The Dolphins enter Day 2 of the NFL Draft on Friday with two dire needs: a right tackle and an edge rusher who can play defensive end in a 4-3 and possibly some outside linebacker when Miami uses a 3-4 front.
There are also less critical needs, including a guard to compete with Jesse Davis and Chris Reed for two starting jobs and a cornerback (more pressing if Minkah Fitzpatrick plays safety). And it’s also possible the Dolphins could use a second-day pick on a quarterback or a trade for Arizona’s Josh Rosen.
But Miami must come out of Friday with at least a starting right tackle or a starting defensive end, preferably both.
Some potential options:
▪ The Dolphins must hope that one of the top tackles or top edge rushers is still available at 48 or at 78 if the pick at 48 is used at another position.
Among edge rushers, Louisiana Tech’s Jaylon Ferguson — the NCAA’s all-time sack leader with 44 — could be off the board by 48 but would be highly tempting if he’s not.
Options in that range of 48 include TCU’s Ben Banogu (a defensive end/outside linebacker who visited Miami and had 8.5 sacks and 18 tackles for loss last season), Michigan linebacker Chase Winovich (didn’t visit Miami but the Dolphins are intrigued; 18.5 sacks, three forced fumbles over past three years); Old Dominion outside linebacker/defensive end Oshane Ximines (visited Miami; 11 sacks and four forced fumbles last season); and Boston College’s Zach Allen (6.5 sacks and 16 tackles for loss last season, with seven pass breakups and two blocked kicks).
Options at 78 could include Ximines, Allen, Banogu, Eastern Michigan’s Maxx Crosby (19 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks; visited the Dolphins), Texas defensive end Charles Omenihu (9.5 sacks, 18 tackles for loss last season), Iowa defensive end Anthony Nelson (13.5 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks last season), and UF linebacker Jachai Polite if he’s even on Miami’s board (17.5 tackles for loss, 11 sacks, six forced fumbles last season but hurt, per NFL.com, by “bad combine interviews, bad workouts and additional weight around the midsection has substantially clouded his draft standing into the boom-or-bust category”).
▪ Among offensive tackles, UF’s Jawaan Taylor was arguably the top right tackle in this draft but fell out of the first round partly because of medical issues.
“Teams have multiple medical red flags on Jawaan Taylor,” draft analyst Tony Pauline said. “He has knee, back, and weight issues that’s scaring teams.”
Still, it would be somewhat surprising if he slips to 48.
If he doesn’t, Miami’s tackle options could include Oklahoma’s Cody Ford (third- team All American; can also play guard), Mississippi’s Greg Little (Dolphins like him) and Kansas State’s Dalton Risner (second-team All American right tackle last season). Interior linemen in that range include Texas A&M’s Erik McCoy and Mississippi State center Elgton Jenkins.
If the Dolphins wait until 78 to address right tackle, potential options there include Oklahoma’s Bobby Evans (Dolphins like him), guard/tackle Michael Deiter (Wisconsin) and West Virginia’s Yodny Cajuste, among others.
▪ There are a lot of good cornerbacks left on the board, and this is a real possibility for Day 2. But if the Dolphins draft one, it would reinforce the suspicion that the Dolphins will try to move on from Reshad Jones after June 1 and move Fitzpatrick to safety.
Top corners still available include Washington’s Byron Murphy (will be selected by Arizona with the first pick of the second round, according to ESPN), LSU’s Greedy Williams, Kentucky’s Lonnie Johnson, Auburn’s Jamel Dean (Dolphins like him), Temple’s Rock Ya-Sin, Vanderbilt’s Joejuan Williams, Houston’s Isaiah Johnson, Michigan’s David Long, Notre Dame’s Julian Love and Clemson’s Trayvon Mullen (took the initiative to drop by Dolphins headquarters on his own last month).
All of those are projected to go in the second round by at least some evaluators, but a few could slip into the third.
Potential options at 78 include Alabama’s Saivon Smith, Penn State’s Amani Orowariye, Michigan State’s Justin Layne, Central Michigan’s Sean Bunting, Ohio State’s Kendall Sheffield, Texas’ Kris Boyd and likely at least one or more from the aforementioned second-round options.
▪ Among high-impact linebackers who can’t be discounted on Day 2 for Miami: Alabama’s Mack Wilson, BYU linebacker Jahlani Tavai (visited Miami) and North Carolina State’s Jermaine Pratt.
THIS AND THAT
Defensive tackle Christian Wilkins, the Dolphins’ pick at No. 13, is eligible to sign a four-year, $15.438 million deal, with a fifth-year option. Per overthecap.com, his cap hits would be $2.8 million, $3.5 million, $4.2 million and $4.9 million over the next four seasons.
▪ The Dolphins have now taken more defensive linemen (12) in the first round of NFL drafts than any other position.
▪ Wilkins is the first defensive tackle the Dolphins have selected in the first round since 1996 when the team took Daryl Gardener with the 20th overall pick.
▪ Wilkins is the fourth player the Dolphins have selected at No. 13, joining Laremy Tunsil (2016), the deceased David Overstreet (1981) and A.J. Duhe (1977).
Duhe was the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year in 1977 and was selected to the Pro Bowl in 1984, and Tunsil has started 44 games in his first three NFL seasons.
▪ Wilkins joins Cordrea Tankersley and Dwayne Allen as the third Clemson player on the Dolphins’ roster.
Please click here for my Friday Marlins nuggets, including an update on how many of their top prospects are doing.