NFL draft night 2018!! This is when the Miami Dolphins become awesome!
What follows is the only Mando mock draft for 2018. It is based on the latest whispers, rumors, sourcing and best connecting of dots I have been able to do in the last 24-30 hours -- and remember, sometimes I'm pretty solid on connecting dots and sharing what's about to happen:
1. Cleveland Browns -- Sam Darnold -- Quarterback -- USC.
2. New York Giants -- Bradley Chubb -- Defensive end -- North Carolina State.
3. New York Jets -- Josh Rosen -- Quarterback -- UCLA.
4. Cleveland Browns -- Saquon Barkley -- Running back -- Penn State.
5. Buffalo Bills (trade with Denver Broncos) -- Baker Mayfield -- Quarterback -- Oklahoma.
6. Indianapolis Colts-- Roquan Smith -- Linebacker -- Georgia.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- Quenton Nelson -- Guard -- Notre Dame.
8. Chicago Bears -- Tremaine Edmunds -- Linebacker -- Virginia Tech.
9. San Francisco 49ers -- Mike McGlinchey -- Offensive tackle -- Notre Dame.
10 Arizona Cardinals (trade with Oakland Raiders) -- Josh Allen -- Quarterback -- Wyoming.
11. Green Bay Packers (trade with Miami Dolphins) -- Derwin James -- Strong safety -- FSU.
12. Denver Broncos -- Denzel Ward -- Cornerback -- Ohio State.
13. Washington Redskins -- Vita Vea -- Defensive tackle -- Washington.
14. Miami Dolphins -- Rashaan Evans -- Linebacker -- Alabama.
Why this move by the Dolphins?
The Dolphins covet Roquan Smith and Tremaine Edmunds. Both are dynamic. Both fill a great need. Both check a lot of boxes. But they also check a lot of boxes for other teams.
Smith becomes the Derrick Brooks of the new Indy defense which is patterned after Tony Dungy's Tampa 2.
Edmunds, the son of former Dolphins tight end Ferrell Edmunds, is simply a beast physically. He's 6-foot-4, almost 6-5. He's 253 pounds. And he ran a 4.54 at the NFL combine 40-yard dash timing.
All this and Edmunds is only 19 years old..
The thing is Edmunds also shows a natural instinctive ability that combined with his physical abilities and intelligence level suggest he's going to be great. But, alas, he's not there for Miami.
(If either Roquan Smith or Tremaine Edmunds is there, the Dolphins would have an easy time making their pick).
That leaves the Dolphins with options at No. 11, all of them pointing to a trade down.
So that is the Mando pick at No. 11: Trade down.
The Green Bay Packers are calling around, looking to trade up. The Miami pick makes sense for the Packers because they can get to a level high enough to pick a very good player in James to team with Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.
The Dolphins could use Alabama's Minkah Fitzpatrick. But that would leave the Dolphins' coaching staff perhaps trying T.J. McDonald as a nickel or dime linebacker with Fitzpatrick in the deep middle of the field.
Fitzpatrick can also play nickel cornerback. But the Dolphins already have a good young one in Bobby McCain.
So the trade down gives Miami Evans.
Personally, I would start with this: The New England Patriots love him. Bill Belichick loves him. I know this.
And -- no offense to anyone -- Belichick knows more than you. And me. And the Dolphins. If you doubt this, check the past 17 seasons.
If Belichick loves Evans and thinks he's good, I want him. I certainly don't want my team playing him twice every season.
The Dolphins won't admit this, but the last few paragraphs alone should make them want Evans.
Evans checks all the boxes the other guys check:
Sideline to sideline tackler. Check.
Holds the edge on runs. Check.
Can successfully threaten off the edge on delayed blitz. Check.
Willing to learn. Check.
Great family history and background. Check.
Plays well in big games. Check.
Ascending player. He improved each of his four years at Alabama so ... Check.
So what do the Dolphins get for their trade trouble?
The Packers have multiple fourth-round picks, including the very first pick of that round (101st overall), which they acquired from the Cleveland Browns. The Dolphins should pick up that pick for the trouble of moving down three spots.
This would give Miami three, count 'em, three fourth-round picks.
This gives the Dolphins the most valuable pick of the draft's third day -- Saturday. And my guess would be that it gives Miami more than enough ammunition to vault into the third round and perhaps high in that round if Mike Tannenbaum wants to do it
The Dolphins have a good information pipeline to Alabama. They know what's going on there because coach Adam Gase was once an assistant under Nick Saban and general manager Chris Grier was valued by Saban when the coach was with the Dolphins.
Remember that, despite groans from fans and media alike last season, the Dolphins passed on Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster last year in the first round. That was apparently the correct call and they should be applauded for it.
The legendary Miami Herald columnist Edwin Pope, who served as the best man at my wedding, once advised me to never do mock drafts or make predictions to try to tell readers what's about to happen because, he said, "there's a million ways to be wrong and only one way to be right."
I get that and so if I'm wrong, so be it. I think the adults among you will understand the spirit in which a mock draft is done. So to recap the Mando picks:
A trade down.
And Rashaan Evans.
This year the Dolphins do not pass on another Alabama linebacker. I think.