Waking up on Thursday will no doubt feel like Christmas morning to sports fans.
This year’s NFL Draft is finally here and Miami Dolphins fans should be feeling better than they have in years about the strides the team has the potential to make come selection time. The Dolphins currently have 14 picks, the most of any team in the NFL.
Miami is slated to pick fifth overall in the first round barring any trades. After that, it garners two more first round picks: selection 18 acquired from the Pittsburgh Steelers in a 2019 trade and selection 26 acquired from the Houston Texans in a 2019 pre-season trade. It will also add two picks in the second round, giving them five selections in the first 56 picks.
If fans have paid any attention to sports shows, podcasts and newspaper articles since the offseason began, they have no doubt heard that the team is likely pushing for a quarterback. Miami currently has starter Ryan Fitzpatrick for one more year and backup Josh Rosen for three more years on their current contracts, with Jake Rudock as a third-stringer in reserve.
While Miami could continue to work on Rosen, it’s a possibility he could be dealt again in the draft or after it takes place. If the Dolphins do take a QB, he will likely be groomed by Fitzpatrick for the upcoming season and bump at least Rudock off the roster, with the possibility of shaking Rosen too. Rosen lost his starting job multiple times during his first season with Miami in 2019.
The Dolphins also currently have a horrendous offensive line.
Miami clearly struggles to protect the QB at both the right and left tackle. Julie’n Davenport was acquired via the trade with Houston and went straight to injured reserve. With Davenport not activated from IR until late November, Miami had been rotating new signees and practice squad players for the entire season.
Jesse Davis started on the opposite side in all but one game. Despite playing in 15 games, it was clear that the incohesive bond of the OL hindered Davis’ production and execution. He was not viewed as the strong side on the line, because he too provided little to no QB safety. His execution just wasn’t present despite him being a veteran next to the new teammates on the line with him.
More Than QB, OL
It’s a toss up between a running back and a wide receiver for the third largest need on the Dolphins.
Now that Miami has added veteran back Jordan Howard, it doesn’t necessarily need to grab a starting back for 2020. However, Howard does have an injury history. Even though there’s depth at the position on the Dolphins’ roster, none of those guys proved to be “the rock” the team needed in 2019.
DeVante Parker finally broke out in his fifth year and is in prime position to stay the No. 1 receiver. However, that’s about all that’s certain in the receiving core.
Preston Williams is doubtful for the beginning of 2020 after tearing his ACL in the middle of 2019. Albert Wilson hasn’t been the same since his season-ending hip injury two seasons ago that plagued him with more injuries last year. Allen Hurns and Jakeem Grant show bursts but are too inconsistent to play a majority of snaps.
Injuries have been destroying Miami’s chances in the offense recently, and either way it chooses to go, is a big leap in the right direction.
When Things Go Right
Ideally the Dolphins will address the QB and OL positions in round one with their three picks. If they’re thinking of adding a WR, it’d be best for them to take one at No. 26. With the stouted class likely to begin coming off the board early, Miami still has a realistic shot of getting a top-five/seven guy here.
The biggest goal in the draft for any team is to make smart decisions that help benefit your team going forward in the short and long run. Bulking up the OL and adding a developing top-end signal caller will without a doubt be the smartest moves Miami could make early.
After that, it needs to address the RB and WR depth before it gets passed round three at the latest. In rounds four-seven the Dolphins should look to add competition depth to positions such as safety and defensive end. These defensive positions would be more prominent had they not made all their free agency moves this offseason.
When Things Go Wrong
The worst case scenario for Miami would be to trade out of the top five picks in order to pick up a few more selections. With already having the most choices in the NFL, it won’t benefit from picking up more.
Another big no-no from the Dolphins would be taking the top WR in the draft at No. 5. It’s simply unrealistic. It doesn’t matter that (currently) the first wideout is projected to go at No. 9. They wouldn’t be “snaking” another team by doing that, they’d be shooting themselves in the foot.
It’s also very possible that Miami doesn’t address the WR position until after their first three, four, or five picks with its other needs. Remember the last time it took a WR in round one? It took him five years to develop and have his breakout season. The Dolphins need to win now, not 2025.
FPC Dolphins Round Table
The FPC Dolphins staff had a round table discussion to answer a key question. This type of discussion allows participants to give their own ideas, opinions and examples in a group conversation where their topics are then discussed.
Question: Is it smart for Miami to draft a QB at No. 5 overall?
The short answer from the group? Yes.
Break It Down
The overall consensus is that Miami needs to establish a signal caller for its franchise for many years to come. The group acknowledged it was smart to sign veteran Fitzpatrick to a multi-year deal. This not only allowed for him to develop someone in the shadows, but also add stability to the roster while it was clearly starting a needed rebuild.
However, the 37-year-old is not the answer of the future.
FPC Dolphins was split in their thoughts on Rosen, with two advocating for his release and two advocating for him to remain on the roster. Despite the split, all agreed that taking a top talent in this year’s draft seems to give the club a better option than Rosen. Some pointed to him losing his starting job multiple times in 2019 and others thinking the adjustment to the NFL for him just wasn’t working — that the time spent on him isn’t in the best interest of the Dolphins now.
Despite the agreement on needing a QB at No. 5, it was not unanimous on who should be taken.
While all agreed that the Cincinnati Bengals will likely draft Joe Burrow, there was some fear that the second best guy in the draft, Tua Tagovailoa, could also be gone before pick No. 5. The group was split on two things revolving around Tagovailoa:
- Drafting him to begin with.
- Taking him before guys like Justin Herbert, Jalen Hurts or Jordan Love.
One writer felt Miami’s best interest was to draft Herbert at the position, pointing to his player profile. Another said they’d gauge their eyes out with a spoon if the Dolphins waste their high pick on what they feel as an unworthy talent.
There are few guys at the Dolphins’ most needed positions that fans should be aware of. They are ranked in no particular order below.
Joe Burrow, LSU (will likely only work with a huge trade for the first overall pick)
Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama
Justin Herbert, Oregon
Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma (also played at Alabama)
Jordan Love, Utah State
Mekhi Becton, Louisville
Jedrick Wills, Alabama
Andrew Thomas, Georgia
Tristan Wirfs, Iowa
Josh Jones, Houston
Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin
D’Andre Swift, Georgia
J.K. Dobbins, Ohio State
Cam Akers, Florida State
Clyde Edwards-Helaire, LSU
Justin Jefferson, LSU
Jalen Reagor, TCU
Chase Claypool, Notre Dame
Brandon Aiyuk, ASU
The 2020 NFL Draft begins at 7 p.m. EST on Thursday.