2015 Miami Dolphins Mock Draft: Early Offseason 7-Round Predictions
In order to build a winning franchise in the NFL, a lot of variables have to be in place. From ownership down to the players, a sustainable model usually features an excellent structure that has effective leadership. Some may argue that the on-field talent is the most important puzzle piece since the players are the ones responsible for what happens on game day.
The most effective way of adding talent that can provide an impact for a long time is to draft well. Rookies provide cheap labor as they develop, and if the right players are taken and developed, a roster can become deep with solid contributors. That’s how the Miami Dolphins need to rebuild their roster to contend for a Super Bowl.
We previously looked at some big impact free agents that the Dolphins should look at to help improve the roster. Notice how those free agents are all young and won’t become albatross contracts because of age. Stay cheap and young throughout the roster, and then pay the impact players found and developed through the draft.
The best franchises operate in this fashion. The Seattle Seahawks, New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals have won a lot of games in the last decade and should be models for the Dolphins.
Assuming that some of the free agents that we identified before do end up in Miami, there will be fewer holes throughout the Dolphins’ roster. It’s important to remember that there are way more misses than hits in the draft because scouting is an inexact science. Few, if any master evaluating and projecting human development and personalities for football.
Considering how Miami drafted under Dennis Hickey last year, we’ve compiled a very early seven-round mock draft for the Dolphins. Each player has been projected as best as possible at this early juncture for his or her possible draft slot based off my film work throughout the season.
Let’s jump in and see whom the Dolphins should grab in the 2015 NFL draft.
First Round, Pick 14 Overall
The pick: Kevin White, WR, West Virginia
Despite having the most expensive receiver core in the NFL, the Dolphins have little talent at the position outside of Mike Wallace and Jarvis Landry. The rest of the cast is mediocre, and their high cap hits could lead to some turnover at the position.
Enter one of the most dominant receivers in college football, Kevin White. The 6’3”, 210-pound playmaker from West Virginia is exactly what the Dolphins need to help boost their offensive production. He has great hands and routinely wins jump balls because of his innate timing on leaps.
White is a potential solid No. 1 receiver because of his ability to impact the Dolphins in year one but also improve in time. He’s only played two seasons in Division I football, and therefore his route running and release off the line still need work.
Still, at 22, White could be the star Miami has been missing at receiver since Brandon Marshall was traded. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill needs a weapon like White to reach his ceiling, so this is a perfect match.
Second Round, Pick 47 Overall
The pick: Eddie Goldman, DT, Florida State
Miami’s defense crumbled as the season progressed, and the defensive line was a major reason why. With Randy Starks possibly being a cap causality and Jared Odrick hitting free agency, the Dolphins should invest in a young tackle to keep their rotation fierce for years to come.
Goldman is just a junior currently, but he pops off the screen with his 6’4”, 320-pound frame and ability to disrupt offenses with his quickness and strength. Since Florida State has been deep with talent along its defensive front, 2014 is the first season where Goldman could gain significant playing time.
That’s why he could fall to the second round. Goldman can play in his first season and be a nice contributor, but he’s not as refined as most first-round tackles tend to be. He’s the type of player who should continue to get better throughout his first few years in the league.
Third Round, Pick 78 Overall
The pick: Quinten Rollins, CB, Miami (OH)
The former point guard for the Miami Redhawks decided to play football as a senior, and he was very impressive in his first campaign since high school. At 6’0”, 205 pounds, Rollins has ideal size for a defensive back, and his thick frame can deliver powerful hits on ball-carriers.
Rollins is predictably raw with his press technique and natural instincts, but he locates the ball well and is very good at staying on the hip of the receiver through his routes. His fluidity in his movements is really impressive for someone without experience.
In the third round, upside and room for growth are excellent to invest in. Taking Rollins would be similar to the selection of Billy Turner in 2014. This is a pick with potential for a high payoff for later.
Fourth Round, Pick 111 Overall
The pick: Stephone Anthony, LB, Clemson
It’s shaping up to be a fairly deep linebacker class, which is great for the Dolphins. With Dannell Ellerbe and Philip Wheeler proving to be ineffective with the team, investing in another great athlete is a smart move. Anthony was a three-year starter for the Clemson Tigers, and his 6’3, 245-pound frame is already NFL-caliber.
Linebackers that don’t rush the quarterback tend to fall in the draft because the position isn’t as difficult to fill as a premium pass-rusher role. If Anthony is available in the fourth round, the Dolphins are getting a steal. Anthony can play middle linebacker or at the strong side, giving Miami a more versatile and dynamic positional group.
Fifth Round, Pick 142 Overall
The pick: Tyler Lockett, WR, Kansas State
While watching Tyler Lockett, his tape is eerily similar to T.Y. Hilton, who is now a stud for the Indianapolis Colts. He’s 5’11 and 175 pounds, so he’s more of a slot weapon that moves around. Lockett is electric with his downfield speed and short-area quickness.
In the past two seasons, Lockett has topped 80 receptions, 1,200 yards and nine touchdowns each year. He’s extremely productive because he knows how to get off the line without being jammed.
Lockett may not last this far after he attends the Senior Bowl, but if he does, Miami should pounce. Pairing Lockett with White in the 2015 draft would quickly make the offense much more explosive.
Sixth Round, Pick 175 Overall
The pick: Brandon Bridge, QB, South Alabama
Although the Dolphins have found their franchise quarterback, it doesn’t hurt to develop another behind Tannehill in case of injury or a major setback. Enter Brandon Bridge, who plays like Colin Kaepernick.
That comparison might not excite some, but Bridge is oozing with physical upside. He’s 6’5” and 235 pounds with a cannon on his throwing shoulder. Bridge also is very athletic and a capable scrambler, although he prefers to operate in the pocket.
The sixth round is the perfect spot to gamble on a guy like Bridge. Instead of taking a quarterback with very little upside, roll the dice and try to work with a guy with elite traits.
Seventh Round, Pick 207 Overall
The pick: Shaquille Mason, OG, Georgia Tech
Considering the offensive line woes continuing in 2014, even if the Dolphins sign a stud guard in free agency, the team should take another in the draft. Shaquille Mason is a good candidate for a late-round flier because of his natural athleticism and ability to run block.
As part of the Georgia Tech offense, Mason got very little exposure to pass blocking compared to a traditional spread. That means he’s going to be more of a developmental project, but that’s what Miami did with Terrence Fede in 2014, and we saw his talent translate quite quickly.
Mason doesn’t have the ability to kick outside to tackle since he is only 6’1”, so this is a pick for depth purposes moving forward. He could challenge Dallas Thomas as the team's top backup guard if he shows improvement as a pass-blocker.
All draft position information is from Pro Sport Transactions.
Ian Wharton is a Miami Dolphins Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report, contributor for Optimum Scouting, and analyst for eDraft.