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Miami Dolphins

Winning and Rebuilding Are Not Mutually Exclusive

Travis Wingfield

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The Alternative to the Tank

Adam [Gase] wants to win now.”

Perhaps unintentionally, that comment, during Chris Grier’s introductory presser from Owner Stephen Ross, was the most telling tidbit from the 12-minute Q&A session.

“Hopefully it’s not 3-13, but whatever it takes to build a winning team that can sustain success is the goal,” Ross said.

Reading the tea leaves, it becomes rather apparent that Dolphins intentions are to rebuild the program this spring. Just because the dreaded “R” word is probably the correct course of action doesn’t mean the team can’t still win games in the interim.

Granted, the most glaring hole on the roster is at the most important position in all of sports, but there are options to either 1.) Bridge the gap to the future, or 2.) Accelerate the future to the present via the draft.

We have months to debate the merits of Teddy Bridgewater, Nick Foles, Dwayne Haskins and the ultimate dream – Kyler Murray, but this column isn’t just about the quarterback.

Nov 4, 2018; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross (left) celebrates with Dolphins president and chief executive officer Tom Garfinkel (right) after a game against the New York Jets at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

It’s about the current make-up of the roster. A roster who’s 2018 production was largely established on the work of cheap, young players not yet old enough to rent a car (under 25).

Teams in worse-off positions have made jumps that would reinvigorate a fan base starved for a winner. The 2018 Bears turned things around overnight. The 2016 Rams were the biggest train wreck in the league – now they’ll host a playoff game in the NFL’s “elite 8” after their second straight division title. The Texans went from last-to-first with a roster riddled with question marks.

Again, for disclaimer purposes, each of those teams made dramatic changes at the quarterback position. Which sets up nicely for my position that, dropping an all-star in at the quarterback position can suddenly turn a lackluster roster into an enticing one.

Whether it’s Kyler Murray, Dwayne Haskins, Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Herbet, Jake Fromm, Trevor Lawrence – whoever you’re partial too, getting that pick right will change the perception of the rest of the roster.

Because, frankly, the rest of the roster is a lot better than it’s been given credit for.

Just because Ross himself says they’re going to do things the “right way,” doesn’t mean the team can’t play good football en route to building an annual championship contender.

The owner said he doesn’t want to continue to flush resources into “older” free agents; patch the roster in hopes of sneaking in as a wildcard.

Great! Most of the production on this roster came from the young guys any way. So when the word “purge” is floated, it’s not referring to your all-pro, 25-year-old, league-leading intercepting cornerback. It’s not in reference to your already-elite left tackle – age 24. It’s about the pushing-30 veteran commanding a percentage of the salary for minimal contribution.

The savings are going to be massive. And while Miami might not be interested in going the way of the high-priced free agent ala Mike Wallace, Brandon Albert or Ndamukong Suh, the flexibility is there. Hell, using that money to keep their own established stars is the best organizational shift the franchise could undergo.

Miami is about to create a gaping hole at the defensive end position. Rather than paying Robert Quinn, the team could hand his annual salary to Frank Clark – the impending free agent of the Seattle Seahawks.

But it doesn’t have to be Frank Clark. It could be “Place Holder” for the purpose of the exercise. There is about to be an entirely fresh canvas in Miami. And that means the opportunity to change the narrative, or perhaps the earned reputation of this once-proud franchise is entirely existent.

Let’s lay the cards on the table and evaluate this team at present date – a state of the franchise, if you will.

We’re going to categorize team roster in four ways: The core, the cuts, the needs, and the priorities.

 

*Players age refers to age on opening day 2019

The Core:

Xavien Howard – Cornerback
Age: 26.2
2019 Cash Owed: $1.3 M
Club Control: Through 2019

For the second straight year Howard picked off seven passes. In 2018, however, he did it in just 12 games. He’s a physical specimen capable of locking down the game’s best receivers. He’s a safe bet to get a massive contract extension before the 2019 season kicks off – the superstar of this team.

Over the final four games, when Howard was sidelined with a knee injury, the Dolphins defense surrendered 134 points. He is the glue that held the defense together and a player capable of shutting down an entire side of the field on defense.

Howard’s passer rating against was a paltry 69.4 on the season.

Xavien Howard Film Study

Laremy Tunsil – Left Tackle
Age: 25.1
2019 Cash Owed: $2.1 M
Club Control: Through 2019

Another safe bet to see a big extension coming his way (elevating Chris Grier all but locks Howard and Tunsil into long-term deals with the Dolphins), Laremy Tunsil didn’t allow his first sack of 2018 until week 16.

The offense consistently trusted Tunsil to handle the opposition’s best pass rusher one-on-one, sliding the protection away from the game’s premier left tackle. Tunsil shut down the likes of Jadeveon Clowney and Khalil Mack with utter brilliance in pass protection

He’s an effective run blocker too; be it gap, zone or on the pull, Tunsil can do it all.

Laremy Tunsil Film Study

Minkah Fitzpatrick – Free Safety
Age: 22.9
2019 Cash Owed: $1.2 M
Club Control: Through 2021

Fitzpatrick’s rookie year was a smashing success. His production tailed off towards the end as the season submerged beyond reprieve, but he was fluid and an asset at multiple positions.

Fitzpatrick’s 2018 rep count was as follows:

Perimeter Corner: 281
Slot Corner: 380
Free Safety: 166
Box Safety: 94

Without Fitzpatrick, a depleted secondary could’ve entered the depths of 2007 defensive backfield. A full year in the program, a chance to rest after a 2018 without an off-season (from National Championship game to the Scouting Combine right into mini-camp), Fitzpatrick’s sword will have sharpened and he’ll be ready to make a major impact on the defense.

Kenyan Drake – Running Back
Age: 25.7
2019 Cash Owed: $810 K
Club Control: 2019

One day, some coach, be it in Miami or otherwise, is going to base his offensive attack around Kenyan Drake and the Alabama product is going to produce mega-numbers. His 2018 season was right in line with his young career marks – highly efficient, a big-play machine, but not given an appropriate amount of work.

At 4.5 yards per carry, 1,012 total yards on just 173 touches, nine touchdowns (six coming from 20+ yards), Drake took advantage of minimal opportunities.

Now that Miami is set to turn the offensive reigns over to a new play caller, 2019 will be a statistical explosion for the former four-star Bama recruit.

Albert Wilson – Wide Receiver
Age: 27.2
2019 Cash Owed: $7 M
Club Control: Through 2020

One of the outliers, as far as salary goes, Wilson was on track for a record-setting year before a season-ending knee injury hit in week seven. Like Drake, Wilson is a threat to score every time he touches the football (evidence by his effort single-handedly winning the Bears game).

Heading into that game with the Lions, Wilson led the league in yards-after-the-catch and YAC average. He moved the chains as a ball carrier, provided a decoy on misdirection plays, lined up split wide, in the slot, nasty, in the backfield and even threw a touchdown pass.

Wilson was the Dolphins gem of the 2018 off-season – the only thing that can slow him from picking that pace back up, is a rather serious hip injury.

Vincent Taylor – Defensive Tackle
Age: 25.7
2019 Cash Owed: $640 K
Club Control: Through 2020

One of Chris Grier’s late-round gems at the position in 2017, Taylor has developed his game at a more rapid pace than anyone anticipated. Like too many others on this list, Taylor’s 2018 season was cut short by an injury.

Prior to the injury, few DTs were stuffing the run with greater frequency. Taylor added another blocked field goal to his resume, a pair of sacks and a handful of additional pressures.

Jakeem Grant – Wide Receiver/Return Specialist
Age: 26.9
2019 Cash Owed: $720 K
Club Control: Through 2019

The only player in 2018 to return a kickoff and a punt for a touchdown, Jakeem Grant continues the theme of young, electrifying game-breakers on this offense. Criminally under-utilized, Grant’s impact was rounding into form late in 2017 and in the beginning of 2018, before being banished to back-up duty in an unwarranted fashion.

After Wilson was lost with an injury, Grant’s workload went down. Inexplicable.

Jerome Baker – Linebacker
Age: 22.8
2019 Cash Owed: $654 K
Club Control: Through 2021

With three sacks, three passes defensed and an interception brought all the way home for six, Baker’s play making prowess took off immediately in his rookie season. He’s athletic, savvy and a sure-tackler.

As a blitzer, Baker is effective taking proper angles and maintaining gap integrity. As a run defender, he’s aggressive and seeks out contact. In coverage, he’s athletic enough to match any tight end across from him.

Davon Godchaux – Defensive Tackle
Age: 24.8
2019 Cash Owed: $645 K
Club Control: Through 2020

A sturdy run-stuffer, Godchaux has been eating up double teams since the day he arrived in Davie. With an extremely low pad-level and tree trunks for legs, Godchaux can control the point of attack, disengage from blocker and make stops at the line of scrimmage.

Raekwon McMillan – Linebacker
Age: 23.8
2019 Cash Owed: $892 K
Club Control: Through 2020

After tearing his ACL on the first play of the 2017 pre-season, it was a slow climb back for McMillan. As the trust in his lateral movement returned, so did his instinctive and explosive nature. McMillan is a between-the-tackles banger that, along with Davon Godchaux, can provide solid run defense in base downs.

Bobby McCain – Slot Cornerback
Age: 26.0
2019 Cash Owed: $5.6 M
Club Control: Through 2022

After McCain’s breakout 2017 season, 2018 brought about new challenges – challenges he, perhaps, wasn’t cut out for. Injuries forced McCain to move around the secondary and out onto the perimeter. There, the skillset that made him one of the game’s premier slot corners did not translate.

Fighting through injuries and playing out of position might have fans down on McCain, but he is an unquestioned leader of this team. He plays with his hair on fire and is more than willing in run support. McCain will be fine, just put him in the slot and leave him there.

Kenny Stills – Wide Receiver
Age: 27.5
2019 Cash Owed: $8 M
Club Control: Through 2020

Stills’ dip in production can be attributed to two factors – 1.) A mid-season injury and, 2.) An abject disaster at the quarterback position. When Stills had his QB1 with a healthy throwing shoulder, he was producing right on par with his career average through the first month of the season.

With three touchdowns and 184 receiving yards through the Dolphins 3-0 start, Stills became a forgotten man when Brock Osweiler took the reins.

There is an out in Stills’ contract for a small dead cap hit, and a trade is worth exploring, but unless it’s a considerable offer, Miami would be wise to retain the services of this big-play, locker room leader.

Kalen Ballage – Running Back
Age: 23.7
2019 Cash Owed: $480 K
Club Control: Through 2021

Ballage certainly doesn’t have the resume as everyone else on the list. But it was the flashes of potential late in the season that reminded folks why he was so highly thought of coming out of Arizona State.

With 5.3 yards per carry, and a role as the trigger man in the wildcat, Ballage showed the versatility that made him a standout at last year’s Senior Bowl.

 

Of the 13 players listed, 12 would be expected starters in 2019. That doesn’t include the veterans on the other side of the age paradigm (Reshad Jones, the biggest name of note).

A lot of Jones’ veteran counterparts, however, figure to follow Adam Gase with a one-way ticket out of town.

The Cuts:

Andre Branch
2019 Cash Due: $7 M
Cap Hit: $2 M

After robbing the Dolphins, via Mike Tannenbaum, for $18 million the last two years, Miami can get away from their overpaid rotational rusher for a minimal loss. Branch sacked the quarterback just six times in the first two years of his big contract extension ($3 million per sack).

Devante Parker
2019 Cash Due: $9 M
Cap Hit: $0

Still waiting on Parker’s breakout season, the Dolphins have an easy decision to make on their 2015 first round pick. Parker scored only one touchdown in each of the last two seasons, took on multiple injuries and still doesn’t seem to understand what being a professional is all about.

Kiko Alonso
2019 Cash Due: $7.9 M
Cap Hit: $5.7 M

Dirty hits, embarrassing spy efforts, shooting the wrong gap, woeful coverage, there isn’t much else Alonso could do to earn his way onto this list. He made the big play early in 2018, and there’s value in that, but his mental lapses were evident by the number of poor run fits on the defense, but also by his inability to learn the new rules in football (spearheading sliding quarterbacks – not too smart).

Robert Quinn
2019 Cash Due: $13 M
Cap Hit: $0

This one is the trickiest of the bunch. Quinn didn’t produce like a $13 million sack-master, but six of his seven sacks came in the back half of the season. He was a quality run defender more times than not, he’s still just 29 and it’s not likely you’ll find better value on the open market.

Danny Amendola
2019 Cash Due: $6 M
Cap Hit: $0

Now that Gase is gone this shouldn’t be a concern, but let’s not give the new HC any opportunity to give Grant and Wilson’s snaps away to an inferior player. Amendola was a progress stopper to two of the most talented skill players on the roster, not to mention a lackluster season in his own right.

Ryan Tannehill
2019 Cash Due: $17.5 M
Cap Hit: $13 M

Miami could try to trade their quarterback, but those contract figures could make that difficult. Even if the Dolphins are send Tannehill elsewhere for a conditional pick, it would be wise to pull the trigger.

Ted Larsen
2019 Cash Due: $1.9 M
Cap Hit: $400 K

This requires no explanation.

 

That’s nearly $50 million in savings on a sextet of veterans providing very little by way of production. When Stephen Ross mentioned the free agent stop gaps, those are the players he was referencing.

The Needs:

Quarterback: Pro Football Focus claims Ryan Tannehill was the worst quarterback in 2018. That’s absurd. But he did regress in a way that was rather unexpected. Now, the Dolphins look to find the future in a class that doesn’t offer many options.

Dec 29, 2018; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Kyler Murray (1) runs against the Oklahoma Sooners during the third quarter of the 2018 Orange Bowl college football playoff semifinal game at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Kyler Murray is far-and-away the best potential option, but his future is unclear at press time. Dwayne Haskins has yet to declare, but he’s the clear QB1 when he does. Beyond those two, it’s a lackluster crop of free agents and middle round prospects. Teddy Bridgewater or Nick Foles, coupled with a second round pick on Drew Lock, might be the best route.

Defensive End: Cam Wake is set to hit free agency and the 37-year-old future Hall of Fame pass rusher will have a market. He doesn’t want to leave Miami and would probably come at a reduced rate.

Even with Wake, Miami has some serious work to do at the position. Branch and Charles Harris were abject failures, Quinn might be too expensive and this draft class is littered with elite edge rushers. The Dolphins figure to double down at this spot, as well as attack the interior DL position.

Cornerback #2: Playing Torry McTyer, Cordrea Tankersley and Cornell Armstrong for stretches spelled bad news for the Dolphins record setting defense – and not the kind of records you want to break.

If Fitzpatrick moves back to safety, Howard and McCain take two of three corner spots, there is one clear void in an otherwise solid group.

Offensive Line: This two-decade-long need might not be as bad as perceived. Tunsil and James (we’ll get to that shortly) give Miami a pair of bookends as good as any. If Josh Sitton returns to play left guard, and Jesse Davis at right guard, center is the only glaring need.

However, Miami would be foolish to usher out that group of five and call it good. Depth would be paramount behind Sitton and at tackle. Miami has to hit on an interior lineman in this draft – they just have to.

 

The team could use another wide receiver, linebacker and probably a tight end, but those are bridges to be crossed after the above has been resolved.

The Top priorities:

Kyler Murray – Stay with me here. I realize he isn’t even committed to football at the time of this posting, but practically everyone outside of his baseball agent thinks he’s choosing football. If he does, he’s the one ticket this off-season that can reshape the complexion of this franchise immediately in 2019.

Re-Sign Ja’Wuan James – He stayed healthy from camp through the end of the season (sans one missed game week 10). He has stretches of dominance in pass pro, and he consistently gives the Dolphins an edge-seal in the running game. He can pull to the play side and erase linebackers (the Dolphins averaged seven YPC running behind James) in the ground game.

Sink Multiple Resources into Edge Rushers and Interior DL – We’ve already saved millions of bucks by trimming the fat. If Miami wants to spend free agent money, this is the position where that should happen. Maybe not the bell of the ball in Frank Clark or Demarcus Lawrence, but a reclamation project like Ezekiel Ansah or Dante Fowler could be a bargain.

Additionally, this draft class is ultra-deep all along the defensive line. If the QB plan doesn’t work out, this is likely the position Miami targets in round-one.

Whichever of the six coaches gets the gig, it’s a busy off-season ahead for [enter coach’s name here] and Chris Grier. Another year of significant roster turnover means fans will have to get to know a lot of new names, but it doesn’t mean the team has to bottom out.

The attraction of the bottom-out, the “tank” if you will, is the illustrious glimpse of the 2020 NFL Draft class at quarterback.

Perhaps, for the first time in a long time, Miami are in a win-win situation.

@WingfieldNFL

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Miami Dolphins

Pillaging the Pats

Travis Wingfield

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Taking From the Rich and Giving to the Phins

De facto Patriots Defensive Coordinator Brian Flores is set to take over the big chair in Miami at the conclusion of New England’s 2018 season. Rumored to be coming with Flores are a pair of Pats staffers.

A master of delegation, Bill Belichick constantly maintains the smallest staff in the league. Flores’ intentions are to bring with him Pats’ Consultant Bret Bielema and Wide Receivers Coach Chad O’Shea.

*We’ll have a comprehensive breakdown of the offensive scheme that comes with O’Shea should this move push closer to official. And we’ll do so in the same capacity as the Defensive Crash Course piece.

If Flores is able to extract both Bielema and O’Shea, he’s plundering 16% of the 2018 Patriots’ staff (that includes Flores). Belichick’s coaching tree has yielded less than desirable results in their new destinations, but Flores is described as “different” from the rest.

By now Dolphins fans are tired of lip service. If Flores is the exception to the many before him, great – we’ll find out on Sundays. Flores is, however, off to a unique beginning compared to the lackluster rest.

 

Coach (Year Left New England) Additional Migrating Staffers
Charlies Weis (2005 – Notre Dame) 0
Romeo Crennel (2005 – Cleveland) 0
Eric Mangini (2007 – NY Jets) 0
Josh McDaniels (2009 – Denver) 0
Bill O’Brien (2012 – Penn State) 0
Matt Patricia (2018 – Detroit) 0

 

Goose eggs. I didn’t expect that when I began this study, hence the table. Interestingly, the greatest dearth in the Patriots run came between the 2008-2010 seasons. That sentence is a house of cards for two reasons:

1.) It’s sort of hilarious to call two playoff appearances and a combined record of 35-13 a dearth. Those three seasons were the last time New England weren’t participating in the Conference Championship – they’ve qualified for eight consecutive title games since.

2.) It’s something of a strawman to suggest New England’s 14-2 season was cut short at the divisional round because of a loss of coordinators. Not to mention the 2008 season that brought back 11 wins despite starting Matt Cassel for 15 games.

That three-year stretch did come after New England lost its offensive and defensive coordinators, and then Crennel’s replacement at DC (Mangini) two years later. No one is mistaking Flores, Bielema, and O’Shea for Weis, Crennel, and Mangini, but this would be a similar exodus – the difference being all at once opposed to three years.

It’s no secret that Belichick is a ruthless competitor that has no qualms about making enemies. The Patriots have blocked coaches from interviewing for outside positions in the past. Clearly, New England doesn’t block assistants from taking head coaching jobs, but the fact that zero staffers jumped ship might insinuate staffers are held hostage.

Maybe that’s where the idea that Flores is different from the rest comes from. His ability to separate himself from the Pats’ program. His intentions to implement his own initiative that doesn’t try to form as a carbon copy of Belichick’s well-oiled machine in Foxboro.

There are a million ways to splice this, but it all comes back to one conclusion: Brian Flores is beloved by everyone that knows him – even the heartless Hoodie.

@WingfieldNFL

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Miami Dolphins

Crash Course On 2019 Dolphins Defensive Scheme

Travis Wingfield

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For a publication based primarily on analysis, these last two weeks have been a bit of a drag for content. We know the potential names but, as they say, potential doesn’t play on Sundays. In this case, the reference refers to the rumors and names linked to various positions with the Dolphins – rumors, meaning anything but finalized.

Enter Patrick Graham.

It has been reported that Miami, under Head Coach to Be Named Brian Flores, will tag the former Green Bay Packers assistant as the Defensive Coordinator position with the Dolphins in 2019.

Graham, a former staffer alongside Flores in New England, spent the 2018 season coaching the linebackers on Mike Pettine’s defense.

Another name linked to the vacant DC job is Bret Bielema. The former Wisconsin and Arkansas Head Coach spent the 2018 season working hand-in-hand with Bill Belichick as a Consultant to the Head Coach.

And so, from this, we glean some potential defensive structures, schemes and principles that figure to be migrating south this winter along with Flores.

For Flores, Graham, and potentially Bielema, the task is tall. Redirect a unit that ranked 29th in points allowed each of the last two years under the inexperienced watch of Matt Burke.

We start first in New England. After all, Flores will be a master of delegation, but he knows this scheme as well as anyone. Few teams mix up their fronts with more frequency than the New England Patriots.

The prevailing theme among these slight variances of defensive schemes is the “Bear” front. A Bear front simply refers to six defenders up around the line of scrimmage. Two of those players are positioned in a linebacker technique while the other four are down linemen.

This variation of the Bear front is a 3-3 look using three down-linemen, two outside ‘backers shaded off the 9-technique alignment.

In this image provided by the Twitter account of James Light, we can see the variations from the nickel and dime packages (yes, Miami will FINALLY be running some dime defense in 2019).

The more traditional look aligns those six players in a 4-2 set.

Bret Bielema last coached (on the field) in 2017 at Arkansas, so he’s no stranger to the evolution of the college game and its integration into the NFL. There, Bielema’s defense was based in the traditional 3-4, but the tight splits inside look an awful lot like the classic Bear front (nose tackle over the center and two fellow linemen in a variance between 2i and 4 techniques). Bielema helped institute some of these principles in 2018 – his one season with the Patriots.

The common theme between all of these looks is to prevent specific run plays. The inside run becomes increasingly difficult with all the bodies down around the line of scrimmage. The even bigger factor (both literally and figuratively) is the beef inside.

Lining up with three down-linemen (pushing 300 pounds a pop) and defending one gap makes it nearly impossible to pull, which means the end of any gap-scheming.

The scheme is also designed to shut down inside zone, but also free up the linebackers with fewer keys and responsibilities. Instead of asking the defensive ends to set the edge on the way to their pass rush (the design of the wide-9) this alignment puts that responsibility on the outside linebackers.

The widened pre-snap alignment gives the linebackers a quicker, unimpeded path to outside runs. Only the Mike Linebacker has to weed through trash and take on blocks in this defense. Raekwon McMillan would likely serve as the Middle Linebacker. McMillan’s instincts and physicality at the point-of-attack would capitalize on the things the former Buckeye does well.

Then there’s the influence of the actual Titled-Defensive Coordinator, Patrick Graham. Working under Mike Pettine, Graham absorbed the principles of the Bear front and the 46 defense. Pettine spent time with Rex Ryan in Baltimore and with the New York Jets and, as we all know, Rex’s Dad Buddy was the originator of the 46 defense.

The imagine comes from the Patriots defense, but it’s along the lines of what you see in Green Bay with Pettine (and Graham). Four down-linemen condensed to create space off the edge of the linebackers. This means more pass rushing opportunities from linebackers.

Later, as it inches near official status in the way it has with Graham, we will dive into the potential principles and concepts of Jim Caldwell’s offense in today’s NFL. Much like the Dolphins inclination to bring an experienced consultant along with the young defensive boss, the play on the attack unit is heading in that direction as well.

These consultants figure in as prominent fixtures early in this experimental tenure of young coaches. Caldwell (63-years-old with 41 years of coaching experience) and Bielema (48-years-old with 22 years of coaching experience) can ease the transition to the Flores/Graham grouping along with whomever (possibly Chad O’Shea of the Patriots) Flores chooses as his Offensive Coordinator.

The offensive crash course will be posted just as soon as we have more concrete news.

@WingfieldNFL

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Miami Dolphins

Miami Dolphins Mock Draft Roundup: A Kyler Murray Sighting

Skyler Trunck

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It is that time of year again.  Yes, the time of year where we all jump to immediate conclusions, argue and judge each other on projections that, statistically speaking, have a less chance of happening than winning the lottery or being struck by lightning multiple times.

It’s mock draft season!  Well – it’s been mock draft season since December 30th but who’s counting…

Let’s get started on what I hope becomes a weekly (or bi-weekly depending on how many updates are made) mock draft roundup for Miami’s 13th overall pick:

 

Bleacher Report: Greedy Williams – CB – LSU

Greedy Williams, arguably one of the top corners in this draft — right up there with Washington corner Byron Murphy.  Someone to pair with all-pro corner, Xavien Howard, is a need for this Miami defense. Drafting or bringing in a reliable #2 corner also allows Miami to play players like Bobby McCain and Minkah Fitzpatrick in their proper roles, slot corner and safety respectively.

Williams is a tall corner, measuring in at 6’3”.  Add in the speed he possesses and simply looking at the metrics, he has what you want, physically, for a corner.

 

CBS Sports: Greedy Williams – CB – LSU

Right off the bat, two mocks having Miami select LSU corner, Greedy Williams.  It’s hard to argue against this pick when you watch Williams.

For those looking for a quarterback, this mock draft saw four — yes, four — quarterbacks go before Miami’s selection.  In between those selections saw a lot of the top defensive line players taken – both edge and interior. Assuming this is the case, a player like Williams would be a solid pick as far as value and need go.

 

The Draft Network: Kyler Murray – QB – Oklahoma

Now it’s getting exciting!  There isn’t a player in this draft with more hype than Kyler Murray.  As written here at Locked on Dolphins, Murray has the answers for this Miami team.

Some question if he will be available at #13.  As Ian Rapoport reports, maybe that idea isn’t so far-fetched.  Maybe it’s just early smoke-screens or maybe teams are actually concerned about his size.  Make no mistake, despite the round 2 or 3 grade, quarterbacks always find their name called much earlier.  Murray will be no exception.

2019 still may be a “rebuilding” year, but I promise drafting Murray would produce a season defined as anything but boring.  If you’re hoping for Miami to make a splash in the draft, drafting Murray would certainly be the biggest play.

 

Drafttek: Dexter Lawrence – DT – Clemson

Dexter Lawrence did not play in Clemson’s final two games, which ultimately resulted in a national championship.  Although Lawrence wasn’t on the field, don’t misunderstand the impact Lawrence had on this Clemson team.

Lawrence has the size to play on the interior of a defensive line, coming in at 6’4” and 340 lbs.  He isn’t the quickest tackle in the world, but he can stop the run with the best of them and bring interior pressure to disrupt the quarterback.  Although I feel this is high for Lawrence and there may be more impactful positional prospects available at this pick (e.g. defensive end Jachai Polite, Montez Sweat), he would be a safe pick who would contribute day 1 for this Miami defense.

 

Pro Football Focus: Dexter Lawrence – DT – Clemson

This now makes two choices for Clemson star interior defensive lineman, Dexter Lawrence.  

What is interesting, in this mock, players like Houston’s Ed Oliver were still available.  Oliver, also an interior defensive lineman, has a different skillset than Lawrence, obvious by Oliver coming in measured at 6’3” and 292 lbs.

Is Miami looking for that big man in the middle who doesn’t get moved around (like Minnesota defensive tackle, Linval Joseph), or the quick tackle, more built for pass-rushing (like Los Angeles defensive tackle Aaron Donald).  Who knows, but if both are in the board, Miami’s plan for the future at defensive line will be clear with this pick.

 

SB Nation: Daniel Jones – QB – Duke

It’s no secret Miami is in the market for a quarterback.  Although Duke quarterback, Daniel Jones, has potential, this would be a reach.  Jones doesn’t seem to have the high ceiling other quarterbacks slotted in the first round do, so why reach on a player who at best may be a slightly better version of Ryan Tannehill?  There are other options out there at a cheaper price.

When you thrown in Miami is supposedly eyeing the 2020 draft class for their franchise quarterback with the 2019 draft geared towards fixing the trenches, it only raises more questions at why this may be the pick.

All that said, it’s the NFL draft.  Smoke screens are a plenty and no one really knows what a team is going to do and how a player will or won’t turn out.  Pulling the trigger on your franchise quarterback is certainly alluring, but why not put your chips all in on a player who has the franchise-altering potential?  I just don’t see it with Jones.

 


 

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

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