Two and a half months ago I wrote about five players the Miami Dolphins could target with the 22nd pick (click here). I wrote this pre-free agency and most importantly pre-combine. A lot has changed over the past two months and while I always base my analysis on film study – the buzz surrounding metrics and testing can cause certain players’ draft stock to sky rocket or crash following the combine and pro days. The Dolphins draft options have changed significantly in 2 and a half months.
I previously highlighted Solomon Thomas, O.J. Howard, Marlon Humphrey, Jarrad Davis and Zach Cunningham as five options for the Dolphins at pick 22. Since February 9th – Thomas is now regularly linked with the 49ers at Pick No.2 and seems a lock to go top-5; Howard could possibly go as high as 5th or 6th overall. Marlon Humphrey looks set to go top-15, Davis could still be there at 22, while Cunningham looks like a reach at 22 according to the consensus. The following are five options at pick 22 who I believe should still be there for Miami (sadly Reuben Foster and Derek Barnett will likely be gone by the 22nd pick).
LB Hasson Reddick, Temple
While Reddick blew up the combine with his incredible testing – this explosiveness shows up the tape. He has elite sideline-to-sideline range and could complete the Dolphins two year re-build at linebacker:
2017 starting LBs – SAM: Hasson Reddick, Mike: Lawrence Timmons, Will: Kiko Alonso
2015 starting LBs – SAM: Kelvin Sheppard, Mike: Koa Misi, Will: Jelani Jenkins
Reddick proved during his time at Temple that he can be an effective blitzer and is able to get after the QB. Reddick is a rare-athlete and while he is more suited to play 3-4 OLB, Reddick could be a complete 4-3 SAM – able to set the edge, shut down the run, hang with TEs and RBs in coverage and able to rush the QB on blitzes off the edge. The Dolphins promoted LB Coach Matt Burke to DC this past off season and the new coordinator could use Reddick in a multitude of ways to confuse offenses and hamper game plans.
OLB, Jarrad Davis, Florida
A player I have been linking with Miami since the end of the 2016 season. Davis was a 4-year starter at Florida and would be a ‘safer’ pick than others on this list. Davis’ experience and skill set should transition well to the NFL. While there is a risk with all draft picks – Davis has a higher floor than Reddick but his ceiling is not as high as the explosive Temple linebacker.
Davis is still a tremendous prospect and could develop into a 5+ year NFL starter. Davis tested better than expected and put up numbers similar to Bobby Wagner, Shaq Thompson and Lavonte David. Coaches praise Davis’ leadership, character and work ethic – all big ticks for 1st round linebacker prospects. He has sneaky closing speed and has a great burst to get after QBs when brought on delayed blitzes. He should be able to develop into a 3-down LB with some help on his pass coverage skills but Davis is everything the Dolphins want and NEED at linebacker – he’s athletic, explosive, a sure tackler, and is able to go sideline-to-sideline to close down any runs to the outside. Read my scouting report on Davis.
OG, Forrest Lamp, Western Kentucky
The player who’s name appears most often next to the Dolphins in mock drafts. The Dolphins have clear holes at both guard spots and Lamp is the best interior linemen in this years weak class of offensive linemen. Lamp played LT at Western Kentucky, however, most have him as a guard in the pros. He has similar testing numbers to Joel Bitonio and has the potential to develop into a pro-bowl calibre guard.
He has great strength despite his small stature for a guard. Lamp’s time at LT shows he can effectively operate in space and he would be a great addition in pass protection. Lamp has nimble feet to match his strength and should be able to effectively go blow for blow with premier interior defensive linemen without requiring help from the centre. Lamp could also be an asset in the run game, utilising his feet and athleticism as a pulling guard who is able to clamp down on defensive linemen or operate in the second level and take on linebackers and box safeties.
Lamp had an excellent game against the nation’s top Defense and allowed just 1 pressure on 40 snaps against the Alabama Crimson Tide. While I believe the Dolphins should wait till the later rounds to draft a guard, this starting line up sounds extremely promising and would allow Miami to set the tempo running the ball early against any opponent. This starting line up is one that should excite Dolphins fans in 2017 and beyond:
LT Laremy Tunsil, LG Forrest Lamp, C Mike Pouncey, RG T. Larsen/ J. Bushrod, RT Ja’Waun James
DE, Takkarist McKinley/ Taco Charlton/ Charles Harris
This is a loaded draft class at edge rusher. The preferred pick would be UCLA’s Takkarist McKinley. He has a tremendous motor to match his exceptional burst and could a perennial 10+ sack artist. But McKinley will most likely be gone by pick 22 and the Dolphins could look at Michigan’s Taco Charlton or Missouri’s Charles Harris.
Despite receiving a lot of hype, I personally believe the Dolphins should take a pass on Charlton and if only he or Lamp are available at 22 then Miami should trade down (read my previous article on the Dolphins being ideally positioned to trade down). Charlton has a rare combination of height, weight and speed at DE and while he has a high ceiling, I worry about his inconsistent Michigan tape. He also does not exhibit the toughness you want to see in the trenches. Charles Harris on the otherhand could develop into a perennial 10+ sack machine and I believe could develop into a Cameron Wake-type 4-3 DE. While some may have 22 as too high for Harris, if the board shakes out and it’s a choice between Harris or Charlton – I’d favour Harris – particularly for Miami’s 4-3, Wide-9 scheme.
S Jabrill Peppers, Michigan
Another name often associated with the Dolphins at 22. Jabrill Peppers is one of the most difficult evaluations in this years draft as he played out of position at LB for Michigan last season. Peppers is the most versatile prospect in this years draft and arguably the most over the past 10 years. Peppers played safety, corner, linebacker, running back, quarterback (wildcat) and returned punts and kick offs.
Peppers is more of an in-the-box safety than a centre fielder which is why I believe there are better options for the Dolphins in the 2nd round at the safety position. However, no-one can question that putting Peppers athleticism and play making ability next to Reshad Jones would give Miami two studs at safety. Peppers has shown he is athletic and can be fluid in space, thus able to play as a nickel corner. His greatest strength is playing the run as he is able to set the edge and stop runs breaking outside. Peppers is an incredible talent, but I don’t like the scheme fit with Miami. Peppers also brings tremendous special teams value.
BONUS – DE, Jordan Willis, Kansas State
Jordan Willis is an explosive edge rusher. He flew under the radar before blowing up the combine in Indianapolis. Those freaky testing numbers show up on tape and he is a twitch athlete who is able to beat Tackles to the corner and is proficient with his hands. Willis is a stack-and-shed edge rusher with a relentless motor who could be available at the start of Day 2, however, Miami might not want to gamble and could reach at 22 for the explosive pass-rusher.
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