and Brian Flores. Miami has talent at the skill positions with young and inexpensive talent at halfback, tight end, and wide receiver. With the upcoming release/trade of Ryan Tannehill the biggest need will be finding his replacement via free agency or draft. Resources will have to be allocated to the trenches as Miami lacks talent on the interior offensive line and on the edge defensively. Miami’s defense is looking to be a multiple look defense in order to achieve this they will have to add versatility on every level off the defense and add depth to the secondary. This regime will be taking the long painful road of a true rebuild as Miami has been mediocre for far too long.
Free Agent Acquisition:
Mitch Morse (OL)
Pick 13, 1st round:
Rashan Gary (EDGE)
Madden 19 Giveaway:
I am giving away Madden 19 on Xbox One for free, all you have to do is find my favorite player. I will add a clue to every article until someone answers correctly. Tweet the answer to me and DM me on twitter @BrazilCandido and don’t forget to give the @LockedOnDolphins and it’s writers some love as well!
HERE IS THE HINT:
My favorite player once caught 29 passes in a season while 11 of them went for TDs! That means over a 3rd of his receptions were Touchdowns!
State of the Roster – Cornerbacks
The 2019 off-season schedule had an unusual beginning for the Miami Dolphins. Not that the once proud, winningest organization in the NFL is suddenly new to coaching turnover (quite the opposite, rather). It’s the timing of the hire that provides the distinction from Stephen Ross’ three other head coaching appointments.
Typically, when the incumbent or new staff is in-place by Early-January, the roster dominoes begin to take shape. Waiting for Brian Flores to win his fifth Lombardi Trophy delayed that process by a month.
Now, with the majority of Coach Flores’ staff settling into their new offices, we can begin to speculate and forecast what will transpire over the next three months.
It’s not hyperbole to say that these next three months are the most important of Chris Grier’s professional career. Miami’s new General Manager is charged with resurrecting a franchise that, in the last 15 years, has fallen from the peak of the winning percentage mountain top, all the way down to fifth place on that obscure, yet illustrious list.
In this series we are going to explore the current assets on the roster and what their futures hold. Plus, we’ll explore the free-agency market and point out scheme fit pieces the Dolphins might seek to add in April’s draft.
Current Cash Owed: ~ $9.3 Million
NFL Average: ~ $16 Million
Players Under Contract – 2019 Cash Owed:
Xavien Howard – $1.3 M
Tying for the league lead in interceptions (7), Howard continued his breakthrough performance that began late in 2017. Among the game’s top corners, Howard excels in man coverage, offers an impressive physical style of press play, and tracks the ball exceptionally well.
The Dolphins will likely look to extend Howard in the near future, despite rumors of his presence on the trade block. Stephone Gilmore’s lockdown Super Bowl performance afforded the Pats defense ultimate creativity – something Brian Flores will want to retain in Miami.
Howard’s Projected 2019 Action: #1 Corner
Bobby McCain – $5.6 M
In his first season with a new payday, McCain struggled. Kicking outside on the perimeter was a challenge that exposed his lack of long-speed. Still a jitterbug inside, McCain offers a knack for the nuance of the position in both man and zone.
Injuries mounted on McCain as he tried to fight through a number of issues all season. He’s a team leader and a top-shelf slot corner – that much will be evident when he’s back in his regular role in 2019.
McCain’s Projected 2019 Action: Slot Corner
Cordrea Tankersley – $673 K
It’s difficult to imagine a worse sophomore season for Tankersley. Benched, ran-ragged, and ultimately a torn ACL, it was a steep decline from an impressive rookie campaign. The mental aspect of the game proved to be a challenge for Tankersley and, to be fair, he wasn’t alone in that portion of Matt Burke’s awful scheme.
Likely starting the year on the physically unable to perform list, Tankersley will get a fresh start in a scheme that accentuates his strengths – playing man coverage.
Tankersley’s Projected 2019 Action: Depth (Begins the season on PUP)
Jalen Davis – $570 K
My pick for biggest sleeper on the roster in 2019, Davis flashed big-time potential in his limited work late in the season. In the Jacksonville game Davis forced a fumble and broke up a third down pass in the end zone. He’s fiery, aggressive, and Miami’s best option behind McCain in the slot.
Davis’ Projected 2019 Action: Backup Slot
Cornell Armstrong – $570 K
Thrust into action late last season, 2018 was a learning experience for Miami’s sixth-round rookie. Armstrong fits the prototype for length and style, but he was worked over in the New England game by Julian Edelman (hardly a bad look).
Armstrong will compete for time on the perimeter this year and continue to serve as a core special teamer.
Armstrong’s Projected 2019 Action: Depth
Torry McTyer – $645 K
McTyer’s numbers look worse than his actual performance. He was whipped consistently, starting with the beat down in Foxboro, but his good coverage was beat by better throws in the Chicago game.
There’s upside with McTyer, but he needs to show it in 2019 if he wants to have a future as a starter in Miami.
McTyer’s Projected 2019 Action: Depth
Jomal Wiltz – Not yet announced (Camp Minimum)
Wiltz was drafted by the Eagles in 2017 and later migrated to the New England practice squad in 2018. Playing under current Dolphins Cornerbacks Coach Josh Boyer, Wiltz has a head start on the new defensive scheme and techniques.
The most interesting aspect of Wiltz’s acquisition, he’s just 5’10’’ 180 pounds – an outlier for Miami’s prototype at the position.
Wiltz’s Projected 2019 Action: Cut/Practice Squad
Pending Free Agents –
2019 Cornerback Free Agent Market:
With McCain locked up and Howard due next, Miami may have to eschew buying its number-two corner. The need is glaring, but the market is lacking. Morris Claiborne, Pierre Desir, and Bradley Roby are the bells of the ball and will be out of Miami’s price range should they hit the market.
There have been two free agent themes presented in this series: 1.) Filling the Foxboro-to-Miami pipeline and, 2.) Reclamation projects.
Jason Verrett qualifies for the second bullet-point – he’s a hell of a player but his medical history is alarming. Eric Rowe is a free agent and falls into both categories. He spent three years with the Patriots but only played in 21 games during that stretch.
Rowe is 6’1’’ with the 205-pound frame to match. Verrett is just 5’10’’ and 188 pounds, but he’s an elite play maker (when healthy).
Miami has been linked to Ronald Darby in recent years. He shakes free from Philadelphia and a poor medical history could significantly reduce his cost.
2019 Cornerback Draft Class:
Cornerback is in play for the 13th pick. DeAndre Baker (Georgia), Byron Murphy (Washington), and Greedy Williams (LSU) head the class at the position.
Baker is feisty and superb in man coverage though he does lack long-speed. Murphy is rail-thin (175 pounds) and his lack of interest in run support will turn the Miami staff off. Williams’ effort has been called into question by some. If that’s true, he will be off Miami’s board altogether as they preach the love of the game.
Penn State’s Amani Oruwariye is an option in the second-round. He first the prototype, he’s ultra-competitive and excels in both press and zone.
Temple’s Rock Ya-Sin plays with the temperament of an alpha dog. His match-ups with Deebo Samuel at the Senior Bowl were the must-see events of the week.
The local product, Michael Jackson from the U, excels in man coverage – he’s a fit.
2019 Cornerback Prediction:
It’s pretty apparent from the free agent and draft classes where the more attractive options lie for the ‘Phins to address this need. Signing a bargain player to compete, and drafting a rookie relatively high should bolster this position into a strength in 2019.
Minkah Fitzpatrick’s official capacity will be as a safety, but he’s going to match-up where the staff sees fit. He’s the best option to cover a detached tight end and he’s probably the best slot cover guy Miami has. We’ll cover him on tomorrow’s podcast and column.
CB #1 – Xavien Howard
CB #2 – Rookie (Baker, Ya-Sin, Jackson)
Slot – Bobby McCain
Slot Backup – Jalen Davis
Depth – Cornell Armstrong
Depth – Torry McTyer / FA (Eric Rowe)
Depth – Cordrea Tankersley (beginning on PUP)
Fits and Starts of the 2019 NFL Draft–Jarrett Stidham
Which 2019 NFL Draft quarterbacks fit for the Miami Dolphins, which ones could start, and which ones aren’t on the table?
Let’s dive into the first installment of Fits and Starts with Auburn’s Jarrett Stidham.
2019 NFL Draft quarterbacks and Fits and Starts intro
I hope you’re enjoying all the Kyler Murray talk; it’s not going anywhere for the next two months. So, with all the hype surrounding the Heisman winner and his decision to play in the NFL over the MLB, it makes sense that Murray shot up the draft boards in rapid fashion.
Murray has been connected with the Miami Dolphins, and it makes sense. The Dolphins need a quarterback to lead the franchise into the future, especially with the start of the Brian Flores era.
But what happens if the Dolphins can’t get Kyler Murrayin the 2019 Draft? Let’s take that a step further. What if the Dolphins don’t get any of the QBs that are pegged to go in the first round? Dwayne Haskins, Drew Lock, Daniel Jones, along with Murray, are all in the conversation to go off the board in the first round.
The 2019 QB class hasn’t exactly been lauded for its talent, but that doesn’t mean its totally devoid of untapped potential on Days 2 and 3. There are some diamonds in the rough and some could be on the Dolphins’ radar come April. The Fits and Starts mini-series will be focusing on these overshadowed mid-round prospects and who could fit into a role with the Miami Dolphins.
Let’s get into the first name on the list: Jarrett Stidham.
Jarrett Stidham and his NFL Future
The first quarterback on the docket is Auburn’s Jarrett Stidham. He’s an enigmatic player. He was in the conversation last draft season (before he returned to Auburn) to go in the second round. He was also talked about as a dark-horse Heisman candidate before the college season started.
His junior season didn’t go exactly as scripted, though. Jarrett Stidham had an up-and-down season, and his draft stock has been all over the place, consequently. He’s polarizing in the Twitter Draft realm with many draftniks either loving or hating him. I predict that he’ll go in the third round, but I could see the need for the position pushing him into the second round.
In a lot of ways, I would compare Jarrett Stidham to Ryan Tannehill. With that being said, he’s a poor man’s Tannehill. He’s not as athletic and I wouldn’t put his arm strength or accuracy on the same level, but there are comparisons that can be drawn.
Jarrett Stidham Mini-Report
He has some starter qualities, and he’s very raw in that regard. He also did not get a lot of help from his receivers during the 2018 season. I saw a lot of dropped passes that should’ve been “gimmes”. Jarrett Stidham has a moderately high ceiling, I would say. He’s extremely rough around the edges, but I can see him becoming successful in the NFL; it’ll come with many growing pains, albeit.
He also has some accuracy issues from a lot of the film I’ve watched of him. He’ll make some unbelievable down-the-field bombs, but also make some passes that are too high, too inside or too outside. Many passes were underthrown and I saw plays where WRs had to turn and play some defense. The accuracy is a roller coaster, and that’s something that is hard to improve at the next level; accuracy is more a God-given ability than it is a teachable skill.
Something else that I wasn’t wild about was how Stidham reacted to chaos and pressure. When the line collapsed, I saw some ugly escapes. Those ugly escapes will be ugly sacks in the NFL. I saw flashes of decent pocket presence, but like many of Stidham’s qualities, they were inconsistent.
That’s one of the best words I would use to describe Jarrett Stidham: inconsistent. Sometimes he’s good, sometimes he’s bad. Sometimes he’ll thread the needle for a 40-yard touchdown, sometimes he’ll undercut a route. But if the inconsistency is his biggest issue, which I believe it is, then I’m intrigued by his prospects at the next level with some next-level coaching.
At the End of the Day
So, if the Dolphins drafted Jarrett Stidham, it’d likely be on Day 2 and in the second round with the 48th pick. While the Dolphins are rebuilding, I could see them using a popular draft philosophy of taking a quarterback every year until one hits. If that’s the case, then Stidham could very well be a target if the Dolphins decide to address a bigger need or BPA with the 13th pick.
This could be a way for the Dolphins to hedge their bets while keeping an eye on the 2020 quarterbacks. Akin to the Redskins taking both RGIII and Kirk Cousins in the same draft in 2012, the Dolphins could take a flier on a mid-round quarterback and see what he could do in some games under the guidance of a veteran.
While I wouldn’t be upset by the pick, the Miami Dolphins would be wise to stay away from Jarrett Stidham, bottom line. I say that not because of Stidham’s shortcomings or upside but because of where the Miami Dolphins franchise finds itself.
If Jarrett Stidham goes out and has a decent showing in some live action during his rookie season, then that could affect the draft strategy regarding the 2020 class of quarterbacks.
I don’t want the Dolphins to keep waiting and waiting for someone to slowly develop as they did with Ryan Tannehill. Stidham is in a similar mold, looking at his tools and raw potential. I’m not sure how long it would take for Stidham develop, but I could see it turning into a situation where he takes a few steps forward every season.
Jarrett Stidham could be a quarterback that Chris Grier likes, but I would have a hard time believing that he’s a prospect that he would love–and that’s not what the Miami Dolphins need to right the ship.
- State of the AFC East February 20, 2019
- State of the Roster – Cornerbacks February 20, 2019
- Fits and Starts of the 2019 NFL Draft–Jarrett Stidham February 19, 2019
- State of the Roster – Linebackers February 19, 2019
- 5 Viable Options for Miami at Pick 13 February 19, 2019
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