Mel Kiper, for weeks, has been advocating that Miami select Western Kentucky guard Forrest Lamp at No. 22, even though there are more pressing needs on defense.
But in his latest mock draft in which Kiper says what he would do if were GM of every team, Kiper has Lamp going 16th to Baltimore and has something else in mind for Miami.
Kiper has Miami taking UF linebacker Jarrad Davis at 22, Colorado cornerback Chidobe Awuzie at 54 and USC guard Zach Banner at 97.
Kiper’s take, on ESPN.com: “With Forrest Lamp and the top-four cornerbacks off the board, I'm moving on to linebacker for the Dolphins, who are set in the middle with Kiko Alonso but have questions at both outside spots. Enter Davis, whose intangibles I love. He's a reliable linebacker with a nose for the football who could play inside or outside in the NFL. He has the potential to be an every-down player.
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“I like 2016 second-round pick Xavien Howard at corner, but as I've said, this is a passing league. Teams need corners. Awuzie is the best tackling corner in this draft. He tackles so well that he could play safety. Banner could be Miami's answer at guard, with Laremy Tunsil moving outside to left tackle. Banner (6-foot-8, 353 pounds) started three seasons at right tackle for the Trojans, but I don't think he has the athleticism to play outside in the NFL.”
Meanwhile, ESPN’s Todd McShay says Miami should take these players:
• Ohio State cornerback Garreon Conley at No. 22 and Temple guard Dion Dawkins at 54, though he also has made a case for Vanderbilt linebacker Zach Cunningham at 54.
Said McShay: “With 35-inch arms, Dawkins has the necessary length to potentially play tackle, but he lined up at guard during Senior Bowl practices, and that might end up being his best fit in the NFL.”
Meanwhile, ESPN analyst and Scout Inc.’s Kevin Weidl advocates the following plan for the Dolphins:
• UF’s Davis at 22 (and Davis - who is pictured above - has visited the Dolphins, according to a source):
“After ranking 30th against the run in 2016, the Dolphins obviously need help along the front seven,” Weidl said. “Miami signed Lawrence Timmons to a two-year deal, which should allow Kiko Alonso to bump from the middle linebacker position to the outside, where he can utilize more of his athleticism. However, Timmons, 30, hasn't made the same impact as he did early in his career and adding Davis to eventually take over the reins wouldn't be a bad decision. Davis is an instinctive, explosive and physical defender who would make an immediate impact, particularly because of his ability to potentially line up at three linebacker spots if needed.”
• Weidl encourages Miami takes Indiana guard Dan Feeney at 54. (As we wrote this week, Miami has worked him out.)
“While Laremy Tunsil is slated to bump outside at left tackle, and the Dolphins retained Jermon Bushrod on a one-year deal, there is a need to infuse young talent on the interior,” Weidl said. “Feeney is a technician who plays with quality balance and his above-average feel for angles would be ideal within the Dolphins' heavy zone-blocking scheme. In addition, he has shown the ability to bump out to tackle in an emergency situation, the same spot where he lined up as a senior for the Hoosiers. Adding Feeney in the second round would make the Dolphins solid across the board up front, with Ted Larsen adding depth as a versatile reserve.”
• And finally, Weidl says USC defensive tackle Stevie Tu'ikolovatu would be a smart pick at 97.
Weidl’s take: “Defensive tackle Jordan Phillips has shown promise, but after losing Earl Mitchell in free agency and failing to sign one of the bigger name, free-agent DTs, Miami needs to add depth in the middle of the defense. At 6-foot-1 and 330 pounds, Tu'ikolovatu is a massive and powerful interior bully who would provide a big boost for the Dolphins' interior run defense.”