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Dolphins get stronger in the trenches in these latest mock drafts

Kadeem Simmonds

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Shut it down. The Miami Dolphins are sleepwalking into another meaningless season and frankly, fans have had enough.

This year was meant to be different. Fans were told that the pieces were in place to make a real run at the AFC East.

But that hasn’t been the case.

There have been injuries, there have been miscarriages of justice from bad refereeing.

But Sunday’s defeat to the Colts seemed like an all new punch to the gut.

We all know the problems Matt Burke causes with his illogical game calling on defence.

It’s at a point where it’s natural to just moan about Burke without caring, he won’t be in a job for much longer.

But there were still people defending Adam Gase till they were blue in the face.

We’ve seen what this team is like with and without Ryan Tannehill.

His return was meant to be the difference maker.

Gase has harped on and on about 17 being HIS guy, about how much he trusts him and you honestly believed that with Tannehill orchestrating the offence, Miami would upset Indy.

But when it came down to it, Gase took the ball out of Tannehill’s hands, and allowed Andrew Luck to drive down the field to win the game with a field goal.

And that was the final straw.

It’s time for a rebuild, according to fans, and the first part of any successful fresh start in the NFL is a hitting on draft picks, first rounders to be more specific.

In the latest mock over at The Draft network, Benjamin Solak selects guard Tyler Biadasz, Wisconsin.

What’s fitting is seeing how well Luck’s offensive line has protected him this season, with rookie Quenton Nelson the star of the show.

In drafting Biadasz, Miami would be well on their way to protecting the team’s most prized asset, be it Tannehill, a rookie or free agent Teddy Bridgewater, who is head and shoulders the preferred choice to be the fans starter in 2019.

“While he’s only a redshirt sophomore,” says Solak, “he is a future first-rounder, and if he comes out in the 2019 class, he’ll be treated as such.

“Biadasz is more than big enough to play guard at the next level on a Miami offensive line which oh so desperately needs it. With his mobility and angles on top of his power, Biadasz seems to me a Pro Bowl caliber player.

“The Dolphins have to answer questions at the quarterback position, but no matter who’s back there, they need bolstered trench play.”

It makes sense. There’s no point in drafting a QB if you can’t protect him.

There’s no point in having Bridgewater taking snaps if he’s going to get hit on every drop back.

Having better line play also opens up gaping holes in the run game and just makes scoring touchdowns a whole lot easier – it sounds simple yet the Dolphins have made pointing points on the board equate to advanced quantum physics.

Bolstered trench play is also the theme over at Bleacher Report, where Ryan McCrystal has Miami selecting defensive lineman Rashan Gary, Michigan, at 13 in their latest mock.

What’s intriguing about that selection, quarterback Dwayne Haskins falls to the Broncos at 14.

How Dolfans would feel about that come draft night would be fascinating.

In Solak’s mock, Haskins is well off the board by time the Dolphins hand in their card for what it’s worth.

What’s undeniable is Gary’s talent and him being an addition to the Dolphins would be a huge help.

There’s already talent on this side of the ball but not so much in the trenches, Charles Harris is turning out to be a bad choice and Andre Branch and Robert Quinn may not be at the Hard Rock Stadium in 2019.

With the hope of a new defensive coordinator on the horizon, giving him Gary to work with his the perfect gift as Miami goes about being a force in the AFC.

While there are still games to be played in the 2018 season, it’s clear that Miami fans no longer care how this team fares when the lights are on.

Miami Dolphins supporters are already looking at what needs to come next for this team and be it Gary, Biadasz or the countless other names the team will be linked to over the next six months, one thing’s for certain – change is coming and it can’t come soon enough.

Kadeem is a fairly new Dolphins fan and while he can't put his finger on why he chose the Fins as the team to support, he just knew it felt right. When not rooting for the team, he is a Sports Editor for a British newspaper.

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Miami Dolphins

Re-drafting in the Adam Gase Era – 2016

Skyler Trunck

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With the bye week and Miami looking down the barrel of another mediocre season-finish, I thought I’d take a different approach to analyzing this team.  That approach would be the always-fun hypothetical of re-drafting in the Adam Gase era (since 2016), and the impact those players could have on today’s Miami Dolphins team.

Today we look at the 2016 NFL Draft.

Disclaimer:  There are a lot of solid players available when Miami was on the clock in almost every pick Miami had.  However, to keep things simple, we’ll only be looking at players that would help today’s team (not the team Miami fielded in 2016) and players available between that pick and Miami’s next pick.  Granted, Miami needs help almost everywhere, but to give you an example, if Miami has the choice between a player like an interior linemen or a safety, the interior linemen will be the choice due to the current, injured state of the line.

 

Round 1 – Pick 13

Miami’s Selection: Laremy Tunsil – LT

Redo Selection: Laremy Tunsil – LT (Miami Dolphins)

There are very few players on this current roster that could be considered elite or approaching elite status.  Laremy Tunsil is one of them. In addition to how talented Tusnil is, he is a huge need for this team. Here’s a look at what this team looks like without Tunsil:

Yikes.

There are players picked before Tunsil I’d swap him out for (such as Carson Wentz, Joey Bosa, or Jalen Ramsey), but those players weren’t on the board at pick 13.  I also wouldn’t move Tunsil for a player like Karl Joseph, Corey Coleman, or Taylor Decker, who were the three picks after him.

There are a few other intriguing players who would be available at this pick, such as William Jackson, Kenny Clark, or Myles Jack, but a tackle who can do what Tunsil can do is something that’s hard to pass on.

 

Round 2 – Pick 38

Miami’s Selection: Xavien Howard – CB

Redo Selection: Michael Thomas – WR (New Orleans Saints)

Of this hypothetical, this choice is by far the most difficult.  Xavien Howard is a star in the making, and like Tunsil, is one of the few players Miami can build around for the future.

This is honestly a toss-up, but Michael Thomas is currently the #1 receiver in football according to PFF (grade of 91.0).  If not the best receiver, I don’t think many can argue he’s not one of the top 5 today.

Sure, it doesn’t hurt having Drew Brees throw you the football, but true #1 receivers like Thomas have a strong impact on the game and aren’t easy to find.

Again, if Miami were to re-do this and choose Xavien Howard over Michael Thomas, you’d hear no complaints from this corner.  However, with an offense who has lost Albert Wilson for the year, and with players like Jakeem Grant, Kenny Stills, and Devante Parker missing significant time, a receiver is a large need for this team.

 

Round 3 – pick 73

Miami’s Selection: Kenyan Drake – RB

Redo Selection: Kendall Fuller – CB (Kansas City Chiefs via Washington Redskins)

Given Miami has a pick at 86, there is only a small window of players picked after 73 to re-do this pick on.  Although Kenyan Drake is a nice weapon for this offense, in recent weeks, his touches have decreased and Miami is still running the ball fairly sufficiently.

Again, one of those picks where it’s hard to argue if you stick with your Miami player or re-do the selection, but with passing over Xavien Howard in the second round, you’ll need a corner to fill that spot.  Kendall Fuller isn’t quite on Howard’s level, but he’ll be an ample replacement.

Fuller has found most of his success in the slot.  Miami’s current slot corner, Bobby McCain, has missed a lot of time and may not be available after the bye.  Fuller would be a welcomed addition to this secondary.

 

Round 3 – pick 86

Miami’s Selection: Leonte Carroo – WR

Redo Selection: Joe Schobert – LB (Cleveland Browns)

Miami doesn’t have another pick until round 6, so the board is wide open for players to take here, and I’m sure Miami would love a chance to redo this pick.

There are a bunch of ways you can go with this pick, Tyreek Hill, Dak Prescott, Jordan Howard, etc.  There are exactly 100 players selected between this pick and Miami’s next.

However, the biggest bang for your buck is Joe Schobert, current linebacker for the Cleveland Browns.  Schobert is currently ranked second among all linebackers according to PFF coming off a 2017 Pro Bowl campaign.

He registered 144 tackles last year and is currently on pace for over 100 despite missing the last three games.  The best part about Schobert, is he is ranked first among linebackers by PFF metrics in coverage — something Miami would love improvement on in their linebacking corps.

A strong argument could be made for Dak Prescott given the Tannehill injury, but does he experience the same success he has/did in Dallas with Miami’s beat-up offense?  He’s shown in Dallas he excels with talent around him, but not quite as good when the talent takes a hit.  Does this remind you of anyone you know?

There are too many questions for me around Prescott to stray away from the sure-fire pick in Schobert.

 

Round 6 – pick 186

Miami’s Selection: Jakeem Grant – WR

Redo Selection: Jakeem Grant – WR (Miami Dolphins)

Again, another short window before Miami’s other pick in the 6th round.  There aren’t a lot of sure-fire players in this gap to make Miami move on from Jakeem Grant.  Grant is becoming a good weapon for this Miami Dolphins offense, and despite the injuries, there isn’t anyone else worthy of this pick.

 

Round 6 – pick 204

Miami’s Selection: Jordan Lucas – S

Redo Selection: Ted Karras – G (New England Patriots)

We’re getting to the point of the draft where Miami has a lot of selections and there isn’t a good talent pool to choose from as far as starting players go.

Ted Karras is one of those players that doesn’t start, but he has a role as a back-up.  He’s slotted as a backup interior lineman for New England, and in the time he’s played these last couple years, he’s grading out in the mid 70’s according to PFF.

Miami could use a starter here, but with all the injuries sustained, a solid backup guard like Karras is hard to pass on.

 

Round 7 – Pick 223

Miami’s Selection: Brandon Doughty – QB

Redo Selection: Stephen Weatherly – DE (Minnesota Vikings)

Between this selection and Miami’s next selection, there are only 3 players on an active roster.  Among those three are a punter and two defensive ends.

Stephen Weatherly is one, and current Miami Dolphins defensive end, Jonathan Woodard, is the other (selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars).  Weatherly is playing meaningful snaps in Minnesota, where Woodard is mostly only seeing the field due to other significant injuries.

Both are similar in that you’d like to have both as backups, but Weatherly takes a slight edge after starting 6 games this year, recording 22 tackles and 3 sacks.

 

Round 7 – pick 231

Miami’s Selection: Thomas Duarte – TE

Redo Selection: Austin Blythe – G (LA Rams via Indianapolis Colts)

With this pick being Miami’s last, this hypothetical gives Miami the luxury of dipping into the undrafted pool.  However, Miami doesn’t need to go that far with this pick. Interior offensive lineman, Austin Blythe, picked by the Indianapolis Colts (now on the LA Rams) is the obvious selection.

Blythe is ranked #2 among guards according to PFF and is having an all-pro caliber year.  The offensive line Miami is fielding right now is laughable, and finding a quality guard, let alone a top-tier guard in the seventh round is a no-brainer at this point.


I think the only obvious pick that would turn this team from mediocre to a sure-fire contender is a high-quality quarterback, and Miami saw none of those prospects in the picks they had.  Redoing this draft would probably net this team another win or two, but more importantly, set them up from a strong future.

With 253 players chosen and many more to sign as undrafted free agents, I’m sure there is something you, the reader, feel differently about.  I’d be interested to hear your take!  Follow me on Twitter @skylertrunck and let me know what you think.

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Miami Dolphins

Dolphins ignore QB position to draft a LB

Kadeem Simmonds

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As fans start to question where Miami goes from here, it may be worth taking a sneak peak at the 2019 Draft class.

With the AFC East painfully slipping out of reach and a wildcard spot looking more and more unlikely, the Dolphins need to take stock of what they have.

Injuries have decimated this team and ultimately ended their season with eight games to play.

So for some, draft season has already began.

Over at the Draft Network, Trevor Sikkema’s latest mock has Miami drafting LSU’s linebacker Devin White at #16.

For those wanting Miami to finally replace Ryan Tannehill, I’m afraid it doesn’t happen in the first round in this mock.

Next year’s QB class is threadbare at best.

Should Justin Herbert and Dwayne Haskins opt to stay in college, teams in search of a No 1 quarterback will be forced to manufacture one and that is not what Miami should be doing.

In this mock, Herbert falls to the Jaguars at 9, the Giants at first overall opting to select Nick Bosa, and Will Grier is taken by the Bucs at 13.

Haskins is still on the board and perhaps he could be an option in the second round, but not for Sikkema in the first.

So instead of selecting someone who will likely be replaced in 12 months, the front office adds to the defensive side on the ball and gives the defensive co-ordinator, which may not be Matt Burke, another blue chip player.

Of the pick, Sikkema says: “I had the Dolphins selecting White in my last mock draft, and though they are picking higher in the order this time around, White has done more to elevate his stock, so the pick still fits.

“There just isn’t enough consistency among the linebacking corps for Miami right now. They’re trying to make the most of McMillan, Alonso and Baker, but they are all liabilities in their own way. White can be a constant for them. He’s athletic enough, strong enough and instinctual enough.”

Given the issues in the trenches on both sides of the ball, and the plethora of good defensive linemen in this class, it could be argued that it would make more sense for the Fins to add a defensive tackle like Gerald Willis as opposed to another weapon at linebacker.

With the 2019 offensive line class also looking week, adding to the Oline in the first could also be a reach.

White is largely considered to be the best linebacker in the country and Miami would be getting a player who has been compared to Roquan Smith.

Athletic, agile and a big-hitter, White uses his time as a running back to his advantage, constantly diagnosing plays early and putting himself in the correct position to make stops.

If you haven’t seen him in action, this weekend will be the perfect time to get a first look.

While it’s a shame that he will miss the first half of upcoming clash against Alabama, watching White match up against Nick Saban and the spectacular Tua Tagovailoa will be quite the test.

Should he pass that test with flying colours, and he ends up at the Hard Rock Stadium in 2019, would that really be the end of the world given how the rest of the 2019 class is shaping up to be?

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Miami Dolphins

Week-By-Week Match-Ups for Miami’s Loaded Edge Rushers

Skyler Trunck

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Consisting of second year player, Charles Harris; returners, William Hayes and Andre Branch; recent signees, Robert Quinn; and who can forget all-pro, Cameron Wake, it’s hard to argue this is one of the deepest and strongest positions on Miami roster this year.

It’s a loaded lineup, but how much success will this unit face this year? Let’s take a look at a week by week break-down of what tackles these defensive ends will pair against this upcoming 2018 season.

Notes:

  • List assumes we see Robert Quinn primarily at the right defensive end spot (facing left tackles) and Cameron Wake Wake at his perennial left defensive end spot (facing right tackles) to start of the year.
  • “Difficulty rank” shows how difficult the matchups will be in comparison to the rest of the schedule, with 13 being the hardest and 1 the easiest. This ranking is based on grades handed by Pro Football Focus (PFF) among starting tackles only.

 

Week 1 — Tennessee

Left Tackle: Taylor Lewan
Right Tackle: Jack Conklin

This will be the toughest matchup for the defensive end unit this season — nothing like diving head first into the season. Jack Conklin is a former All-pro, and on the other end is multi-pro-bowler, Taylor Lewan.

The only silver-lining for Miami, right tackle Conklin is coming off an ACL tear from the divisional round this past year. Although it is likely he will suit up week 1, his rehab will knock him out most of training camp and preseason. Look for Tennessee to scheme more protection Conklin’s way opening up more 1-on-1 matchups with Quinn and Lewan.

At least it can only get easier from here.

Difficulty rank: 13/13


Week 2 & 9 — New York Jets

Left Tackle: Kelvin Beachum
Right Tackle: Brandon Shell

Starting 30 games between the two, Beachum and Shell allowed 14 sacks, which lands them nearly at the top of the most sacks allowed by a pair of tackles.

Given the youth of this offense, it may be a good thing to catch New York early. Look for a strong rebound this week if Miami struggles against Tennessee’s star bookend tackles.

Difficulty rank: 6/13


Week 3 — Oakland

Left Tackle: Donald Penn
Right Tackle: Kolton Miller

Penn has been a solid starter throughout his career, only missing 2 games over the last 10 years. Quinn may have a more difficult time with this matchup, but on the other end, Wake may put up some numbers.

Rookie Miller came out of the draft with a lot of question marks. With it being early in the season, it’s unlikely his weaknesses will be shored up in time for this matchup. Look for Wake to capitalize on any 1-on-1 matchups he has with the rookie.

Difficulty rank: 5/13


Week 4 & 14 — New England

Left Tackle: Trent Brown
Right Tackle: Marcus Cannon

This offseason, New England saw the departure of 7 year starter, Nate Solder; however, in typical New England fashion, they brought in a more than suitable replacement in Brown in yet another trade with San Francisco. Before going down with a shoulder injury, Brown played 10 games allowing only 1 sack. It’s likely he’ll be placed on the left side opposite another 8 year starter in Cannon.

In the past, with an experienced pair of tackles, and a quick release passing offense funneled through Tom Brady, it has always been difficult to convert pressure into sacks. It’s likely we don’t see much different this year.

Difficulty rank: 11/13


Week 5 — Cincinnati

Left Tackle: Cordy Glenn
Right Tackle: Jake Fisher

Miami should be familiar with recent addition Glenn from his days in Buffalo, who had his 2017 campaign cut short after a plague of injuries. The last time Miami faced a Buffalo line with Cordy Glenn, Miami posted 4 sacks.

As the theme continues, on the opposite side is Fisher, another player who had his 2017 season end early after 7 games. When they were playing last year, between the two tackles, the pair averaged nearly 1 sack allowed per game.

Miami will have to be quick off the edge as quarterback Andy Dalton averaged a 2.48 second release, which was one of the lowest in the league.

Difficulty rank: 3/13


Week 6 — Chicago

Left Tackle: Charles Leno Jr.
Right Tackle: Bobby Massie

With the addition of James Daniels in the draft, Chicago should field one of the better offensive lines in the league. Leno Jr., despite being a 7th round pick only a couple years back, has played much better than expected, coming in as the 15th ranked tackle (according to PFF).

On the other end, Massie will probably be the weakest link on this offensive line. Cameron Wake should be able to make a big impact in the passing game against a young quarterback in Mitchell Trubisky.

Difficult rank: 9/13


Week 7 — Detroit

Left Tackle: Taylor Decker
Right Tackle: Rick Wagner

Decker suffered a shoulder injury last offseason which kept him out the first 8 games of last year. Coming back for the final 8, he had a less than spectacular showing allowing 4 sacks. Wagner, on the opposite end, allowed 6 sacks last year in the 13 games he played.

Detroit will have a sneaky good offensive line next year, but that doesn’t mean opportunities won’t be there for Miami’s ends.

Difficult rank: 8/13


Week 8 — Houston

Left Tackle: Julie’n Davenport
Right Tackle: Martinas Rankin

As a team, Houston gave up the second most sacks in the league with 54. This may be due to promising-star Deshaun Watson going down. However, it’s likely due to poor tackle play, which explains why they spent a third round pick on Martinas Rankin.

Davenport ranked in the lower tier of tackles last year, and it’s hard to think they’ll improve with schematic changes. When you also factor in Watson posted a league-high, average release time of 3.1 seconds last year, Miami’s ends should have plenty of time to get to the quarterback.

Difficult rank: 2/13


Week 10 — Green Bay

Left Tackle: David Bakhtiari
Right Tackle: Bryan Bulaga

In this matchup, Miami will be facing the #1 ranked tackle in Bakhtiari (according to PFF) who posted a 89.9 (out of 100) grade last year. It may be a rough outing for Robert Quinn, or anyone rushing off the right edge in this matchup.

Continuing with the injury theme among starting tackles, on the other end is Bulaga, who saw his 2017 season cut short after 5 games with a torn ACL. However, in those 5 games played, he only allowed one sack, which falls in line with his dominant 2016 season at right tackle.

With these tackles and a healthy Aaron Rodgers, Miami may need to get creative when applying pressure as it may be difficult to set the edge.

Difficult rank: 12/13


Week 11 — Bye


Week 12 — Indianapolis

Left Tackle: Anthony Castonzo
Right Tackle: Austin Howard

Indianapolis allowed a league-high 56 sacks last year, which tells us why they spent early picks on offensive lineman.

Castonzo is a solid left tackle, graded as the #10 tackle in the league by PFF; however, he has been known to let a fews sacks by allowing 6 last year. Howard was brought in to compete with 2017 right tackle, Joe Haeg. However, it’s expected Howard will win the right tackle starting job.

This will be a revamped unit from last year, especially with the return of Andrew Luck. The defense as a whole will need to step up for this one, especially if this game has wild card implications.

Difficult rank: 10/13


Week 13 & 17 — Buffalo

Left Tackle: Dion Dawkins
Right Tackle: Jordan Mills

This offseason saw the departure of 6 year tackle, Cordy Glenn. His spot was filled well by rookie Dawkins, who played respectively at the left tackle spot. On the opposite end is Mills, who gave up 2 sacks to Cameron Wake last year between both of their meetings.

Miami had 6 sacks last year in their two meetings with Buffalo. Dawkins will likely grow in his second year, but expect similar numbers for Miami against a young offense.

Difficulty rank: 7/13


Week 15 — Minnesota

Left Tackle: Riley Reiff
Right Tackle: Rashod Hill

A former first round pick in Reiff has been okay but hasn’t quite lived up to the early selection. On the other end, Hill was graded as the third worst tackle among starters (according to PFF).

Based on last year’s performance, this should be the most favorable matchup on the schedule for Miami’s ends. However, with the addition of Kirk Cousins, Dalvin Cook returning, and this game being late in the season, we may be seeing something entirely different from these tackles.

Difficulty rank: 1/13


Week 16 — Jacksonville

Left Tackle: Cam Robinson
Right Tackle: Jermey Parnell

On the right side, Parnell only allowed 1 sack in 13 games last year. However, the weak link here is Robinson, who graded in as the worst tackle among starters (according to PFF).

These matchups should be favorable for Miami’s ends. Although, with Jacksonville being a “run-first” offense, they (especially Quinn and Harris off the right side) will need to capitalize when given the opportunity.

Difficult rank: 4/13


I’d be interested to here what you think. Follow me on Twitter @skylertrunck and let’s discuss.

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