Miami turn to defense in the third round and pick Mason Foster
Miami Dolphins Select Mason Foster, Washington (Outside Linebacker)
Despite their needs on offense, you can’t expect Miami to use all their picks on that side of the ball, particularly if there isn’t anyone who really interests them and fills a need on the board.
If this is the case, the Dolphins’ could go for a defensive player, and having filled a need on the interior line and solved their deep threat issue, Miami opts to improve their pass rush and select the Huskies’ Mason Foster.
Foster is a versatile linebacker, who can be used in a number of schemes as he has the instincts of a middle linebacker, but the athleticism of an OLB. The Dolphins want another pass-rushing OLB to push Koa Misi to improve, and Foster has the potential to do just that. In addition, he is a standout special teams’ contributor.
He is productive and consistent, and would fit nicely into Mike Nolan’s blitz schemes, as he times the snap well. He does a good job avoiding blockers, and has good burst in open lanes. In addition, he looks to strip the ball off the quarterback when he has a blindside hit on the cards. Foster registered 6.5 sacks as a senior, and led the Pac-10 in tackles with 163 (58 more than the next leading tackler in the conference!)
Although he lacks a full repertoire of pass-rush moves, he could contribute quickly for Miami on special teams, and would push Misi to improve. For the record, I believe Miami expects Misi to be just fine, but they still need depth at the position, and his special teams’ qualities are required by the Dolphins.
Foster is instinctive and a quality tackler. He will bring depth to the outside linebacker corps which includes just Quentin Moses, Cameron Wake and Misi at present. While Miami might want to draft on offense here, they won’t ignore the defense if there is no value selecting an offensive player at this point, and the Dolphins might see this as the case. Foster offers decent value in the third; he is unlikely to reach the fourth, but picking him in the second would be a reach. He has the qualities and character that the front office would enjoy working with, and could help Miami right away on special teams.
Other possible selections:
Quan Sturvidant (ILB, North Carolina)—Solid inside linebacker, and possible selection at the end of day two. Sturvidant has the ability that Miami would covet, but might be a reach in the third.
James Carpenter (OT, Arkansas)—Quality offensive tackle who would definitely be a potential pick for Miami. He would eventually take over at right tackle for the Phins, but is unlikely to reach the middle of Round 3.
Titus Young (WR, Boise State)—Another deep threat receiver and return man, who can make yards after the catch. However, his reputation as a diva is hardly something Miami wants in their team, particularly when he has this reputation without even playing a snap in the NFL.
Ricky Stanzi (QB, Iowa)—Perhaps the best developmental quarterback in the draft, Stanzi has improved every year in college, and is the perfect character for the front office; however, he does not have the qualities to start right away, and that might rule him out of the running for Miami.
Kendall Hunter (RB, Oklahoma State)—Quick and elusive running back with good vision, and the ability to make big gains whenever he has the ball in hand.
Taiwan Jones (RB, Eastern Washington)—4.3 speed and is a home run threat every time he touches the ball; however, he has a worrying injury history, and some speculate he may only see a few snaps a game in the NFL.
Edmund Gates (WR, Abilene Christian)—The fastest man at the Combine provides a great deep threat, but he is raw and there are concerns about the level of opposition he faced in college.