The Dolphins enter Thursday’s draft knowing they absolutely need to add two defensive linemen and a guard. They would like to find a safety to groom to play longterm alongside Reshad Jones and, if possible, add a cornerback, and are open to drafting one in the first two days.
The Dolphins used most of their 30 permitted visits on defensive players and defense remains the priority high in the draft.
Here’s who experts are mocking to the Dolphins with the 22nd overall pick:
• NFL Network’s Mike Mayock: Wisconsin linebacker TJ Watt: “They need an edge rusher. Cameron Wake is 35. William Hayes is 32. One year starter at Wisconsin. Converted tight end. But trust me, folks, DNA don’t lie. He’s explosive, quick and he’s got the motor of the rest of that friggin’ family” - meaning Houston Texans star JJ Watt.
My take: Dolphins have studied Watt, but No. 22 would seem high for him.
• NFL Net’s Daniel Jeremiah, ESPN’s Todd McShay, CBS’ Rob Rang and Pro Football Focus’ Steve Palazzolo: Western Kentucky guard Forrest Lamp.
Palazzolo: “Lamp has graded as a top-five offensive tackle in each of the last three years; shown athleticism and power in the run game while allowing only 31 pressures on 1,621 attempts in pass protection.”
My take: Miami would prefer to take a defensive player in the first round. Lamp can’t be ruled out in Round 1, but it’s not the Dolphins’ preference. They believe they can find quality guards later in the draft.
• ESPN’s Mel Kiper: UF linebacker Jarrad Davis. “Has a nose for the football. Has the potential to be an every-down player.”
My take: Productive player with high character and natural 4-3 fit. Dolphins brought him in for a visit and he’s very much in the mix at No. 22.
• NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein: Michigan State defensive tackle Malik McDowell. “Extremely talented but also inconsistent effort.”
My take: A No. 3 tackle must be added at some point, but McDowell’s uneven effort is a concern here. Many have him going lower.
• ESPN’s Louis Riddick: Vanderbilt linebacker Zach Cunningham.
Riddick: “I like Cunningham a lot, and I know there are some teams near the bottom of the first round hoping he falls to them. He gets to the ball in a hurry.”
My take: I like the player, but this is higher than most project him.
• NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks and CBS’ Pete Prisco: Temple linebacker Haason Reddick.
My take: Miami likes him but he’s expected to be gone by 22.
• SI.com’s Peter King: LSU cornerback Tre’Davious White. “Position of desperate need when you play Tom Brady eight quarters a year.”
My take: Higher than most have him going.
• SI.com’s Chris Burke: Michigan’s Jabril Peppers. “Peppers can be used to erase matchup issues as he grows into his role—Nate Allen and TJ McDonald are on one-year deals.”
My take: Dolphins owner Stephen Ross loves him but says he won’t force any pick. Lack of clear position (safety/linebacker) is only cause for pause.
Here’s a look at one local media member who you will either love or hate during Thursday’s draft, plus ESPN’s layoffs today, including two former NFL quarterbacks.
Here’s a look at a second- or third-round guard that the Dolphins quietly summoned to team headquarters.