Connect with us

NFL Draft

Miami Dolphins 2020 Senior Bowl Practices Takeaways

Travis Wingfield



Position-by-position review of the Senior Bowl from a Miami Dolphins Lens

That’s a wrap from Mobile. The game is scheduled for Saturday, but that’s more pageantry than quality scouting material. The coverage of the event wasn’t up to the standard set in previous years, and use of time from either coaching staff was curious, to say the least. Still, we harvested a plethora of information ahead of the Dolphins most important draft this century.

Miami’s needs are as well-documented as they are vast. The downside of a roster in-need of reinforcement — well that’s evident from the 2019 win-loss record. In a glass half-full spirit, there are two upshots that come with Miami’s present territory.

1.) The benefit of a true best-player-available approach — Every team preaches this mentality, but few truly put it into practice. Last year’s Jaguars were the beneficiaries of a curious decision by the Oakland Raiders, and the New York Giants bypassing B.P.A for a pressing roster need.

The result: The Jags drafted for value and wound up with a 10-sack season from Josh Allen, and a right tackle that played every snap in Jawaan Taylor.

Miami can execute B.P.A. not just because of current makeup of the roster, but also the quantity of draft picks within the team’s possession. The latter provides an ideal segue into point number two.

2.) The simplification of targeting scheme fits — The Patriots and Lions run identical defensive systems, and have shown a proclivity for taking players higher than their perceived stock would suggest. But it’s not just the scheme that curates this philosophy. The Seahawks regularly shock the draft world by selecting players to fit the identity of the football team.

These two points are critical this week. The Senior Bowl’s draft production is not only at an all-time high, the efficacy of the players that shine in Mobile, then go onto the leagues’ big stage (Deebo Samuel, Dre Greenlaw and Fred Warner) is becoming increasingly tangible.

Several of these players stand a great chance to don the aqua and orange next season. And of those player, a significant crop will go on to play at pro-bowl levels.

With a presumed seven picks in the top-100, the Dolphins can completely restore the foundation of this team under Brian Flores.

No pressure.


First, kudos to Jim Nagy for getting first-round quarterbacks every year. Justin Herbert and Jordan Love will wind up in the top-15 this April, and they both showcased the eye-popping physical traits all week in Mobile.

The ball jumps off of their hands, and their ability to cut the wind with tight spirals made for an easy separation between the big-arms and the popguns on the field.

Love’s most intriguing moment — for my money — came from an interview he did on the Move the Sticks Podcast. When asked about his dip in production, Love eluded to the coaching staff changes and losing nine starters on offense. He described the season as a grind as it wasn’t until very late when things starting to click for the offense. The words speak volumes, but the tone was indicative of a player that was frustrated by his situation all year.

I’ll bang the table for Jordan Love. His best football is ahead of him and I believe his 2018 season is a better representation of his skills. He remains option B if the Dolphins can’t find a way to select Tua Tagovailoa, and it’ll take the fifth pick to make that happen.

When it comes to Herbert, I think a reprieve-of-sorts is in order. Well, not a reprieve, but I should be more appreciative of his skill set. When I say he reminds me of Ryan Tannehill, I focus on the downside of that comparison, but not the intriguing qualities. I wrote an article in 2016 stating, “if a coach can’t figure out how to win with [Tannehill], then maybe he’s just not a good coach.”

And the reason for that statement came from the multiple ways in which Tannehill can beat a defense. He opens the zone-read game. He’s deadly on boots and naked rolls. He’s a big-armed quarterback that can dice the defense on every throw within the structure, and make the occasional wow-play.

That’s Herbert in a nutshell.

But the Oregon product is also saddled with similar red flags as the former Aggie. And I’m an ex-lover scorned. A true lack of urgency. Watch the way both of these quarterbacks operate when time is of the essence. Watch the consistency of their mechanics and the trust of what they see when it’s do-or-die time.

Both Herbert and Tannehill are heavy-legged with a slow internal clock under duress. That’s the deadliest combination there is for a quarterback, and in the most condemning way imaginable.

Ultimately, if the coaching staff determined that Herbert was the guy they covet, and for the reasons I mentioned, then let’s go — I trust this iteration of the Dolphins brass. Especially a staff that knows how to cater to the strengths of the player. With Herbert, Miami could justify making a run at Derrick Henry, the perfect complimentary type to Herbert’s strengths.

While Herbert impressed in the all-star game practices, that’s merely a small piece of the puzzle. Another piece — a much larger piece — of that puzzle, are the big moments where Herbert continuously came up small in college. That matters to me. And it will anchor the evaluation on Hebert regardless of how he performs in the run up to the draft.

Jalen Hurts is more project than legit contender to start in his rookie season. It’s difficult to envision a scenario where Miami drafts a quarterback indisputably outside the top-five of his class, and tailors an offense around that player — not after all the work to get into this phase of the rebuild. Hurts throwing inconsistencies need a year of work — at least.

Anthony Gordon might be more of a project. His footwork and spatial awareness in the pocket need more grooming than the nation’s leading passing attack could provide last season.

Steven Montez and Shea Patterson are not draftable prospects.

Running Back

Joshua Kelly was ripping through lanes and getting to the second level as quick as any back that played this week. He pairs vision and burst well to alter angles of potential tacklers, and doesn’t have to stop his feet to find the cutback. He works the backside in zone as well as any back in this class, and he won regularly in one-on-one pass catching drills.

Lamical Perine is similar in his ability to press the hole and find the wind back lane in wide zone concepts. He too is a physical runner that finishes moving forward.

Antonio Gibson is the most intriguing player at the position, but he might be a master of none. He’s explosive as all get out, but he only carried the ball 38 times last year. He caught 33 passes with a chunk of that production coming as a slot receiver. His versatility will attract teams.

Wide Receiver

The Dolphins don’t need receivers, but they are growing on trees in this class. The elite group of pass catchers aren’t in Mobile, but there are several immediate contributors participating this week.

K.J. Hill is the next Ohio State receiver to show a penchant for elite route running. He’s twitched-up, uses his hands extremely well to keep himself clean, and almost always wins immediately of the line. I saw Hill compared to Emmanuel Sanders on Twitter; Sanders has been atop my offseason WR wish list for some time.

Van Jefferson put on a route-running clinic all week. He knows how to attack leverage, then go to work on the defender’s blind spot. He might be a good day-three option to fill in for Preston Williams until the ACL is fully healthy.

Denzel Mims is an anomaly. He’s big, strong, plucks the ball away from his frame and has a unique sense of body control and field awareness when he works the perimeter and end lines.

Chase Claypool won all week at the L.O.S, Quartney Davis is a physical technician, Devin Duvernay has track speed and the best YAC numbers in the country, and Michael Pittman is a crafty player that can alter his releases, tempo, and moves at the top of the route. SMU’s James Proche has the look of an effective slot — he’s got a lot of wiggle at the line.

It’s too bad Brandon Aiyuk didn’t participate — he’s the best of the impressive bunch.

It would behoove the Dolphins to capitalize on the value of this position with a day-three selection to groom behind a good receiving corps.

Tight Ends

Adam Trautman entered the week with buzz, and now enters the game with a legitimate shot of hearing his name called on Friday of the draft. He’s huge, athletic, and surprisingly polished in his route running for a player that’s relatively new to the position.

Bryce Hopkins isn’t new to tight end, and it shows in his route running. He’s going to catch a lot of touchdowns for somebody and serve as a cover-2 seam buster.

LSU’s Stephen Sullivan probably made the biggest jump of the group. He was consistent as an inline blocker, which is a major feather in the cap of a player that entered college as a wide receiver.

Offensive Line

This position provided the most encouraging development of the week with regards to Miami’s draft plan. What originally looked like a dud of an interior O-line class suddenly has some life. We also identified another first-round tackle, and that’s where we’ll start.

Josh Jones is a fringe first-rounder for some scouts. He entered the year with questions about his technical prowess, but you wouldn’t know it from this week of work. He was the talk of the practice on Thursday showing exceptional mirror ability and greatly improvement hands.

Replicating Laremy Tunsil’s typewriter feet is impossible, but Jones is a good consolation. He’s athletic as all get out.

Two tackles with very little fanfare coming into Mobile will leave with a positive impression. Texas Tech’s Terrance Steele and Connecticut’s Matt Peart had good weeks. I’ll go back to the film room before I speak further on their respective games.

It was the interior line that made the best impression, starting at center.

Lloyd Cushenberry is a first-round prospect, probably OC1 after this week. He’s a monster. His hands touch his knees from an upright position with an 83-inch wingspan. He plays low and with incredible strength to execute reach and scoop blocks, and anchor in pass protection.

Damien Lewis isn’t a center, but he’s nearing OG1 status in his own right. His angles flowing to the second level are terrific, and he has the same low pad-level as his Tiger teammate.

Back to center, Temple’s Matt Hennessy made quite an impression all week. The video below showcases not just the easy-glide feet, but the symbiotic relationship between his feet and his eyes that help him maintain balance and power with his punches.

Nick Harris had a difficult week, but his tape is still the best of all draft eligible centers. His work in space is unmatched in this class.

San Diego State has been dubbed Stanford South for their run-heavy program. Center Keith Ismael anchored that group for the last four years. He had a good week of practices helping his draft stock in the process.

John Simpson is a mountain of a left guard and he was blocking out the sun on Wednesday’s practice. He had some issues with Javon Kinlaw and Marlon Davidson on day-one, but he bounced back with a strong finish to the week. He’s a day-one starter.

Defensive Line

Javon Kinlaw entered the week as the best player in Mobile and he’ll leave in the same fashion. He was utterly dominant on just about every individual rep he took — unblockable.

Marlon Davidson only practiced Tuesday, but he showcased the violent hands, length, and get-off that could serve him well as a chess piece pass rusher. He’s strong enough to hold the point, two-gap with an innate ability to stack-and-shed, and can play multiple positions across the line.

Jason Strowbridge is listed as an tackle, but pigeonholing this beast is disingenuous. He played inside for the Tarheels, but at 285 he might be a heavy end that condenses inside in rush situations. That combination of size and explosiveness makes for yet another attractive positionless piece up front for Miami.

Bradlee Anae is a hand-in-the-dirt end. His long arm was the best we saw all week, and he proved the most consistent pressure off the edge. That should be no surprise, he’s got the best arsenal of rush moves out there — super polished player.

Back inside, Davon Hamilton continues to rate highly on my board. His first step is rare for a player his size. That athletic ability, paired with a 330-pound frame, conjures up thoughts of Danny Shelton in this defense. He has the power to two-gap and the get-off to be an impact interior rusher.


No defender helped himself as much as Joshua Uche. Locking down anything and everything in coverage, but also showing a twitched-up rush package headlined by a wicked dip-and-rip, he’s a good fit in Miami’s positionless defense.

Zack Baun gives Miami the option of adding a third Badger to the linebacker corps. He was an issue for most tackles he went against with a terrific combination of speed and counter moves. He’s a polished rusher that can turn around and cover as well.

Malik Harrison picked off Jordan Love in Wednesday’s team period. He’s a thumper, but features enough athletic ability to play on all three downs. He’s a candidate to rush from all six gaps on passing downs.

Terrell Lewis is a first-off-the-bus type. He’s a rocked up 260-pounds with the athletic profile to match. A former basketball player, Lewis is more athlete than pure rusher, but he spoke about his own versatility on the Move the Sticks Podcast. Lewis referenced playing stack backer in dime running down the pipe in zone, rushing from the 3-technique, and playing outside.

Evan Weaver was the most consistent downhill run defender in team periods, which should be no surprise given his work at Cal. I still struggle to find a fit in Miami’s defense, but he’s a good football player.

Defensive Backs

Darnay Holmes had the most impressive week among the cornerbacks. He got beat a few times, but he was always in position to make a play, and his competitive spirit stood out from the rest.

Players like that raise the bar in practice and make everyone else better. Daniel Jeremiah described Holmes as having “nickel temperament,” in that he has the mindset to play the most difficult position on defense.

Troy Pride Jr. was the most consistent corner. He’s exceptional at recognizing tells in the receiver’s movements to lead him to the catch point. He anticipated routes all week and got his hands on footballs.

Dane Jackson fits the size profile, and he had a good week of one-on-one drills. He gets beat deep at times, due to some lacking long speed, but he likes to get his hands on guys at line — something Miami does with regularity.

Terrell Burgess will make his money in the box as a safety, but his ability to flex out and cover will really intrigue the Dolphins.

Alohi Gilman impressed in similar fashion. He was in hip-pockets all week, but he’s listed as a safety by the Fighting Irish.


This game sets up nicely for Miami’s biggest areas of need. Outside of quarterback, the trenches on either side of the ball need several reinforcements, and the Senior Bowl is chock full of tested, versatile players in both of those areas.

The Senior Bowl had more than 90 players drafted last year and 49 of the top 100 picks. A handful of these guys could get on the field immediately for Miami in 2020, but also serve as long-term pillars of the sustained success Stephen Ross covets.


Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Miami Dolphins

Setting the Edge: Miami’s New Additions Up Front

Kevin Dern



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

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

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

But what about the additions to the front?

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

And the edges of the defense?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Continue Reading

Miami Dolphins

Locked on Dolphins 2020 Mock Draft – Rounds 1 & 2

Jason Hrina



Image Credit: Associated Press

The most-influential NFL draft (arguably) in the history of the Miami Dolphins franchise is set to take place in less than 8 hours, and with 5 draft picks in the first 2 rounds of the draft, no two predictions are going to be alike.

So without further ado, here is who the Locked on Dolphins staff predicted the team would take:

Note: you can check out Kyle Crabb’s full mock draft at The Draft Network here. His Dolphins predictions have been posted below.

5th-overall (Round 1)

Andrew Mitchell
Selection: Tua Tagolavaia, Alabama (QB)
Summary: After all the smokescreens, debating and questioning, The Dolphins get their QB of the future. No trade up, no waiting at 18 in case of a slide due to injuries, no over thinking. They take their guy.

Chris Kowalewski
Selection: Mekhi Becton, Louisville (OT)
Summary: The Dolphins didn’t want to let go of Laremy Tunsil in 2019, but ultimately couldn’t refuse after Bill O’Brien offered to mortgage the Texans’ future in exchange for Miami’s best offensive lineman. The void left behind means that the Dolphins need to find a replacement to fortify protection for their QB and to raise them from the league’s worst rushing attack.

Gabe Hauari
Selection: Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama (QB)
Summary: The Dolphins get their man after all. Tua fits what Brian Flores looks for in a QB, and Miami rolls the dice on his health.

Jason Hrina
Selection: Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama (QB)
Summary: The Miami Dolphins likely aren’t staying at #5 to select Tua Tagovailoa, but if this is their guy they need to ensure they do everything they can to get him. Don’t let the Los Angeles Charges jump you over one draft pick. Make the move to #3 and secure your future.

Kevin Dern
Selection: Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama (QB)
Summary: While I don’t rank him in the same category as Andrew Luck, Tua’s going to give Miami a good chance at their franchise QB. He seems like a good fit to mesh well with the concepts Chan Gailey brings – remember, Gailey was one of the NFL originators using RPO’s, something Tua is fantastic with – and Tua will get to learn under a pro’s pro in Fitzpatrick.

Kyle Crabbs
Selection: Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama (QB)
Summary: The Dolphins’ hunt for a quarterback ends without the need to trade up from No. 5. They have been masterful in concealing their intentions this offseason, which allows them to take their pick from a talented group of QBs.

Oliver Candido
Selection: Tua Tagolavaia, Alabama (QB)
Summary: Tua will stabilize the QB position for Miami for a decade-plus. Everything pertaining to the QB position, Tua checks the box for. His medical history will raise concerns, but Miami was able to have their doctors examine Tua’s hip prior to the draft.

Shawn Digity
Selection: Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama (QB)
Summary: Once the dust has settled, I think it’s going to be Tua Tagovailoa. The Dolphins get their quarterback of the future, and they can give him a redshirt year if Ryan Fitzpatrick gets the starting nod for 2020. Strap in for the Tagovailoa era.

18th-overall (Round 1)

Andrew Mitchell
Selection: Andrew Thomas, Georgia (OT)
Summary: Ultimately, I think Dolphins move up from this spot in hopes of landing Jedrick Willis, but Miami looks to bolster its OL with Andrew Thomas, who should plug in right away as a LT.

Chris Kowalewski
Selection: Justin Herbert, Oregon (QB)
Summary: After trading 2nd and 5th round draft picks for Josh Rosen only a year ago, the Dolphins will clearly want to bring in another prospect to compete and learn under veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick in his final year in Miami. The rumours of Herbert being considered by the Dolphins and Chargers as a top 6 pick in the draft are nothing but a smokescreen, and in this mock the Chargers were willing to outbid the Dolphins to select Tua Tagovailoa. Meanwhile, Justin Herbert fell down the board enough for the Dolphins to draft him at 18, where they are much more comfortable with the value of the pick.

Gabe Hauari
Selection: Josh Jones, Houston (OT)
Summary: This might be a slight reach, but the Dolphins badly need to invest in the offensive line to give Tua the best chance to stay healthy. Jones is still a little raw, but has some considerable upside.

Jason Hrina
Selection: A.J. Epenesa, Iowa (DL)
Summary: The Miami Dolphins have some talent on the defensive line, but they lack the kind of punch that’ll throw opposing quarterbacks off their rhythm. A.J. Epenesa brings the kind of versatility that Brian Flores likes in his players, and solidifies a defensive front that already features young players like Christian Wilkins and Davon Godchaux.

Kevin Dern
Selection: Ezra Cleveland, Boise State (OT)
Summary: Unless Miami makes a move up for a tackle, which to me seems unnatural for Chris Grier, I think Cleveland is the best tackle left in round one that has the length Miami desires in their tackles.

Kyle Crabbs
Selection: Andrew Thomas, Georgia (OT)
Summary: **Miami trades picks No. 18 & 39 to Cleveland for picks No. 10 & 187**
The Dolphins continue to build the best possible supporting cast around their new young quarterback — even at the cost of trading up to ensure they land one of the premier offensive tackles. Andrew Thomas is a perfect fit for Chan Gailey’s new offense.

Oliver Candido
Selection: Jerry Jeudy, Alabama (WR)
Summary: Tua’s #1 target will be joining him in Miami. Jeudy brings a chemistry with Tua, but also brings much more to the team. More of a BPA/luxury pick for Miami, but it’s hard to pass up on the talent.

Shawn Digity
Selection: Josh Jones, Houston (OT)
Summary: The top four offensive tackles will already be gone by this point, so the next best option is Houston’s Jones. Jones will be a plug-and-play addition onto the offensive line. The pick makes too much for an incomplete offensive line unit and the Dolphins taking their quarterback at five.

26th-overall (Round 1)

Andrew Mitchell
Selection: Cesar Ruiz, Michigan (C/G)
Summary: It’s clear what the weak link on this team is. They take another solid OL starter from a big program. Solidifying their offensive line for the upcoming season. Thomas – Flowers – Karras – Ruiz – Davis.

Chris Kowalewski
Selection: Cesar Ruiz, Michigan (C/G)
Summary: Despite the additions of Ted Karras and Ereck Flowers in free agency, the interior of the Dolphins’ offensive line is still in need of help. The selection of Cesar Ruiz brings in some positive talent to the group and versatility at either Center or Guard, whilst pleasing Dolphins owner and Michigan alum, Stephen Ross.

Gabe Hauari
Selection: Cesar Ruiz, Michigan (C/G)
Summary: An offensive line consisting of Josh Jones, Ereck Flowers, Cesar Ruiz, Ted Karras and Jesse Davis would be a stark improvement from last year’s unit.

Jason Hrina
Selection: Antoine Winfield Jr., Minnesota (DB)
Summary: After letting Reshad Jones go and trading Minkah Fitzpatrick, the Dolphins are relying on Eric Rowe and Bobby McCain at safety. Antoine Winfield Jr. is raw, but might just be a younger Reshad Jones. Pair him with Xavien Howard and Byron Jones on the outside, and the Dolphins feature one of the scariest secondaries in the NFL.

Kevin Dern
Selection: Ashtyn Davis, Cal (S)
Summary: Miami’s defense is predicated on playing a lot of Cover 1 looks. They have the CB tandem now with Xavien Howard and Byron Jones, and drafting a FS with Davis’s range allows them to move Bobby McCain back to nickel, rounding out one of the better secondaries in the league. Gerald Alexander, Davis’s position coach in college is also now with Miami.

Kyle Crabbs
Selection: D’Andre Swift, Georgia (RB)
Summary: Miami’s upgrades to its offense have been plentiful. This is a cherry-on-top selection that helps ensure the Dolphins’ new franchise QB will have a balanced offensive attack waiting for him.

Oliver Candido
Selection: Josh Jones, Houston (OT)
Summary: Jones steadily improved throughout his collegiate career, he also provides flexibility to the offensive line. Miami has to improve the offensive line, no matter who’s taking the snap behind the center.

Shawn Digity
Selection: Antoine Winfield Jr., Minnesota (DB)
Summary: The Dolphins released Reshad Jones earlier in the off-season, and they’ll look to add a new safety at some point during the draft. That’s where Winfield comes in. Consider this another plug-and-play selection; I would expect Winfield to rise to the starting position early.

The player selected above and below this sentence shows you just how hard it is to predict a player’s draft value.

39th-overall (Round 2)

Andrew Mitchell
Selection: Antoine Winfield Jr., Minnesota (DB)
Summary: Flores gets to add a rangey defensive back to a strong corner group. Winfield likely plays FS in the Flores defensive scheme which will move Bobby McCain back to Nickel Corner.

Chris Kowalewski
Selection: J.K. Dobbins, Ohio State (RB)
Summary: Dolphins’ RB coach, Eric Studesville and Head Coach Brian Flores spent significant time with JK Dobbins in mid-March and rumours quickly began as to their high regard for the Ohio State prospect. With 4459 yards and 38 TDs (6.2 yards per rush) spanning a 3 year college career, Dobbins will be sought-after in the early portion of Round 2 and would bring an instant upgrade to Miami’s RB group.

Gabe Hauari
Selection: Antoine Winfield Jr., Minnesota (DB)
Summary: Pairing Winfield Jr. with Eric Rowe allows Brian Flores and Josh Boyer to move Bobby McCain back to slot cornerback, thus improving two positions with one pick. Winfield has the versatility to fit in perfectly with this defense.

Jason Hrina
Selection: Clyde Edwards-Helaire, LSU (RB)
Summary: Jordan Howard was a good offseason signing, but the Miami Dolphins still need a second running back to compliment him. Adding one of college’s top running backs can help evolve Miami’s offense, making them legitimate playoff contenders with Ryan Fitzpatrick under center in 2020. Rather than reaching for an offensive line prospect that’s potentially available at #56, grab a future starting running back and get them on track to take over the backfield in 2021 – when your franchise quarterback will be starting and mistakes need to be minimized.

Kevin Dern
Selection: Clyde Edwards-Helaire, LSU (RB)
Summary: Miami gets lucky here and nabs the perfect combo back to pair with Jordan Howard. Edwards-Helaire is terrific in the passing game and can make defenders miss in the open field. Daniel Jeremiah compared him to a “super-charged James White”. Sounds right for Miami.

Oliver Candido
Selection: Antoine Winfield Jr., Minnesota (DB)
Summary: Safety is a position of need, and Miami is able to grab a game-changer. Winfield Jr. may be undersized, but he’s a ball hawk with the attitude and speed to get involved in the running game. Bobby McCain goes back to the nickel, subsequently improving that position as well.

Shawn Digity
Selection: J.K. Dobbins, Ohio State (RB)
Summary: The Fins signed Jordan Howard, but I have a suspicion that they’ll go after one of the heavy-hitter running backs to eventually be the bell cow moving forward. My best guess is Dobbins. I think he’ll take the opportunity and run with it.

56th-overall (Round 2)

Andrew Mitchell
Selection: Clyde Edwards-Helaire, LSU (RB)
Summary: Dolphins need to add some more talent at the RB position. CEH is a small but all around solid prospect who will compliment the addition of Jordan Howard well.

Chris Kowalewski
Selection: Ashtyn Davis, Cal (S)
Summary: Brian Flores has shown a knack for getting significant production out of DBs and a possible pairing with the rookie out of Cal State may be a fruitful one for the Dolphins. With a big need at the safety spot, Davis brings huge potential, toughness, versatility and ‘A+’ character and work ethic, ticking all of the boxes which Flores looks for in his players.

Gabe Hauari
Selection: Clyde Edwards-Helaire, LSU (RB)
Summary: The Dolphins WILL draft a running back early in this draft, the only question is ‘how early’ and which running back they prefer. Edwards-Helaire is a nice compliment to Jordan Howard.

Jason Hrina
Selection: Willie Gay Jr., Mississippi State (LB)
Summary: Some will consider this a reach, but Willie Gay Jr. brings an athletic linebacker to a unit that is going to see Vince Biegel and Raekwon McMillan receive a pay raise in 2021. With a Jerome Baker extension looming in 2021 or 2022, and Kyle Van Noy already costing $12.75m annually, the Dolphins will need to use some draft assets for the middle of their defense. Gay isn’t just a cap strategy, but he also allows Miami to use Baker and Von Noy off the edge more often, essentially adding to Miami’s pass rush.

Kevin Dern
Selection: Robert Hunt, Louisiana (OG)
Summary: Miami’s not usually known for taking prospects from smaller schools, but I think they roll the dice on Hunt here. Hunt has experience playing RT in college, but can slide inside to RG and compete with Deiter, Calhoun and Isidora.

Oliver Candido
Selection: Clyde Edwards-Helaire, LSU (RB)
Summary: Miami adds Clyde Edwards-Helaire to the backfield to pair with Jordan Howard. A balanced and patient runner who, with Howard, can tire out teams under the HardRock Stadium blistering sun.

Shawn Digity
Selection: Lloyd Cushenberry III, LSU (OG)
Summary: The Dolphins select another offensive lineman; this time it’s Cushenberry from LSU. He’ll slide into right guard and be another early starter for a reinventing offensive line.

Mock Draft by Writer

Andrew Mitchell:
Round 1, #5: Tua Tagolavaia, Alabama (QB)
Round 1, #18: Andrew Thomas, Georgia (OT)
Round 1, #26: Cesar Ruiz, Michigan (C/G)
Round 2, #39: Antoine Winfield Jr., Minnesota (DB)
Round 2, #56: Clyde Edwards-Helaire, LSU (RB)

Chris Kowalewski:

For the record, Tua Tagovailoa would be my preferred pick at #5 for the Dolphins. Like a large proportion of fans, I’m itching for the Dolphins to swing the bat and take a chance on a special prospect at the team’s most important position. I’d rather not see them having accumulated all this draft capital only to play it ‘safe’ with a lesser talent when it comes to the question of unforeseeable durability. If selecting Tua needed a move up to #3, I’d still do it.

It’s no secret that Miami has been interested in Tua since he burst onto the scene with a National Championship victory. But opinions could easily, and genuinely, have changed in light of a slew of unfortunate injuries and it’s inevitable (and only right) that Chris Grier and Brian Flores should have also considered a variety of other possible plans and options as to how to build the team.

I’m not in charge of the Dolphins’ draft or have any remote impact upon what they could decide to do. I’ve only sat on the couch at home to watch the Dolphins struggle in recent years with an absent, injured QB and various iterations of incompetent backups, protected by a turnstile of an offensive line. The Dolphins are a team with several key needs and spent 2019 acquiring the draft capital needed to develop for the future.

These predictions assume that the Chargers see themselves as only a QB away from truly competing and are willing to outbid the Dolphins to move up, trading with the Lions for the 3rd overall pick and Tua Tagovailoa.

So on that basis, I can only project what I *think* the Dolphins’ front office *might* do in the first couple of rounds of the draft, using’s Mock Draft Simulator.

It might not be exactly what I want them to do… but it may well be a possibility.

Round 1, #5: Mekhi Becton, Louisville (OT)
Round 1, #18: Justin Herbert, Oregon (QB)
Round 1, #26: Cesar Ruiz, Michigan (C/G)
Round 2, #39: J.K. Dobbins, Ohio State (RB)
Round 2, #56: Ashtyn Davis, Cal (S)

Gabe Hauari:
Round 1, #5: Tua Tagolavaia, Alabama (QB)
Round 1, #18: Josh Jones, Houston (OT)
Round 1, #26: Cesar Ruiz, Michigan (C/G)
Round 2, #39: Antoine Winfield Jr., Minnesota (DB)
Round 2, #56: Clyde Edwards-Helaire, LSU (RB)

Jason Hrina:
Round 1, #5: Tua Tagolavaia, Alabama (QB)
Round 1, #18: A.J. Epenesa, Iowa (DL)
Round 1, #26: Antoine Winfield Jr., Minnesota (DB)
Round 2, #39: Clyde Edwards-Helaire, LSU (RB)
Round 2, #56: Willie Gay Jr., Mississippi State (LB)

Kevin Dern:
Round 1, #5: Tua Tagolavaia, Alabama (QB)
Round 1, #18: Ezra Cleveland, Boise State (OT)
Round 1, #26: Ashtyn Davis, Cal (S)
Round 2, #39: Clyde Edwards-Helaire, LSU (RB)
Round 2, #56: Robert Hunt, Louisiana (OG)

Kyle Crabbs:
Round 1, #5: Tua Tagolavaia, Alabama (QB)
Round 1, #18: Andrew Thomas, Georgia (OT)
Round 1, #26: D’Andre Swift, Georgia (RB)

Oliver Candido:
Round 1, #5: Tua Tagolavaia, Alabama (QB)
Round 1, #18: Jerry Jeudy, Alabama (WR)
Round 1, #26: Josh Jones, Houston (OT)
Round 2, #39: Antoine Winfield Jr., Minnesota (DB)
Round 2, #56: Clyde Edwards-Helaire, LSU (RB)

Shawn Digity:
Round 1, #5: Tua Tagolavaia, Alabama (QB)
Round 1, #18: Josh Jones, Houston (OT)
Round 1, #26: Antoine Winfield Jr., Minnesota (DB)
Round 2, #39: J.K. Dobbins, Ohio State (RB)
Round 2, #56: Lloyd Cushenberry III, LSU (OG)

Continue Reading

Miami Dolphins

Great Shot, Kid. That Was One In A Million: A Draft Day Mock

Chris Kowalewski



Tua Tagovailoa 2020 NFL Draft

I wonder what the odds are of guessing every draft pick correctly. Even in the first 2 rounds, let alone all 7.

Probably about the same odds as Luke Skywalker’s dastardly attempt to vandalize the Empire’s friendly space-based construction site in Star Wars.

However, I’ll certainly give it a go.

Draft Day is finally here. This year, amongst a global crisis, it is a weekend which could mark the history books as a pivotal moment in the Miami Dolphins’ march towards future success. 

The Dolphins were the talk of the early 2019 season as they traded away promising talent to acquire more draft picks and ammunition for the 2020 draft, which in turn set them up for media criticism and mockery.

Combined losses of a 163-26 point differential to cap off the first quarter of the season certainly didn’t help, but the atmosphere around the Dolphins has since shifted following a promising 5-4 record in the final 9 games. Head Coach Brian Flores has since been widely praised for keeping his team on the track of competition and hard work, and a litany of NFL free agents specifically signed new contracts with the Dolphins, eager to be guided by Miami’s new regime.

The time has finally come for the Dolphins to select their hopeful stars – to identify which of the young rookies figure to fit in the system which they are building for the future.

There are a million other mock drafts pumped out there on an annual basis – perhaps one of them is even correct. No one will know for sure until the final pick is in.

LockedOnDolphins has even compiled its own writers’ draft predictions for Rounds 1 and 2. In that mock, I put on my Dolphins’ head – tainted by the smokescreens and noise which has accumulated over the past several weeks, to throw a best guess at what I could see the Dolphins doing in the opening rounds of the draft.

For this one, I’m adopting the mantle of Dolphins’ GM to play at picking who I would take if I was in charge of Miami’s war room. Loading up the Mock Draft Simulator at, my virtual connection was complete and the Bengals were on the clock…

  1. Bengals – Joe Burrow, QB
  1. Redskins – Chase Young, EDGE
  1. Lions – Jeffrey Okudah, CB
  1. Giants – K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE
  1. Dolphins – Tua Tagovailoa, QB

For me, this pick is a no-brainer should Tua be available at #5. I still firmly believe that the Dolphins should be wary of the Chargers’ affection for Tua and the possible need to trade up to solidify the pick. Stuck in the NFL mediocrity pool between 7-9 and 9-7 for what feels like an eternity, the Dolphins haven’t been in a natural position to acquire one of the draft’s top QB prospects, let alone one who some consider to be the best in the draft. Injury or not, the Dolphins find themselves in position to swing the bat and they will find out in due time whether or not they hit the home run. The reward here is potentially too good to pass up.

  1. Chargers – Justin Herbert, QB
  1. Panthers – Derrick Brown, IDL
  1. Cardinals – Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE
  1. Jaguars – CJ Henderson, CB
  1. Browns – Isaiah Simmons, LB
  1. Jets – Tristan Wirfs, OT
  1. Raiders – Henry Ruggs III, WR
  1. 49ers – CeeDee Lamb, WR
  1. Buccaneers – Mekhi Becton, OT
  1. Broncos – Jerry Jeudy, WR
  1. Falcons – Javon Kinlaw, IDL
  1. Cowboys – Jeff Gladney, CB
  1. Dolphins – Jedrick Wills, OT

In all seriousness, having Jedrick Wills fall this far down the draft is probably less likely than seeing Tua fall to #5. Regarded as one of the four top tackles in the draft, Wills will have significant interest for his services. But as GM for this mock, I can only follow the board as it falls, and the opportunity to grab the Alabama RT to protect Tua’s blind side is not one which I can pass up. An instant starter and a huge upgrade to the Dolphins’ offensive line, this would be a dream scenario for the Dolphins in Round 1 of the Draft.

  1. Raiders – Kristian Fulton, CB
  1. Jaguars – Xavier McKinney, S
  1. Eagles – Jaylon Johnson, CB
  1. Vikings – Justin Jefferson, WR
  1. Patriots – Jordan Love, QB
  1. Saints – Denzel Mims, WR
  1. Vikings – AJ Epenesa, EDGE
  1. Dolphins – Grant Delpit, S

At pick 26, several players remained on the board as possibilities for the Dolphins here. The option to pick up a starting LT in Andrew Thomas was certainly tempting, but was overridden by the chance to add an infusion of talent to Miami’s defensive backfield. LSU’s star safety accumulated 65 tackles, 2 sacks and 2 INTS in 14 games for the National Champions and would bring a steadiness and toughness to the Dolphins’ safety group to compliment their star CB duo of Xavien Howard and Byron Jones, building a fearsome secondary.

  1. Seahawks – Andrew Thomas, OT
  1. Ravens – Patrick Queen, LB
  1. Titans – Josh Jones, OT
  1. Packers – Jalen Reagor, WR
  1. 49ers – Neville Gallimore, IDL
  1. Chiefs – D’Andre Swift, RB

Round 2

33. Bengals – Isaiah Wilson, OT

34. Colts – Brandon Aiyuk, WR

35. Lions – Zack Baun, EDGE

36. Giants – Ezra Cleveland, OT

37. Chargers – Austin Jackson, OT

38. Panthers – Kenneth Murray, LB

39. Dolphins – Cesar Ruiz, IOL

Ruiz is widely considered as the best interior offensive lineman in the 2020 draft and the Michigan prospect would bring versatility to a Dolphins OL group which has yet to be solidified. With the ability to line up at center or guard, he has excellent quickness and plays every snap through the whistle. Not to mention that the selection of Ruiz would please Dolphins owner and fellow Michigan alum, Stephen Ross. I would love this value at Pick #39.

40. Texans – Ross Blacklock, IDL

41. Browns – Lucas Niang, OT

42. Jaguars – Marlon Davidson, IDL

43. Bears – Antoine Winfield Jr, S 

44. Colts – Justin Madubuike, IDL

45. Buccaneers – KJ Hamler, WR

46. Broncos – Noah Igbinoghene, CB

47. Falcons – Jonathan Taylor, RB

48. Jets – Michael Pittman Jr, WR

49. Steelers – Lloyd Cushenberry III, IOL

50. Bears – Terrell Lewis, EDGE

51. Cowboys – Jeremy Chinn, S

52. Rams – Joshua Uche, EDGE

53. Eagles – Jordan Brooks, LB

54. Bills – Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB

55. Ravens – Tee Higgins, WR

56. Dolphins – JK Dobbins, RB

Running back is another position of huge need for Miami. With Jordan Howard added as a free agent, the Dolphins have one rostered player who has proven himself as a starting caliber RB. As the position itself becomes devalued around the NFL, this spot is a perfect time for the Dolphins to find themselves one of the top-tier talents. Starting 9 picks earlier, Jonathan Taylor was taken off the board by the Falcons, with Clyde-Edwards Helarie being selected by the Bills at 54. In my books, Helaire or JK Dobbins sit at the top of the RB picks who would fit in the Dolphins scheme and the selection of Dobbins, reportedly a favourite of coach Eric Studesville, was an easy choice to make here.

57. Rams – Jonah Jackson, IOL

58. Vikings – AJ Terrell, CB

59. Seahawks – Curtis Weaver, EDGE

60. Ravens – Matt Hennessy, IOL

61. Titans – Davon Hamilton, IDL

62. Packers – Cole Kmet, TE

63. Chiefs – Trevon Diggs, CB

64. Seahawks – Robert Hunt, IOL

So there we have it. Yet another mock draft to join the millions of others online which will more-than-likely find themselves proven wrong in only a matter of hours.

But as fans, the speculation which still lingers in these final moments is what keeps us going and peaks the excitement until anything becomes official. 

The chance to land a game-changing talent, in any round, brings hope for the future and fuels interest and a fiery dedication in fans all over the globe. 

For those who follow me on Twitter, you’ll already know where my I pin my hopes among the stars…

Count me in with the list of fans who will be celebrating on Thursday night if the Dolphins select Tua Tagovailoa.

The wait is almost over to hear those magical, nerve-wracking words…

The Miami Dolphins are now on the clock”.


Continue Reading