Despite ending the season much sooner than anyone would have wanted, it is now time to turn our attention to most fans second most favorite time of year. The NFL Draft. For the Miami Dolphins, this will present a chance for the team to build on their playoff campaign from 2016.
With the defense being the biggest area of concern for this team, look for Miami to both trade for some draft picks — expected to have seven presently — and pursue some defensive players in this draft. While offensive picks may occur later in the draft, Miami’s biggest first round need will be on the defensive side of the football.
With the Draft now four and a half months away, I know it may be a little early to be looking towards the draft. But with the college football season now over, all that remains in the evaluation process is the combine and senior bowl for certain players. After that, individual workouts and before you know it, draft day. So without further ado, here is our first of the now weekly “Miami Dolphins potential first round draft picks.”
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3. Charles Harris — Outside Linebacker — Missouri
Potentially the best outside linebacker in this draft class, Charles Harris draft stock currently places him at the end of the first round. With the Miami Dolphins picking in that area this year, Harris would not be too much of a reach for the Dolphins at pick number 22. The biggest question for me though will be where he may play.
Currently rated as a defensive end, a 3-4 outside linebacker, and a 4-3 outside linebacker, there is very little consensus about how Harris fits into the NFL. One thing that is for certain is his ability as a pass rusher. Adding a player to the linebacking corps that can rush the quarterback would be a potent combination for the Dolphins.
Again though, until a better placement on Harris’ NFL future is made, I’ll have him slotter here or lower in my mind.
2. Jabrill Peppers — Safety/Linebacker — Michigan
Owner Stephen Ross is a Michigan man. Remember Chad Henne? Well, Peppers will be better than him from an overall football standpoint. Given his talent and his multi-position ability, Peppers is a personal favorite of mine. Able to play at both the safety position and at outside linebacker, Peppers would solidify two of my personal areas of need for this defense.
Given the injuries that took place at the safety position this season, the Miami Dolphins need depth in the group. Peppers would give Miami that and some. Such a pick would give the Dolphins a potential replacement for Reshad Jones should he leave next offseason and would also give the team a better option than Michael Thomas when injuries occur.
Peppers could also slot into an outside linebacker position. Unlike Charles Harris though, Peppers would be more of a coverage linebacker. Covering tight ends like Gronk and Charles Clay, Peppers would definitely address a hole in the Dolphins current defense.
1. Sidney Jones — Cornerback — Washington
Despite the Huskies loss to Alabama in the National semi-final, Sidney Jones had an excellent game for Washington. Helping shut down the Crimson Tide offense for most of the game, Jones proved to many pro scouts that he has what it takes to succeed in the NFL at the cornerback position.
While not the biggest corner at only 6’0, 180, Jones does have the coverage ability to be a solid defensive contributor. Pairing Jones with last years second round pick Xavien Howard will give Miami a formidable secondary for years to come. However, like Howard, Jones will need an adjustment period.
If Miami believe that they can hold out for one season while Jones adjusts to the NFL game then this could be the first round pick for Adam Gase and his redesigned defense.