The Miami Dolphins hold the No.22 and No.54 overall picks in the upcoming NFL Draft. The first round pick should be used on the best player avaiable, whether that’s a talented edge rusher like Derek Barnett, Taco Charlton, Takkarist McKinley or one of the two premier linebackers: Reuben Foster or Hassan Reddick. The Dolphins could also selected a talented future No.1 CB if Marlon Humphrey or Quincy Wilson drop to this spot. Offense is also an option if Miami could get a game changer like TE OJ Howard, however, I believe Defense is the way to go as this draft class is loaded with premier Defensive talent.
I have made clear my stance on the Dolphins selecting a guard on twitter as I believe every draft class contains a Pro-Bowl caliber Guard in Day 3.
1/2 I don't like Forrest Lamp for the #Dolphins at No.22. This is not a O-Line that needs a total re-build and core guys to build around for
— Tom Like (@TomLikeNFL) March 27, 2017
2/2 the future. Miami need to snag Defensive game changers. Great GMs find Gs in R3-5, E.G. Marshall Yanda, TJ Lang, Josh Sitton etc #FinsUp
— Tom Like (@TomLikeNFL) March 27, 2017
I have previously outlined five players I believe the Dolphins could target at No.22 (click here), however, great teams are built from Round 2 on wards and being able to identify talent that everyone other team either undervalues or misinterprets. Below are ten defensive players I believe the Miami Dolphins should target at No.54 (note – Defense only as this is where the Dolphins should be looking in Round 2).
The Miami Dolphins need to get younger, more athletic, and stouter against the run. The Dolphins were routinely shredded in coverage at linebacker last year, as no-one outside of Kiko Alonso was able to hang with TEs or RBs. The Dolphins were also bullied off the ball last year and have been porous against the run for a number of years now. Finally, the Dolphins need to find the long-term replacement for Cameron Wake who is 35 years-old. I have identified 1 DE and 2 LBs who the Dolphins may target, and could be available at pick 54.
Willis a player who few had heard of before the Combine. The small-school stand out lit up Indianapolis posting a 4.53 40-time, 39” vertical jump, 4.28 20-yard shuttle, 6.85 on the 3-cone drill and bench pressed 24 times. At 6’4”, 255lbs – Willis is ideal size and has the explosiveness to be a dynamic pass rusher as a weakside 4-3 DE. The Dolphins need two things at DE – to get younger and stouter against the run – Willis ticks both of these boxes. He is excellent setting the edge but also has the explosiveness and strong hands required to fight off blockers and get into the backfield quickly.
Miami needs help at linebacker and if Jarrad Davis makes it to 54 then the Dolphins should not hesitate to snap him up. Davis was a four-year starter at Florida. He is great in space, however, I worry about where Miami would play him. The Dolphins would most likely put Lawrence Timmons at SAM and Davis as Mike, but Davis brings athleticism and three-down ability which Miami is craving on Defense.
A player who made himself a lot of money at Indianapolis. The Linebacker showed off his athleticism and proved he can be a three-down LB in the NFL. He looked loose and performed well in coverage and agility skills at the Combine, which compliments the tackling machine that appears on tape. McMillan would play SAM for Miami, however, he is not a true sideline-to-sideline LB which could be worrying if paired next to Lawrence Timmons.
In a league that spends the majority of its time in nickel and dime packages, you can never have too many quality corners in today’s NFL. Byron Maxwell was a nice acquisition in a trade with Philadelphia, while Xavien Howard flashed the potential to be a long, physical press corner who Miami could rely on in years to come. Tony Lippett played well, however, he may be more suited to a nickel corner. The Dolphins need to add quality corners as while Miami’s secondary performed well at times last season – they need consistent contributors who can lock up WRs and allow their pass rushers to pin back their ears.
His performance at Indianapolis and his Pro-Day will most likely drop him out of 1st Round. Tabor was part of a dynamic Corner group that included 1st Rounders Vernon Hargreaves (2016, 11th overall) and Quincy Wilson (2017, most likely R1). He has prototypical size and athleticism who excels in press and zone coverage. While rumoured Tabor fears deep speed, this showed up at the Combine and Gators pro-day as he ran a 4.6 – 4.7. Like Jarvis Landry, the Dolphins could get a talented player who other teams pass up due to a slow 40. I believe Tabor could excel in Miami’s Cover-3 scheme.
Should be a top-15 pick. He has the talent to challenge Malik Hooker as the top Corner in this year’s draft, yet an injury at his Pro-Day (torn Achilles) could allow Miami to grab a stud corner in Round Two. Jones could develop into a lock-down No.1 corner with his twichy feet, excellent eyes and toughness at the line of scrimmage. Jones loves handing out contact at the line and his 9 career interceptions speak volumes of his ball skills and ability to locate the football. If not for the injury, which will require an extensive rehab process, Jones would be a lock to go top-20.
He was Jones’ partner at Washington and has rare height for the position. King posted an eye-popping 4.43 40, which does not show up on the tape. He struggles in press, however, his size and the athleticism suggest that his inability to locate the football down field and stop receivers blowing past him at the line, could be corrected with some coaching. Some team is going to fall in love with King and his size.
Like every other Corner on this list is 6’0”+. Moreau is a former RB who has a thick frame to compliment his speed (ran a 4.35!). He’s a rare athlete who excels jamming receivers at the line of scrimmage and showed he can excel in press man and Cover-3. He is big and strong with fluid hips in coverage, Moreau could be a sleeper who is not getting enough attention draft. Miami could even gamble as Moreau might still be there at the end of the 3rd with their compensatory pick.
Following the release of FS Isa Abdul-Quddus, Miami has an open spot at free safety. While the team signed Nate Allen, it is unclear where he is a starter or just a special teams ace. The Dolphins use Reshad Jones as an in the box safety who covers TEs/ RBs and helps play the run. Miami also uses a Cover-3 scheme that requires a rangey ‘centre-fielder’ and could look to the draft to find their future starter.
He is everything Miami need next to Reshad Jones. He’s an athletic and instinctive centre fielder who is ball-hawking free safety with outstanding ball skills. He has the desired speed to shut down runs to the outside and has high football IQ to figure out where the QB wants to go with the football. While Williams will need to add muscle to a slim frame, he is the perfect lone deep safety Miami is looking for. His height and skillset would compliment SS Reshad Jones, someone the Dolphins routinely drop into the box to play the run.
An undersized safety who makes up for his small frame with a toughness and competitive desire that utilises his football instincts and tremendous speed. He is extremely aggressive in run support and can explode off the edge when used as a blitzer. He is the type of leader and safety coaches love. He accelerates and breaks on balls, trying to blow up receivers over the middle. His size may concern some but Baker has a tenacity and attitude that allows him to ‘play bigger.’ Could be a fun pairing him next to Reshad Jones.
A player who I believe is flying massively under the radar due to a deep and stacked defensive back class. He’s everything the Dolphins could wish for in the opening at free safety. He has the desirable athleticism and ball skills that Miami will look for in a centre fielder in their Cover-3 scheme. He’s also a ferocious hitter and brings a physical presence that will have small slot receivers cringing when they run routes over the middle. Evans has the potential to develop into a Pro-Bowl free safety as he is able to stick to receivers in coverage, while also laying out physical challenges and hits. Look at him go blow for blow with college football’s biggest back, Derrick Henry, in a 2015 game (see below). This is a free safety who doesn’t back down from anything. He’s an alpha!
— Tom Like (@TomLikeNFL) March 31, 2017