Dolphins head coach Brian Flores is living the dream
The odds remain in favor of the Dolphins addressing their defensive line with their first-round choice, but if the pick is going to be used on offense, there are only a handful of realistic options at No. 13 or in a trade down.
Chatter on each of them, plus offensive options in Round 2:
▪ Missouri quarterback Drew Lock. He’s projected squarely for that range, but an official who spoke with the Dolphins and NFL Net’s Charles Davis said they would be surprised if Miami goes quarterback at 13.
New offensive coordinator Chad O’Shea has spoken of accuracy as one of the most important qualities in a quarterback. And Lock’s has been erratic. He completed just 56.9 percent of his passes in four years at Missouri, though he did improve last year to 62.9 (40th among FBS quarterbacks).
NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein said he has “prototypical size and arm talent, but one that has a concerning lack of accuracy and consistency against top opponents.”
But on the flip side, you’ll hear voices like that of Mel Tucker – the former Dolphins assistant, now with the Colorado Buffalos - who went up against Lock three times as Georgia’s defensive coordinator.
“His arm talent is off the charts,” Tucker told the Denver Post. “He throws a really nice deep ball and he’ll have a really good NFL career.”
If you can get a higher-rated quarterback in the 2020 draft (and the Dolphins believe they can), why not use your first pick to begin addressing the defensive front, which was the plan all along? There’s also the possibility Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins could fall to Miami’s range.
▪ UF offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor. The Gators’ starting right tackle last season might be the only offensive lineman worthy of 13 if the Dolphins don’t move down; ESPN’s Mel Kiper has him going in the top 10. He visited Dolphins headquarters on Monday.
Zierlein assesses him this way: “He’ll need technique work in the run game and has to keep his weight in check, but he should be an early starter at right tackle or guard with a positive impact on the run game right away.”
▪ Three other offensive tackles who would be in play with trade downs to the late teens or 20s: Alabama’s Jonah Williams, a tackle in college who could be a very good NFL guard; Washington State’s Andre Dillard (more of a left tackle who would need to move to the right side here) and Oklahoma guard/tackle Cody Ford.
And guards Chris Lindstrom (Boston College) and Erik McCoy (Texas A&M) would be options if Miami’s first pick is in the mid 20s. Miami has taken interest in Lindstrom.
Perhaps a case could be made for Williams at No. 13, but I’m not sure any of the offensive linemen - except for Taylor - are good value at 13.
▪ Iowa tight end T.J. Hockenson. Would be difficult to justify this pick after selecting Mike Gesicki in the second round last year.
Kiper has him going 10th: “The 6-foot-5, 250-pound Hockenson has been compared to Rob Gronkowski and you can see the similarities on film,” Kiper said. But it would be surprising if Miami goes in this direction.
▪ Mississippi receiver D.J. Metcalf: This also would be difficult to justify, with the Dolphins already having six NFL-caliber
receivers and a dire need on the offensive and defensive lines. The Dolphins brought in Oklahoma receiver Marquise Brown, coming off a Lisfranc foot injury, for a visit, but he’s projected for late in the first round.
▪ Second-round options on offense at No. 48?
Some names to watch: Offensive tackles Kaleb McGary (Washington), Greg Little (Mississippi), Dalton Risner (Kansas State), Tytus Howard (Alabama State; could move into first round), plus three quarterbacks: Duke’s Daniel Jones (if he falls), Auburn’s Jarrett Stidham (gaining momentum) and West Virginia quarterback Will Grier (might be gone by then and Dolphins have some questions about him, we’re told).
Among receivers projected for round two, there’s South Carolina’s Deebo Samuel, Mississippi’s A.J. Brown, Notre Dame’s Miles Boykin,
Ohio State’s Paris Campbell and Arizona State’s N’Keal Harry. But even though we hear Miami wants to add more explosiveness, the Dolphins cannot afford to use early round picks at receiver.
COUPLE OTHER THINGS
▪ It’s expected that the Dolphins will take a wait-and-see approach with potential 2020 free agent Kenyan Drake. Kalen Ballage’s development could be a factor in determining how much the Dolphins would be willing to pay Drake when his contract expires after this season.
Asked about entering the final year of his contract, Drake said: “I’d be lying if I said [I wasn’t thinking about it] … Obviously, it’s not the reality of the situation. But I understand that what I do right now is going to affect that when it comes. I’m just putting the work in right now in the weight room and film room, on the practice field, at home watching film, putting myself in the best position, so when I come out here there’s no hesitation, there’s no what ifs. I’m coming out here trying to put my best on the field.“
▪ The Dolphins had a presence at Dwyane Wade’s final Heat home game against Philadelphia last week. Bobby McCain said he and Cornell Armstrong attended.
“It was definitely a top three [sports moment for me],” McCain said. “Just seeing him come out, seeing the city come out and support him for everything he’s done, with the three championships and just the legendary career he’s had, he’s very appreciated. … It was a lot of fun and I was just happy to be a part of it.”
Dolphins adviser Dan Marino also paid tribute to Wade on Twitter.
Wade, incidentally, spent well over two hours on Wednesday signing autographs and posing for pictures with every Miami Heat employee.
Here’s my other Dolphins post from Wednesday on Minkah Fitzpatrick, DeVante Parker, Charles Harris and more.