Barry Jackson

Draft position and schedule set and more Dolphins fallout

Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith (3) yells out commands before Auburn runs a play during the Dec. 4 SEC Championship in Atlanta. Smith is a draft possibility for the Dolphins.
Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith (3) yells out commands before Auburn runs a play during the Dec. 4 SEC Championship in Atlanta. Smith is a draft possibility for the Dolphins. AP

The Dolphins’ disappointing season won’t result in a top 10 draft pick, but it will yield the closest thing to it.

Miami will select 11th overall in April’s draft — a spot that might put the Dolphins in position to potentially land at least one among the draft’s top linebacker (Georgia’s Roquan Smith) or guard (Notre Dame’s Quenton Nelson) or offensive tackle (Texas’ Connor Williams). The draft’s top receiver, Alabama’s Calvin Ridley, is also projected for that range.

Several high-quality players have been selected 11th overall this century, including Ben Roethlisberger, DeMarcus Ware, J.J. Watt, Dwight Freeney, Marcus Trufant and two-time Pro Bowl offensive tackle Taylor Lewan. Jay Cutler also was picked 11th.

New Orleans selected Ohio State cornerback Marshon Lattimore (five interceptions) with the 11th pick last season.

The Dolphins’only 11th overall pick was defensive end Bill Stanfill in 1969.

SCHEDULE SET

• The final two pieces of the Dolphins’ 2018 schedule were set Sunday.

Home opponents: New England, Buffalo, the Jets, Jacksonville, Tennessee, Chicago, Detroit and Oakland.

Road opponents: New England, Buffalo, the Jets, Houston, Indianapolis, Green Bay, Minnesota and Cincinnati.

• The Dolphins have a bunch of players eligible to become unrestricted free agents: Jarvis Landry, Jay Cutler, William Hayes, Damien Williams, Anthony Fasano, Jermon Bushrod, Koa Misi, Nate Allen, Michael Thomas, Matt Moore, John Denney, Alterraun Verner, Sam Young, David Fales, Walt Aikens, Cody Parkey and Terrence Fede.

Fasano, 33, said he is undecided if he wants to play next season and that the risk of brain disease will factor into his decision. He said he has had at least five and possibly seven concussions in his career.

“It would be 50/50,” he said of his decision. “I will take some time to rest and reflect.”

• Kenyan Drake finished fifth among all NFL running backs in yards per carry average (4.8). And according to Pro Football Focus, Drake also led all NFL running backs in yards after contact over the final five games of the season with 373, 82 more than the second-highest. And his 20 forced missed tackles rank second. Drake allowed his first sack on Sunday.

Besides leading the league in receptions (112), Jarvis Landry finished second in targets (156), yards after the catch (523) and forced missed tackles (17).

• Left tackle Zach Sterup started for the first time in his career for the injured Laremy Tunsil and struggled against the Bills, allowing seven quarterback hurries (most for any tackle in Week 17), according to PFF.

• Though Mike Pouncey said this was his best season and his coaches would confirm that, PFF said he had by far his worst season as a run-blocker, ranking 20th of 25 centers.

But Pouncey also had his best season as a pass-blocker since 2012, ranking 13th out of 35 qualifying centers for 2017.

• Defensive end Charles Harris, who finished his rookie season with two sacks, played only two snaps against Buffalo because coaches were being cautious with a thigh injury sustained in the Kansas City game.

Beyond Sterup and quarterback David Fales, other Dolphins who got more playing time than usual included defensive tackle Gabe Wright (23 snaps), cornerback Walt Aikens (first four defensive snaps, giving him just 13 on the year), receiver Jakeem Grant (31 snaps) and linebacker Mike Hull (27).

PFF said linebacker Stephone Anthony graded out best of any Dolphins player against Buffalo, with five tackles and one pass reception allowed (for six yards) in 23 snaps against the Bills.

• Cornerback Xavien Howard, who allowed only six catches on 28 targets over the final six games, relinquished only a 66.8 passer rating in his coverage areas, 15th of 121 qualifying corners.

• Ndamukong Suh’s 877 snaps were third-most for all interior defenders and PFF said “it’s fair to assume he wore down a bit late with no bye week” because he didn’t have a solo tackle in the final two games.

PFF rated Suh eighth among all defensive tackles this season. His 4.5 sacks were his second-lowest total in his eight-year career.

If you missed it overnight, here’s my piece on how the Dolphins plan to clear out cap space.

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