Written by Chad Hahn
In previous articles I’ve looked at staying put and trading up in this year’s draft. This article will be about how the Miami Dolphins can acquire even more talent via the draft this year. This particularly would be my favorite unless Miami was able to trade up to acquire LSU Quarterback Joe Burrow without breaking the bank so to speak. Miami has many holes as it stands now but can make a potential 180 degree turn around by the end of this offseason between free agency and the draft. Let’s once again dive into free agency before the draft because free agency is before the draft and will alter current mock drafts seen around the internet.
Free Agent Signings:
Projected now at $94 Million in cap room due to a couple extensions, I would make 2 cuts that would take Miami to roughly $110-112 Million in Safety Reshad Jones and Wide Receiver Albert Wilson.
Sign Andrus Peat (T/G) $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 (RG)$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 (RT) $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.
Sign Ted Karras (OC) $9 Million a year
Karras is familiar with Coach Brian Flores. Karras would be an upgrade over current center Daniel Kilgore.
Alternate signing: (T) George Fant
Fant has developed into a quality starting offensive tackle.
With those four 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) /Michael Dieter
C- Ted Karras
RG- Brandon Scherff
RT- Jack Conklin
Sign Tight End Austin Hooper $10 Million a year
It sounds like Hunter Henry will possibly be hit with the transition tag while Hooper might hit free agency. Hooper is a better blocker than Mike Gesicki. In Chan Gailey’s spread offense it’s not all WR sets as he likes a two TE set. Pairing Hooper with Gesicki would be an excellent duo at TE.
After those signings Miami’s projected salary cap would still be around $54-56 Million. I don’t expect General Manager Chris Grier to go much deeper than that this year.
Obviously, there is additional money to be spent if certain opportunities present themselves for instance:
CB/S- Byron Jones, OG- Joe Thuney, OT- George Fant, RB- Derrick Henry, CB- James Bradberry, OLB- Bud Dupree, OLB- Matthew Judon, TE- Hunter Henry, S-Justin Simmons, S-Karl Joseph, DL-Chris Jones, OLB- Kyle Van Noy, OL- Graham Glasnow, RB- Matt Breida(RFA), RB- Kareem Hunt(RFA) etc
Now let’s dive into the Mock Draft (Rounds 1-5)
Let’s say the Dolphins trade with the newly named Las Vegas Raiders. Trade details
Raiders receive #5
Dolphins receive #12,#19
Round 1 (LVR) pick 12
Isaiah Simmons/- Clemson LB/S
Simmons is a physical freak with the athleticism to play all positions on defense except defensive tackle. One thing Coach Flores loves is players to play multiple positions. No one does that better than Simmons. At 6’4 230lbs can be an instant playmaker on defense. I feel main position would be box safety(SS). Although Simmons is a top 5 talent in this draft he might slip to 12 because of a run on QB’s
Round 1 (Pitt) pick 18
Henry Ruggs II- Alabama WR
Ruggs is absolutely electrifying and would add a big time spark to that offense with fellow wide receivers Devante Parker and Preston Williams. Miami could match him up in the slot or the outside. Also add to the return game as well with Jakeem Grant.
Round 1 (LVR) pick 19
Javon Kinlaw- South Carolina DL
Javon’s stock is rising and for a good reason. He’s a dynamic defensive lineman with great size and athletic ability to go with a hard work ethic. Think DeForest Buckner. Pairing Kinkaw with last year’s 1st round pick Christian Wilkins and Davon Godchaux is an excellent trio.
Round 1 (Hou) pick 26
D’Andre Swift- Georgia RB
Miami needs an influx of talent at RB. Swift is the best overall RB in the draft with an excellent mixture of balance and burst. Can develop into a star in this league. Great potential.
Round 2 (MIA) pick 39
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 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
Cam Akers- Florida St RB
Akers has the size and athleticism to become a very good RB in the league. Needs coaching on blocking. Very high potential. If this draft becomes real it creates a very dynamic combo with Swift and Akers.
Round 4 (MIA comp) 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.
Round 5 (ARI/MIA K.DRAKE) pick 135
Damien Lewis- LSU OG
Quality blocker. Can use the competition on the offensive line. Looks the part of a right guard. Very similar to Shaq Calhoun. Some similarities like Trai Turner.
Round 5 (MIA) pick 145
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 (LAR) pick 148
Shyheim Carter- Alabama S/CB
Carter is a talented player and can play both free safety and cornerback. A nice depth move along with potential with developing and would be an asset on special teams immediately.
Round 5 (Comp C.WAKE) pick TBD
Anthony Gordon- Washington St QB
Gordon has the quickest delivery in the 2020 draft and has drawn comparisons to Patrick Mahomes with his ability to throw passes at different angles. He showcased some ability at the Senior Bowl and has some potential to develop into a starting QB.
Now before I get into projected starting lineups let’s address the elephant in the room. One position I didn’t address is Quarterback. How can I do that? Simple I’m writing this article. No seriously let’s look into this deeper. It’s obvious Coach Flores takes time to go over everything that goes on in the building. So let’s not forget that he approved spending a 2nd round and a 5th round draft pick on Josh Rosen when they were in the process of acquiring draft compensation.
Potential Lineups for the 2020 Miami Dolphins:
LOLB- A.Van Ginkel/ T.Charlton
FS- A.Winfield Jr.(2)/A.Colbert/S.Carter(5)
If Miami’s path is the above, this allows Josh Rosen to have his first real chance of success in the NFL. He would of course have to take the job from Ryan Fitzpatrick first. If Rosen is successful in replacing “FitzMagic” he would have the pieces around him to get a true gauge on where his development is. If he falters, Miami would have another year of high draft picks in 2021 and enough ammo to move up and get a young QB in the draft. If he succeeds, Miami is in the ultimate position of having a great overall roster along with multiple 1st and 2nd round picks in 2021 to even further continuing to acquire high end players to further surround Rosen. Coach Flores and G.M. Chris Grier has continued to say Rosen has continued to improve in practice, the things we don’t see. Don’t forget, if anyone rewatches the tape of the 11 quarters Rosen was playing last year, it was apparent that the offensive line was a human turnstile because of newly acquired players forced to play without knowing the system. In addition the chemistry with the WR’s weren’t there as well as there were countless drops included a few long TD passes that ultimately hit the turf. Maybe Flores saw enough potential with the situation at hand for Rosen and decided to put Rosen out there when better talent and system were out there in 2021. Letting Fitzpatrick the veteran try and win some games in 2020. If all this is true, there’s a lot of smokescreen going on. Since Rosen is still 22 years old and has a lot of talent this is the way Miami should approach this rebuild. Again, I feel there’s still a reason they traded a 2nd and 5th for Josh Rosen. It’s probably not for 11 quarters of play with that situation.