All eyes on the draft class of 2018
College football is back and there are many prospects to get excited about. Unfortunately for the Dolphins, they can’t sign them all. Therefore, the 2018 NFL Draft will be full of tough choices for a team that is trying to create a consistent playoff presence. However, there are other teams in the AFC that are also routinely on the bubble. If Miami were to make a bad selection it could definitely cost them in the long-run.
Below we will examine a scenario in which the Miami Dolphins do extremely poorly this season. In turn, they would end up with an early draft pick. Thus, we will try to match up the team’s current needs to the projected early-round talent available, assuming that they declare for the draft.
Penn State University running back Saquon Barkley is a can’t-miss prospect. Barkley provides an excellent balance of size, speed, explosiveness and elusiveness. Taking a running back very early has not been a trend recently, but players like Ezekiel Elliot have broken the trend. Barkley is on Elliot’s level in every way and would be worth considering even if it were early.
Barkley would provide excellent depth in Miami’s backfield. If star running back Jay Ajayi were to go down, Miami would have trouble replacing him. This is due to the fact that both Kenyan Drake and Damien Williams primarily specialize in pass-catching. Neither one has proven to be effective in between the tackles and on outside runs as well. Barkley can do it all, and with a healthy offensive line he would be able to take Miami to the next level in tandem with Ajayi.
Finally, his vision and cutback ability are what stands out the most. Barkley is extremely explosive and elusive, as he often hurdles defenders when it seems as though they have him locked in. At 5”11 and 230lbs, Barkley is tough to bring down and breaks tackles at the same rate that Ajayi does. Look for him to be a Heisman candidate this year.
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Notre Dame offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey is another can’t-miss prospect. He is listed as a top-10 selection in virtually every mock draft. McGlinchey possesses elite size, standing at 6’7” and weighing up to 310lbs. His long arms, solid technique, and experience in playing both right and left tackle make him an attractive option.
McGlinchey stands out in his pass-blocking. He is difficult to get around and holds his ground very well. The Notre Dame product blocks with great power even when going backwards for pass-protection. He would give Laremy Tunsil and Ja’Wuan James a stiff competition for playing time and would add to the depth at the offensive tackle position. This can only mean good things for Miami, as they would be able to protect the quarterback from either side.
Lastly, McGlinchey possesses a great attitude and work ethic. He has a bit of a mean streak, as he does not take plays off and drives defenders until the end of every play. He is also able to chip well and does a good job of getting to the second level. A guy like McGlinchey would help to improve Miami’s ground attack. He comes from a great school in Notre Dame that prepares it’s offensive lineman for the next level.
Louisiana State University outside linebacker Arden Key may be the best pass-rusher in college football today. He is an absolute game-changer and practically lives in opposing backfields. His motor and work ethic stand out, as he does not take plays off and does not give up on plays. His tenacity is what makes him stand out, as he is always looking to make a play.
Key is also 6’6” and 265lbs. These eye-popping measurables attract a lot of attention to the edge rusher in purple and gold. He would allow for a great tandem with Charles Harris. Also, he would also allow for Miami to get younger at the outside linebacker position, as Lawrence Timmons is on his 11th season.
Guys like Cameron Wake and Lawrence Timmons are on their way out of the league. It would be beneficial for Miami to replace them with guys with great motors and attitudes such as Key and Harris. Key’s size, athleticism, and motor won’t allow for him to be on the draft board for very long. Expect him to go early and to make big plays all year long for the LSU Tigers.