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2015 Dolphins Draft Picks
We are now less than a month away from the 2016 NFL Draft, and the draft for the Miami Dolphins is shaping up into a BIG component for the Dolphins to add needed talent on this roster to fill holes.
So far, Free Agency has been a mixed bag for the Dolphins. I like the trade bringing in CB Byron Maxwell and LB Kiki Alonso to Miami, as you bring in young talent to positions of need for the Dolphins. Both players are coming off of down years for them, Maxwell due to playing in a system that is not a good fit for him, and Alonso due to injuries. I believe both can have bounce back years for Miami, and that will be a key part of any success the Dolphins defense will have in 2016. Acquiring DE Mario Williams and OG/OT Jermon Bushrod were good signing for the Dolphins, although in the case of Bushrod, he is being bought in to compete at OG, a position he has not played before. Detroit S Isa Abdul-Quddus is seen as a player with talent, a player on the rise and Isa played well for the Lions in 2016. OG Kraig Urbik is a player with starting NFL experience, starting 57 of his 84 games in the NFL. He brings much needed quality depth to the offensive line for Miami at a position that has given them trouble.
That said, the Dolphins missed out on the one player that really could have helped solidify the offensive line when they missed out on OG Alex Boone. Also, the Dolphins, willing to let RB Lamar Miller walk, missed out on getting C.J Anderson from the Broncos, as Denver ended up matching the offer the Dolphins put together for C.J. Then the missed on on Arizonz RB Chris Johnson, who signed back with the Cardinals. Miami recently singed RB Isiah Pead and former Dolphin RB Daniel Thomas, but they are no more than bodies and perhaps players that can challenge 3rd string RB Damien Williams. Miami also signed OT Sam Young from Jacksonville and recently re-signed Ulrick John, players who will be fighting for roster spots and provide depth at OT for Miami. Miami had RB Arian Foster, coming off a torn Achilles against the Dolphins in for a visit. It was known that Foster was not looking to sign a contract and will not sign until after the draft. Miami wanted to take a look at Arian to see where he is physically, and in my opinion, if healthy, Arian could do well in Miami's system and be a nice complement to RB Jay Ajayi. BUT, that still leaves Miami looking to draft a RB in the draft now.
That brings us to the upcoming draft and Tannenbaum and Grier. The pressure on these two men will be IMMENSE. They will need to come out ouf this draft with both quantity of talent as well as quality. Miami will need to come out with at least 3-5 starters/contributors to the 2016 team. The Dolphins have seemed to want to build thru the draft and not thru free agency in regards to starters, and NOW they will have to come thru with how that do in the upcoming draft. A good portion of free agency has been about adding talent to the back end of the roster, with the obvious exception of Maxwell, Alonso, Bushrod, Williams & Quddus. This week, CB Greg Toler came in for a visit, but left withouth signing a contract. Miami did sign TE MarQueis Gray.
Miami will not look at add any free agents of consequence until after the NFL Draft, as it would jeopardize the compensatory picks that the Dolphins will have going into the 2017 Draft. As of right now, the Dolphins have 2 compensatory picks, a 3rd and a 5th for losing DE Oliveir Vernon and RB Lamar Miller. I had said 3 a few weeks ago, but that was a mistake.
Going into the draft, the Dolphins will be looking to draft CB, LB, DE, OG, DT. There has also been a lot of talk of the Dolphins taking a developmental QB in this draft as well, so keep an eye on that. The Dolphins will be working out Michigan QB Jake Rudock here in the near future and have a private workout scheduled with Michigan State QB Connor Cook as well.
A player to keep an eye on is OLB Su'a Cravens of Southern Cal. The Dolphins meet with Cravens at the Combine and Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald had an article stating that the Dolphins are bringing Cravens in for a visit to the Davie Complex as well. It is no secret that the Dolphins need to improve the linebacker group, and Cravens could be a player the Dolphins look to bring in. Here is a write up on Cravens from NFL.Com.
Cravens' extended family has several NFL ties, including cousin Jordan Cameron (former USC and current Miami Dolphins tight end), distant cousin Manti Te'o (Notre Dame/San Diego Chargers linebacker) and his mother's second cousin David Fulcher (former Arizona State and Cincinnati Bengals safety). While those genes portend great athleticism, Cravens made his own name as the USA Today National High School Defensive Player of the Year in 2012 (97 tackles, eight sacks, three INT). He graduated from Vista Murrieta High a semester early to join USC for 2013, securing a starting spot at strong safety the following fall despite injuring his knee in the spring. Cravens made various Freshman All-American teams as well as honorable mention All-Pac-12 notice (52 tackles, four interceptions). He moved to a safety/linebacker hybrid role as a sophomore (a change he strongly resisted at first), leading the team with 17 tackles for loss (five sacks) and three interceptions to earn third team AP All-American and first-team All-Pac-12 accolades. Cravens repeated those honors in 2015, topping all Trojan defenders with 86 tackles, 15 for loss, and 5.5 sacks and once again showing his overall game by intercepting two passes and breaking up two others.
40-yard dash: 4.69 seconds
Vertical: 30 1/2 inches
Short shuttle: 4.41 seconds
3-cone: 6.92 seconds
Born to be a football player. Combines smarts, instincts and toughness. Will not hesitate to jump into the mix and have proven his ability to make full-time conversion to linebacker. Outstanding with his hands. Always first with his punch into blocker's frame and unlocks instant arm extension to keep himself clean. Showed ability to engage blocker, shuffle with square pads and disengage for the tackle. Scouts believe he will comfortably carry over 230 pounds in pros. Big boy production comes from always choosing play-making option over passive route. Loves to play on the other side of the line when possible. Sticky hands and can take the ball away if you give him a shot. Posted nine interceptions in three years. Aware in zone coverage, but has some blitz value. Will have immediate impact on special teams coverage.
Small for an NFL linebacker spot. Lack of length to consistently pull himself around the corner against edge blocks. Former safety who is still learning nuances of the position. Will take time to adjust to NFL power at the point of attack. Will get hooked inside and lose contain. Not as twitched up and fast as expected. Will get engulfed if he doesn't win early with hands. Unable to maintain feel for the target in his trail technique in man coverage. More likely to maul and grab over trusting technique in coverage. Willing to dive and miss rather than working for a higher percentage tackle.
"He's a lot of fun to watch because he processes quickly like an NFL linebacker and then just fires into the play. I've never really cared about the size at the WILL, I just want to know if they have instincts and can run and make plays. That's it. He can do that." -- Former NFL general manager
Plays with a unique lens that includes his time at the safety position as a freshman. Teams focusing on putting a "tweener" label on him could be making a huge mistake considering his competitive nature and toughness. Cravens was highly disruptive and productive in each of his three seasons as a starter thanks to his tools/traits to act on his instincts. Cravens will help on special teams immediately and could become an early starter for a 4-3 defense looking for a playmaking weak-side linebacker.
Mike Tannenbaum and Chris Grier, it getting closer and closer to showtime and the 2016 NFL Draft. Are you ready? Hope you are, because this is going to be BIG for both of you gentleman in regards to the present and future success of the Miami Dolphins.
I wanted to give us Hargreaves or Elliott with our top pick but instead I predicted Philly drafting Zeke and Tampa taking Hargreaves right after that, so by the time its our turn I think it will be narrowed down to a small player pool consisting of Shaq Lawson, Kevin Dodd, Mackensie Alexander,Darron Lee and William Jackson.
I think the Giants will take one of the Clemson ends at #10. Lee is a possibility but as of now we have 3 starters filled at linebacker. The 2 corners will be considered but not so sure they at top 13 material. So there is a very good chance we end up with one of the Clemson pass rushers and right now I’m predicting its Dodd who has really climbed up teams boards.
In the National Championship game he lit up the Crimson Tide with five tackles for loss, including three sacks. Wake and Williams are at the tail end of their careers so we can ease Dodd in slowly as the heir apparent to Wake. Dodd’s a large pass rusher with a great motor and a knack for getting to the quarterback.
With our 2nd round pick it was between Xavien Howard, Josh Garnett and Kendell Fuller. I went with another ascending player in the big/speedy Baylor corner. Howard has great ball skills and can play the press coverage style that Gase and Joseph want. That gives us 2 plus-sized corners on the outside with McCain in the slot and Lippett in reserve. He’s scheduled to meet with Miami this week.
In round three I was thinking guard and runningback, and I went with the best value, the dangerous Kenneth Dixon who is an all around weapon being compared to Dion Lewis. Our backfield will resemble Denvers with Ajayi in the Anderson role and Dixon as a better version of Hillman.
Our offensive weaponry should be more than enough for Tannehill to thrive.
The recent acquisitions of Jermon Bushrod and Kraig Urbik made me wait til the middle of this draft to add yet another guard, and it’s a good one. Dahl is one of my favorite players in this draft and I think he’ll have a long career as an NFL starter. I think we’ll have about 9 guards competing in the summer. A mix of vets and young guys.
After that I have Miami filling in depth at key positions but the top 4 picks should be the ones that help us out the quickest. I really think that Dodd, Howard, Dixon and Dahl are 4 excellent talents.
1. Kevin Dodd-DE-Clemson
Relentless competitor with NFL-ready frame. Refuses to give offensive lineman a play off. Not content to be around a play, wants in the action. Won't lay on blocks and able to improve his position after contact through footwork and strength. Never drops eyes from ball location and is able to unhinge from blocks quickly to make a play when the ball enters his patch of grass. Extremely instinctive and well-coached. Snuffs out screens, bootlegs and shovel passes almost every game. Takes his contain responsibility very seriously. Insane production spike from last year to this season. Saw his quarterback pressures go from three to 46 and he was credited with 12 sacks in 2015 season. Athletic upfield burst with desired bend and hip flexion to corner the edge. Has length and leverage to become an effective speed-to-power rusher. Wore Alabama out with three sacks and two tackles for loss. Tape shows a player who played his best football at the end of the year. (NFL.COM)
2. Xavien Howard-CB-Baylor
CBS Sports' Dane Brugler tweeted Baylor CB Xavien Howard's tape surprised him, in a positive way.
"Sturdy athlete with quick feet, ball skills," was the quick evaluation Brugler gave of Howard, who was overall "impressive." The game that always sticks out to us is Howard's matchup against Kevin White during the 2014 season. White, a physical specimen, was matched in that category by Howard. There were plenty of contested catches and penalties, but that type of corner can be difficult to find.
Source: Dane Brugler on Twitter
CBS Sports draft analyst Rob Rang wrote "don't sleep on the rangy and athletic [Baylor CB Xavien] Howard."
Rang refers to Howard as a "classic press corner" and believes he'll be the highest Baylor defensive back selected in the draft since the Ravens used pick No. 62 to draft Gary Baxter. That was all the way back in 2001. Rang's not the only one at CBS Sports who's smitten with the 6-foot-2, 200-pound Howard, though, as fellow analyst Dane Brugler wrote earlier in the week that if he can post nice measurables at the NFL Scouting Combine, he'll be a potential draft "riser."
Source: CBS Sports
3. Kenneth Dixon-RB-La Tech
Highly determined runner with a strong desire to compete through the whistle on every snap. Dixon possesses outstanding feet with exciting suddenness in his change of direction, but hes very willing to finish his runs with authority and has a knack for finding the endzone. Dixon has all the traits of being a quality, three-down starter in the NFL but his frame and suspect pass protection could be long-term concerns. (NFL.com)
4. Joe Dahl-G-Wash. St.
NFL Media senior analyst Gil Brandt called Washington State T Joe Dahl "one of [his] favorites in this draft." One reason Brandt's keen on Dahl--he likes student-athletes who transfer up from the lower levels. In this case, the 6-foot-4, 304-pounder transferred from Montana to Washington State following the close of his freshman season in 2012. Wrote Brandt, "He could play multiple positions at the next level, including center, but I think guard is his best position." To that point, Dahl played both left and right guards in college. The NFL analyst concluded that "[s]ome team will draft him in the second round; others will wish they had." (RotoWorld)
5. Beniquez Brown-OLB-Miss St.
Mississippi State ILB Ben Brown met with the 49ers and Dolphins this week. [Brown] a very good pro-day workout," TFY Draft Insider's Tony Pauline passed along. "I'm told he looked outstanding in position drills and moved better than some of the defensive backs on hand." The 6-foot-1, 229-pound Brown, who posted 99 tackles and two blocked kicks last year, ran forties between 4.62 to 4.67 seconds at 236 pounds. That's seven more pounds than Brown weighed at the Combine. NFL Media's Lance Zierlein compares Brown to Amarlo Herrera. Mar 12 - 8:06 PM
Source: Walter Football
6. Jay Lee-WR-Baylor
7. Steven Scheu-TE-Vanderbilt
7. Taveze Calhoun-CB-Miss St
Extra priority free agents
Kevin Byard-S-Midd. Tenn. St.
Connor Wujciak-DT-Boston College
We now have gone thru 2 weeks of NFL Free Agency, and the Dolphins have filled some holes and had new holes created with some of the losses thru the process.
Miami pretty much knew they would lose DE Olivier Vernon and WR Rishard Matthews, who signed with the New York Giants and the Tennessee Titans. Miami wanted to retain RB Lamar Miller, but did not want to go over 6 million/per year. Well, the Houston Texans ended up paying Miller 6.5 million/per year, and he is now with the Texans. Miami never made a serious effort to re-sign DE Derrick Shelby, who signed with Atlanta.
Miami attempted to sign OG Alex Boone, but ended up getting outbid for him at the last minute by Minnesota, and also thought they had a good chance of signing CB Adam Jones from the Bengals, but he ultimately ended up signing back with Cincinnati. The Dolphins thought they had a good chance at getting C.J Anderson from Denver, as the Broncos put the lowest tender on him and would not have had to give the Broncos ANY compensation for him if they could have gotten him. Miami made Anderson a strong offer, one they thought the Broncos would not match, but ultimately the Broncos did match the offer. Maybe it was me, but if you read some of the comments from Anderson, I think the young man wanted to come to Miami. He felt disrespected by the low tendor the Broncos put on him and was very familar with Adam Gase and his offense and thought he could do well in the system.
Miami has missed on a few others, and it has become apparent now that the Dolphins, who will as of right now have 3 compensatory picks in the 2017 NFL Draft, will not do anything that will jeopardize them losing those additional picks gained from losing Vernon, Miller & Matthews. While I do expect Miami to add additional free agents, it will be low cost players later in the process. The Dolphins did add DE Mario Williams, WR Griff Whalen, OG/OT Jarman Bushrod via free agency. Via the trade route, Miami added CB Byron Maxwell and ILB/OLB Kiko Alonso.
The NFL Draft has always been a way to add valuable talent to a roster, a way to build your team. It will have added importance to this Miami team, and I expect the Dolphins to be aggressive in looking to trade down to obtain additional picks to add talent to the roster. My mock will not have any trades scenarios, but I think it will happen.
Here is my thoughts on who Miami could possibly look to add via the draft.
1) Mackensive Alexander, CB, Clemson, 5'10, 190 lbs - With the release of CB Brent Grimes, the need for a CB opposite Maxwell is a need that has to be addressed, and Alexander could be the guy. Strong, compact, physical and very good in man press coverage. Is a technican and studies his technique as well as the player he will be playing against. He will have to become more comfortable with zone coverages and he does not have the ideal size, but he has everything else you want in a cornerback. Will come up and hit. Spoke with Alexander at the Combine.
2) Vadal Alexander, OG, LSU, 6'5, 326 lbs - I have been disappointed that Miami has not done MORE in trying to address a position that has been problems for years. They tried to sign Boone, but missed on him. There were other guards that I thought Miami could go after, but did not and have not gone after any other OG so far Bushrod was bought in to compete at OG, and while it is thought that he can make that move, he still will be making a transition to a new spot. Alexander is big, powerful, and is a Road Grader in the run game and has the quickness to get to the next level and get to linebackers. Adujst well to stunts and blitz and was a 4 year starter, playing at RT and OLG. He does need to improve his sink and anchor to deal with rusher that go from speed to power, but he fits the bill for what the Dolphins are looking for. Spoke with Alexander at the Combine.
3) Deion Jones, OLB, LSU, 6'1, 222 lbs - The linebacker position for Miami in 2015 was a position of concern. Kiki Alonso will provide an upgrade at one spot, and Jones could provide another upgrade. Active, instinctive and very athletic with range and coverage ability. Good against the run and is good working off blocks, making plays. Performs on special teams as well. Miami was at the LSU Pro Day.
4) Johnathan Williams, RB, Arkansas, 5'11, 224 lbs - With Miami missing on Anderson, and then just last week on Arizona RB Chris Johnson and Green Bay RB James Starks, Miami now needs to look at a RB. Williams would have been a probable Day 2 pick if he had not broken his foot in August, which caused him to miss the entire 2015 season. Runs behinds his pads and runs with power, runs well inside between the tackles, good in short yardage. Also is shfity in the open with good lateral quickness. Was Arkansas leading rusher in 2014 while splitting carries with talented RB Alex Collins, as he had1,190 yards. Was elected Team Captain. Miami spoke with Williams at the Senior Bowl, where he did practice.
5) Matt Judon, DE, Grand Valley State, 6'3, 275 lbs - Dominated at the D-II level, and led the nation in sacks in 2015 with 20.0. Well built, powerful young man with long arms and has good, initial quickness off the snap. Good flexibility to get under the reach of tackles, and is good at containing against the run and breaking down and making tackles against RB's. The question with Judon is concerns about his level of competition, but we have seen players come from D-II and have success.
6) Cassanova McKinney, ILB, Auburn, 6'1, 248 lbs - Miami is possibly looking for a Thumper inside, and McKinney fits the bill. Athletic mover with the ability to make plays sideline to sideline. Quick lateral agility to avoid blocks, patient, but active at the line of scrimmage. Brings the wood with him when he makes a hit. Versatile, as he has played strong side, weak side and middle linebacker for the Tigers. Can get better in his stack and shed, and has limited experience in coverage. Miami spoke with Cassanova at the Auburn Pro Day.
7) Nate Sudfeld, QB, Indiana, 6'6, 234 lbs - There is a lot of talk that Miami will look to draft a QB in this draft, and Miami has recently looked at setting up a private workout with Michigan State QB Connor Cook. I would hope that Miami would not take a QB with a mid round pick, and would much rather them look to take a developmental QB later in the draft. Sudfeld can make all the throws in the NFL Passing Tree, he has the arm strength, size and intangables that you look for in a developmental QB. Threw for 3,573 yards completing 60.0% of his passes, had a 27-7 TD-INT ratio in 2015, and is Indiana all time passing leader with 7,940 yards, 61-20 TD-INT career ratio and completing over 60% of his passes for his career. He struggles with consistency due to his long arms and his accuaracy and decision making needs to improve. Miami spoke with the young man at the Combine.