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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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NFL Draft

Fits and Starts of the 2019 NFL Draft–Jarrett Stidham

Shawn Digity

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USA Today
A shot of Jarrett Stidham during the Senior Bowl in January. Image courtesy of USA Today

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 HaskinsDrew LockDaniel 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.

 

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Miami Dolphins

7 Round Mock – Miami goes defense early, QB late

Kadeem Simmonds

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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.

“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.

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.

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.”

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.

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.

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.

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

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Miami Dolphins

Ranking the Top 13 Prospects for Miami in the 2019 NFL Draft

Skyler Trunck

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We’re 80 days out to the NFL draft…but who’s really counting?

Being in the lull between the Senior Bowl and NFL Combine – yes, lull – I figured it’d be a good time to release my first go-around at a 13 person short list for Miami.

Why 13 players?  Well, it’s simple, Miami picks at #13 in the first round and simple mathematics tell us one of the 13 players on this list will be available when Miami picks (assuming Miami doesn’t trade out).

Note — This is not a guess at what Miami’s draft board looks like.  My take is based on prospect talent and what picks will provide most value to this Miami Dolphins team.

 

1. Nick Bosa – EDGE – Ohio State

Bosa is the unanimous #1 player on almost all draft boards and that is not surprising if you watch him play.  He can rush the passer and stop the run with the best of them. Add in the blood-line that is in the Bosa family, his size, level of competition, etc. and you have exactly what you look for in an NFL prospect.

Throw in Bosa plays a premium position, defensive end — a need for this Dolphins team — it’s a no-brainer to make him #1 on this short-list.

There is almost zero chance he is available when Miami picks, unless they trade up or we experience another Laremy Tunsil gas mask type incident.  In the near-impossible event he is, all draft plans for the first round should be scrapped and Bosa should be the pick.

 

2. Josh Allen – EDGE – Kentucky

Like Nick Bosa, with Josh Allen you find that cross-roads of a talented player meeting a Miami need at a premium position.  Allen, like Bosa, can do almost everything. Most would argue the floor for Allen is lower, but he has a similar ceiling to that of Bosa.

It’s unlikely Allen is available when Miami picks, but he should be the unanimous choice in the Miami draft room if he is.

 

3. Quinnen Williams – DT – Alabama

If you watched Alabama football this year, there is almost no way you’d miss Williams.  He was dominate and played a vital role in almost every game for Alabama.

Williams has the upside to be all-pro in this league for years, hence why he checks in at #3 in this list.  The edge, however, goes to the edge rushers (no pun intended) at #1 and #2 due to the nature of the position and the need Miami has for edge players compared to interior defensive linemen.

 

4. Ed Oliver – DT – Houston

Oliver has the same upside as all of the defensive line players listed in the top 3, but there are more questions to whether Oliver reaches his ceiling given his size relative to the position he plays.

Coming into this year, many had Oliver listed as a player who wouldn’t fall out of the top 5.  Now there is a decent chance he is available when Miami picks at #13.

Scouts and experts are all over the board as to where Oliver should line up or what scheme would best fit him, but one thing everyone does agree on, Oliver is a phenomenal player who will give you everything he has wherever he is on the field.

 

5. Clelin Ferrell – EDGE – Clemson

Although Ferrell may not have the pass-rushing upside of other edge prospects on this list, he is about a complete of edge prospect as they come.

Edge players like Ferrell come in high on this list due to their ability to step in day 1 and provide value on all three downs.  To me, prioritizing the player that will be on the field all downs trumps the pass rush specialist type.

 

6. Brian Burns – EDGE – Florida State

Burns is a pass-rush specimen and more than adequate against the run.  As far as getting to the quarterback, Burns is close to the same tier as Bosa and Allen.

Talent-wise, it’s hard for me to prioritize Burns and Ferrell.  The only reason I placed Ferrell ahead of Burns is due to Ferrell checking in 30lbs heavier than Burns which translates to me as being physically more NFL ready and schematic flexibility.

Although it’s uncertain what Miami will be running next year, it’s worth pointing out in today’s NFL, nickel (five defensive backs) is run more frequently than any base package, a scheme Burns should be more than fine in.

All that to say, Ferrell and Burns would both be huge additions for this Miami front seven; players that will have fans excited for years to come.

 

7. Kyler Murray – QB – Oklahoma

This is where things get interesting.  Murray may not be quite on the same tier as other players on this list relative to the position, but I believe this is the time to reach and grab the most important position in all of sports – quarterback.

Murray is this year’s Patrick Mahomes going into the draft.  This isn’t saying he’s the next Mahomes in the NFL – more to the fact Murray is a “boom or bust” prospect coming out of college.

The drawbacks: Murray is undersized by almost all quarterback physical metrics, and it’s unknown if his passion for baseball will overtake that of football one day.  The latter is becoming increasingly more questionable in recent days, thus being the main reason Murray didn’t check in higher on this list.

However, when drafting a quarterback, you’re looking for the upside – what this player could be in 5-10 years.  Murray has that potential, thus making him a huge gamble worth taking.

Murray is an electric player and if the concerns wrote up on him are found to be negligible, Miami found the quarterback every team will look back on and wish they would have traded up to select.

 

8. Devin White – LB – LSU

The general consensus on White is he has all the speed and talent you could ask for in a linebacker, but he has some work to do when it comes to processing.

The NFL, if not already there, is moving towards speed at the linebacker position – a player that can move sideline to sideline with the best of them.  White is that type of player.

Linebacker may not be the most prominent need for this defense, given the two promising young linebackers on the roster, but a player with White’s potential, at a position Miami had their fair share of issues with this season, is value worth taking.

 

9. Jonah Williams – OL – Alabama

For those who follow the draft closely, you’ll question why Williams is on this list.  Williams played offensive tackle in college and to no surprise, will be viewed as an offensive tackle by most teams.

Given Miami already has two up-and-coming tackles in Ja’wuan James and Laremy Tunsil, the assumption here is Williams makes the conversion to guard.  There is no question Miami has a gaping hole in the interior line – a hole Miami desperately needs to fill.

Williams is just as talented as those that check in higher on this list, but he’s lower on my list due to the value of selecting a guard this early.  Williams has the potential to be all-pro, with the flexibility to kick out to tackle if we were to lose either tackle. There is something to be said about that which makes him more than worthy of the of the #13 pick in my eyes.

 

10. Rashan Gary – DL – Michigan

Gary is similar to Ed Oliver in that he is an extremely talented player where many experts question what position he will end up at in the NFL.

Gary could play all over the line in theory, but it’s likely he’d be best playing a 3-tech position, similar to that of Ndamukong Suh during his time with Miami.

Regardless of where Gary eventually lines up, he’d be a staple in this Miami defensive line for years to come if he were the selection.

 

11. Dwayne Haskins – QB – Ohio State

There are quite a few experts who have Haskins as the top signal-caller in this class.  Some have Murray, some even have Drew Lock; however, almost all agree this is not a premier class to find your next franchise quarterback.  This is why we find Haskins lower on this list.

Haskins can make almost every throw on the field with adequate arm-strength and mental processing for today’s NFL.  He’s a pocket passer prototype – what scouts love.

Kyler Murray edges Haskins in this list due to Murray’s potential.  Make no mistake, Haskins has the talent to be good in this league, but that’s the thing – “good.”  I am valuing the top-tier, game-changing potential in Murray higher than what I see in Haskins.

 

12. Greedy Williams – CB – LSU

With head coach Brian Flores coming in, it’s looking like he’ll want more talent in the secondary based on his time in New England.

A player like Williams adds talent to the Miami secondary and a long-term solution to pair next to all-pro Xavien Howard.  For the older generations, a corner pairing which could one day resemble that of Patrick Surtain and Sam Madison.

Where Williams has the talent to be higher on this list, I don’t have him quite as high simply because I find more value-gain in the other players listed.

There is a lot of fluidity among non-quarterback prospects outside the top-3.  All are talented in their own way. Miami is a good position where they have equally talented players in many positions of need.

 

13. Jachai Polite – EDGE – Florida

I love watching Polite on passing downs.  He is one of the best at this trait in a top tier class of edge prospects

However, he checks in at #13 for me due to his drawbacks in size and reliability against the run.

As I alluded to earlier, I prioritize the defensive end who can play all three downs, not just check in on passing downs.  Polite has concerns in all areas outside of pass rushing.

If Polite is able to able to develop against the run, he will likely go down as one of the top edge players taken in this talented class.  If not, we just landed another Charles Harris.


I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on who Miami should take at #13.  Follow me on Twitter @skylertrunck and let’s discuss.

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