While it’s clear Miami needs a sustainable running back, pick No. 26 in the 2020 NFL Draft is not where to take him.
With a lot of wide receivers coming off mock draft boards in round one, the Dolphins need to use one of their three first round picks to address the blatant problems in their receiving core.
Speedster Justin Jefferson from Louisiana State University makes the most sense for Miami at pick No. 26.
The Dolphins don’t need a consistent outside threat when they have DeVante Parker. Their issues have been the slot and in the middle field. Whether or not Miami retains Albert Wilson’s large contract for minimal production, he’s not the answer. Allen Hurns can play the role, but there’s a reason he jumped from team to team and didn’t make the top-three cut last season. While Miami has Preston Williams, odds are he’s not ready for the start of the season and will miss all of training camp after tearing his ACL in 2019. The only other potential option is Isaiah Ford, who is still young in his career and only saw the field because of team injuries in 2019.
Jefferson made career-solidifying plays from within the slot last season and has proven he can make contested catches all over the field. While he could improve a little on his routes, he has respectable speed and separation abilities that set him apart from other players in his same position. His 4.43 NFL combine 40-yard dash should not be ignored.
Dolphins’ Lacking Drive Sustainability Can Accept Jefferson’s Risks
It’s a risk to expect the same production in Miami that Jefferson had with LSU’s unstoppable offense, but his agility and instinctive separation moves poise him to adjust quicker than most. Miami should feel that Jefferson is the type of player that can take that responsibility head-on.
The Dolphins also struggled extending drives, so having someone as reliable as Jefferson to sacrifice himself for those plays is exactly the weapon they need to take a big leap forward with their offense. If his contested-catch focus and ball skills boost his own completion percentages, they have no choice but to boost Miami’s as well.
Jordan Howard Needs a Partner
While in some minds of every day fans it would be nice to have one of the top backs in the draft, it doesn’t make the most sense fit-wise for the Dolphins late in the first round.
With the free agency acquisition of Jordan Howard, Miami needs a compliment, not a competitor.
The Dolphins are likely trying to run their backfield by committee again, but this time as a successful one.
Miami Doesn’t Need Jonathan Taylor, D’Andre Swift
Jonathan Taylor from the University of Wisconsin and D’Andre Swift from the University of Georgia will likely be there for Miami’s pick at the end of the first round, but so will J.K. Dobbins from Ohio State University.
Dobbins is the best fit with Howard. Not the bend and burst outside runner like Taylor, and not the Saquon Barkley-esque Swift who seems to have to work harder than most backs to accomplish the same amount of yards.
Burning a first rounder on Dobbins won’t make sense when Miami picks again at slot No. 39. It could even find him still on the board at No. 56 that it acquired through the New Orleans Saints.