Mock draft season is officially here.
While there are still four teams playing for a spot in the Super Bowl, ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. unveiled his first mock draft Thursday morning.
And with the 11th overall selection, Kiper projected that the Miami Dolphins will take Notre Dame offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey.
McGlinchey played in 51 games during his career at Notre Dame and started every game during his final three seasons with the Fighting Irish. He started at left tackle each of the last two seasons and was named a first-team All-American last season by the Associated Press, American Football Coaches Association, Football Writers Association of America and Walter Camp Foundation.
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“The Dolphins are a tough team to pick for because the roster has so many questions,” Kiper explained. “What's going to happen with free agent Jarvis Landry? Are they set long-term at quarterback? Is there a No. 1 back on the team? And that's just offense. For now I'll go with McGlinchey, who is my top-ranked tackle in a solid class. There are five tackles who could go in the first round. He has played on the left and right sides and could be the immediate starter at right tackle for the Dolphins, who have Laremy Tunsil slotted in on the blindside.”
The offensive line is one of the Dolphins’ many needs to address during free agency and the draft, along with tight end, linebacker and defensive backs, among others. The team does not seem likely to re-sign Ja’Wuan James, who has been the team’s primary right tackle since being drafted in the first round of the 2014 draft. James, who is due more than $9 million next year, missed the final eight games of the season with a hamstring injury, marking the second time in three years that he missed at least half the season. With his injury, along with injuries to guards Anthony Steen (foot) and Jermon Bushrod (foot), the Dolphins wound up using five different offensive line combinations throughout the season.
As a result, the offense struggled. The Dolphins finished 25th in yards per game (307.7) and 22nd in yards per play (4.9). The Dolphins also averaged a meager 3.9 yards per rush this season, the ninth-worst mark in the NFL.