The NFL Draft is the ultimate practice in educated guessing. Filling out the exact order for 256 picks provides a countless number of unique outcomes. The odds of hitting the Mega Millions Jackpot are more likely. After much delineation over what type of mock the Locked On Dolphins team should do, we landed on a sole-focus on the 11thpick.
Just at that one pick, there are nearly double-digit options as far as what the Dolphins could do tomorrow night. Between eight writers, all fans of the team, here is what we all think the Dolphins SHOULD do, and what we think they WILL do come Thursday night.
Want: Derwin James – S – Florida State
I think James’ freakish athleticism wins out over Minkah Fitzpatrick’s experience and Miami would have a safety that allows them to do multiple things in the secondary. The can play split safeties effectively. They could use him as a matchup-based player. They could play him in a single-high look when needed. This also frees them up to use T.J. McDonald as a $LB in sub-packages, as they’ve hinted at doing this offseason. Tony Oden can find uses for Dime and Quarter (Prevent) packages and Derwin James certainly allows Miami to delve into those options – options that they didn’t have the luxury of going into last year. Overall, James’ versatility allows Miami to be a better defense overall.
Think: Vita Vea – DT – Washington
Mike Tannenbaum’s got a history of taking talented and/or planet-theory type D-linemen in his career. He was in the Jets front office for Sione Pouha and was the GM for Muhammad Wilkerson, Kenrick Ellis and Quinton Coples. In Miami we saw him take Jordan Phillips in the second round in 2015. Miami needs to add some interior pass-rush as well as replace some of the snaps vacated by Ndamukong Suh’s departure. A DT such as Vea seems like a relatively “safe” pick, if there is such a thing, in the first round. At 6’4″ 347lbs he moves very well, can stuff the run and has quick step to go with massive power off the snap. My only nit here is that if he doesn’t win off the first-step, his hands stop working at times and he can run himself out of pass-rush lanes. So long as he can keep his weight in check, the rest is coachable for Miami.
I’m five snaps into Derwin James’ 2016 Ole Miss tape and I’ve seen him like up as a quasi-linebacker, take Evan Engram man-up, and play in a cover-2 Shell. Look this physicality. We complain about a lack of star power in Miami – this guy is a star. pic.twitter.com/CWe7TQfVfY
— Travis Wingfield (@WingfieldNFL) January 4, 2018
Who I Want…
- ROQUAN SMITH – LB – 6’1, 235LBS – GEORGIA
- Smith is the new ideal mold for a NFL linebacker in today’s game. Some would say at 235lbs he is a bit undersized but Smith has devastating speed that helps him succeed while covering running backs and tight ends in pass plays. He is a tremendous leader and fits as a 3-down linebacker due to his coverage ability. The Miami Dolphins need linebacker help in a bad way. He not only would address that need but he also would be an integral part of this defense for years to come. Linebacker has always been viewed as the defensive version of a Quarterback and that’s what Roquan brings, an elite talent as your Defensive QB. His speed, fluidity, athleticism, physicality and leadership are all traits of a future Pro Bowl player. I highly doubt he will be available when the Dolphins pick at 11, but if he is, you find the fastest guy at the Draft and have him SPRINT that name card to the Commissioner Roger Goodell.
Who I THINK the pick will be…
- VITA VEA – DT – 6’4, 347LBS – WASHINGTON
- So this is incredibly tough for me, I love the “idea” of Vita Vea the player. A behemoth at 6’4 350lbs, really quick and nimble considering his massive size. My issue with it, is we just cut Suh. Cutting Suh created a need and now here we are using that 1stRound pick on filling the hole that we created on our own terms. Yes, I know Suh opened a large amount of cap space once June 1stcomes, but still, pushing arguably the bigger needs for Linebacker, Defensive Back, and Tight End further back in this draft. All in all, I truly think the Dolphins stay put on draft night and take the best DEFENSIVE player available on their board. Below is who I have as my top 5 for the Dolphins. Considering how I think the draft will go on Thursday night, Vea will certainly be the best available after the group below.
- Bradley Chubb, Edge
- Roquan Smith, Linebacker
- Derwin James, Defensive Back
- Tremaine Edmunds, Linebacker
- Minkah Fitzpatrick, Defensive Back
Perfect Fit: In an ideal world one of Minkah Fitzpatrick, Derwin James, Roquan Smith or Tremaine Edmunds make it to Miami without them having to expend any additional draft resources to do so. Derwin James has one of the highest ceilings in the draft, regardless of position. Despite the misconception that he is strictly a box safety and would be redundant with Reshad Jones and TJ McDonald on the roster, James fills a big hole in Miami’s defense with his ability to erase tight ends and running backs in coverage and being a physical presence against the run.
The NFL is becoming more like the NBA, where the definition of the positions is becoming blurred and it’s more about playmakers exploiting mismatches. Derwin James will be part of the revolution of NFL defenses. Safety, corner, slot corner, linebacker, edge rusher. James can do it all and will become the vocal leader of the Dolphins franchise for the next decade.
Reality: Unfortunately for Miami, Derwin James’ stock has been on the rise since the end of the college season. He’s now being mocked consistently inside the top 10 and just out of Miami’s reach. I think that the man Miami eventually selects is Tremaine Edmunds out of Virginia Tech. His ceiling may rival that of Derwin James’, a 19-year old freak athlete that is only just beginning to scratch the surface of his true potential. With Edmunds and Raekwon McMillan, Miami will form the nucleus of their defense with two young standout linebackers.
When you’re the E on an E-T (#4) and you have to loop into Nelson’s gap, become timid and soft at the POA, and wind up getting assaulted anyway. ? pic.twitter.com/p3WxuLYsAU
— Brandon Thorn (@VeteranScout) April 8, 2018
Need more be said than the GIF above?
Guard is not a sexy pick, especially early in the draft. When you factor in the additions of Sitton and Kilgore this offseason, re-signing James, and great promise from Davis, an offensive line pick may not be a fan-favorite either. However, with a player like Quenton Nelson – a player some scouts marked as the best they’ve scouted in the last few years – you turn Miami’s weakness of so many years into its biggest strength. Imagine a line of Tunsil, Sitton, Kilgore, Nelson, and James, with players like Davis who has the flexibility and skill to play almost all of those positions as injury insurance.
Nelson is one of the few blue chip prospects in this draft. If he’s available, snag him and watch him and Tunsil dominate side-by-side for the next decade.
Tremaine Edmunds – Off-ball Linebacker – Virginia Tech
Having a player such as Tremaine Edmunds as someone Miami likely picks is almost as good as a dream pick. He’ll require some refinement to his game and isn’t quite a blue chip prospect, but he has exactly what Miami needs in his athletic ability to cover tight ends and running backs out of the backfield. Edmunds could be a franchise player on this Miami defense for years to come.
Who Miami will pick:
Vita Vea – with the departure of Ndamukong Suh (and possible departure of Jordan Phillips after 2018), the Dolphins need a DT. And with the #11 pick, they’ll have the opportunity to grab the top player at some positions. While this isn’t a pick that Dolphins fans will love, it should sure-up the defensive line while also keeping it moderately priced. Given how the Dolphins have splurged on defensive ends, they’ll be lucky to have Vea to compliment sophomore defensive tackles Davon Godchaux and Vincent Taylor.
Who I want Miami to pick:
Minkah Fitzpatrick – If everything fell right for Miami on draft day, they would end up with Minkah Fitzpatrick. As the top safety in the draft, Fitzpatrick would give the Dolphins an elite secondary that is extremely young. He would be a wonderful compliment to Reshad Jones and TJ McDonald, allowing them to play their natural positions as strong safety’s that press while Fitzpatrick plays back. Saban hurt Miami with his draft picks while he was the head coach, maybe he could do us a favor by grooming Fitzpatrick for us. The only reason Miami won’t select Fitzpatrick is because he won’t be around when they pick. I expect Fitzpatrick to be one of the first 3 non-QBs to go. Most likely to the Bucs at #7
Vita Vea facing a Mike Leach team that throws the ball over 70% of the time? If he’s the two down run stopper everyone says, he must’ve been pretty useless in this game. Huh? He had his most disruptive game of the year? Weird. pic.twitter.com/ozHaiar8BL
— Chris Kouffman (@ckparrot) April 17, 2018
Who I’m hoping for at pick #11 for the Dolphins is Derwin James. James can instantly become a starter in the NFL and would pair perfectly with Reshad Jones. One of the many positive notes I’ve heard about James is that he is a leader on the field and in the locker and teammates listen to him. After the years of the Dolphins “locker room problems” and “player problems”, James could be someone to help lead the defense with Reshad Jones while also learning from the veteran safety.
Who I think the Dolphins will draft at pick number #11 is Tremaine Edmunds. While I think the Dolphins might try to trade the #11 pick to gain more picks in this year’s draft, I don’t think they will get the right offer so they will land Edmunds. Edmunds will quickly give a boost to one of the Dolphins weakest links right now, their Linebackers. Edmunds along with Raekwon McMillan can become a serious threat on defense. Hopefully those two along with an improved Kiko Alonzo, the Dolphins linebackers could be the best in years. So on Thursday when you hear “With the #11 pick the Miami Dolphins select Tremaine Edmunds” don’t be angry fans, be happy to be getting a future Pro-Bowler.
Dolphins pick: Vita Vea
It makes sense. Let Ndamukong Suh go, draft his replacement and share the workload. It isn’t a fancy pick and there are those who make the argument that while Suh was wreaking havoc on defense, the Phins didn’t exactly set the world alight.
But the Dolphins don’t want to set the world alight, they want to be competent and work with guys that are pushing in the right direction together. A few weeks ago, fans would have jumped at the chance to plug Vea into this defensive line. Now fans see the Washington product as reach, a somewhat lesser player. But this kid is a monster and I can see why the Dolphins would select him with their first pick in the 2018 NFL draft.
Forget everything I just said. Vea isn’t fit to lace Fitzpatrick’s cleats. This so easily could have been Derwin James and I’ll probably go back and forth over who I want more. Either one would have me dancing on my sofa come Friday morning (draft starts gone 1am for me in England). But it’s Fitzpatrick’s Alabama acumen that just tips it for me. Him working under Nick Saban cannot be downplayed and the Dolphins would have extra knowledge of the safety given the teams and Adam Gases’ close connection with the former Phins head coach.
Fitzpatrick’s draft stock has somewhat “fallen” the past few weeks and James has become THE safety of the 2018 Draft class. But there’s a reason why for most of the season, scouts were talking about Fitzpatrick. His versatility is a huge bonus for the Dolphins, though talk of him being a corner at the next level is nonsense. He can come down with the ball if thrown near him, while he’s a big hitter when asked to come down into the box. I’m ready to get Fitzpatrick on my brand new Miami Dolphins 2018 jersey.
Minkah Fitzpatrick can play any position and any coverage in the secondary. For Miami, I’d want him on the perimeter, so let’s start there. Here, he’s the playside perimeter. Chases the drag, under cuts the route, catches the football. pic.twitter.com/uJeDEDxuac
— Travis Wingfield (@WingfieldNFL) November 28, 2017
I believe the Dolphins should select Josh Rosen if he is on the board when they pick. My backup pick would be Roquan Smith, as I see him falling to the Dolphins in a lot of scenarios. Rosen makes the most sense of any QB besides Baker Mayfield, which the Dolphins are absolutely infatuated with, however, I do not believe he will make it out of the Top 3 picks, much less the Top 10. Rosen can make any throw and has been in a pro style offense in UCLA. Questions of his attitude concern scouts and I share this concern, however, his talent can not be refuted and if he is on the board, he should be snapped up. Whether he has to back up Ryan Tannehill for the next 2-3 years, or he beats him out in training camp, Rosen is a cant pass talent, and if he falls to 11, that would be a miracle. On the other hand, Roquan Smith, linebacker from Georgia, gives you everything you would like in a linebacker. Questions of certain aspects of his game have arisen but his leadership, range, and speed for someone his size can not be questioned. If he makes it past Chicago, and Josh Rosen or Baker Mayfield are gone, expect to see Roquan Smith in the new, sleek, orange and aqua Dolphin uniform next year.
When Roger Goodell walks to the podium on Thursday night, he will say, “With the the 11th overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Miami Dolphins select, Roquan Smith, Linebacker, Georgia.” The Dolphins can and will not pass up on the potential superstar talent that Smith possesses, with 4 of the 5 top QB’s being off the board (Darnold, Mayfield, Rosen, Allen*). Smith will be paired with Raekwon McMillan, who is returning from a Torn ACL that he suffered in his first NFL snap. Smith and McMillan can form a dangerous, athletic duo that can wreak havoc on teams across the NFL.
Whatever the Dolphins do, I expect to see Dolphins twitter in full force, some loving the pick, some hating it, and some jumping for joy or breaking down their house, *ahem* @Houtz. Thursday will be one of the most interesting and mystifying drafts in many years, and should be very fun to watch. Tweet me @AlbertiNFL for thoughts and opinions, or even just debates.
* Darnold, Mayfield, Rosen, Allen, is the order I think the QB’s will be selected before the Dolphins pick.
What Miami Will Do –
S Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama
The message from the first day of the off-season has centered around finding players that prioritize ball above all else. Minkah Fitzpatrick is the embodiment a player that leads by example – both in production and in the locker room. He’s a scheme-diverse versatile player that Nick Saban relied on to make the pre-snap checks in his complex defense.
Fitzpatrick was primarily a safety in 2016 before kicking down inside to become ‘Bama’s top slot corner in 2017. He has range, ball-skills, instincts and an ability to blitz the edge. In Fitzpatrick, Miami gets the missing piece to the defense that ranked 30thin red-zone defense and 32ndin third-and-long defense.
What Miami Should Do –
Draft Fitzpatrick or Derwin James, Florida State
One of these two players is likely to go off the board in the top-10. James, with greater athleticism and potential, figures to win that battle. Nonetheless, Miami has to fix their inability to disguise coverage with match-up erasers like Fitzpatrick and James.
Miami could go the way of a linebacker with Roquan Smith or Tremaine Edmunds. I’m of the belief that anything they can do from the LB position can be executed by either of these dynamic safeties.
|Miami SHOULD Pick||Miami WILL Pick|
|Derwin James – 4||Vita Vea – 5|
|Minkah Fitzpatrick -2||Tremaine Edmunds – 2|
|Roquan Smith and Quenton Nelson – 1 each||Minkah Fitzpatrick – 1|
The fan base in South Florida is sure to erupt if the Dolphins do what the Locked On crew is thinking. The desire for what we want is clear, however – match-up erasers that disrupt the passing game.
Stay tuned for Travis’ complete first round mock and seven-round Dolphins mock draft – up tomorrow.
Miami Dolphins Sign Tight End Michael Roberts
The Miami Dolphins are beginning to bulk up the depth of their roster as they head into free agency.
According to Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network, the Dolphins have signed tight end Michael Roberts. The exact terms of the contract are currently unknown.
#Dolphins are signing former #Lions TE Michael Roberts, source says. Roberts had four workouts the past week and more on the docket but will sign with Miami. Missed last season with a shoulder injury that nixed a trade to the #Patriots. Healthy now. 3 TDs in 2018 and can block.
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) February 19, 2020
Originally a 4th-round pick by the Detroit Lions, Roberts has served mostly as a backup tight end; accumulating 146 yards on 13 receptions in 23 active games between 2017-2018.
Roberts was placed on injured-reserve towards the end of the 2018 season with a shoulder injury, and was traded to the New England Patriots for a conditional 2020 7th-round pick prior to the 2019 season. Due to medical reasons, the trade was voided a couple of days later.
The Green Bay Packers claimed Roberts off of waivers, but he was subsequently released by the Packers two days later for failing a physical. Roberts was not active for any games in 2019.
Signing Roberts doesn’t necessarily mean the Dolphins aren’t going to pursue tight ends in free agency or in the draft. Mike Gesicki is the only “lock” to make the 2020 roster, as Durham Smythe‘s blocking ability might not survive if the Dolphins find themselves in an advantageous situation at the position.
Look at this as a way for Miami to get ahead of evaluations.
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) June 13, 2019
A second Dolphins mock draft from someone who doesn’t watch football
(Locked On Dolphins) – Last week, Person A dazzled us with their blind mock draft, and now we’re back with the next entry in the series.
Person B is ready to go with their mock.
Keep in mind that all the blind mock draft contributors have little to no knowledge of the NFL.
I had all the contributors standardize their boards and the process so that everyone was on an even playing field.
They all used The Draft Network’s mock draft simulator with seven rounds, the predictive board, and had to choose the players manually.
Without further ado, here’s Person B’s mock draft.
(1) 5. Tua Tagovailoa – QB, Alabama
(1) 18. J.K. Dobbins – RB, Ohio State
(1) 26. Terrell Lewis – Edge, Alabama
(2) 39. Lloyd Cushenberry III – iOL, LSU
(2) 56. Xavier McKinney – S, Alabama
(3) 70. Rashard Lawrence – iDL, LSU
(5) 135. Chase Claypool – WR, Notre Dame
(5) 144. Justin Herron – OT, Wake Forest
(5) 147. Terrell Burgess – S, Utah
(6) 165. Lamar Jackson – CB, Nebraska
(6) 177. Jacob Breeland – TE, Oregon
(7) 223. David Reese II – LB, Florida
As I did with Person A, I reached out to Person B to get their reasoning behind the selections.
Me: “I noticed that you took Tua [Tagovailoa]. What led you to that decision with the fifth pick?”
Person B: “I knew the Dolphins wanted to get a QB, and Tua has been talked about so much that I just went with him.”
Me: “Which of your other selections did you feel particularly good about?”
Person B: “I need you to send me the link to my draft. I forgot who I picked since it took five attempts.”
[resends mock draft to Person B]
“I like my J.K. Dobbins pick. O-H-. And Rashard Lawrence. Because I figure he’s pretty good since LSU was really good this year.”
Me: “Your picks are really good. I’d put yours ahead of Person A. But it’s almost suspiciously good. Did you put your thumb on the scale somewhere along the line?”
Person B: “Well, by my 5th attempt (1 and 2: I didn’t select manual mode, 3: I didn’t pick 7 rounds from the drop-down menu, 4: I completed, but the site froze, and I lost everything), I figured out that I should probably pick from the top of the list first because if you don’t then those players just go like hotcakes.
So, I just matched up the positions the Dolphins needed to fill with the players highest on the list, and if I recognized a name or team, I would select them over someone I had never heard of.”
Me: “OK, well, we’re all out of time. Do you have any parting messages for Dolphins fans?”
Person B: “Well, I think the Dolphins are on the right track, and I hope that all of the true blue fans who have hung in with them for all these years will get to see another Super Bowl in the near future. GO FINS!”
And that wraps things up with Person B.
What are your thoughts on Person B’s mock draft? Leave a comment or tweet your thoughts at me directly on Twitter (@DIGITYnodoubt).
Tune in next time for Person C’s mock…
Top 5 Miami Dolphins of 2019
The Miami Dolphins weren’t supposed to be a productive team in 2019.
A team meant to lose every game somehow ended up with a 5-11 record; simultaneously sabotaging their draft status and leaving us with a promising future at the same time.
Brian Flores, the former scout, scoured the transaction wire every day in an attempt to uncover potential “acorns” – as one former general manager infamously put it. And with a keen eye for development, his constant shuffling and retooling paid off for him.
You might think a 5-11 team wouldn’t have too many options for a Top 5 list, but the Dolphins were littered with productive “surprises”. Most have promising futures, while some have already solidified themselves as perennial starters.
Take a look at our top 5 Miami Dolphins of 2019 down below. If you’d like to see who made our list of top 5 most disappointing players of 2019, click here.
5) Davon Godchaux
After two elite seasons, we’ve come to expect nothing less out of Davon Godchaux.
Starting 16 games for the second year in a row, Godchaux has continued to ascend as one of the best defensive tackles in the NFL. If the Dolphins weren’t so busy staying out of the lime light, Godchaux would be a household name across the nation.
His 52 solo tackles were tied for the most in the NFL among interior defensive linemen. His 2 sacks, 75 total tackles and 7 QB hits are all improvements over his 2018 campaign, which already had fans clamoring to extend the young, former 5th-round pick.
Though some might point to Miami’s overall defensive rushing numbers as a sign that Godchaux (and Christian Wilkins) weren’t good at their jobs, that’s wildly misleading. Godchaux was stout in the middle of the defensive line; inadvertently tasked with absorbing double teams and giving players like Vince Biegel or Jerome Baker room to blitz.
davon GODchaux is a disruptive force. this play never had a chance. pic.twitter.com/Icc92mJhCA
— josh houtz (@houtz) December 31, 2019
It’s quite possible that Godchaux is lower than he should be on this list, simply because we take his performance for granted.
4) Mike Gesicki
I’m going to hold my hand up high and admit that I thought Mike Gesicki was going to be an absolute bust for the Miami Dolphins.
More-notorious for not staying on his feet than Brian Hartline, Gesicki overcame a (very) rough rookie season and turned into a reliable seam threat for Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Gesicki finished the year with 51 receptions, 570 receiving yards (an 11.2 yards-per-reception average) and five touchdowns – the first of his career. He proved to be a mismatch against linebackers; and whether he lines up in the slot or on the outside, the Dolphins are going to take advantage each time they see him 1-on-1 against an LB.
— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) November 3, 2019
Athletic and deceptively quicker than we might realize, Gesicki honed his route running and displayed a much better catch radius than what we saw his rookie year. The image of Brent Grimes wide-eyed after Gesicki went up for a touchdown says more than a thousand words – but if nothing else, it tells us that the Miami Dolphins have a legitimate tight end.
— Mr. Smith 👑 (@ChrisSmithPFN) December 2, 2019
3) Vince Biegel
Vince Biegel came to Miami as a complete afterthought.
The Dolphins traded incumbent linebacker Kiko Alonso to the New Orleans Saints in an effort to alleviate cap space in 2020. In return, they received a little-known, former 4th-round pick who was about to play for his third team in 3 years.
For all the grief we’ve given Chris Grier over his scouting, we have to give him a ton of credit for this one. Saying the Saints got fleeced is an understatement.
In 13 games (4 starts) with the Saints, Alonso recorded 31 tackles, 0 sacks, 3 tackles for a loss (TFL) and 2 QB Hits.
In 15 games (10 starts), Biegel accumulated 57 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 7 TFL, 13 QB Hits and an interception to boot.
— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) December 15, 2019
Biegel was such a force at linebacker, that Dolphins fans forgot he was going to be a free agent this offseason and just assumed they had him for years to come. Most of us hope the Dolphins find a way to keep Biegel around at a reasonable (yet worthy) price.
The growth he, Raekwon McMillan and Jerome Baker can make with another year together could all together eliminate the need to use assets on a linebacker in the near-future. Especially when the team will get Andrew Van Ginkel back for a full, healthy season.
2) Jerome Baker
Arguably Chris Grier’s best draft pick, Jerome Baker has evolved into one of the best all-around linebackers in the league. You can consider that an overstatement, but his versatility, durability and play-making ability make him a prime candidate to burst into the national spotlight in 2020.
I hate losing more than I like winning.
— Jerome Baker Jr. (@Lastname_Baker) February 7, 2020
Baker and Eric Rowe were the only players who logged over 1,000 snaps last season (1,079 for Baker, 1,071 for Rowe).
After a rookie season that showed a ton of promise, Baker’s sophomore season ended with 124 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 5 QB hits, 2 forced fumbles, 4 passes defended and 1 interception. Versatile in coverage, as a spy, diagnosing the run, and when he blitzes, Baker may be the real Swiss-Army knife of this Dolphins’ defense.
Jerome Baker is one of the more fun delayed rushers in the league. Poor Hoyer 😅 pic.twitter.com/ddrxfwTbHi
— Ian Wharton (@NFLFilmStudy) November 11, 2019
The biggest question we now have to ask is: what do the Miami Dolphins do with Jerome Baker? He’s still two years away from free agency, but if his 2020 season is any improvement over what we’ve seen, Baker is going to command A LOT of money when he enters the final year of his rookie deal.
Don’t let Baker turn into another Olivier Vernon, Jarvis Landry or Lamar Miller. Pay the talent you successfully scouted and maintain a sense of culture and camaraderie.
Christian Wilkins came to the Miami Dolphins with a ton of charisma and a jovial personality unmatched by any top draft pick that came before him.
From the moment the 315lbs linebacker did a split after Clemson won their national championship in 2018, to the time he had Roger Goodell go up for a chest bump after he was drafted, Wilkins was a beloved figure.
Dolphins first-round pick Christian Wilkins said he doesn’t have a car. He’s borrowing his girlfriends car and is in the market for one. He’s super cheap so dealerships might want to holla for a sponsorship/advertisement deal. Maybe he can do a split in a commercial. pic.twitter.com/d8aZbZd5Y4
— Omar Kelly (@OmarKelly) July 26, 2019
But personality can only take you so far, and when the season started Wilkins needed to back up his charity work and infectious smile with the brutality necessary to win at the line of scrimmage. And boy did he live up to it.
Wilkins may not have finished with the most-gaudy numbers, but they’re still impressive nonetheless. For his rookie season, Wilkins totaled 56 tackles, 2 sacks and 2 passes defended. He’s caught every pass ever thrown to him (1), and it even resulted in a touchdown.
His 888 total snaps (between defense, special teams and the 2 he accumulated on offense) are noteworthy for a rookie defensive tackle.
The other 1st-round defensive linemen drafted in 2019 finished with:
- Quinnen Williams (3rd-overall): 577 total snaps
- Clelin Ferrell (4th): 716 snaps
- Ed Oliver (9th): 572 snaps
- Wilkins (13th): 888 snaps
- Brian Burns (16th): 609 snaps
- Dexter Lawrence (17th): 866 snaps
- Jeffery Simmons (19th): 368 snaps
- Montez Sweat (26th): 817 snaps
- Jerry Tillery (28th): 436 snaps
The 2019 draft class was stacked on the defensive line, and yet, the Dolphins may have managed to draft the best one of the bunch midway through the round.
The Miami Dolphins signed Nik Needham as an undrafted free agent with the hope that he would provide depth for a position group that already featured plenty of expensive and starting-caliber players within it.
Instead, the Dolphins add another commodity to that list.
Competing for playing time with players like Xavien Howard, Eric Rowe, Bobby McCain, Minkah Fitzpatrick and a plethora of other roster invitees, Needham had an excellent camp, but found himself just missing the final 53-man roster.
That didn’t stop him from honing his craft and earning a promotion from the practice squad one day before the Dolphins were set to take on the Washington Redskins in Week 6.
Needham went on to start the final 11 games of the season, and ended the year with 2 interceptions, 11 passes defended, 1 forced fumble, 1 sack and 54 total tackles.
YEAR ☝🏾 pic.twitter.com/gJj1BYQqyr
— Nik Needham (@FoetyGlock) February 14, 2020
As a rookie cornerback, you’re expected to be picked on, but Needham was bullied by the refs more than he was by opposing quarterbacks. Questionable calls against Needham towards the end of the year put a slight damper on his otherwise stellar season.
Though in the eyes of some Dolphins fans, that erroneous (non-existent) pass interference penalty that was overturned on the final drive during the New York Jets loss was a blessing in disguise.
1) DeVante Parker
It may have taken slightly longer than we originally hoped, but Ryan Fitzpatrick’s aggressive style highlighted just how elite DeVante Parker can be when you just throw him the damn ball.
Previously marred by the occasional health concern and offensive schemes that didn’t cater to his skillset, Parker was deemed a “bust” by most Dolphins fans. Drafted 14th-overall in the 2014 NFL draft, Parker was expected to transcend the offense. Instead, bubble screens became the focal point for an offense that was littered with deep threat specialists (Parker, Kenny Stills and Jakeem Grant).
DeVante Parker, my goodness! pic.twitter.com/9BpxYtrs9J
— Sports Notes (@TheSportsNotes) September 8, 2019
Parker’s recent 4-year, $40m extension is a reward not only for the production Parker put up in 2019, but for the potential Parker still has left in him.
In 16 games this past season (the first time he’s been active for 16 games his entire career), Parker caught 72 passes for 1,202 yards and 9 touchdowns. In his four years prior to 2019, Parker caught a combined 163 passes for 2,217 yards and 9 TDs.
As long as he can stay healthy, and the Dolphins don’t revert back to a scared, anemic offense, you can expect annual 1,000 yard seasons from the team’s #1 receiver.
- Miami Dolphins Sign Tight End Michael Roberts February 19, 2020
- A second Dolphins mock draft from someone who doesn’t watch football February 19, 2020
- Top 5 Miami Dolphins of 2019 February 14, 2020
- A Miami Dolphins mock draft from someone who doesn’t watch football February 12, 2020
- Top 5 Most Disappointing Miami Dolphins of 2019 February 10, 2020