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2015 Dolphins Draft Picks
We are now less than 24 hours away from the 2016 NFL Draft. I LOVE this time of the year, as it a time for all NFL teams, but especially my Miami Dolphins to build to get better. Make no bones about it, the pressure on Executive Vice President of Football Operations Mike Tannenbaum and General Manager Chris Grier to have a good draft for a team that has multiple holes to fill is enormous.
As we head to Thursday Night, there was a lot of buzz about Miami looking to trade up into the top 10 to try to secure Ohio State RB Ezekiel Elliott or possibly OLB Myles Jack of UCLA. We also know this is the time of the year where the smoke get's REAL THICK. I was going back and forth on this, and thought seriously about Miami pulling the trigger to move up. Then I tought about a statement Mike Tannenbaum made last week about the team when he said the Dolphins are not one player away.
Sure, you would like to get an ELITE player like Elliott, but Miami has been so concerned about losing compensatory picks for 2017, I just can't see a team that is one player away looking to trade picks away. While they may have looked into it,I believe at the end of the day, the Dolphins will stay pat, or perhaps even trade down to get additional picks. IF Miami traded up, it would not be a total surprise, as Tannenbaum is aggressive and has traded up in his past tenure with the New York Jets.
With that said, let's take a look at who I believe Miami will look at in the 2016 NFL Draft.
1) William Jackson, CB, Houston, 6'0, 189 lbs - The Dolphins released CB Brice McClain and Brent Grimes and only bought in CB Byron Maxwell via the trade earlier this off season. Miami has a dire need at CB, as Jackson has seen his stock rise the last few weeks. Miami had a private workout with Jackson and bought him to Davie for a visit. Jackson has very good speed, as he ran a 4.37 at the combine.
Players that could be in play are RB Ezekiel Elliott, DE Shaq Lawson, OLB Myles Jack, CB Eli Apple, CB Vernon Hargreaves, OT Jack Conklin. The New York Giants just took Jack off their board. If he drops to Miami at 13, I do believe they will select Jack, and the same goes for Elliott.
STRENGTHS: At the next level, scouts and coaches covet speed at the position, but teams also want size and length to better match-up with the physical pass-catchers in the NFL. Jackson is a good-sized athlete for the position with an aggressive attitude that serves him well, doing a lot of wide receiver-like things at the catch point.
Brackets receivers against the sideline with terrific instincts and coverage sense to take away short passes and not get beat deep. He looks comfortable in either press-man or off-man. Balanced off the snap and extends his hands to jam in press-man coverage. Quick out of his stance to shadow routes, reading the receiver to sense throws and get his head turned to react accordingly.
WEAKNESSES: Does he have the short-area agility to hold up vs. the quick pass-catchers at the next level? NFL scouts will keep their eyes trained on his transition technique during pre-draft workouts.
He will find himself off-balance in press and needs to refine his technique, anticipation and route recognition to eliminate false steps. Has some hip tightness. Allows receivers to drive him off the route with hard-stops or physical push-offs. Needs to better anticipate routes and improve his spatial awareness to close gaps at the stem. Lacks a second gear to recover if the receiver gains a step late vertically. Will panic and get grabby at times, attracting obvious penalties. Needs to better square up his targets as a tackler.
IN OUR VIEW: His body type, arm length and physicality at the catch point are why Jackson might be the first senior corner drafted. Projects as a day two pick.
--Dane Brugler (2/10/16)
Kaufusi arrived at BYU following a two-year Mormon church mission, and arrived six days before fall camp opened in 2013. He still recorded 23 tackles and 4.5 sacks while backing up eventual top-five NFL pick Ezekiel Ansah. Kaufusi knows the game better than his predecessor, and says helped his conditioning and footwork.
Kaufusi continued to build on his production every year for the Cougars, recording 37 tackles as a sophomore, 43 as a junior and a career-high 64 as a senior, when he also racked up a career-best 11.0 sacks to go with six quarterback hits, three forced fumbles, an interception and a fumble recovery.
Unlike most former basketball players, Kaufusi doesn't shy from contact, using his length and strength to stack and shed blockers at the point of attack and grab hold of ballcarriers as they attempt to run by. For his size, Kaufusi possesses good initial burst of the ball and he accelerates smoothly, showing a terrific motor to chase down ballcarriers yards downfield. He's alert and surprisingly nimble, showing enough balance, agility and awareness to drop into coverage on shallow routes.
The son of BYU defensive line coach Steve Kaufusi, he shows some polish, incorporating a powerful rip and spin moves to go along with traditional speed and power rushes. Called the "perfect BYU player" by then-head coach Bronco Mendenhall (now at Virginia) based on Kaufusi's talent, work ethic and leadership.
WEAKNESSES: A bit straight-linish, lacking ideal flexibility to scrape the corner and close in one fluid movement. These struggles also come into play when dropping back into coverage as he needs some space to change direction, making him a potential liability in pass defense against smaller, quicker receivers. An older prospect (high school graduating class was in 2010) due to serving on an LDS mission in New Zealand.
IN OUR VIEW: Big, athletic and tenacious, Kaufusi offers traits sure to intrigue scouts from 4-3 and 3-4 teams, alike. He's broad and strong enough to hold up at the point of attack as a 4-3 defensive end and can close on quarterbacks due to surprisingly lateral quickness, a varied set of pass rush moves and a motor that simply doesn't have an idle. Kaufusi has the length and acceleration to also intrigue as a possible outside linebacker.
Kaufusi remains a perplexing prospect. He isn't a natural bender and plays much too high, but he is agile and able to win with speed and redirection skills. Although he uses his hands aggressively, Kaufusi doesn't generate much power at the point of attack. Several around the league have yet to figure him out.
--Rob Rang and Dane Brugler (2/1/16)
3) C.J Prosise, RB, Notre Dame, 6'0, 220 lbs - Miami let RB Lamar Miller walk via free agency, and missed out on C.J Anderson and Chris Johnson in free agency. Miami looks to add a versatile RB, and Prosise fits what Gase is looking for. A former wide reciever, he has very good hands and is compotent in the pass game. Explosive, big play threat, but young to the RB position.
STRENGTHS: Well-distributed body mass with the desired physical ingredients. Able to absorb and maintain balance through congestion, picking yards after contact. Refuses to go down, showing the body strength and leg drive to fight forward.
Fluid lateral agility in his cuts and controls his momentum well, shifting his weight without slowing. Follows and trusts his blockers to weave through traffic. Natural at resetting his vision on the move. Patient run style to quickly scan and go. Speed to be a big-play threat and eliminate pursuit angles when he hits the turbo button. Has a fifth gear downfield to separate from the secondary. Strong stiff arm and runs with physical finish.
Natural receiving traits and experience, displaying reliable focus and hands as a pass-catcher. Stand out on special teams coverages - earned the Notre Dame Special Teams Player of the Year honors in 2014. Highly productive in 2015 (his first season at running back), averaging 6.6 yards per carry and 11.8 yards per reception.
WEAKNESSES: Upright runner with inconsistent pad level, presenting a large target for tacklers. Hesitant at times and still learning the difference between patience and being indecisive. Will get himself in trouble with too much east-west. Tends to slow at the contact point, bracing himself for hits.
Lacks ideal experience at the running back position and still learning techniques at the position. Lacks nuance in pass protection.
Wasn't a return man at Notre Dame. Ball security needs addressed (five fumbles in 2015). Durability was an issue in his one season at running back, missing almost all of Notre Dame's final five games - entered concussion protocol with a neck/head injury followed by a high left ankle sprain (Nov. 2015).
IN OUR VIEW: A safety and wide receiver his first two seasons, Prosise proved to be a quick study at his new position in 2015, running with natural vision, feel and athleticism. Although he's still developing his run tempo, pad level and instincts, especially between the tackles, Prosise has sharp cutting ability and ball-skills to impact the offense in several ways.
Prosise isn't a running back by trade and that shows at times, but he's a very encouraging prospect who should continue to get better with added reps at the position.
--Dane Brugler (1/11/16)
4) B.J Goodson, LB, Clemson, 6'1, 242 lbs - Miami is looking for a thumper at ILB, plus, this could possibly allow LB Kiko Alonso to move to OLB, a position Buffalo was going to move him to coming off his monster rookie year. Goodson has good speed at 4.62 in the 40, and is very physical and bring a physical mentality to the field. Miami brought Goodson in to Davie for a visit and private workout.
Like many players on major college football powers, Goodson rose up the ranks during his career, waiting for others to graduate or move on to the NFL before being able to show off his full skill set. He was no slouch coming from the same high school as former Clemson and NFL standout linebacker Levon Kirkland, though Goodson's game is not similar to that of his boyhood hero. After two years as a reserve (11 tackles in 2012-2013), Goodson became a co-starter at linebacker as a redshirt sophomore, making 34 tackles, 3.5 for loss, and three recovered fumbles. He took the reins of the defense in his senior season, leading the Tigers with 108 tackles, 14 of which resulted in losses including 5.5 sacks. Goodson displayed an excellent all-around game, intercepting two passes, breaking up three others, and forcing a fumble during the year to garner third-team All-ACC honors from league coaches (second-team from league media).
Robinson's talent was never an issue during his time in Baton Rouge, but staying on the field was problematic. He barely made the deadline for eligibility before his freshman season, but ended up playing in 12 games with two starts (16 tackles, interception, three pass break-ups). In 2014, he was not allowed to dress for the season opener against Wisconsin and started six of eight games played (17 tackles, one pass breakup) before being suspended indefinitely in November. Head coach Les Miles never reinstated Robinson for the 2015 season, so the defender sat out the season instead of transferring to another school. Without hope of re-joining the team in 2016, he entered the NFL draft as an early entrant.
The native of Kenya has been impressive over the past three years when healthy, displaying pro-caliber footwork and a solid anchor in pass protection while earning All-Conference honors the past two years (second-team in 2014, first-team in 2015). However, Odhiambo (pronounced AH-dee-AHM-bo) has not been able to start more than nine games in any season due to injuries (he broke his ankle in this seasons ninth game). Still, whether he serves as an undersized tackle or proves strong enough to move inside (like former Boise State LT Daryn Colledge), Odhiambo has starter-quality skills.
Grant had 90 receptions for 1,268 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2015. All of those totals were career-highs during his four-year career at Texas Tech.
A highly regarded high school recruit from Pennsylvania, Jefferson's career got off to a shaky start. His jaw was broken during a fight back home, putting off the beginning of his workouts with teammates. He came back, though, to play in nine games as a reserve (13 tackles) as a true freshman. Finally healthy and familiar with the defensive scheme, he started all 13 games in 2013 (45 tackles, 7.5 for loss, three sacks). Looking to build upon that performance, Jefferson started three games in 2014 (eight tackles, one for loss) but suffered a torn right ACL against West Virginia. He came back with a vengeance for his redshirt junior year, earning honorable mention All-Big Ten honors with 12.5 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks, interceptions, and a blocked kick. The father of three then decided it was time to move on to the next level instead of returning to Maryland for his fifth campaign with the Terps.
That is the question that is out there now. Jason LaCanfora of CBS Sports thinks both Miami and Tennessee could look to trade up, Miami to get Ezekiel Elliott and the Titans to get Michigan State OLT Jack Conklin or Notre Dame OLT Ronnie Stanley. I have also have read that if OLB Myles Jack starts to drop, Miami could make the move up to grab him.
Matthew Cannata of the Phinsider.com is someone I follow very closely on Twitter along with a few others. but Matt has very good sources inside the Dolphins orginization, and he also has mentioned that Miami will look to trade up for either Myles Jack or Ezekiel Elliott if they start to fall in the draft. Cleveland is the team that is still looking to trade down from #8, and if the Dolphins were to approach the Browns about a trade up, it would require giving up their 3rd round pick. He believes if the Dolphins were to stay at #13, Houston CB William Jackson will be the pick or a possible trade down, and I agree with his thoughts.
While some will not like the thinking here, if the Dolphins were to trade up, there thinking is that they have already got 2 starters added to the team with the trade that bought them CB Bryon Maxwell and ILB/OLB Kiko Alonso. Trading up to get a Elliott or Jack would add another impact player and starter to the team. One thing to watch for also is the Dolphins possible looking to trade current players on the roster. I listened to the broadcast of the Phinsider.com radio show, which aired on 4/20, and Matthew was on the show and mentioned that the Dolphins could look to possibly look to trade OLB Jelani Jenkins or OLT Brandon Albert during this draft. Miami is high on OLB Neville Hewitt, who showed flashes during his rookie season with Miami.
These are the names to keep an eye on in the 1st round for Miami in my opinion. DE Shaq Lawson, Clemson, ILB Reggie Ragland, Alabama, DE Kevin Dodd, Clemson, RB Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State, CB William Jackson, Houston, CB Vernon Hargreaves, Florida, CB Mackensie Alexander, Clemson, CB Eli Apple, Ohio State, OLB Darron Lee, Ohio State, OLB Myles Jack, UCLA, OLT Jack Conklin, Michigan State, OLT Ronnie Stanley, Notre Dame.
Of the group mentioned above, Dodd and Ragland would be prime candidates in trade down in the 1st round. Neither Conklin nor Stanley have had visits with Miami, so I was a little hesitant to put them on the list, but I think they could be in play. I have tried to pay particular attention to who the Dolphins have bought into Davie for visits or had private workouts with or BOTH. A kid I would keep an eye on in the 3rd-4th round at ILB is B.J Goodson out of Clemson. A mid to late round pick is OT/OG Rees Odhiambo of Boise State. Miami would have seen him when they scouted RB Jay Ajayi last year, and he has been in to the Davie complex as well.
I will be putting out a final Mock Draft for Miami probably Wednesday. Right now, my pick for Miami if they were to stay at #13 is Houston CB William Jackson.
We are almost there, the 2016 NFL Draft. Can't wait.