The 2019 off-season schedule had an unusual beginning for the Miami Dolphins. Not that the once proud, winningest organization in the NFL is suddenly new to coaching turnover (quite the opposite, rather). It’s the timing of the hire that provides the distinction from Stephen Ross’ three other head coaching appointments.
Typically, when the incumbent or new staff is in-place by Early-January, the roster dominoes begin to take shape. Waiting for Brian Flores to win his fifth Lombardi Trophy delayed that process by a month.
Now, with the majority of Coach Flores’ staff settling into their new offices, we can begin to speculate and forecast what will transpire over the next three months.
It’s not hyperbole to say that these next three months are the most important of Chris Grier’s professional career. Miami’s new General Manager is charged with resurrecting a franchise that, in the last 15 years, has fallen from the peak of the winning percentage mountain top, all the way down to fifth place on that obscure, yet illustrious list.
In this series we are going to explore the current assets on the roster and what their futures hold. Plus, we’ll explore the free-agency market and point out scheme fit pieces the Dolphins might seek to add in April’s draft.
Current Cash Owed: ~ $32 Million
NFL Average: ~ $17 Million
Players Under Contract – 2019 Cash Owed:
Albert Wilson – $7 M
Accruing an injury casts professional football players off to the island of misfit toys. For those that can recall all the way back to week-seven, Wilson was enjoying a breakout campaign. Before his injury Wilson led the league in yards-after-catch, YAC average, explosive touchdowns (TDs from 20+ yards (75, 74, 43, and 29 yards out) and willed Miami to a win over the league’s top defense – Chicago Bears.
Returning from the injury and getting his legs ready for opening day bears watching, but Wilson (age-27 this summer) will take off in this match-up based, quick-hitting passing offense.
Wilson’s Projected 2019 Action: Starting WR
Kenny Stills – $8 M
A popular name on the cap casualty list, Stills’ true value is hardly appreciated by the casual fan. In an offense predicated on complex route combinations that require clear-outs, and a consistent vertical threat to challenge the deep portion of the field, Stills holds high-value.
His production took a monumental dip when Ryan Tannehill’s shoulder turned into linguini, but Stills remains an elite vertical threat. The 27-year-old is going to be held in high-regard by this new coaching staff.
Stills’ Projected 2019 Action: Starting WR
Jakeem Grant – $720 K
Brimming with potential, we’ve never seen peak Jakeem Grant in the NFL. There are some concerns with the consistency in his route running as well as understanding sight adjustments, but the explosive nature of his game is difficult to ignore.
He was the only return man to house a kickoff and a punt in 2018, he scored two long touchdowns in the come-from-behind win over Oakland, and has flashed big-play ability his entire career.
Grant will start if the Dolphins omit addressing the position in the off-season. If the Dolphins acquire a true X receiver Grant should, at minimum, see 70% of the offensive snaps.
Grant’s Projected 2019 Action: Specific Packages (70+% snaps)/Return Specialist
Brice Butler – $805 K
One of the real bargain deals on the team, Butler provided the Dolphins with some much needed size and physicality at the position late in 2018. A journeyman, Butler is under contract for peanuts in 2019 and should provide competition for any rookie or low-level free agent acquisition targeted by Miami.
Butler’s Projected 2019 Action: Backup/Situational X WR
Danny Amendola – $6 M
The Dolphins can get away from Amendola’s contract without penalty. The $6 million may seem like a drop in the bucket (36th highest paid WR in the NFL), but numbers always require context. Amendola has missed games in each of the last four years, he was under 10 yards per reception, and scored just once.
He’s not a red zone threat, offers nothing vertically, he’s limited explosively, and he’s going to be 34 next season. He was a progress stopper for Wilson and Grant in 2018 and Miami would be wise to part ways in 2019.
The default rebuttal against this idea is his familiarity with the coaches and veteran presence. Those traits, for a vastly limited player, aren’t worth 3% of the cap space.
Amendola’s Projected 2019 Action: Cut
Devante Parker – $9.4 M
Devante Parker is going to be released before the new league year begins and he has no one to blame but himself.
Parker’s Projected 2019 Action: Cut
Pending Free Agents – 2018 Salary
Leonte Carroo – $630 K (RFA)
This might be the toughest one to project in the wide receiver room. Carroo worked his ass off to contribute on special teams after failing to crack the line-up in his first three years (sans injury fill-ins). If the price is right Carroo should be invited back to camp to compete for the fifth receiver job.
Carroo’s Projected 2019 Action: Re-signed for minimum/camp invite
Isiah Ford – $480 K (ERFA)
An exclusive rights free agent, and now a full-year removed from reconstructive ACL surgery, Ford falls in the same boat as Carroo. He will likely be brought back to compete in training camp, but his most likely destination is the practice squad.
Ford’s Projected 2019 Action: Re-signed for minimum/camp invite
2019 Wide Receiver Free Agent Market:
Prior to imminent roster moves Miami have $32 million tied up in a position that played nowhere near that value in 2018. However, dumping the contracts of Parker and Amendola slices that figure all the way down to $16.6 million – just a hair under the league average.
And so, like many of the other positions we’ll preview, Miami figures to be bargain shopping for wide receivers this off-season. Outside of a shocking blockbuster move for Antonio Brown (which, let’s be honest, is not happening) Miami will likely add depth-bodies to this position.
It’s worth noting that former Patriots Phillip Dorsett ($2M in 2018), Cordarrelle Patterson ($4.25M in 2018), and Chris Hogan ($4M in 2018) are all free agents. An underwhelming list from a talent and production standpoint, no doubt, but they could each be a cheap option to insert some familiarity into the WR room (a.k.a. a much more financially reasonable option to Amendola).
While we’re on the subject of reunions, Rishard Matthews signed on with the Jets last year and is due to hit the market in March. Chris Grier was the director of college scouting when Matthews was drafted and Miami just hired the Jets WR’s Karl Dorrell.
Familiarity aside, Miami’s one glaring need is for a bigger-bodied X-type (lines up to the boundary).
The Dolphins free agency plan could be one of low-risk/high-upside. If it is, Kevin White could begin his reclamation project in Miami. He’ll certainly sign a one-year deal somewhere to see if he can reverse his current bust status as a top-10 pick just four years ago.
The majority of attractive names on the list offer skillsets similar to what Miami already has. Golden Tate, Ryan Grant, Adam Humphries, Cole Beasley – shifty slots aplenty makes for a buyer’s market.
Two names that would fit the mold for what Miami needs, but might be too costly, are Tyrell Williams ($2.9 M in 2018) and Cody Latimer ($2.5 M in 2018).
2019 Wide Receivers Draft Class:
Cross off any names that are projected to go in the first two rounds – it’s simply not feasible for Miami to use those resources at the position.
So long, Marquise Hollywood Brown. Hasta la vista N’Keal Harry and D.K. Metcalf. Sayonara Deebo Samuel, Riley Ridley, Kelvin Harmon, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, and Hakeem Butler.
The focus here averts directly to one name – David Sills V. In the Sills family, they saved the best for fifth as this cool customer fits the bill of “he’s just a terrific football player.”
Sills keeps quiet hands through his route. His recognition of body position and leverage creates huge windows vertically, and in the contested portions of the field, and he tracks the ball as well as anyone in this class.
Sills is a positively ideal fit at the X position and, if he’s there on the fourth, Miami should pounce without hesitation.
2019 Wide Receiver Roster Prediction:
The group has more speed to burn than any other WR room in the NFL. Health, polish, and a big body are the only traits this group is lacking. Wilson could easily surpass 1,000 yards with a full 16 games, Grant is dangerous vertically and in the screen game, and Stills is the most complete of all.
Wilson and Grant returning to pre-injury form is paramount and unearthing competition for Butler should be the top priority.
1.) Albert Wilson
2.) Kenny Stills
3.) Jakeem Grant
4.) Rookie/FA (Davis Sills V)
5.) Brice Butler
Tomorrow: Tight Ends
2019 NFL First Round Mock and Dolphins 7-Round Mock
32 First Round Pick Projections and 9 Dolphins Pick Projections
My final mock of the 2019 draft season is also my first — at least when it comes to picks 1-32. Pumping out multiple 32-team simulations feels like an exercise in redundancy.
Team-oriented mocks, however, help the fan base become familiar with the particular positions that will offer the most value with each pick – hence the multiple seven-round mocks I have personally divulged on the podcast for the better part of the last three months.
This entry will satisfy both aspects of the mock season. In order to best gage the available talent at picks 48 and 78, I felt it necessary to run through the first 77 picks, pick-by-pick.
Should you choose to do the same, you’ll come across the same realization that hit me near the end of round-one — the board is quickly picked clean.
Without any further hesitation, let’s get to the official Locked On Dolphins NFL Mock Draft 1.0.
1. Arizona Cardinals – QB Kyler Murray – Oklahoma
The decision to hire Kliff Kingsbury leaves little to the imagination for this year’s top pick. A no-brainer, the Cardinals inject the best play-making quarterback to enter the league since Michael Vick into an offense that was previously lifeless.
2. San Francisco 49ers – DE Nick Bosa – Ohio State
The best player on many-a-draft-boards, Bosa fits both BPA and needs-drafting philosophies at this pick. John Lynch needs to start getting his drafts right if he is to retain his job and this is an excellent first step in securing his standing in the Bay Area.
3. New York Jets – DT Quinnen Williams – Alabama
The casual Jets fan will be disgruntled by another interior defensive lineman, but the knowledgeable Jets fan will recognize that their team just secured one of the three elite talents in the class. Williams was mostly unblockable at Alabama and could help recharge the career of Leonard Williams.
4. Oakland Raiders – DE Josh Allen – Kentucky
Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden get the apple of their collective eye with college football’s most productive pass rusher in 2018 falling to the fourth pick. Allen starts on the edge from the work go in Oakland.
5. *TRADE* Cincinnati Bengals (from TB) – QB Dwayne Haskins – Ohio State
Keeping Haskins in-state, Zac Taylor attaches his job to a cerebral, 21-year-old quarterback with plenty of room to grow. Paying a second-round pick to go up and get Haskins, to groom behind Andy Dalton (at least for a few games), is a small price to pay for a potential franchise signal-caller.
6. New York Giants – DT Ed Oliver – Houston
New York stays true to Dave Gettleman’s philosophy of focusing on trenches. This time, Gettleman gets it right with the rare specimen that is Ed Oliver. Oliver can play, quite literally, any position on the defensive line while offering pass rush and run-stopping prowess.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars – TE T.J. Hockenson – Iowa
Doubling down on the ground-and-pound mentality that brought Jacksonville to the doorstep of the Super Bowl two years ago, Doug Marrone gets a multi-faceted player with an extremely high floor. Hockenson functions in both aspects of the offensive game plan and helps ease the transition for new Quarterback Nick Foles.
8. Detroit Lions – DE Brian Burns – Florida State
Looking to replace the production lost via Ezekiel Ansah and Eli Harold, Matt Patricia bookends his newest toy (Trey Flowers) with an athletic marvel in Burns. Burns’ first step, and ability to turn the corner, could lead to terrific sack production at the next level.
9. Buffalo Bills – OT Jawaan Taylor – Florida
After giving Josh Allen a track team at the skill spots, it’s time for GM Brandon Beane to protect his franchise quarterback. Mitch Morse solidified the interior while Jawaan Taylor is a plug-and-play starter at right tackle — currently a massive void on Buffalo’s roster.
10. Denver Broncos – QB Drew Lock – Missouri
John Elway can talk about Joe Flacco entering his prime (LOL) all he wants, but if Elway enters the year without a contingency plan, it’s difficult to see him returning in 2020. Reports have linked Elway to Lock for months and it finally comes to fruition with the 10th pick.
11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – LB Devin White – LSU
Acquiring more draft capital and landing the top linebacker in the draft is a homerun for Bruce Arians and company. White is a three-down linebacker with an infectious attitude that can replace the production and leadership vacated by Kwon Alexander’s departure.
12. Green Bay Packers – OT Jonah Williams – Alabama
The best tackle, on tape, in college football last year, Williams’ long-term projection is to take over outside in Green Bay. He can start at guard immediately and gives the Pack a contingency plan behind Right Tackle Bryan Bulaga, who has missed games all but two years of his nine-year career.
13. *TRADE* New York Giants (from MIA) – QB Daniel Jones – Duke
Without a Josh Rosen deal done, Gettleman phones up Miami with an offer to get ahead of Washington to get the successor to Eli Manning. The Giants are loaded with mid-round draft picks and decide to send the 96th and 133rd picks to Miami to secure the QB position.
14. Atlanta Falcons – OC Garrett Bradbury – NC State
Thought by many as the best lineman in this class, Atlanta gets some much needed interior help. Alex Mack is 33, but Bradbury can play guard before transitioning into the Falcons’ long-term center.
15. Washington – WR D.K. Metcalf – Ole Miss
With the board developing in this fashion GM Bruce Allen will likely work the phones to see about Josh Rosen, so why not give him the top WR on the board? Metcalf is a difficult cover, despite some stiffness, and provides a shot in the arm for a wanting Washington passing offense.
16. Carolina Panthers – OT Dalton Risner – Kansas State
Carolina has done a poor job of protecting Cam Newton recently, and with the emphasis on the ground-game, a nasty mauler in the mold of Risner makes a lot of sense. He can play Right Tackle and Center giving the Panthers options.
17. *TRADE* Houston Texans (from MIA) – OL Cody Ford – Oklahoma
After Miami’s first trade, the board broke perfectly. With two more offensive linemen coming off the board Houston’s urgency to get Deshaun Watson some help grew tenfold. Ford is, far-and-away, the best OL prospect on the board and Miami scoops up another third-round pick to slide back six spots satisfying the team’s desire to acquire multiple additional picks.
18. Minnesota Vikings – OT Andre Dillard – Washington State
The run of the offensive line made for a near nightmare scenario for the Vikings, as Dillard is the last remaining lineman with a potential top-20 grade left on the board. Minnesota has two starting tackles in-house, but could certainly use an upgrade over Brian O’Neill.
19. Tennessee Titans – DT Christian Wilkins – Clemson
Jurrell Casey has been the entirety of Tennessee’s interior pressure for far too long. The Titans pluck a terrific football player, a better human being, and a real pain in the ass to deal with on third downs in Wilkins.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers – LB Devin Bush – Michigan
It’s tremendous to see the growth Ryan Shazier has made in his recovery from a devastating spine injury, but the Pittsburgh defense has never been the same since he went down — enter Devin Bush. Bush is the three-down thumper the Black and Gold desperately needs.
21. Seattle Seahawks – S Chauncey Gardner-Johnson – Florida
Seattle needs better safety play after losing two legendary members of their famed Legion of Boom (Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas) the last two years. CGJ is an immediate 100% snap-taker who can play single-high or come down and cover the slot.
22. *TRADE* Green Bay Packers (from BAL) – TE Noah Fant – Iowa
The Jimmy Graham experiment went awry quickly and Aaron Rodgers needs another weapon in the middle of the field. After splurging on defense in free agency, Green Bay spends its two first-rounders on supporting its all-time great quarterback.
23. Miami Dolphins – DE Chase Winovich – Michigan
Double majoring in preparation and production, Winovich has vaulted up draft boards throughout the process. His combine workout was elite, his interview skills were reportedly terrific, he’s sharp on the white board and he can play both the run and the pass. Winovich checks every box that the Dolphins want in a player.
24. Oakland Raiders – WR Hakeem Butler – Iowa State
Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams are an excellent start to reshaping the passing targets Derek Carr has at his disposal, but adding a power forward to the group is too attractive to pass up. Butler plays the game above the rim and can help the Raiders red zone woes.
25. Philadelphia Eagles – S Nasir Adderley – Delaware
Philadelphia adds another versatile safety in Adderley. His range, cover-skills, and return ability make him a viable option to get onto the field as a rookie before eventually taking the reins for an aging group.
26. Indianapolis Colts – DE Rashan Gary – Michigan
Each draft has a story about a player falling, and this year that distinction belongs to Mr. Gary. His production never matched the traits, but GM Chris Ballard knows value when he sees it. The Colts dramatic shift from a finesse team, into a bully, continues with another solid addition to the trenches.
27. Oakland Raiders – CB Byron Murphy – Washington
The cornerback slide ends with Oakland going to the BPA strategy. The Raiders have some nice corners in-house, none of which can match Murphy’s versatility across schemes or rare instincts for the position.
28. Los Angeles Chargers – DT Dexter Lawrence – Clemson
The nimble, 340-pound Lawrence is an oxymoron by every sense of the word. He’s immovable against the run and will occasionally offer interior pressure. Lawrence could stand to drop 10 pounds and really capitalize on the rare power-quickness combination he already presents.
29. Kansas City Chiefs – CB Greedy Williams – LSU
The cornerback run starts now with Kansas City looking to supplement a pass defense that never recovered from the loss of Marcus Peters. Play makers that can help get the ball back to Patrick Mahomes are a point of emphasis in this KC defense.
30. Baltimore Ravens – DL Jeffery Simmons – Mississippi State
A gamble by Eric DeCosta, Simmons is a top-five talent that stumbles down the board because of a recent ACL tear. The numbers aren’t great on players recovering from injuries that rob them of their rookie campaigns, but the last player with Simmons’ upside to experience something similar is Dallas’ star linebacker, Jaylon Smith.
31. Los Angeles Rams – OC Erik McCoy – Texas A&M
McCoy climbs up boards the more folks plug in his tape – he’s really, really good. The Rams need interior line help and can utilize McCoy’s versatility to double down on their complex running scheme and screen game.
32. New England Patriots – DE Clelin Ferrell – Clemson
Like Rashan Gary, Ferrell takes a tumble down the board because of the premier defensive line talent ahead of them. Ferrell’s slide is the Patriots gain as Bill Belichick pounces on a good looking prospect at a position of need.
That brings us to the rest of Miami’s draft. I forecasted one more trade for the Dolphins, this time coming up the board in the second round. With the offensive line talent flying off the board, Chris Grier finds it paramount to move up to secure a plug-and-play Guard at the top of round-two.
Acquired picks 17, 96, 133 in exchange for pick 13 with New York Giants (Daniel Jones)
Acquired picks 23, 87 in exchange for pick 17 with Houston Texans (Cody Ford)
Acquired pick 36 in exchange for picks 48 and 96 with San Francisco 49ers (Chris Lindstrom)
|1 (23)||DE||Chase Winovich||Michigan|
|2 (36)||G||Chris Lindstrom||Boston College|
|3 (78)||S||Darnell Savage||Maryland|
|3 (87)||DT||Trysten Hill||UCF|
|4 (117)||OLB||Justin Hollins||Oregon|
|4 (133)||C||Lamont Gaillard||Georgia|
|5 (152)||RB||James Williams||Washington State|
|7 (235)||CB||Derek Baity||Kentucky|
|7 (236||WR||Penny Hart||Georgia State|
This is the framework of an ideal mock draft for Miami. Adding two more picks and hammering out a BPA strategy, while checking off the list of needs, this group of players adheres to the requirements filed by the new Dolphins brain trust.
Let’s go pick-by-pick and explain these selections.
1. (23) DE Chase Winovich – Michigan
A high-motor pass rusher with an obsession for preparation, Winovich falls into a similar bucket as Minkah Fitzpatrick did a year ago. He out produced the more physically gifted Rashan Gary at Michigan, and topped off his impressive final collegiate season with a near-perfect run up to the draft. Some might assume this is too high for Winovich, but he’s not going to be around when Miami picks again in round-two.
The Plan: With minimum development needed in his game, Winovich steps in as an immediate contributor. Miami’s multiple front scheme will balance Winovich across multiple roles including the 7-tech, 5-tech, and the occasional two-point on-ball edge linebacker role.
2. (36) OG Chris Lindstrom – Boston College
After picking up three additional picks via the two round-one trade backs, the Dolphins saw the decade-long solution at left guard starring back at them at pick 36. San Francisco was open for business needing more draft capital of their own.
There’s a theme with these players regarding their love of the game and Lindstrom falls right in line. He’s a mauler, a technician, and a leader. Lindstrom might go off the board earlier than this and he’s a legitimate option in the first if Miami are inclined to trade down. The Dolphins have spent a lot of time with Lindstrom during the process.
The Plan: Starting 47 games at BC, almost exclusively at right guard, Miami’s lone 16-game participant happens to be the RG incumbent, Jesse Davis. Lindstorm is a better player, however, and allows Miami to kick Davis out to right tackle removing Zach Sterup from the starting line-up.
3. (78) S Darnell Savage – Maryland
An alpha leader of the Maryland defense, Savage is the type of presence that’s impossible to ignore in a shared room. He has the explosiveness to showcase more range than we saw at Maryland, but he’s at his best when he can drive out of his zone position, lay the wood, and rob underneath and crossing routes. He slots right in as the long-term replacement for Reshad Jones.
The Plan: If Reshad Jones is in fact immovable, Savage is afforded a year to get his feet wet. Minkah Fitzpatrick and Jones will play the base downs but Brian Flores is a big believer in three-safety packages (60% of the time last year) making Savage a primary defensive player early. Once Jones is gone, Savage will fill that role patrolling the hook-zone, robber role, and playing near the line-of-scrimmage.
3. (87) DT Trysten Hill – UCF
Strangely only starting one game last year under a new coaching staff, Hill’s tape is eye-catching — just as his combine workout was in March. He’s an interior pocket collapser with tremendous quickness, but he needs to refine his hand placement and technique – a project well within Marion Hobby’s wheelhouse.
The Plan: Coming off the bench initially as a sub package interior rusher, Hill’s technical refinement won’t be a concern in year-one — his only job will be to go get the quarterback. By 2020 Miami could realistically roll out a front line of Taylor, Godchaux and Hill.
4. (117) OLB Justin Hollins – Oregon
Miami is pretty well set at two linebacker positions, but Hollins gives them the inside-outside option they presently lack. Hollins is twitchy as all get out and could get even better with his length. He will need some development before he’s ready to play, but he provides Miami with a potential replacement for Kiko Alonso in 2020.
The Plan: Slotting in as the fourth linebacker initially, Hollins will use his rookie season to develop some nuance as an edge rusher. With his length and explosiveness, Hollins is a prime candidate to become a staple of the linebacker unit, but he needs to improve his functional strength and contact balance.
4. (133) OC Lamont Gaillard – Georgia
Gaillard’s draft projections are all over the place, so I stuck him smack dab in the middle of Miami’s class. He has the power to anchor against stout interior rushers, and enough athleticism to get out in space and up to the second level. Gaillard is the perfect competition for Daniel Kilgore.
The Plan: Miami have expressed their interest in letting someone compete with Kilgore (under contract for another season). Gaillard is power player who could use some seasoning and a year under Pat Flaherty’s tutelage — he serves as the primary backup center during his rookie season.
5. (152) RB James Williams – Washington State
Comfortably in this position for months, Williams was one of college football’s best pass catching backs in 2018. He can run the full running back route tree and is elusive in open space in the screen game.
The Plan: An immediate impact player on special teams, Williams will play the Rex Burkhead role on offense contributing with roughly 20% of the offensive snaps, primarily as a pass catcher. If Kenyan Drake is not brought back (expiring contract), Williams will see his role expand extensively in 2020.
7. (235) CB Derek Baity – Kentucky
Baity plays much larger than his frame and has the technique refinement that could eventually get him on the field on defense. It’s his desire and will to lay the wood, and exceptional tackling technique, that makes him a core special teamer as soon as his rookie season.
The Plan: Sure-tacklers always have a role on special teams. In the 7th round, if that’s all Baity ever becomes, the Dolphins will gladly except that ROI.
7. (236) WR Penny Hart – Georgia State
Hart’s Senior Bowl was impressive but his workouts, thereafter, were not. This might be a tad low, but his poor offseason puts Miami in a position to find a developmental slot receiver with game-breaking ability both on offense and in the return game.
The Plan: Potentially beginning his career on the practice squad, Hart’s primary value is at the return position, though that job is held by the dynamic Jakeem Grant. Hart provides early insurance behind Grant and Albert Wilson on the WR depth chart as both return from an injury.
Alternatively, here is a mock draft free of trades.
|1 (13)||DT||Christian Wilkins||Clemson|
|2 (48)||S||Juan Thornhill||Virginia|
|3 (78)||OT||Chuma Edoga||USC|
|4 (117)||OLB||Justin Hollins||Oregon|
|5 (152)||S||Mike Edwards||Kentucky|
|7 (235)||CB||Derek Baity||Kentucky|
|7 (236||WR||Penny Hart||Georgia State|
With the multiple pathways (many needs) Miami can travel, a satisfying class almost doesn’t exist without acquiring more picks. With the two extra picks in the first mock, I feel confident in my ability to add reinforcements to the position rooms that need it most.
The focus, for both drafts, prioritized character, athletic traits, and defined roles within the program. Adding Wilkins to the Davon Godchaux and Vincent Taylor rotation essentially solidifies my interior defensive line. Wilkins can provide an interior rush the moment he arrives in Davie, FL.
Thornhill is the day-one center field safety (think Duron Harmon (61% of New England’s snaps last year)), while Edoga competes for the opening day right tackle job.
Hollins fits the same description from the original mock while Mike Edwards plays on special teams in year-one with the hopes of taking over Reshad Jones’ position in 2020.
Derek Baity and Penny Hart fit the bill for the three, aforementioned focal points.
A reminder that Locked On Dolphins will have the quickest, most comprehensive Dolphins draft coverage anywhere on the web next weekend.
Here, you can find the draft profiles we did last year. Film study, quotes from teammates and coaches, athletic measurements, scheme fit, projected role; everything about these players will be detailed on Locked On Dolphins dot com — as well as the Locked On Dolphins podcast.
Miami Dolphins have exercised Laremy Tunsil’s fifth-year option
Miami Dolphins have exercised Laremy Tunsil’s fifth-year option
The headline says it all; the Miami Dolphins have picked up Laremy Tunsil’s rookie contract fifth-year option. All 2016 first-round draftees are up for fifth-round options and the dominoes have started to fall with Tunsil.
The announcement tweet, which can be seen below, was broken on Twitter by Armando Salguero and shouldn’t come as a huge surprise to Dolphins fans. Laremy Tunsil is one of the key cogs of the team and will be the cornerstone of an otherwise enfeebled offensive line that will likely be addressed in next week’s Draft.
The Dolphins have exercised the fifth year option on Laremy Tunsil. Not a hard decision.
— Armando Salguero (@ArmandoSalguero) April 18, 2019
Laremy Tunsil is the surest thing on the Dolphins o-line in a unit that has seen better days and will require two to three new starters. While Tunsil was a no-brainer for the Dolphins to pick up that fifth-round option on, they’ll likely have to extend him at some point, which won’t come cheap since he’s one of the rising stars at left tackle.
But Laremy Tunsil is secured through the 2020 season. I hope between now and then the Dolphins spearhead an extension and get Tunsil locked up a little bit longer. Success in the trenches will start with Tunsil at left tackle and the Fins can fill in the rest during the draft.
Laremy Tunsil will realistically become the highest-paid left tackle at some point in the next few years, and the Dolphins would be wise to get ahead of the curve for that. I think that will happen.
The current frontrunner for left-tackle contracts is the Oakland Raiders’ Trent Brown, and he is making an APY (average per year) of $16.5 million with. The top ten left tackles are making from the aforementioned $16.5 million to $12 million for Green Bay’s David Bakhtiari, Kansas City’s Eric Fisher, and Cincinnati’s Cordy Glenn.
There’s an average APY of $14 million, but I expect Laremy Tunsil to eventually be well above that average when the time comes–I foresee the Dolphins making him the highest paid left tackle, remember. Full guarantees on those top-ten contracts are running between $16 and $36 million, so there’s much more variability with those portions of the contract.
Good and great left tackles aren’t cheap. Laremy Tunsil will break the bank in a few years and will be the highest paid left tackle if the Miami Dolphins intend on making him their franchise LT for years to come.
Laremy Tunsil was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in the 2016 NFL draft after an unfortunate and unfair draft-day tumble that gave the team a golden opportunity. The 2016 class has proven to be extremely fruitful (for the most part). Along with Tunsil, Xavien Howard, Kenyan Drake, and Jakeem Grant were selected in the second, third and sixth rounds, respectively, and all have made major contributions in one form or another.
Exercising Tunsil’s fifth-year option is good news for Fins fans. It’s not a blockbuster trade or a splash signing, but taking care of the best players already on the team before it snowballs out of control a la Jarvis Landry or Ju’Wuan James is a step in the right direction. And while exercising Tunsil’s option is an obvious choice, it’s still an encouraging sign nonetheless.
All contractual information courtesy of Over the Cap.
Brian Flores’ Pre-Draft Update
Get used to this mantra, Miami Dolphins fans: Adapt or Die.
You might not find it printed on training camp t-shirts for the team to sport around, but you can expect head coach Brian Flores to repeat this line often. It’s about to become ingrained in both us and the players.
Flores spoke briefly with reporters before the team finished up their 3-day “voluntary” workout and prepares for the upcoming NFL draft.
If you’ve heard these kind of comments before, it’s because Flores has nailed the proper, cliche press conference etiquette. Answers are “insightful”, but vague. He gives you an answer while also laying out all other possibilities. That said, he’ll sometimes respond with some sarcasm and wit that’ll reassure you that there is a personality inside of him.
If there is one thing we can take away from Flores’ demeanor and message, it’s that he isn’t about to tolerate the type of locker room culture that festered under Adam Gase. There will be both accountability and self-reflection; and that’s reassuring after witnessing Gase deflect blame to everyone but himself.
With the most important day of the offseason just one week away, we take a look at what Flores had to say at his press conference earlier this morning:
On the Draft:
Most important measuring tool?:
“Combination of production. Height. Weight. Speed. Intangibles. Fit. There’s a myriad of things there. To say it’s just one thing that’s important…they’re all important.”
“Is one more important than the other, I’d say no.”
“It’s the total fit of the player and how we feel they’ll fit with our team.”
Combine/Visits, what do you get out of it?:
“Try to get to know the person, that’s a big part of this.”
“Sometimes people see players as just players. You want to know about their mom, their dad, who was an important person in their life. What kind of adversity they have faced before. Does that person fit your style as a coach, your locker room, the culture you’re trying to build as a team. When you sit down with a player, you’re just trying to get to know him.”
I think Dolphins fans know this all too well after the Dez Bryant/Jeff Ireland prostitution episode back in 2010.
Flores’ Influence in the Draft:
“Chris and I definitely work well together. We speak the same language….when we come together it’s the same (language)”
“Have had (and) will have discussions on different scenarios (throughout the draft)”
On his New/Hybrid Defense:
What kind of players do you need for your Hybrid defense?:
“We need good players.”
“I think as a coach, you get a good player, (and you ask yourself) what does he do well? You try and do that.”
“That’s the good thing about having a versatile scheme, it fits a good player.”
“You try and get the best player and I feel me and my staff can fit what we’re going to do around that player.”
“Some guys are going to have a better fit than others, but you have to put the whole fit together.”
— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) April 17, 2019
On Identity of this Team:
“You know, call it what you want.”
“I’m going to get my team to play hard. Play together. Play with good fundamentals and technique. Play as a team. Put the team first. You have to try and get 11 guys to play together and that’s a hard thing to accomplish as a coach.”
“That’s my goal, you can call it whatever you want. ‘The Patriot Way’….to me, it’s just good football.”
Flores seems to understand that he’s going to live under Bill Belichick‘s shadow for awhile, especially if he is unsuccessful. Seems like he’s also getting a little tired of it….and I kind of like it. I’m glad he’ll have this chip on his shoulder to prove that he isn’t just a Belichick clone. Then again, judging by all Flores has gone through, he doesn’t need this chip to drive him.
Does he expect his players to be on time?:
“If you’re early, you’re on time, if you’re on time, you’re late, and if you’re late you’re forgotten.”
“Is it a rule, no, it’s my personal mantra.”
“I have a lot of respect for time. I think it’s precious; we shouldn’t take it for granted. If you want to stay on schedule you have to stay on time.”
“We have a schedule, it’s laid out pretty well.”
There is absolutely no bull**** from Brian Flores when it comes to practice! That’s not to say Adam Gase or any of the other prior head coaches were more-lenient, but you get the feeling that Flores isn’t going to tolerate players who believe they are bigger than the team.
Gase showed a similar coaching style when he traded Jay Ajayi and released players like Byron Maxwell and Jordan Phillips, but that never translated to a productive locker room culture. It’ll be interesting to see how Flores’ style compares.
On His “Right-Hand Man”:
“Pick any of the 20 guys, they’re all my right-hand men.”
“We work well together. (We) try and put a staff together that embodies what I want our team to reflect.
“I want to be tough, I want to be smart, I want to work well together.”
On Mike Gesicki:
“Mike is a good, young player. Talented. Like everyone else on this team, there are places he can improve, develop, get better. As a young player, there’s a lot of room for development. Mike’s working hard. We see what everyone else sees: he has size, speed, can catch the ball.”
On Raekwon McMillan and Jerome Baker:
“Raekwon is big. Fast. Physical. (Has) good leadership. Smart. Can play a few different positions. (A) good, young player.”
“Jerome is another skilled player. Fast. Good tackler. Raekwon is a good tackler as well. Smart. Can do a few different things. Can cover; which, obviously in this league, going in a passing direction, it’s good to have an LB that can cover.”
“We’re glad to have them both.”
— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) April 18, 2019
On Jake Rudock and Luke Falk:
“Like everyone else, they’re working hard. They are doing everything possible to try and improve their techniques, fundamentals. Footwork. Ball Handling. They’re doing a really good job. All 3 quarterbacks.”
“We’re excited to see what they can do moving forward.”
Flores couldn’t be more generic with the assessment of his players. Even going back to when he discussed Charles Harris at a previous press conference, Flores tends to speak about his players vaguely, as if to avoid tipping his hand in any regard.
From a player’s perspective, it’s nice to know your coach won’t throw you under the bus and will keep things private. From our fan perspective, it means we just have to go through every possible adjective and scenario with him. He’s not lying when one of them has to be true.
On his Mother’s Passing:
“It was hard. She’s someone I think about on a daily basis. Wish she was here to enjoy this with us, but she’s with me all the time.”
“She wouldn’t’ want me to dwell or be upset and she would want me to have peace.”
“I’m sad. I’m unhappy. I miss her. But I have peace knowing I did everything I can to make her proud.”
On New Surprises as a Head Coach:
“(I have had) A lot of conversations with head coaches around the league…one thing they said is something would come across your desk every day.”
“(That’s) kind of my approach coming in, being adaptable. A mantra of our team: ‘adapt or die’.”
“Part of (the job) is allowing other people to lead.”
Dolphins Live: Coach Flores meets with the media ahead of voluntary minicamp. https://t.co/9ttTAJHL2R
— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) April 18, 2019
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