Miami Dolphins' 7-Round Mock Draft and Top-100 Big Board
The Miami Dolphins go into the 2016 NFL draft with so many holes on both sides of the ball that even if they had two picks in each round, the team would still look like an incomplete mishmash of players.
The 2016 season looks to be a rebuilding year with more emphasis on evaluating the current talent on the roster than any attempt at going anywhere, and because of that, the theme of this year's draft should be stockpiling talent as opposed to filling holes.
By doing the former, the Dolphins will succeed in doing the latter; however, the process isn't as simple as it was in the past.
With that in mind, a different approach was taken to this year's mock draft and Dolphins big board: looking for talent regardless of the position.
Draft the best player available and let them play. Who will said players be? That's what we're here to find out.
Top 100 Big Board
It is far easier to track down the positions where the Dolphins are set than it is to list the positions where they are not.
That's it, that's the one position where the Dolphins are "set," and even that is a bit of a misnomer as they could use another weapon to go alongside DeVante Parker, Jarvis Landry and Kenny Stills thanks to the loss of Rishard Matthews this offseason.
However, in terms of priority, it's best if Miami builds out its defense first. There are pieces on offense that could work, including Ryan Tannehill at quarterback (but there are quarterbacks listed on this big board and the team should consider drafting one), but on defense, a rebuild is needed much quicker, so defensive players will be higher on the board.
With Tannehill due to be Miami's starter for at least another year as well as the fact that Jared Goff and Carson Wentz are practically locks to go in the top two at this point, they were kept off the list. If the Dolphins had one of the top two picks, they'd be deciding between Myles Jack and Jalen Ramsey on this list.
|3||Joey Bosa||DE||Ohio State|
|4||Vernon Hargreaves III||CB||Florida|
|6||Ezekiel Elliott||RB||Ohio State|
|7||Noah Spence||DE||Eastern Kentucky|
|8||Jaylon Smith||LB||Notre Dame|
|9||Eli Apple||CB||Ohio State|
|12||Robert Nkemdiche||DT||Ole Miss|
|14||William Jackson III||CB||Houston|
|18||Cody Whitehair||G||Kansas State|
|20||Connor Cook||QB||Michigan State|
|21||Kendall Fuller||CB||Virginia Tech|
|22||Vonn Bell||SS||Ohio State|
|23||Christian Westerman||G||Arizona State|
|25||Artie Burns||CB||Miami (Fla)|
|26||Le'Raven Clark||OT||Texas Tech|
|28||Christian Hackenberg||QB||Penn State|
|36||KelVarae Russell||CB||Notre Dame|
|37||Scooby Wright III||LB||Arizona|
|41||Nick Vigil||LB||Utah State|
|43||Joe Haeg||OT||North Dakota State|
|48||Cardale Jones||QB||Ohio State|
|52||Ryan Smith||CB||North Carolina Central|
|54||Joe Dahl||G||Washington State|
|58||Landon Turner||G||North Carolina|
|59||Kevin Byard||SS||Middle Tennessee|
|62||Anthony Zettel||DE||Penn State|
|64||Kalan Reed||CB||Southern Mississippi|
|65||DeAndre Washington||RB||Texas Tech|
|66||Justin Simmons||FS||Boston College|
|68||Willie Beavers||OT||Western Michigan|
|70||Adam Gotsis||DT||Georgia Tech|
|73||Brandon Shell||OT||South Carolina|
|74||Darius Jackson||RB||Eastern Michigan|
|77||Joe Thuney||G||NC State|
|78||Kavon Frasier||FS||Central Michigan|
|81||Lawrence Thomas||DE||Michigan State|
|82||Morgan Burns||CB||Kansas State|
|83||Trae Elston||SS||Ole Miss|
|87||Deon Bush||FS||Miami (Fla)|
|90||Darrell Green||G||San Diego State|
|91||Trevor Williams||CB||Penn State|
|93||Victor Ochi||LB||Stony Brook|
|97||Brandon Williams||CB||Texas A&M|
Round 1, Pick 13: Vernon Hargreaves III, CB, Florida
Miami's secondary was bowling-shoe ugly in 2015, and that was when it had Brent Grimes at cornerback.
Grimes is now upstate with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the Dolphins only have Byron Maxwell (coming off of a forgettable season with Philadelphia), Jamar Taylor (going into his fourth season in the league and still looking to prove himself) and a host of young, small DBs.
At 5'10", 204 pounds, Florida's Vernon Hargreaves III will add some aggressiveness that was lacking in the secondary last season. His ball skills should translate to forcing more turnovers while his tenaciousness will allow him to line up against bigger receivers.
Hargreaves is a future first corner, which the Dolphins will certainly need. He'll likely be available at No. 13, allowing Miami to secure his services on Day 1.
Round 2, Pick 42: Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama
There will be a lot of questions about this pick, a pick that's entirely dependent on what Miami does in the first round.
If Miami chooses Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott, this pick will be used on defense. However, Elliott won't be going to Miami (he'll be off the board before the team's pick), but the next best thing is Heisman winner Derrick Henry.
Henry is a bell-cow back, as we saw through his usage during his career at Alabama, getting over 400 touches this past season, including 90 carries over the final two regular-season games and 56 carriers in the College Football Playoff. That might concern some, however, Henry was masterful in those two games, practically carrying Alabama to a national title on his Heisman-winning back.
Coming in at 6'3", 247 pounds, Henry's size is also impressive, which should make new Dolphins coach Adam Gase a fan.
Pairing Henry in the backfield with Jay Ajayi should give the Dolphins a physical one-two punch on the ground and help further spur a lagging offense.
Round 3, Pick 73: Christian Westerman, G, Arizona State
Miami's guard situation isn't exactly one to feel comfortable about.
While Billy Turner showed some flashes in 2015, he didn't have the consistency needed to deem Miami safe with him as a starter.
Jamil Douglas seemed lost on the field at times, but Miami constantly shifting him around can be blamed for that more than the player himself.
As for Dallas Thomas, if he's still on the roster come Week 1, that's an indictment of Miami's inability to properly scout the position.
Arizona State's Christian Westerman is the third-round choice due to his quickness and movement ability. His blocking is technically sound and fluid while also being strong and powerful. He'd be a great fit for Miami's offensive line, and with the players already on the roster, a starter at right guard in Week 1.
Round 4, Pick 107: Bronson Kaufusi, DE, BYU
Miami's veteran defensive ends should tide them over for at least one year, but beyond 2016, there's not a lot to look forward to.
For this reason, the Dolphins need depth at the position, preferably depth that can be developed. Enter BYU's Bronson Kaufusi.
Kaufusi has shown the ability to play either defensive end or linebacker in college, and while his senior year stats were good (11 sacks, 20 tackles for loss), he's still in the project stage.
Having him around Cameron Wake and Mario Williams should help mold the young man, a son of a coach with a great motor and tremendous athleticism that could allow him to be a true disruptor at the line of scrimmage in the pros.
Round 5, Pick 147: Nick Vigil, LB, Utah State
The Dolphins have a lot of linebackers; the question is which ones can burst through.
Jelani Jenkins and Koa Misi are the only proven players at the position, but the Dolphins could use an upgrade over Misi. Kiko Alonso has shown flashes throughout his relatively short career, but his health has been a detriment to his success.
Needing more depth, the Dolphins stay in the family in this draft, going with Utah State linebacker Nick Vigil.
If the last name (and the face of the fellow wearing No. 53 in the picture) seem familiar, it's because it's Nick's older brother, Zach, who started two games for the Dolphins last season after signing as an undrafted free agent.
If the Dolphins want Nick to join the team, they'll have to pick him up somewhere between the fourth and fifth round. This is due to Nick's athleticism, which allowed him to record 144 tackles last season, including 13.5 for a loss.
That's quite impressive for a middle linebacker.
Round 6, Pick 186: Willie Beavers, OT, Western Michigan
Whenever Branden Albert or Ja'Wuan James are out of the lineup, the Dolphins offensive line became a septic-level storm.
In the past, they have swung guards out to tackle to replace either player, typically with disastrous results.
Since Albert is on the wrong side of 30, the Dolphins should not only consider drafting a player that can fill in for him when he's hurt, but also someone that can replace him come 2017.
A good pickup for scenario that would be Western Michigan's Willie Beavers.
Beavers started 40 consecutive games at left tackle for Western Michigan, and in that time showed off his great foot quickness and agility. He's a perfect fit in a zone blocking system thanks to his athleticism while also showing great tenacity and power.
Beavers could still get stronger with an NFL weight program, and the step up from Western Michigan to the pros will be steep. However, he played well against Michigan and Ohio State during his career in Kalamazoo, including doing a decent job blocking against Joey Bosa.
Round 7, Pick 227: Deon Bush, S, Miami (Fla)
With Reshad Jones in the secondary, Miami already has a hard-hitter at safety.
Adding Deon Bush from The U would make them even more physically imposing.
Bush has great size (6'0", 199 lbs) at safety and tremendous speed, and he can shine on special teams early on while developing at the NFL level. He's also a valuable blitz weapon to have, but could use some help when it comes to diagnosing plays.
Round 7, Pick 231: Terrance Smith, LB, Florida State
Miami will add more depth to linebacker with the addition of Florida State's Terrance Smith.
Smith would be better suited as an outside linebacker for the Dolphins' 4-3 base defense, where his length and athleticism would allow him to be a playmaker.
Like Vigil (picked in the fifth round), Smith would have to prove himself on special teams first, but his athleticism and speed should allow him to do well. He'll have to cut down on his missed tackles, but he's someone you can safely put in coverage on most tight ends that will be able to keep them under wraps.
Statistics provided by NFL.com unless otherwise noted.