Written Chad Hahn
After the College football championship I take a look at the “what if’s” scenario. My last article was based off Miami keeping all their draft picks and surrounding young quarterback Josh Rosen with talent. This article will be different. This alternative draft and free agent signing period would be the perfect off-season for the Miami Dolphins franchise. There will be some similar free agent signings because simply put the offensive line needs to be addressed. Here’s a reminder that free agency will severely alter draft plans because free agency is before the draft. So let’s begin.
Projected now at $94 Million in cap room due to a couple extensions, I would make 2 cuts that would take Miami to roughly $106-108 Million in Safety Reshad Jones and Wide Receiver Albert Wilson.
Sign Andrus Peat $13 Million a year
In New Orleans, Peat started as a tackle but moved to guard because the Saints gave two excellent tackles already. He became a pro bowl guard but has the smooth footwork, athleticism and toughness to be Miami’s starting Left Tackle in the projected spread offense Chan Gailey will be conducting in Miami.
Sign Brandon Scherff $13 Million a year
In Washington Brandon has been a consistent bright spot on the offensive line. He’s simply a pro bowl Right Guard that will be a mainstay in Miami and quite the upgrade.
Sign Jack Conklin $11 Million a year
In Tennessee Jack has been a consistent Right Tackle and brings a very physical mentality that would be welcomed in Miami.
With those three signings the offensive line takes a big leap forward to being an above average line. It also would allow Jesse Davis to move back to guard where he was much more effective than at tackle. The new projected starting lineup would be:
LT- Andrus Peat
LG- Jesse Davis (signed contract extension last year)
C- Daniel Kilgore/ Michael Dieter (Competition)
RG- Brandon Scherff
RT- Jack Conklin
At that point, Miami would be wise to be aggressive in a few more areas. Let’s look at what I’m talking about.
Sign Tight End Hunter Henry $10 Million a year
Even with a breakout season from fellow tight end Mike Gesicki, in the spread offense that Gailey brings to the table there are a lot of two tight end sets. Think Gronk and Hernandez in New England. Gesicki is less of a blocker at this point if his career. Henry would be the #1 tight end and would be the starter and has the potential to be a pro bowl tight end.
Sign either Kareem Hunt $6 Million a year
There is little argument from anyone that Miami is in desperate need of a talent influx at the running back position. I wouldn’t be scared to give Hunt a longer deal as he is younger and has less mileage on his legs. In addition, I believe that given more opportunities he can regain his all pro numbers that he had in Kansas City. Hunt is a 3 down back that can block and catch. He is the best fit for this offense.
Sign Cornerback James Bradberry 8-10 Million a year
Bradberry is an experienced starter with good man coverage skills that can add size to the secondary and having another starter across from Xavien Howard would be wise considering Howard’s knee issues and now possible suspension stemming from an arrest a couple weeks ago.
The above moves would take-away $61-63 Million landing Miami with roughly $45-47 Million in cap room to sign rookies, etc.
Now this is where things open up for Miami to trade up for the long awaited quarterback of the future. The air apparent to Dan Marino. As we wait to hear the first selection of the draft as the long awaited Bengals pick is of course…. Wait there's been a trade… Cincinnati has traded the first pick of the NFL draft. The Miami Dolphins are now on the clock! How could this happen? Let's look at this aggressive mock draft.
Now let’s get into my mock draft (if Miami signed the above. Rounds 1-5:
Round 1 (CIN) pick 1 (MIA trades pick 5,18,26)
Coming off the best college season anyone has seen ”Cool Joe” takes his talents to South Beach! Burrow has all the tools to be one of the best players in the NFL for a long time to come. He has the mental makeup, accuracy and the ”it” factor to make Miami an immediate contender in the AFC.
KEEP IN MIND MIAMI WOULD STILL HAVE 11 PROJECTED DRAFT PICKS AFTER THIS TRADE.
Round 2 (MIA) pick 39
Xavier McKinney- Alabama S (SS)
With Reshad Jones roster spot and age in question it’s time to look for a new Safety. Xavier is 6’1 200 lbs of ability. He can cover and hit and plays multiple positions which Coach Flores loves.
Round 2 (NO) pick 56
Kenny Willekes- Michigan St 3-4 OLB/ Edge Rusher
Willekes has an amazing motor and reminds me a lot of (If I dare) T.J.Watt. Power rusher with bend. Fits Miami’s new culture perfectly. Instant starter.
Round 3 (MIA) pick 70
Antoine Winfield Jr- Minnesota S (FS)
Son of the great Antoine Winfield himself. He has been around football his entire life and has great instincts and plays extremely hard. He has all the ability to develop into the team’s long term starter at free safety behind Bobby McCain or instant starter if McCain goes back to being the team’s slot cornerback.
Round 3 (IND) pick 75 (Traded 2 5ths 135,145 and J.Rosen) Cots look to give Jacoby Brissett competition
Marlon Davidson- Auburn 3-4 DE
Marlon us strong and can stop the run and pass rush. He's in the mold of a Trey Flowers. High Motor. Perfect fit for Miami.
Round 4 (Comp) pick TBD (J.James to DEN)
Ke’Shawn Vaughn- Vanderbilt RB
Something about this guy screams steal of the draft. Love his vision, burst and balance. Can develop into a featured running back.
Round 5 (LAR) pick 148
Calvin Throckmorton- Oregon OG/T
Can play multiple positions on the offensive line and that will help with depth. Can develop into a starter with proper coaching.
Round 5 (Comp C.WAKE) pick TBD
Evan Weaver- California ILB
Evan plays hard and was all over the field. Had 172 tackles this year. Tackling machine. Great size at 6’3 245 lbs. High motor. Instant contributor on special teams.
Now let's review before we get into projected lineups. Why wouldn't Miami just sit at #5 and draft Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovaolia? Although Tua has the heart and ability I couldn't spend a 1st round pick on Tua simply because of his injury past. Before going to the NFL he has had two ankle surgeries (one on each ankle that left him with screws in both ankles) and the devastating hip injury. Fact is people hit harder in the NFL and it's a great risk then you add the simple fact that Joe Burrow absolutely dominated this entire season and including dominating high ranking teams that had a lot of NFL talent lining up against him on a weekly basis. In my assessment of Burrow he has the accuracy of Drew Brees, the toughness and competitive fire similar to Tom Brady and the pocket awareness of Russell Wilson. It's an amazing skillset and for Miami, IF they are going to go all in for a college quarterback over the next two seasons Joe Burrow should be the target. In addition, Miami is better positioned to trade up in this draft compared to next having 3 first round picks this year compared to 2 first round picks next year.
Now why would Cincinnati actually trade back with Miami? Let's not understate the fact the team just finished a 2-14 season and is the worst team in the NFL. They have a lot of holes in their roster as well and having picks 5,18, and 26th in this draft is a very nice jump start to their own rebuild. In addition, they can still select quarterback Justin Herbert with the 5th pick. Why would they do that? The Bengals staff is spending more quality time with Herbert during the senior bowl as he is a player being coached by their staff on the South team during the Senior bowl. Cincinnati will have time to evaluate him in person before the draft because of this. In addition, don't forget coming into this last season many projected him as the 1st pick and if he declared last year he would have been projected 1st pick as well. I believe Herbert will blow up the combine as he has a big arm and is very mobile. Keep in mind they play in the AFC South where they play in bad weather all the time and need a big time arm. If the Bengals are open to trading the 1st pick in the draft NO TEAM HAS MORE DRAFT CAPITAL THAN MIAMI.
Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross feels he has his coach in Brian Flores and has publicly said now all he needs is his quarterback. Making this bold move would give Ross and this organization the Coach and his quarterback. According to the NFL trade points system it would only take a trade of the 5th, 18th, and 39th pick to do it but Cincinnati would likely want more so I swapped 39th with 26th. This is definitely the aggressive approach.
Now let’s take a look at projected lineups with this alternative approach:
Potential Lineups for the 2020 Miami Dolphins:
LOLB- A.Van Ginkel/ T.Charlton
CB- J. Bradberry(FA)//E.Rowe/C.Tankersley
FS- B.McCain/A.Winfield Jr.(3)
If Miami chooses this route they become instant contenders. Obviously, this mock draft is based off Cincinnati actually listening to trade back scenarios. Thank you for reading this article and I will be creating another mock draft scenario on the team trading back in the draft. (Which personally I feel is the best scenario)