ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay unveiled his second 2018 NFL mock draft on Tuesday, but his choice for the Miami Dolphins remains the same.
With the 11th overall pick, McShay projects the Dolphins will select Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson. In his first mock draft, which came out in mid-December while the regular season was still underway, he had the Dolphins taking Nelson 14th overall.
“Quarterback could be an option if one of the top four QBs is still available here. However, Miami has a glaring need at guard, both in the run game [29th in rushing yards in 2017] and to protect Ryan Tannehill,” McShay explained. “Dolphins fans won’t be excited with this pick, but they would be getting one of the top five football players in this draft. Nelson is one of the safer picks.”
If the pick holds firm, it will mark the fourth time in the past eight years and second time under coach Adam Gase that the Dolphins invested their first-round pick on an offensive lineman. The other three: Mike Pouncey in 2011, Ja’Wuan James in 2014 and Laremy Tunsil in 2016.
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Nelson started 36 games over the last three seasons at Notre Dame, including 24 at left guard and 12 at left tackle. He was named a unanimous first-team All-American in his final collegiate season. McShay has Nelson ranked as the ninth-best player in the draft class and the top overall offensive lineman.
McShay projects four quarterbacks to be selected in the first six picks: USC’s Sam Darnold No. 1 to the Browns, UCLA’s Josh Rosen at No. 2 to the Giants, Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield at No. 5 to the Broncos and Wyoming’s Josh Allen at No. 6 to the Jets. He has the Raiders selecting Virginia Tech defensive end/linebacker Tremaine Edmunds with the pick right before the Dolphins. Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith is still available for the Dolphins in this mock draft but falls to the Redskins at No. 13.