Best- and Worst-Case Scenarios for Miami Dolphins' Top 3 Picks
In the NFL draft there's always the ideal pick, and there's always the "well, he fits a need, we might as well give it a shot" pick.
In other words, the best-case and worst-case scenarios in the draft. The Miami Dolphins could be presented with both scenarios come draft day, and will have to pick accordingly.
So what constitutes the best- and worst-case scenarios? The worst-case scenario usually involves reaching for a player just because you need him or you were impressed with his workouts and think you see something that other people don't see.
The best-case scenario is usually tougher to define, but I would say it involves finding a player that's on the board a few picks later than you would expect, for reasons beyond said players control (like teams indulging in their worst-case scenario).
What are those scenarios for the Dolphins? Keep reading to find out.
Best Case in Round 1: Top QB Is Available, Allowing for a Trade with the Browns
This is a rather specific best-case scenario that involves these factors: one of the top two quarterbacks in the draft (Teddy Bridgewater or Blake Bortles) being available at 19, followed by the Cleveland Browns being in need of one.
For this to work in said scenario, the Dolphins will have to put on their absolute best poker face and try to convince the Browns (and the NFL) that they're not 100 percent certain that Ryan Tannehill is the guy, while the Browns will have to draft another position in order to be in need of a quarterback.
The second part could certainly happen, as this draft class really doesn't have a quarterback that should go in the top five (some would go so far as to say top 10, but I'm not going to stretch it that much). Picking fourth, the Browns should certainly be able to draft one of the three best players in the draft (Jadeveon Clowney, Khalil Mack and Sammy Watkins) and hope that a quarterback falls to them.
How possible is it that Bridgewater or Bortles could be available at 19 is another story, but as Omar Kelly of the Sun-Sentinel explains, "it is a strong possibility one of the draft's first-round quarterbacks will be there when Miami's on the clock on May 8th."
This leads to the first part (and I'll include Fresno State's Derek Carr as one of the first-round picks as well since, if anything, he's the most likely quarterback to be available at that point), which will be difficult for the Dolphins, since it does seem rather clear that they do believe in Ryan Tannehill.
If Bridgewater, Bortles or Carr are there at 19, it will be in Miami's best interest to Hollywood it, and I'm fairly shocked that they haven't invited at least Derek Carr down for a pre-draft visit, which is something that could help them in said situation.
Why is this the best-case scenario? Simple: more draft picks. This is a good and deep draft, especially at some of Miami's real positions of need (offensive line and linebacker are the top two), and it would help the Dolphins if they could get at least an extra pick in the first three rounds.
A trade down with Cleveland could do that, as it would likely involve the 26th pick (Cleveland's second first-round pick by way of Indianapolis) and the Browns' third-round pick (the 71st pick).
No other team in the first round with such a pronounced need can offer anything similar to that.
Worst Case in Round 1: Reaching for Virginia Tackle Morgan Moses
Let me first start off by saying that I like Morgan Moses and what he has to offer to the Miami Dolphins at right tackle.
He'd be a great fit on the offensive line and can play both right and left tackle, and is already used to the zone-blocking scheme that the Dolphins employ.
He also has experience working with Miami's offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, who was Virginia's offensive coordinator from 2010-12.
With that said, drafting Moses would be a big reach for the Dolphins in Round 1; I like him better as an early-to-mid second-round pick.
Sadly for Miami, this is what could lead to Moses being the pick at 19: Eric Ebron going early (very likely, as he is a top-10 talent), while Taylor Lewan, Zack Martin and C.J. Mosley are gone before 19.
In that case, it would be hard for the Dolphins to not pick Moses, as he plays a position of great need, as well as every thing I mentioned above. That doesn't mean he wouldn't be a reach though, at least at 19.
If the Dolphins trade down (as mentioned in the previous slide) then draft Moses later in the first round, it's not as big of a reach and, if anything, it would be nearly the perfect pick.
Best Case in Round 2: Austin Seferian-Jenkins-Tight End, Washington
I'd love to see the Dolphins draft a tight end in the first two rounds, and, in fact, Eric Ebron would've been my best-case scenario for round one, had it not been for the fact that picking up an extra draft pick via a trade down is slightly more appealing to me.
Also speaking of something that would almost happen, I like Morgan Moses enough that I almost considered double-dipping, by making him the best-case scenario for the second round, but that would feel very redundant, since I sang his praises in the last slide and even stated that if Miami traded down in the first round, I'd be in favor of picking him.
With that said, my best case scenario in round two, regardless of what Miami does in the first round, is Washington tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins.
Pair him with Charles Clay, and you'd have a pretty formidable tight end unit, as well as a true threat in the red zone for Ryan Tannehill.
His weakness right now is as a blocker, but he's working on that and has the tools to improve in that department. He has the ability to be a true No. 1 tight end threat in the NFL and, because of that, I could easily see him going in the second round.
He's the second-best tight end prospect in the draft this year and has plenty of potential. If he's available at 50 when Miami is on the clock that Friday evening, he'd be my pick, unless a miracle occurs where they can draft Eric Ebron in the first round.
Worst Case in Round 2: Reaching for Any Running Back
Running back is a position that went from being a need to a luxury for the Dolphins this offseason.
That's what the Knowshon Moreno signing did. Because of said signing, I wouldn't recommend picking a running back until the third round at the earliest, and even then he'd have to be one of the few that completely impress me (Tre Mason of Auburn and Charles Sims of West Virginia, and no one else in the third round).
Going running back in the second round would be a huge reach, especially with the needs that the Dolphins currently have, and will still have, in Round 2. There should be other viable players available in the second round that would fit Miami's needs (most likely would be Wisconsin linebacker Chris Borland, UCLA guard Xavier Su'a-Filo and Tennessee tackle Antonio "Tiny" Richardson).
Best Case in Round 3: Joel Bitonio-Offensive Tackle, Nevada
This is perhaps the toughest best case/worst case slide I've dealt with: Who do I like more, Billy Turner or Joel Bitonio?
Both players would be great Round 3 picks with the Dolphins that can start right away, the difference being Turner has the size (6'5", 315 pounds compared to Bitonio at 6'4", 302 pounds), but Bitonio has a bit more versatility, seeing as he could play both tackle and guard.
I like value versatility, which is why I'd go with Bitonio as the third-round best-case scenario. His impressive performance at the NFL combine also helped him out, although both did well at the event, and both did well at the Senior Bowl.
Worst Case in Round 3: Reaching for Baylor Guard Cyril Richardson
While football season (both college and pro) was in full effect, I heard Cyril Richardson's name being touted as a potential second-round pick.
One quote from CBSSports.com's Dane Brugler showed those high hopes, saying that Richardson was "showing the potential to develop into a top-64 selection very soon."
That might have happened for some, but not for me, and since the end of the season Richardson's stock seems to be falling.
Because of the need for guards, a team could still reach for him, specifically an offensive line-poor team, a description that still aptly describes the Miami Dolphins.
Let me state this: Miami does need a guard, but there will be better guards available in Cyril Richardson. He didn't develop into a second-round pick, and in the third round he would still be a reach. Nothing about him impressed me this season, and his breaking point with me was during the Fiesta Bowl, when he had trouble containing UCF's front seven.
I'm also of the belief that Baylor's offense is a bit gimmicky with offensive linemen, as it relies heavily on speed. For quarterbacks and position players this bodes well for their adjustment into the NFL, but it doesn't really do the same for offensive linemen.
Then there's the fact that Baylor hardly played the cream of the crop on defense, which is where I'd really like to see how well an offensive lineman can play. Sure the same argument could be made for Billy Turner and Joel Bitonio (whom I named in the last slide as being ideal), but those players had better combines and don't have such red flags as "Questionable motivation and passion for the game," which is how Richardson is described in his NFL.com draft profile.
I wouldn't like this pick at all in Round 3, and is likely not only the worst-case scenario in the round for the Dolphins, but also the whole draft.