Miami Dolphins Mock Draft: Post-Free Agency Predictions for Every Round
The Miami Dolphins didn't waste any time during free agency. The goal was to get Ryan Tannehill as many weapons as possible and they did.
They were able to lure in the top wide receiver in Mike Wallace, re-sign Brian Hartline, sign a quality player in Brandon Gibson and sign the seam threat tight end they were so desperately searching for with Dustin Keller.
The Dolphins also addressed their need at cornerback by signing Brent Grimes. He's coming off an Achilles injury, but if healthy, he really improves Miami's secondary.
Jeff Ireland also brought in Lance Louis to compete with John Jerry at right guard.
So after all those signings, in what direction does Miami go in the draft?
They still have to upgrade the right tackle position, find one or two quality cornerbacks, find a blocking tight end, complement Cameron Wake with another pass-rusher and improve depth at other positions.
Round 1: Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
Jeff Ireland finally addressed the cornerback position by signing Brent Grimes to a one-year deal. However, he's coming off a season-ending injury and it's not clear whether he can return to being the same player he was pre-injury.
Even with Grimes on the roster, Miami still needs to add top talent at the position. The recurring argument is whether Miami would draft Desmond Trufant or Xavier Rhodes. Both are very good prospects that would give the Dolphins the shutdown corner they need.
The Dolphins can go with either player, but in this mock I'm taking Trufant for the sole purpose of scheme fit.
Kevin Coyle likes to run a zone defense, which Trufant played at Washington. He can come in and instantly compete for the No. 1 cornerback position against either Richard Marshall or Grimes.
Trufant showed his athleticism during the combine when he ran a 4.38 40-yard dash. He has quick feet which allow him to change direction while showing fluidity in his hips. He goes up and fights for the ball when it's in the air, beating receivers more often than not.
While he doesn't possess a very big body, he doesn't shy away from contact and will contribute in the run game. He has the speed to keep up with fast receivers while also possessing the leaping ability and strength to match up against bigger receivers.
He has to improve his tackling skills, but he doesn't have many weaknesses that can't be coached. Trufant would drastically improve Miami's secondary and give them someone they can count on for years to come.
Round 2, Pick 1: Cornellius Carradine, Florida St.
Miami has the luxury of having one of the best pass-rushers in the entire league in Cameron Wake. However, he can't generate pressure on every snap by himself. He needs help.
Jared Odrick should be playing defensive tackle instead of defensive end and Olivier Vernon, whom they drafted last year, projects more as a linebacker than a defensive end.
Pass-rusher is not Miami's biggest need, but with Cornellius "Tank" Carradine falling into their lap early in the second round, Jeff Ireland can't pass up the opportunity to take him as he presents great value.
Carradine would have been a first-round pick had he not suffered a torn ACL during the last game of the regular season against Florida.
He is a good athlete with quick feet and good closing speed. He uses his speed to beat offensive tackles around the edge and is able to seal the edge on running plays. His recognition skills are excellent, and he is able to digest plays quickly as they progress.
Carradine has to expand his repertoire of moves as a pass-rusher. He can use some extra strength, as he can be overpowered at times in the trenches.
With Carradine and Wake coming off the edge, opposing quarterbacks will be spending a lot of time on the ground.
Round 2, Pick 2: Menelik Watson, OT, Florida St.
As of right now, Miami's biggest need has to be right tackle. They re-signed Nate Garner, but he can definitely be upgraded. Jonathan Martin, who played right tackle for most of last season, will most likely switch to left tackle and replace Jake Long.
So why doesn't Miami take an offensive tackle in the first round?
Well, because they would have to trade up to get one. Eric Fisher, Luke Joeckel and Lane Johnson would be great pickups for the Dolphins, but it would take a miracle for one of them to drop to No. 12. If Jeff Ireland really believes tackle is such a big need, he may trade up, but I just can't predict something like that.
Menelik Watson is a great tackle prospect who's an even better athlete. He has the quick feet to keep up with speed rushers while also having enough strength to contain bull rushes. His biggest strength is in the running game, where he does a good job opening holes and hitting the second level of the defense in a hurry.
He does need to improve his consistency in pass protection, but that's something that can definitely be coached. Watson has the athleticism to play in a zone-blocking scheme and would give the Dolphins some good talent at left tackle, center and right tackle.
There is a possibility that Watson may be gone by the time the Dolphins pick in the second round, but if he's available, I don't see how Ireland can pass up on somebody with his skill level and upside at a position of need.
Round 3, Pick 1: Justin Pugh, G, Syracuse
With Joe Philbin putting John Jerry on notice about his weight, Miami may not be too comfortable starting him at right guard. He has been inconsistent during his time with the Dolphins and does not fit the zone-blocking scheme Philbin is trying to implement.
The Dolphins recently signed Lance Louis to a one-year contract to give Jerry some competition. However, Louis is coming off an ACL injury and how he recovers is still uncertain. Even with both men at training camp, the guard position can still be upgraded.
Justin Pugh is considered one of the better guard prospects this year and would likely put Jerry out of work. Miami could very well go with Jonathan Cooper in the first round, but Pugh presents good value in the third.
He played left tackle during his time at Syracuse, but due to his arm length he will have to slide to guard at the next level. He has a good combination of speed and athleticism that makes him a good fit for this offense. He quickly reaches the second level of the defense and has a good base in pass protection.
Pugh has to gain some strength, as he tends to get pushed back by bull rushes. He needs to learn how to use his hands better, but that can be coached.
If Watson and Pugh live up to expectations, Miami may finally have a complete offensive line.
Round 3, Pick 2: Blidi Wreh-Wilson, CB, Connecticut
Even after Miami signed Brent Grimes, it wouldn't be a bad idea to double up on cornerbacks. Grimes is coming off an Achilles injury and Richard Marshall is coming off a back injury. If neither can return to full health, Miami would be in big trouble.
After taking Desmond Trufant in the first round to take over their No. 1 cornerback duties, they take Blidi Wreh-Wilson in the third round to compete with Grimes and Marshall for the No. 2 and No.3 cornerback spots.
I tried putting Jordan Poyer somewhere in this mock, but I just couldn't fit him in. With Wreh-Wilson, Miami gets a cornerback with good size at 6'1" and someone who is suited to play zone defense, which Miami currently runs.
He possesses good ball skills and shows good reaction. He doesn't mind getting his hands dirty in the running game and uses his big frame to create chaos inside the box. He dissects plays quickly and is able to read routes which allows him to break on them.
Speed is a concern with him as he struggles to keep up with faster receivers. He shows stiff hips at times which makes it difficult to cover his man downfield. He won't be a No. 1 cornerback, but he can excel as the second or third option.
Round 4: Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina
As of now, Lamar Miller appears to be the starting running back, though that can change if Miami drafts a running back early or Daniel Thomas finally lives up to expectations.
Running back is not a position of dire need for Miami, but if they can find a quality player that presents good value, they shouldn't hesitate. In the fourth round, Marcus Lattimore is exactly that player.
Lattimore burst onto the scene as a freshman, winning Freshman of the year awards. He suffered his first knee injury during his sophomore campaign. At the time, he was leading all SEC running backs in rushing yards. He suffered his second major knee injury during his junior season while still not being 100 percent after his first injury.
He is an all around back with great upper-body strength and quick feet. His vision and patience allow him to look for a hole and his burst allows him to hit the hole fast and reach the second level in a hurry. He runs with great pad level which makes it difficult for defenders to bring him down, especially in short-yardage situations.
He has natural ability catching the ball out of the backfield and is automatic in the red zone.
Durability is definitely a question with Lattimore. Two major knee injuries are not something you can ignore, especially with a running back. However, if there's someone that can come back from something like this, it's Lattimore.
Round 5, Pick 1: Dion Sims, TE, Michigan St.
After picking up tight end Dustin Keller during free agency, the Dolphins finally have the seam threat tight end they have been missing. However, with Anthony Fasano deciding to sign with the Kansas City Chiefs, Miami is left without a tight end who can block.
Now, Jeff Ireland must look to the draft for tight end who can come in and block.
Dion Sims fits that mold. He was utilized as primarily a blocking tight end at Michigan State while also showing some ability to catch the ball. He has very good speed for such a big body and can be a threat in the red zone. He is really tough to bring down in the open field and has very reliable hands.
He won't develop to be a pass-catching tight end, but he can turn out to be one of the best blocking tight ends in this draft.
Pairing him with Keller and Charles Clay gives Miami a good combination of speed and strength at the position.
Round 5, Pick 2: Josh Evans, FS, Florida
Jeff Ireland was able to re-sign Chris Clemons to a one-year deal, giving him an opportunity to prove himself and at the same time maintain his safety duo (along with Reshad Jones) which played at a high level last season.
Like the cornerback position, the safety position can be improved if Clemons disappoints this year.
This is a strong safety class which allows Miami to draft a good player in the later rounds. Jonathan Cyprien, Eric Reid, Bacarri Rambo and D.J. Swearinger are all players Miami can take a look at in the second and third round.
I waited until the fifth round to draft a safety with experience and upside.
Josh Evans led the Florida Gators in tackles last year with 83. He also recorded three passes broken up, 2.5 sacks and three interceptions. He is very good against the pass and has the speed to go from sideline to sideline. He does a good job closing in when the ball is in the air and possesses good ball skills. He does have to get better at defending the run when he's inside the box.
Unless he goes into camp and truly turns some heads, Evans will probably sit out during his first year while obtaining more knowledge about the position. If developed, he can be a very good starter if Clemons doesn't pan out.
Round 7, Pick 1: Marquess Wilson, WR, Washington St.
The Dolphins were able to add some great weapons for Ryan Tannehill. Mike Wallace will be able to stretch the field, Brian Hartline can work inside, Brandon Gibson can work in the slot or outside and Dustin Keller finally gives them a seam threat tight end.
So what's missing?
Miami needs to add a receiver with size. They have Jeff Fuller in the practice squad, but he's not ready to step up yet. Jeff Ireland can pull the trigger on Marquess Wilson who stands at 6'3" and gives Miami some height on the outside.
Wilson is not a burner. He ran a 4.51 40-yard dash at the combine, which is not bad, but he won't beat many defenders deep. However, if he can continue to get stronger, he will be very tough to defend in jump-ball situations.
He has to improve his route running, which he struggled with while at Washington State. There are also some questions about his decision to leave the football program, which may have caused his stock to plummet.
With the new group of receivers Miami has brought in, Wilson doesn't have to start right away. He can be developed.
Round 7, Pick 2: Vince Williams, ILB, Florida St.
With the recent retooling at the linebacker position where Miami added Dannell Ellerbe and Phillip Wheeler and releasing Kevin Burnett and Karlos Dansby, the Dolphins got younger and more aggressive. However, they still have to find depth at the position.
Miami drafted Josh Kaddu last year to help them with depth at outside linebacker. Now, Miami could use some depth at inside linebacker.
Vince Williams is a physical linebacker whose biggest strength is against the run. He is a big hitter who is able to diagnose plays quickly and be in the right place at the right time. His tackling skills in the open field are above average and can really lay the lumber.
He really struggles in pass coverage and sometimes tries to cheat gaps, which can get him in trouble. He doesn't have great straight-line speed and will rarely run down running backs on the edge.
Williams has some tools that, if developed correctly, can make him a solid contributor in the future.
Round 7, Pick 3: Caleb Sturgis, K, Florida
Miami is not in dire need of a kicker at this point, but with the inconsistent year Dan Carpenter had, it may be a good idea to bring in some competition.
Caleb Sturgis is considered one of the top kickers in the draft after having a great career at Florida. He connected on 24 of his 28 field-goal attempts this year while connecting on all three attempts from 50 yards or more and all five of his attempts between 40 and 49 yards.
Sturgis has the ability to beat Carpenter for the starting job and would come at a cheaper price. Carpenter currently makes $2.5 million, which is way too much for someone you can't really trust when the game is on the line.