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NFL Draft

Locked On Dolphins 2019 Draft Big Boards – Wide Receivers

Travis Wingfield

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Since you can gather general draft ideas from just about anywhere, we want to focus our coverage solely on the Dolphins. What will Miami look for at each position as the rebuild begins in 2019? This series is a collection of three things:

1.) Job-descriptions required for each position to be a Miami Dolphin
2.) Travis’ personal Dolphins-centric big-board for each position
3.) Confirmed player visits (Shrine, Senior Bowl, Combine, Pro-Day, 30 visit)

Jump To:

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Offensive Tackles
Interior Offensive Linemen
Edge Defenders
Interior Defensive Linemen
Linebackers
Cornerbacks
Safeties

Wide Receivers

Job Description:

In a timing and rhythm-based offense the primary objective of the receiver is to be where he’s supposed to be, when he’s supposed to be there. Intelligence, precise route running where the footwork times up with the QB’s drop and progression reads, and understanding of soft spots in zone and leverage against man are the key traits in the new scheme.

Miami already has speed to burn, so the Dolphins could look to add more size and possession types in this year’s class. That said, Miami could pass on the position altogether and, for that reason, we’ll leave the round-one-level prospects off this list.

Wide Receivers Big Board

Rank Player School Round Projection
1 JJ Arcega-Whiteside Stanford 2
2 Riley Ridley Georgia 2
3 DaMarkus Lodge Ole Miss 2-3
4 Parris Campbell Ohio State 2-3
5 Terry McLauren Ohio State 2-3
6 Marquise Brown Oklahoma 2-3
7 Andy Isabella UMass 3-4
8 Emanuel Hall Missouri 3-4
9 Jakobi Meyers NC State 4-5
10 Mecole Hardman Georgia 4-5
11 Hunter Renfro Clemson 4-5
12 Antoine Wesley Texas Tech 3-4
13 David Sills West Virginia 5-6
14 Penny Hart Georgia State 5-6
15 Jalen Hurd Baylor 5-7

 

Reported Dolphins Meetings:

Riley Ridley – Georgia
Andy Isabella – UMass
Emmanuel Hall – Missouri
Johnnie Dixon – Ohio State

@WingfieldNFL

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Miami Dolphins

Repercussions and Benefits to Drafting a QB in Both 2019 & 2020

Jason Hrina

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Image Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The biggest conundrum and worst-kept secret engulfing the entire Miami Dolphins franchise is the quarterback position.

Yes, they did sign Paul Bunyan’s doppelganger, Ryan Fitzpatrick, to be the team’s “starting quarterback” in 2019, but I don’t think there are too many fans thrilled with this signing as it correlates to the overall success of the franchise.

2019 was destined to be arduous, frustrating and outright boring, so at least we know we’ll have 17 weeks of entertainment courtesy of the smartest man (Harvard graduate) to play start for so many NFL football teams (8 and counting).

And while Fitzpatrick could be Thormund Giantsbane’s stunt double in Game of Thrones, what does the future hold for Miami?

Some of us want the Dolphins to select one of the 4-6 potential 1st-round quarterbacks in this upcoming draft so we can get a head start on rebuilding our franchise. We’ve passed on a starting quarterback all these other years, and we’ve seen a productive starter come from the 1st round in virtually every recent NFL draft (all except 2013, where E.J Manual was the best QB and Mike Glennon was next-best).

By my unscientific calculation, I’d say most fans want the Dolphins to grab their quarterback in the 1st-round of the 2020 NFL draft – where there are at least 3 QBs projected to be better professional players than any QB coming out of the 2019 draft.

Miami has wasted 19 seasons since Dan Marino retired; what’s another wasted year if it means we finally end the quarterback drought?

What most fans don’t want the Dolphins to do is invest a 1st-round pick on a quarterback in 2019 and then again in 2020. Why “waste” a 1st-round pick – such a desired asset – when you can draft an elite & cheap commodity at another position; a prospect that will still benefit the eventual QB you draft to take over your team.

But what if I told you that it’s quite alright if our beloved Miami Dolphins select a quarterback in the 1st-round of the draft in back-to-back years? What if Miami took multiple chances to end the curse that has plagued this franchise longer than some of us have been alive for?

Would the plethora of fans advocating for Miami to not “waste a pick in 2019” be justified? Would the group of fans yearning for the team to get their quarterback in 2019 be validated?

The short answer is: (insert The Rock voice here) it doesn’t matter where Miami drafts their franchise quarterback, just as long as they draft the right player. We won’t know who that right player is until their career begins, so fans won’t be justified until the 2021 draft at the absolute earliest. That said, we’ve gone back the past 10 years and analyzed just how teams have fared the year leading up to them drafting a quarterback in the first round versus the year after their rookie quarterback was drafted.

Let’s just say, there’s no absolute science, but there’s no concrete reason to avoid this conundrum.

The Breakdown

Some fans see drafting a quarterback in the 1st-round of the draft as the “endgame” when it comes to finding a starting quarterback for their team. Draft a quarterback in the 1st-round of 2019, and you’re marrying yourself to that prospect throughout their rookie contract.

While that may be right for players you misdraft like Charles Harris or DeVante Parker, it doesn’t necessarily apply to quarterbacks.

Yes, you do lose a prospect at another position, so you can automatically assume that misdrafting a quarterback is a missed player somewhere else on your roster, but do we all agree that there is only one position on a team’s roster that genuinely matters?

When comparing the two seasons, we wanted to see if teams saw a noticeable gain or drop between the two years. The main purpose? To see just how much the Miami Dolphins screw themselves over in 2020 if they select a quarterback in 2019.

The prevailing thought is that the Miami Dolphins will be out of the running for a QB in 2020 if they draft a QB in 2019. Judging by how teams have fared the past decade, there is no evidence to suggest that the Dolphins will be out on a 2020 quarterback. Especially when you take into account the Dolphins current roster status and talent, I think it’s safe to say that an improvement from 7-9 is very unlikely.

Take a look at the last 10 years and see how kind (or terrible) history was to these franchises:

Note: the draft slot listed is where the team was originally slated to draft – not necessarily where they actually drafted that year (plenty of teams traded up to acquire their quarterback). We wanted to show their original draft slot as that was a better indication of the team’s success between the two years.

Some fun stats to take note of regarding this information:

  • Teams moved an average of 3 draft slots lower the year after they drafted a quarterback in the 1st round (lower meaning they went from #7 overall to #10 as an example)
  • Of the 31 selections, 15 teams (48%) ended up drafting within the top-10 the following year
  • Of the 31 selections, only 12 teams (39%) ended up drafting later than #13 (where Miami is currently slotted to draft in 2019) the year after they drafted their QB in the first round.
    • And of those 31 selections, only 9 (29%) teams ended up picking 20th or later
  • Of the 31 quarterbacks taken, 17 of them (55%) have led their teams to the playoffs
    • With 11 of those 17 (65%) quarterbacks going deeper than the 1st round of the playoffs
    • 5 of those 17 (29%) ended up going to the Super Bowl
  • Of these 31 instances, teams ended up improving their record after they drafted their rookie QB 17 of those times (55%)
    • 11 of the 31 teams (35%) did worse the year after
    • 3 of the 31 teams (10%) ended up with the same record

What can we take away from all of this? There is no scientific evidence to confirm that Miami will select the right quarterback, but it also indicates that Miami wouldn’t be in a “worse spot” in 2020 if they drafted a quarterback in 2019.

Outside of Matthew Stafford in 2009, Cam Newton in 2011, and Andrew Luck in 2012 (all 1st-overall picks), the quarterback classes were pretty stale from 2009-2016. Sure, Marcus Mariota, Blake Bortles, Robert Griffin III, Tim Tebow and Teddy Bridgewater led their teams to the playoffs throughout that time, but none of those quarterbacks are necessarily viewed as franchise QBs at this time.

Though with that being said, how many of us would enjoy Jacksonville’s run to the Super Bowl? Or the Tennessee Titans upsetting the Kansas City Chiefs after Mariota caught his own pass? How electric would the fanbase have been watching RGIII and Bridgewater lead Miami to a division title? Even Tim Tebow has been a more-successful quarterback than anyone the Dolphins have had this century.

While the answer isn’t always available, it’s evident there are answers. It’s just a matter of finding a legitimate long term solution and not one of these quarterbacks who bring temporary success.

How should the Dolphins approach this dilemma? Do they make their selection and stick with it or do they finally decide that finding the right quarterback is worth the risk & hassle?

Advocating for a Quarterback in 2019

What do you have to lose?

Outside of the obvious aspect that you do not have a 1st-round talent at another position (a snowball effect that plays into the team’s total cap space when you account for the fact that you have to spend on a roster spot that would have otherwise been filled by elite, cheap talent), there isn’t much the Dolphins can lose by drafting a QB at #13.

Frankly, as long as the quarterback you select isn’t horrendous, you can still flip him for a 3rd or 4th-round pick the following year (see Josh Rosen).

If you get the selection wrong, you may have even enhanced your draft status the following year rather than hurt it; which means you’re in an even better spot to draft your franchise QB in 2020.

Of all the 1st-round QBs that have “failed” over the past decade (to keep it simple in this instance, any QB that didn’t lead their teams to the playoffs “failed”…there are 14 total QBs in this instance), 8 of those teams ended up with a lower draft pick – though that stat is a bit misleading:

  • Between all 14 of those teams that “failed” to pick the right QB, they slid an average of 1.5 draft slots lower
    • 8 of those 14 teams ended up picking in the top-10 the year after they drafted their QB
  • Of those 8 teams that ended up with a lower pick, 3 of them had the #1 overall pick when they drafted their QB – making it pretty easy to “beat” that statistic

Assuming Miami doesn’t trade-up and make the wrong selection, all of their 2020 draft picks will still be available to use in a trade if you want to move up to grab one of the diamonds coming out of the 2020 draft. You’ll even have all of your 2021 draft picks to help make that trade a reality.

Pros:

  • Potential franchise quarterback (this is kind of a big one)
  • Maintain all future draft capital
  • Tank properly for 2020 (if pick is wrong)
    • Given Miami’s current roster and how rookie QBs perform, it’s safe to say Miami would get a better draft pick in 2020 rather than falling further than #13
  • At worst, a really good backup quarterback

Cons:

  • Missing 1st-round talent at another position
  • Hurts cap space if player is released
    • Hurts cap space by requiring team to spend on replacement for position you could have drafted

Advocating for a Quarterback in 2020

You have EVERYTHING to gain.

Sure, 2019 may solve Miami’s quarterback problem, but will it make the Dolphins a contender for years to come? Or are we looking at the potential of overdrafting the next Andy Dalton at #13 and setting ourselves up for continued (albeit, slightly elevated) mediocrity?

There’s a difference between a quarterback and a difference maker, and the 2020 draft class provides the potential for 3 outstanding difference makers to join the fray: Jake Fromm, Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert. By some accounts, even the next-tier of QBs in the 2020 draft (K.J. Costello and Jacob Eason) are better than most of the 2019 QBs coming out.

Even the Miami Dolphins front office recognizes that 2020 is the more-optimal year to set their franchise up for success. With all of these recent trades netting Miami 2020 draft picks, it seems the team is gathering all the ammunition they need to get the quarterback they want at the turn of the decade.

Assuming the Dolphins didn’t trade any 2020 or 2021 draft capital, they will be in a prime position to grab the man they want in 2020.

Trade the farm. Trade valuable assets in 2021 and potentially 2022 if need be. We’re beyond strategically trying to draft our quarterback (no more 2nd-round picks on the Chad Henne‘s, Pat White‘s and John Beck‘s of the world). Take that risk, whatever the risk costs.

  • Of the 20 quarterbacks drafted in the top-10, 11 of them took their team to the playoffs
  • Of the 11 quarterbacks that were drafted in the top-5, 7 of them took their team to the playoffs
    • With Baker Mayfield being one of the quarterbacks who hasn’t (yet)
    • Another is Brandon Weeden, and he was technically selected 22nd overall (the Cleveland Browns originally had the 4th-overall pick in the draft, so the stat is a tad skewed. For your entertainment, after a bunch of maneuvering that spanned multiple seasons, the Browns eventually traded up to select Trent Richardson with the #3 overall selection the same year Weeden was drafted)

While there’s a chance you draft Mark Sanchez, there’s a better chance you draft a playoff-caliber quarterback. Unless Miami is tanking for Trevor Lawrence in 2021, it’s time they identify the risk they want to take and execute accordingly.

Pros:

  • You’ve probably drafted someone equivalent to Eli ManningPhilip Rivers, or Ben Roethlisberger rather than someone like Jake Locker, Blaine Gabbert or Christian Ponder
  • You’ve (hopefully) utilized 2019 to build a better roster around your QB so he isn’t getting sacked 184 times in his first 4 years like Ryan Tannehill did
    • This also coincides with having the ability to field an expensive team that can make a deep run in the playoffs while your quarterback is cheap

Cons:

  • If you get it wrong in 2020, you’ve now wasted 2-3 seasons simply misidentifying the most important position
    • Quite frankly, this would absolutely justify Chris Grier being fired, and you could argue Brian Flores should follow suit

Why Not Both?

So why not take a flyer on a quarterback in back-to-back years? Are you afraid of losing out on one (potentially) really good player for the sake of waiting yet another year to take your risk?

A friendly little reminder of who the Dolphins have drafted in the 1st round since 2008:

  • 2018 (11th-overall): Minkah Fitzpatrick
  • 2017 (22): Charles Harris
  • 2016 (13): Laremy Tunsil
  • 2015 (14): DeVante Parker
  • 2014 (19): Ja’Wuan James
  • 2013 (3): Dion Jordan
  • 2012 (8): Ryan Tannehill
  • 2011 (15): Mike Pouncey
  • 2010 (28): Jared Odrick
  • 2009 (25): Vontae Davis
  • 2008 (1): Jake Long

By drafting a QB at #13, it’s possible you miss out on someone like Laremy Tunsil or Minkah Fitzpatrick, but there’s also a solid chance you’re drafting someone like Parker or Harris.

You may end up with “very good” players like Ja’Wuan James or Mike Pouncey, but would you rather have someone like James or Pouncey, or would you rather take a minimal risk to get this franchise to the point where it can have back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 2002-2003?

Pros:

  • Multiple quarterbacks on your roster giving you security or a huge trade chip
  • There is virtually no detriment to your future cap space, given the rookie contracts
  • Unless Miami royally screwed it up, you can exhale and enjoy the next decade of your football fandom knowing the Miami Dolphins have the right player at the right position

Cons:

  • Missing a 1st-round pick at another position

By the way, the last time the Dolphins had a losing season before 2003 was 1988. Before that? 1976. You know why? The team had legitimate franchise quarterbacks.

While there is logic behind waiting until 2020, there isn’t much preventing the team from getting a head start in 2019. Confidence? Stagnating quarterback development? I guess those are a couple of concerns if you give a quarterback competition (at least those were the main reasons for avoiding competition for Ryan Tannehill), but the Miami Dolphins need to identify a player that can lead them to, at the very least, a playoff victory.

At this point, we aren’t necessarily asking for a Super Bowl. Hope would be a good start. Drafting a quarterback in 2019 provides hope. Drafting another quarterback in 2020 virtually guarantees success.

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NFL Draft

Favorite Potential 2019 Dolphins Draft Prospects By Round

Travis Wingfield

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Travis Wingfield’s Horizontal Big Board for the 2019 Dolphins Draft

Part of any team’s draft preparation will include a variety of mock games – predictive models that produce multiple outcomes to familiarize clubs with different scenarios come draft-day.

The automation of mock draft simulators allows teams to anticipate real-time scripts. Even still, much more is required to account for trades, surprise runs on a particular position, plummeting prospects, or any number of code red storylines that play on the off-season’s most exciting weekend.

One scout-created exercise comes from the Move the Sticks Podcast. Selecting preferred players, by round, stacks the board in a horizontal fashion creating plan-b’s, c’s, and d’s to mitigate unfulfilled plan-a’s.

By now Miami’s needs are well-documented – and aplenty. Long-term Franchise Quarterback tops that list, though it might be a year from blossom. The defensive line and backfield both need reinforcements and the offensive line is…offensive. Sprinkle in a shallow tailback stable by Chad O’Shea’s standards, and uncertainty at linebacker and cornerback, the Dolphins could go in any direction.

Then there’s all-important draft talent consideration for this specific class. Where is the prime spot of this draft? Which positions stand to hold value on day-two and into the third and final day?

For Chris Grier in company, the practice of identifying its most pressing needs, and matching those positions with the forecasted flow of 2019’s draft, is the most crucial project Grier’s team will face this year.

It’s hardly a secret that Miami would be keen on moving down the board and acquiring more picks. This decision would pay off as Miami’s need’s priorities stand parallel to the strength of this class – picks in the 20-60 range on the offensive line, defensive line, and in the secondary.

The Dolphins have to feel like they can come away with three starters in that range, which requires accumulating an additional pick to go along with the 13th and 48th selections.

For chronological sake, we’ll start with the first round. It’s likely that the only scenario where Miami moves up the board would be the slide of Oklahoma Quarterback Kyler Murray – but I don’t see that happening, so he leads our list of the unobtainable:

Unobtainable (without a trade-up):

QB Kyler Murray
DL Nick Bosa
DL Quinnen Williams
DL Josh Allen
DL Ed Oliver

Combination of three top-100 boards from (The Draft Network, Sports Illustrated, USA Today

Round 1: (Dolphins pick 13)

Garrett Bradbury – Center, North Carolina State
Cumulative Average Big Board Rank: 32

A checker of virtually every box, Bradbury would be a quintessential first pick of Miami’s new regime. An intelligent, scheme-diverse leader the power and athleticism to provide the middle of Miami’s offensive line with set-and-forget presence. Ideally, Miami would move back down the board to make this pick, but it might require the 15th selection given the impression of Bradbury around the league.

Jonah Williams – Offensive Line, Alabama
Cumulative Average Big Board Rank: 15

Like Bradbury, Williams mental aptitude will go a long way with the Dolphins’ brass. A studious player with position versatility, coming from a blue blood program, Williams falls into the set-and-forget category. He was the best left tackle on tape all year, but he’ll have to lean on his freshman experience playing the right side with Laremy Tunsil in-house.

Chauncey Gardner-Johnson – Safety, Florida
Cumulative Average Big Board Rank: 36

CGJ is a glove-like fit for the coverage scheme Miami wants to deploy. In Flores’ defense, both safeties must be able to do two things: 1.) Come down and cover man-up, and 2.) Support against the run. Gardner-Johnson is rangy, feisty, and a sticky man-cover guy.

First Round Recap: Truth be told, there aren’t any feasible picks at pick 13 that make me feel the way I did about Minkah Fitzpatrick or Laremy Tunsil. Miami needs to strongly consider a trade back.

Round 2: (Dolphins pick 48)

Jonathan Abram – Safety, Mississippi State
Cumulative Average Big Board Rank: 67

His cumulative rank is criminal, but his play boarders on that fine line as well. He’s a hitter – a temperature changer. Abram is one of the more violent, controlled tacklers that has played the position in recent memory and offers the diverse skillset Miami will require of its safeties under Flores.

Juan Thornhill – Safety, Virginia
Cumulative Average Big Board Rank: 65

Sort of the opposite side of the Abram ledger, Thornhill’s explosive metrics make him an ideal deep center field safety in the new scheme. He can cover sideline-to-sideline with tremendous tracking and ball skills.

Chase Winovich – Defensive End, Michigan
Cumulative Average Big Board Rank: 61

Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Going back to the football acumen well, Winovich is a master of preparation with a motor that never quits. He can close down the backside against the run and win with nuance as a pass rush moves. He’s an ideal base five-technique in the new defense.

Second Round Recap: I love this portion of the draft. Add Boston College’s Chris Lindstrom, Texas’ Charles Omenihu, and Temple’s Rock Ya-Sin into this group as well.

Round 3: (Dolphins pick 79)

L.J. Collier – Defensive End, TCU
Cumulative Average Big Board Rank: 65

Defensive Coordinator Patrick Graham spoke, at length, about heavy-handed players with astute processing skill (eye discipline). Those two traits are Collier’s calling cards and could catapult him into round-two. He’s an ideal five-tech/4-i/three-tech hybrid in this scheme.

Miles Sanders – Running Back, Penn State
Cumulative Average Big Board Rank: 62

Sanders is well into the top-60 of this class for my money, but the running back plunge occurs every year, and Miami could find an ideal fit for its backfield in round-three. Sanders can run routes from the backfield, slot, and out wide. The Penn State product is a shifty problem for defenses on all three downs.

Darnell Savage – Safety, Maryland
Cumulative Average Big Board Rank: 59

Savage likely doesn’t make it this far, but that glut of safeties in round-two (which he may well be a part of) could force the Maryland grad down the board. With a penchant for the big hit, an ability to cover deep, and the ferocity this staff and regime will love, Savage would be a terrific fit in Miami.

Third Round Recap: Like round-two, I want multiple picks in this round. Add Oregon’s Justin Hollins, Western Illinois’ Khalen Saunders, and Michigan’s David Long in this mix as well.

Round 4: (Draft Network Big Board Round Projection – Dolphins pick 117)

Chuma Edoga – Offensive Tackle, USC (102 TDN overall)

Winner of the Offensive Lineman of the Week at the Senior Bowl, an impressive kick slide and quick feet allow Edoga to quickly get into his pass set. He struggles with power but has a shot to earn a starting job with some development.

James Williams – Running Back, Washington State (117 TDN overall)

The leader among tailbacks in receptions in all of college football (83), Williams is a savant study of the boundary and field side route combinations (wheels, corners, sticks, arrows) asked of the back. He’d be an ideal pairing with Kenyan Drake and Kalen Ballage.

Kahale Warring – Tight End, San Diego State (144 TDN overall)

Carved from stone by the Greek gods themselves, Warring comes from a program that has been dubbed, “Stanford South.” The classic Y Tight End would serve as a nice pairing with Mike Gesicki.

Round 5: (Draft Network Big Board Round Projection – Dolphins pick 152)

Lamont Gaillard – Center, Georgia (171 TDN overall)

Another player that falls too low for my tastes, Gaillard is an ideal competition piece for the veteran on shaky ground, Dan Kilgore. Gaillard is a power-player with an occasional flash to hit reach blocks.

Round 6: (Draft Network Big Board Round Projection – Dolphins no pick)

Maxx Crosby – Defensive End, Eastern Michigan (198 TDN overall)

Another try-hard player, Crosby wins with long arms and heavy hands. He can control the point of attack and shed a block en route to the ball carrier. He could factor in as a rotational five-technique.

Round 7: (Draft Network Big Board Round Projection – Dolphins pick 235, 236)

Derek Baity – Cornerback, Kentucky (212 TDN overall)

With an eye towards special teams, and adding another depth body to compete for the log-jam behind Eric Rowe at the CB2 position, Baity is a technician, and hit all of the testing metrics Miami likes at corner.

It’s difficult to stave off too much infatuation this time of year. Each round offers players with traits we can get excited about, but it’s the identification of the traits that best suit what this Dolphins team wants to be.

We should expect a bit of a shift in the way prototypes are created, as well as find comfort with the Dolphins new draft approach to prioritize a large quantity of picks.

The draft will be the new lifeblood from which Miami attempts to survive in the precarious future of the AFC East. Truth be told, that’s how it should’ve been all along.

@WingfieldNFL

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NFL Draft

Miami Dolphins’ predraft visits and their potential context clues

Shawn Digity

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USA Today Sports Miami Dolphins draft
Minkah Fitzpatrick being selected in the 2019 NFL Draft. Image courtesy of USA Today Sports

The Miami Dolphins are going through their due diligence of predraft visits and private workouts. Is there anything meaningful that can be taken from them?

It’s part of the process. All throughout the draft season teams will be doing their homework on numerous prospects in the several-month leadup to the main event in late April. But the million-dollar question is whether or not the visits have any relation to actual draft selections.

While it is left to each organization’s discretion on how to use the allotted 30 predraft visits, many of the teams will use the opportunity to bring in enigmatic or red-flag prospects to get a better grasp on how they could fit into the team dynamic. Other teams will use it to interview potential draftees. There are many ways a team can use the predraft visits–that’s what makes it so hard to discern the reason for each individual predraft 30.

Smokescreen season

So it goes without saying that this part of the draft process can really throw fans through a loop. Smokescreens are afoot, and a prospect visit could not be what it seems from the fan who’s watching from the outside.

I know I’m guilty of this almost every year, but I’ll see a list of prospect visits, dinners, workouts, and meetings and start trying to make connections and estimates for actual draft selections, akin to the hard-boiled 1950s detective with the photos and yarn on his bullet board looking for any possible clues.

Long-winded analogies aside, I don’t think there’s any historical correlation between visits and selections. This is not the answer that the conspiracy theorist in all of us wants to hear, but it’s the truth, more often than not.

Predraft visits and selection likelihood

Sometimes there are anomalies, though. In 2017, for example, Charles Harris and Raekwon McMillan were the first- and second-round selections and both had visits with the Dolphins.

Cordrea Tankersley, who was the third-round pick was not a visitor and did not have any contact with the Dolphins. But with the selections of Isaac Asiata, Davon Godchaux, Vincent Taylor and Isaiah Ford, the idea of the Miami Dolphins drafting players that they were in contact with during the predraft process went up in flames.

Was that a result of the trade-down with the Eagles from the fourth round and it caused the draft plan to go awry? Or are the predraft visits just smoke and mirrors meant to feign interest in Player A to drive down the interest or dim the spotlight for Player B in hopes of getting a good value pick? A lot of question come with any theory of connecting visits to actual interest.

Coach-GM coupling effects

I suppose that none of the fans truly know that answer–I certainly don’t. It also matters that the Dolphins have had many different front offices in the past several years. Maybe Mike Tannenbaum viewed the usage of the visits differently than Dennis Hickey or Jeff Ireland and even if Chris Grier was still the de facto GM in some of those cases, it might still be different yet now that he’s coupled with Brian Flores.

If that’s the case then this entire article is moot since this will obviously be Chris Grier’s first year working with Brian Flores. To a degree, it matters, but I’m not sure how different it will vary from regimes of yesteryear. The purpose of the predraft visits could, in fact, have many similarities over the numerous front office over the past decade or longer or it could not.

Seeing things that aren’t there

To me, it stood out that both Charles Harris and Raekwon McMillan had visits with the Dolphins and ended up being selected in consequent rounds. That’s enough to think that there could be a preference to draft players that came in for a workout or visit, but then that just begs more questions.

Are the Dolphins using the visits as opportunities to interview candidates they already like in a traditional job-applicatory style or are they gauging their overall interest based on the outcome of the visits?

I’m sure you’ll figure out the direction of this article with all the rhetorical, hypothetical questions, but I’m ultimately in the school of thought that there isn’t correlation or causality with the Miami Dolphins predraft visits and their actual draft picks in the subsequent draft.

What a coincidence

The 2017 back-to-back picks of Charles Harris and Raekwon McMillan was coincidental and was just the product of how the Dolphins had those two players rated on the big board and how the draft picks started falling.

The same thing can be said with the gift-wrapped Minkah Fitzpatrick in the 2018 Draft after he stumbled to the Dolphins at the 11th pick. Fitzpatrick had not been in contact with the Dolphins at any point, but when he fell, the Fins must’ve already had him highly rated on the board, enough to take him in the first round.

How these dominoes ended up falling was circumstantial based on the one-time draft and the visits played no role on how the players were taken, how the big board was created or how the actual selections were chosen.

On to the future

Now I’ll be remiss if I didn’t use this opportunity to talk about the 2019 predraft visits and look for things that aren’t there for the newest crop of prospects. Here’s the most complete list of visits I could find.

Now at this point, the list of prospects that the Miami Dolphins has shown interest in is large enough that there will be at least one player drafted off of it. I’ll get to that prediction in a second. the list has 55 names on it, I would even humor arguments that say the Dolphins will take two guys off that list.

It’s just such a large number that you could take any random pool of 55 players in this year’s draft class and end up with one to two players that the Miami Dolphins will end up drafting.

It also matters that the Dolphins have seven regular picks: one first, one second, one third, one fourth, one fifth, and two sevenths. There’s an even spread of higher- and lower-tiered athletes on the Dolphins list, so that means that the potential for drafting the listees won’t wane as the draft gets into the later rounds.

The list includes big names such as Nick Bosa and Dwayne Haskins from Ohio State and lesser-known players like Koda Martin from Syracuse and Corrion Ballard from Utah.

Now I should make this point, the 2019 visit list I found includes all contacts and not just predraft 30s. Meetings from Pro Days, the Combine, Senior Bowl week, East-West Shrine week, and local-visit candidates are also listed. Although, in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t matter since the reasonings for any of the meetings in any regard are different on a case-by-case basis.

Without Further Ado

So now that I’ve dismissed the idea of any major correlation between the visits/meetings, I will take a random stab at the list and make a prediction on who will be a Miami Dolphin after the draft. This is a whimsical, baseless guess and my only guiding light is how I think the team will address team needs this year. I’m predicting the Miami Dolphins will take Johnnie Dixon on Day 3, no rhyme or reason behind that prediction.

If anything, you can look at that 2019 list and see who the Dolphins will likely not take because in years past the trend has often been taking players that aren’t on the list. So if you see a player on that list, then that’s closer to a kiss of death than it is a positive bellwether.

Also for reference, 2018 and 2017 visits and meetings.

 

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