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.
Defense continues to be the biggest need for this team heading into the draft. With the unit being improved during free agency, much of the team’s earlier picks will still focus on the unit as it continues to look for improvement over 2016.
With the Draft now just over three weeks away, we are closing in on the second best part of the NFL year. So without further ado, we present week thirteen of the “Miami Dolphins potential first round draft picks.”
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3. Zach Cunningham — Linebacker — Vanderbilt
Seeing his draft stock drop a bit in recent weeks, there is really little reason that I can find against drafting Zach Cunningham in the first round. With the Miami Dolphins possessing a major hole at linebacker, adding someone like Cunningham that can play both inside and outside at the position would be a real help for a Dolphins defense that struggled in 2016.
Originally seen by many as a top 20 pick, Cunningham’s talent makes it hard to argue with this evaluation. Solid at tackling and reading plays, Cunningham has both the mesurables and instincts you love to see from a middle linebacker. Proving in college that he can both play in a spy/coverage type role while also getting to the backfield, Cunningham is someone that could end up being one of the best players taken during this draft.
Despite being an inside linebacker at Vanderbilt, Cunningham is built like an outside linebacker. With the ability to switch to this position at the NFL level, Miami will now have three extremely talented linebackers going into next year, something that was not the case a year ago.
2. T.J. Watt — EDGE — Wisconsin
Despite my own personal rule to not add two players from the same position in this list, I am going to break it this week with T.J. Watt. As I see him as a player that can either be an outside linebacker or a defensive end in the NFL, I will list him as an EDGE player to save face and show that I fact did not break my own rule.
As a linebacker, Watt would partner up with Kiko Alonso and Lawrence Timmons. In need of one more starting outside linebacker for next season, Watt could be playing with an extremely talented starting base. Given his talent and ability to get to the quarterback, Watt would complete the Dolphins improvement at the linebacker position.
Watt could also become a defensive end for the Miami Dolphins. Given the lack of depth and youth at the position, Watt could be drafted as the future replacement for Cameron Wake once he retires. With the potential to play either position, Miami will have a talented player no matter where they decide he fits in.
1. Forrest Lamp — Offensive Tackle/Guard — Western Kentucky
In need of both depth and talent along the interior of the offensive line, the Miami Dolphins need someone that can start on day one at the guard position. Enter Western Kentucky star Forrest Lamp who despite being a tackle throughout his college career, looks to be a stud guard at the NFL level.
Thanks to his lack of overall length, Lamp is almost certainly going to be a guard no matter where he plays at the next level. That said, he does have four years worth of college starting experience at tackle, making him versatile. With Miami’s offensive line being pretty thin last season, Lamp would give the Dolphins a player that can shift positions based on overall need.
Right now, the Miami Dolphins need both youth and depth to improve their offensive line. Adding someone like Forrest Lamp would give this team a day one starter moving forward and would also allow the team to use it’s current crop of guards as depth and rotation options going forward.