Miami Dolphins draft chatter:
▪ Who should the Dolphins pick 13th overall in Thursday’s NFL Draft, if they don’t trade down (which is a real possibility)?
We gave a couple of analysts who we respect a choice of six options: Missouri quarterback Drew Lock, UF offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor (who many project to go sooner), Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver, FSU defensive end/outside linebacker Brian Burns and Clemson defensive linemen Clelin Ferrell and Christian Wilkins (both of whom the Dolphins like, from what we hear).
You could throw in Michigan end Rashan Gary (a talented but underachieving player at a need position; Mel Kiper has him falling to 18th) and perhaps Mississippi State’s Montez Sweat (a skilled pass rusher whose heart murmur has taken him off some teams’ draft boards but is mocked eighth overall by Kiper).
Here’s how they answered:
▪ NFL Network’s and Fox analyst Charles Davis: He said Ferrell, one of the draft’s top defensive ends, would make the most sense. He had 11.5 sacks and three forced fumbles last season.
“The edge guy is a screaming need for them — with Cam Wake and Robert Quinn gone — not that there’s not a need for Ed Oliver,” Davis said. “Charles Harris has to jump his game up; it’s no more waiting for him now. You can never have enough guys that can rush the passer, and I like Clelin’s length and physicality. He’s good at the point of attack against the run. He rushes with intelligence. I don’t know that he’s the most dynamic NFL pass rusher, but a couple years ago, we said that about Joey Bosa and how did that work out?” (Quite well of course.)
And Davis adds: “I still can’t get a play out of my head against Duke, where Ferrell was rushing the passer, [Duke QB Daniel Jones] gives him a ball fake and Ferrell doesn’t get out of position and reacts in a way where he boxed in the quarterback. It was a heck of a play and he sacked Jones on the play.
“He’s also pretty good against the run. He uses his hands pretty darn well. He plays with a lot of effort and with good leverage even though he’s long.”
Davis, incidentally, said from what he’s hearing, he expects Miami to wait until 2020 to draft its quarterback of the future.
▪ Here’s how NFL draft expert Tony Pauline answered my question: He said if he wasn’t considering Miami’s needs specifically, he would take Oliver because “he’s the highest rated player” of that group. But because he’s picking for Miami in this hypothetical, he would lean toward Clemson defensive tackle Wilkins, “who I don’t rate far behind Oliver and might be a better player for their system.
“Oliver is a smaller three technique tackle, a terrific athlete and can run down ball carriers in the open field but doesn’t have the body type to hold up in a three-man line [that Miami plans to use at times]. If they’re going to play a three-man line part of the time, I would look at Wilkins. He’s a lot sturdier and 35 pounds heavier than Oliver.
“Very explosive player, can make plays in space but doesn’t run ball handlers down like Ed Oliver does. Wilkins can hold up in a three-man line and is not going to be a liability against the run as Oliver might be. And I like Ferrell as well” for the Dolphins.
▪ ESPN’s Todd McShay, alternating picks in a mock draft with Mel Kiper, has Miami picking Lock at 13, saying: “Lock falls right into Miami’s lap. His four seasons of experience, ability to make off-schedule throws with ease and above-average mobility would be welcomed by new offensive coordinator Chad O’Shea.”
Kiper then has the Dolphins taking Louisiana Tech edge rusher Jaylon Ferguson at No. 48, adding that “Miami has needs at almost every position. There’s a chance that Ferguson, the NCAA’s all-time sack leader, sneaks into the end of Round 1.”
Kiper then has the Dolphins taking Mississippi State guard/center Elgton Jenkins at pick 78, saying “Miami should try to trade down to pick up more picks, or it should take the best player available. Jenkins has the potential to be a starter as a rookie.”
▪ Jeremiah could see the Dolphins taking Gary, despite the modest college stats:
“Miami not having drafted a lineman last year, offensively or defensively, this has to be a trench draft for them. I expect them to go heavy there, and just picking there at 13, I would think if Rashan Gary fell down there that that would be one they would turn in quickly. So I would say that’s a floor [for Gary].”
▪ NBC lead NFL analyst and Pro Football Focus investor Cris Collinsworth, on his PFF mock draft, has Miami picking Sweat.
“No Cameron Wake and no Robert Quinn, I go edge rusher for the Dolphins,” Collinsworth said. “Sweat did not grade highly on PFF boards but is just so athletic, I find it hard to believe teams will let him fall below this spot. Risky, but big upside if he lives up to his physical skills.”
▪ My suspicion? That the Dolphins address the offensive or defensive lines in the first round. But I believe besides the trenches and edge rushers, they also would like to add a cornerback by the middle of the draft.