The Miami Dolphins entered the 2020 NFL Draft with the most picks of any team. With its 14 selections, Miami had its eyes on rebuilding its offensive line, finding its franchise quarterback and continuing to enhance the strength of its new-look defense.
The Dolphins ended the draft drafting 11 new players and trading a pick for another. It moved up twice in the later rounds and also dropped back four spots with one of their three first round picks in a trade with the Green Bay Packers.
Round One (Fifth Overall) – Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
Miami planted a lot of smoke screens in talks of taking other players at the pick, but ultimately stuck with its first plan.
The Dolphins had been in talks with Tagovailoa for months and the two sides talked atomately about many facets of his game. These included, but were not limited to, injury concerns, readability for the combine and his want to play in Miami.
Furthermore, the Dolphins planted seeds of taking former University of Oregon QB Justin Herbert ahead of Tagovailoa, taking an offensive tackle to fix their struggling offensive line, trading up to the No. 1 overall pick to snag former Louisiana State University QB Joe Burrow and trading with the Detroit Lions to move up to the No. 3 overall pick.
Tagovailoa was a national champion with the University of Alabama and will likely start as a backup to Ryan Fitzpatrick to begin 2020.
Round One (18th Overall) – Austin Jackson, OT, USC
Miami acquired this pick from the Pittsburgh Steelers during the 2019 season in exchange for safety Minkah Fitzpatrick.
It’s no secret Miami had one of the worst offensive lines in recent years. From injuries plaguing the line, inconsistent veterans, rotating rookies and trading away promising linemen, the Dolphins needed to use one of their three first round draft picks to begin patching the holes.
Miami rolled the dice on 20-year-old Jackson. The 322-pound junior is a gifted left tackle. He has quite the athletic frame and is nimble on the feet. He’s a drive blocker that uses his initial lateral steps to gain ground quickly. Jackson can use techniques to create imbalances for oncoming rushers and has the ability to readjust himself against opponents.
Jackson will likely have a larger adjustment time table due to his young age, but the flashes he has already shown in college make him promising. He’ll need to improve his upper body strength, likely lacking to his age, and his hand placement is a little off. In due time working out in the NFL, these are fixes that will eventually become natural.
Round One (30th Overall) – Noah Igbinoghene, CB, Auburn
Miami traded its 26th overall pick to the Green Bay Packers and dropped back four spaces while picking up a day three pick.
On the surface, this decision makes heads turn.
The Dolphins already have the two highest paid cornerbacks in the league: Byron Jones and Xavien Howard. These guys get paid too much money to lose their starting jobs. So why was this a smart choice by Miami to use such a high pick on the position?
Igbinoghene is a nickel. Not only can he fluctuate between positions, but all three of these CBs can rotate without it being a problem. Drafting Igbinoghene opens the door for Jones to play safety.
Last season head coach Brian Flores began moving defensive players to different positions to see how they fared. This is what lead to M. Fitzpatrick being traded. Flores said he wanted to put the best 11 guys on the field, even if it meant throwing their positions out the window. So now, Flores is able to do that with this deadly trio.
Round Two (39th Overall) – Robert Hunt, OL, Louisiana-Lafayette
Hunt has flashed strong hands in pass protection and has the toughness and physicality to help successfully rebuild. He makes aggressive first contact, slides and squares up quickly and has repeated success recovering when needed against edge rushers. He’ll need to improve his footwork and positioning, but that will come in due-time at team practices. The versatility he showed at the OL could help develop into an effective starter for the Dolphins, who could see five new guys form their week one OL in 2020.
Round Two (56th Overall) – Raekwon Davis, DT, Alabama
Miami’s second of five players drafted from Alabama in 2020 comes with its second defensive player taken in the draft. This pick comes via trade from the New Orleans Saints from last year’s preseason.
Davis is a versatile defensive player that has a combination of power, size, length and quickness. Davis can provide depth in a 3-4 scheme and cause problems for opposing blockers.
Round Three (70th Overall) – Brandon Jones, S, Texas
Miami had one lone pick in the third round and used it on Longhorn safety Brandon Jones. Despite being able to rotate Byron Jones, Howard and Igbinoghene, Flores and General Manager Chris Grier added insurance to the position. The depth will likely see Brandon Jones compete with newly acquired safety Clayton Fejedelem to start in certain schemes. The hole comes after the Dolphins released veteran S Reshad Jones prior to 2020 free agency. (Can you keep up with all the floating Jones on defense? We can’t.)
Miami drafted five more players on the final round of the draft in rounds four-seven. It also traded a fifth round pick for San Francisco 49ers running back Matt Breida. The list of day three players are below, tagged with the in-depth articles done on them by the FPC Dolphins staff: Kayla Morton, Daniel Roberts, Christian Chappell and Carl Mahler.
Round Four (111th Overall) – Solomon Kindley, G, Georgia
Round Five (153rd Overall) – Traded to San Francisco for Breida.
Round Five (154th Overall) – Jason Strowbridge, DL, North Carolina
Round Five (164th Overall) – Curtis Weaver, EDGE, Boise State
Round Six (185th Overall) – Blake Ferguson, LS, LSU
Round Seven (246th Overall) – Malcolm Perry, QB/RB/WR, United States Naval Academy
Daniel Roberts, Christian Chappell and Carl Mahler contributed to this article.