Miami Dolphins' Post-Free Agency Complete 7-Round Mock Draft
The Miami Dolphins have a lot riding on the 2014 NFL draft. With so much player turnover and changes in the front office over the past couple years, this draft could go a long way toward righting the ship for good.
I am not usually a huge fan of mocks, because it is just so hard to predict how a draft will go with trades being inevitable yet impossible for us to foresee. They are useful to instead look at team needs and discuss which prospects could be good values and fits for a certain team.
Miami has some flexibility in this draft, which they have not had in recent years. That will make this an incredibly interesting seven rounds, and that is reflected in this mock.
Keep your minds open. Things will not unfold the way the media has planned it over the past few months.
Here is my second complete seven-round mock draft for the Dolphins.
Round 1 (19): Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State
Here's how things have gone recently for Miami Dolphins' fans and the media: first everyone pegged in Zack Martin as the pick at No. 19, then got bored/realized he was going to be drafted higher than that, per Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com, so then C.J. Mosley became the "obvious" pick.
Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I'm operating under the belief that neither of those players will be available when it's the Dolphins' turn. But I still like the idea of a linebacker and so here's the most athletic one in the draft.
Shazier is an ultra-athletic, sideline-to-sideline weak-side linebacker in the mold of Lavonte David. He can stay on the field for all three downs, and he would be an instant upgrade over Philip Wheeler.
This would still mean that Koa Misi and Dannell Ellerbe are manning the other two linebacker spots, but you can't fix everything in one swoop. Getting a guy like Shazier would be a step in the right direction.
Round 2 (50): Ja'Wuan James, OT, Tennessee
Here's another scary thought: I don't think Morgan Moses will still be on the board at No. 50, and I'm not positive that Joel Bitonio will be either.
James has long been overshadowed by former teammate Antonio Richardson, but I actually prefer James to Richardson for Miami by a long shot.
He was a stalwart on the right side of the line for four years, is lighter than Richardson, and he reportedly looked very fluid and athletic at Tennessee's Pro Day, according to Rob Rang of NFLDraftScout.com.
Miami needs an experienced and athletic tackle who can come in and start on the right side right away, unless they bring in a veteran who is still on the market. As of now though, this has to be the pick. It could also help Dallas Thomas to bring in an old teammate to play with.
Round 3 (81): Brandon Coleman, WR, Rutgers
It's hard for me to explain how strongly my belief is that Miami needs to take a wide receiver in the early rounds of this draft. It's such a crazy deep class, and the Dolphins' receiving corps has more problems than people realize.
At this juncture in the draft, some serious talent will still be left on the board, but other favorites like Jordan Matthews, Donte Moncrief, Cody Latimer and Brandin Cooks will all be long gone.
Coleman is perhaps the most overlooked receiver in the draft after playing with a horrendous offense at Rutgers in 2013. Guys like him just don't come around too often.
He's 6'6" with long arms and solid hands, and his athleticism and in-game speed is outrageous for such a big receiver. You can't watch this highlight video and not wonder what he'd look like in a Miami uniform.
Round 4 (116): Philip Gaines, CB, Rice
The Dolphins have a rather suspect group of cornerbacks as it stands today. With the departures of Nolan Carroll and Dimitri Patterson, there are some big holes to fill.
Cortland Finnegan is injury prone and insanely inconsistent, so relying on him too heavily would be a mistake. Jamar Taylor and Will Davis will have to carry much of the burden, alongside Brent Grimes.
They need to bring in some more talent, and Gaines would fit the bill. He's got a good combination of size and quickness, and he is a solid developmental-type prospect.
He would be fine as the team's fifth corner in 2014 and would provide extra competition down the road.
Round 5 (155): Antone Exum, CB/S, Virginia Tech
This could end up being a great value pick for Miami. With Louis Delmas on a one-year contract and questions abounding for the cornerbacks, Exum would make a lot of sense here.
He tore his ACL in January last year and missed the first seven games of the 2013 season, and he then missed the last three games of the season with an ankle injury. Clearly those injuries have pushed his stock down.
But from a talent standpoint, you won't get much better than Exum in the fifth round. He's big (6'0", 213 pounds), strong, physical and has experience as a four-year starter all over the secondary.
He excelled as both a free safety and nickel corner in college, and there's no reason to think that he couldn't contribute on special teams right away while developing as a cover man for the future.
Round 6 (190): Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, OT/G, McGill University
Consider me the conductor of the "LDT" train. This late in the draft, you're just looking for a diamond in the rough who could contribute some day.
And the 6'5", 310-pound Duvernay-Tardif is certainly buried pretty far in the rough, all the way up there at McGill University in Canada. The Montreal native is a medical student who only practiced once a week with the team this year, after starting playing football only 10 years ago and switching to offensive tackle in 2011.
There's clearly a lot of questions there. But when you look at the natural ability, it's tantalizing. At his pro day, he ran the 40 in 4.94 seconds and had a 1.72 10-yard split. He also put up 34 reps, had 31.5-inch vertical leap, 9-foot-6 broad jump and ran a 7.21 in the three-cone drill.
Watching him work out, it's clear he's a rare athlete. Combine that with his intelligence and exceptional work ethic, and you've got a guy who could be molded into a good NFL player one day.
Round 7 (234): Mike McLafferty, TE, Monmouth
Finally, we get to the last round. People have to realize that many seventh rounders never see the field in the NFL. Taking a guy with at least some athleticism is the way to go here.
The Dolphins actually hosted McLafferty on a private workout, per Pro Football Talk, so they clearly have at least a level of interest in him. A former high school quarterback, McLafferty is a raw but talented small-school prospect.
He's 6'6", saw his stats improve dramatically every year after redshirting in 2009, and he is the kind of kid who will just be happy to get a shot. Miami might as well be the team to give one to him.