The 2019 NFL Draft will provide significant insight into the long-term plans of the Miami Dolphins. Here is how first-time general manager Chris Grier can get his team back on the right track.
After reviewing months of game film and attending both the Senior Bowl and NFL Combine, Chris Grier and his staff should have a good feel for the prospects in the 2019 NFL Draft. The Miami Dolphins have more holes in their roster than a new block of swiss cheese, most notably on both the offensive and defensive lines. Luckily for them, the strength of this draft is in the trenches, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. There could potentially be three quarterbacks drafted before the Dolphins pick at 13, which should allow an elite defensive talent to fall to them.
As stated above, the Dolphins have issues all over their roster, including the offensive line. This draft has almost as many “day one” starters available along the offensive line as it does on the defensive side. With the 13th pick, Miami should have their choice of almost any offensive lineman in the draft. But if the team decides to go in a different direction, there will be plenty of OL options available later in the draft as well.
The Dolphins currently own one selection per round. With this in mind, Miami must be far more accurate in this draft than in years past. In this mock draft, I can see two immediate starters. But all of the picks should contribute significant snaps early on. All selections come from The Draft Network’s Mock Draft machine.
Round 1 (Pick 13): Ed Oliver | Defensive Tackle | Houston
Ed Oliver is my 3rd rated prospect in the 2019 NFL Draft, and there’s a decent chance he falls into Miami’s lap. New head coach Brian Flores comes from the New England system that revolved around players who can contribute at multiple positions. Oliver played defensive tackle at Houston but also participated in linebacker drills at the combine.
Oliver would be a great building block for the Dolphins, pairing him with players like cornerback Xavien Howard, safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, and linebacker Raekwon McMillan would give this defense core pieces for a potentially elite defense for years to come.
Round 2 (Pick 48): Michael Deiter | Offensive Line | Wisconsin
With the Dolphins moving on from the aging Josh Sitton, they will need to find a long term replacement. The previous coaching staff had no faith in 3rd-year guard Isaac Asiata, who has only appeared in two games throughout his career. If the new coaching staff isn’t confident they can help him develop, they will need to find a guard in this draft that can play significant snaps right away.
Deiter set the University of Wisconsin record for most games played at 54. In fact, he started every single one. Adding a player with his durability and his ability to play interior OL or offensive tackle would be a tremendous day two pick for Grier and the Dolphins.
Round 3 (Pick 78): Rock Ya-Sin | Cornerback | Temple
Miami signed Eric Rowe from New England when free agency opened. But the former 2nd round pick has been often injured throughout his career. Therefore, the Dolphins will need to add more competition on the opposite side of Xavien Howard. Opposing teams will start avoiding the Pro-Bowler Howard. So it’s imperative that the Dolphins find a suitable player to man the other boundary.
Rock Ya-Sin caught the eye of scouts at the Senior Bowl and followed it up with an impressive combine. Ya-Sin has ideal size to play CB in the NFL, and his wrestling background helps with his physicality against opposing receivers. Securing a reliable CB2 in this draft will be necessary if Miami wants to shore up its 21st ranked passing defense.
Round 4 (Pick 116): Jaquan Johnson | Safety | Miami
In today’s NFL, you can never have too many pass rushers or ball hawks. Adding safety Jaquan Johnson would be bolstering the latter. Johnson was a 4-star recruit out of Miami Killian High School and attended the University of Miami. The home town kid finished his collegiate career with eight interceptions and six forced fumbles.
Johnson can play any of the safety positions effectively and drop down into the nickel when needed. At 5-foot-10 and 191 pounds, he’s not the biggest draft prospect. But that doesn’t hinder his hitting or tackling ability. Johnson could come in and contribute to the defensive rotation immediately along with a role as a core special teams player.
Round 5 (Pick 151): Isaiah Johnson | Cornerback | Houston
Isaiah Johnson grew up idolizing Arizona Cardinals future Hall of Fame wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald. This because Johnson played WR up until 2016, including his first two seasons at the University of Houston. Johnson made the change to cornerback after his sophomore season in 2016 due to a lack of playing time.
His prototypical size and raw talent will entice teams, including the Dolphins. He’s raw as a CB. But under the right coaching, he could see significant growth in his skills. His impressive combine showing boosted his draft stock. In fact, I could see a team taking a chance on him even earlier than the 5th round.
Round 6 (Pick 188): Hunter Renfrow | Wide Receiver | Clemson
Offensive coordinator Chad O’Shea gets his Julian Edelman type here. Another coach in Miami by way of New England, Dolphins fans can expect to see Patriots-style players on offense make their way to Miami. Hunter Renfrow was a reliable receiver for four years at Clemson, helping the Tigers win two National Championships during his time in South Carolina.
Renfrow would pair nicely with the speedy receivers Miami already has in Albert Wilson and Jakeem Grant. His route running savvy would provide whoever the quarterback is a security blanket when the home run hitters are out of the picture. Renfrow would be able to learn from O’Shea, who helped Edelman become a Super Bowl MVP.
Round 7 (Pick 234): Jordan Brailford | EDGE | Oklahoma State
The Dolphins will be without their top three contributing defensive ends from last season. Miami’s defense mustered only 17 sacks from the edge in the 2018 season. Meanwhile, they spent an astounding $38.3 million (21.65% of their team salary) on the position.
Jordan Brailford would be a good value pick in the 7th round of the draft. Brailford had an impressive showing at the Senior Bowl and followed it up with a strong combine performance. He is an unfinished product and will need to add new pass rushing moves to his arsenal. But with the right coaching, Brailford could develop into an effective pass rusher at the next level.