The Miami Dolphins are a team which, back in August, was supposed to be the clear-cut worst team in the entire league. There wasn’t a chance this stripped-down roster was going to able to compete against real NFL teams. The first pick in the 2020 NFL Draft was supposed to be a LOCK. You could go ahead and put Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa down in ink on your 7-round mock drafts. Many even went so far as to think this was a team that may not even win a game.
It’s funny how things change during the course of a season.
Not only does that motley crew of a roster not have the first overall pick in the NFL Draft, they don’t have the second or third, either. Somehow, against all the odds, head coach Brian Flores squeezed five wins out of his roster and secured the fifth pick in the NFL Draft. By not getting the first pick in the draft, the Dolphins didn’t blow their chance at Tua, but did miss out on the guy who surprised nearly everyone to put together one of the best single seasons in college football history — Joe Burrow.
Whether or not it’s a good thing the Dolphins won 5 games with the rosters they fielded each week is debatable. What’s not debatable is that quarterback is the most pressing need on the team, and there are at least three players in this draft who have franchise QB potential. Should the Dolphins get aggressive and trade several picks to go get THE guy? Should they be patient and grab who falls to them?
In this 7-round mock draft, the Dolphins get the best of both worlds. They get to stay right where they are at number 5, and they get to take the guy everyone assumes they’ve been targeting all along. Who do they pair with their newly minted QB to fill out the roster? I think we have a lot of really, really talented players here.
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Everything. The Dolphins need everything. That was the whole point of this rebuild. Tear the entire building down to the foundation and build anew. Other than the wide receiver group, there isn’t a position on the roster that cannot be improved by someone in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Obviously, the quarterback position is the first and foremost need on everyone’s mind, and for good reason. The Dolphins have been more-or-less inept at the position since the great Dan Marino retired. No one is ever going to be the next Marino, but the Dolphins desperately need someone at the position who can lead the team into the next glorious chapter in their history.
Beyond the QB, they desperately need to strengthen the offensive line that protects said quarterback. If quarterback has been the biggest need on this team for nearly two decades, offensive line is need 1(b). They could also use a significant upgrade at the running back position, and a cornerback to either pair with — or entirely replace — Xavien Howard. Someone to replace Cameron Wake and provide consistent pressure upfront is also something of desperate need. Can this 7-round mock draft provide everything the Dolphins need? Let’s find out, shall we?
Round 1, Pick 5: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
The first selection in this 7-round Dolphins mock draft should surprise no one. By all accounts, the Dolphins have been all-in on Tua throughout this entire process. He should be available when the team picks at 5. Assuming all of his medicals check out the way you want them to, this one is easy.
If the medicals don’t check out, things become a lot more complicated for the Dolphins. Do they kick the QB can down the road to 2021 and hope for someone like Trevor Lawrence or Justin Fields? Do they select the Senior Bowl MVP Justin Herbert at 5? Do they wait until their second or third first round pick — or even later — to take someone like Jake Fromm, Jacob Eason, or Anthony Gordon?
For the sake of the franchise and the fan base, let’s hope the medicals check out and Miami isn’t flung into a worst-case scenario.
Other possible picks: OT Andrew Thomas, QB Justin Herbert
Round 1, Pick 18: D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia
The Miami Dolphins have a pretty glaring need at the running back position. After they jettisoned Kenyan Drake to the Arizona Cardinals, they never really could find the guy who could be the workhorse at the position. D’Andre Swift can come in immediately and be that guy. He’s arguably the best running back in this draft, and would instantly make the Dolphins’ roster better.
A running back this high in the draft, however, isn’t what I would call “ideal.” I would have much rather had the Dolphins select someone like A.J. Epenesa at this stage of our 7-round mock draft. However, with him off the board and other EDGE players of better value available later on, Swift felt like the BPA. Whether or not the Dolphins are a team in position to take a BPA draft strategy is debatable.
Other possible picks: EDGE Yetur Gross-Matos, C Tyler Biadasz
Round 1, Pick 26: Julian Okwara, EDGE, Notre Dame
Speaking of better value at the EDGE position, the next pick in our Dolphins 7-round mock draft is Julian Okwara, an EDGE rusher from Notre Dame. The Dolphins desperately need pass rush talent upfront, and when Okwara is on, he is up there with the best of them at the position. The consistency is something I really question with him, though.
I would have rather this pick been either Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE from Penn State, or C.J. Henderson, cornerback from the University of Florida. Both were taken just before the Dolphins’ third first-round selection, a pick they received from the Houston Texans in exchange for LT Laremy Tunsil. At the end of the day, I don’t feel like the Dolphins can come out of the first day of the 2020 NFL Draft without selecting an EDGE, so Okwara was ultimately the pick.
Other possible picks: C Cesar Ruiz, S Antoine Winfield
Round 2, Pick 39: Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama
High-quality safety play is important to the defensive scheme that Dolphins’ head coach Brian Flores wants to run. The team shipped Minkah Fitzpatrick to the Pittsburgh Steelers for multiple draft picks after he was unwilling to be the chess piece the Dolphins’ staff wanted him to be. For all the good that Reshad Jones has done for the organization over the years, the writing is on the wall for him as well. It’s time for the Dolphins to restart at the safety position.
The first piece in that restart comes to us in the second round of our Dolphins 7-round mock draft in the form of Alabama’s Xavier McKinney. McKinney isn’t quite the chess piece his former Alabama counterpart Fitzpatrick was, but he should fit what Flores wants to do with the Dolphins’ defense.
Other possible picks: RB Jonathan Taylor, WR Jalen Reagor
Round 2, Pick 56: A.J. Green, CB, Oklahoma State
A.J. Green comes to the Miami Dolphins! No, not that one. As much as I wouldn’t mind the Dolphins pulling off a draft-day trade that brings the star receiver to Miami, there are no trades in this 7-round mock draft. This A.J. Green is the cornerback from Oklahoma State. He provides the Dolphins a player to pair alongside Xavien Howard on the outside.
With the potential controversy swirling around Howard and his domestic violence case, this pick could wind up being a replacement for Howard. If that ends up being the case, Miami might be better off prioritizing cornerback a bit more than pick 56. As it stands today, Green would provide a great complement and help shore up the back-end of the Dolphins’ secondary.
Other possible picks: G John Simpson, DL Rashard Lawrence
NEXT: Rounds 3-7