MDD Assistant Editor: Chad Pullen
Last week we ran a 7 round mock in terms of what Miami could finish up with if they went with a balanced draft, plugging holes, taking best players available, doubling down on positions of weakness, and even nabbing a QB to develop behind Ryan Tannehill. In this mock, we will focus on rebuilding the defensive side of the ball as the main priority, while still being able to plug a hole or two on offense with some extra picks. Next week we will conclude the Dolphins 7 round mocks with an offensive slanted look at the draft, and then compile the various players selected in all three styles and see how all the options look when Jeff Ireland starts calling the shots instead of us.
Round 1 Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
The Dolphins have a clear need at CB with Sean Smith departed, and recent signee Brent Grimes coming back off an Achilles injury. Taking the big, physical Rhodes will be plugging in a similar style player to Smith, someone who can match up with the taller/stronger receivers in the NFL for years to come. Rhodes is a little bigger than the Ireland prototype corners he usually employs, but those players struggle matching up with the bigger receivers in the game and Rhodes would give Miami comfort in those matchups. He can also play in zone coverage, but would likely prefer man to man a lot like Sean Smith did during his tenure.
Round 2 Jonathan Cyprien, S, Florida International and Jamar Taylor, CB, Boise St
A theme emerges right away, as the Dolphins completely revamp the secondary and still have 8 picks left to fill out the roster with. Cyprien is another local prospect who could play alongside Reshad Jones and make receivers think twice about coming over the middle. He’s very athletic and would also be able to play alongside Chris Clemons if Jones were to be injured as he can play either position. Taylor is much more in the mold of the corners that Ireland prefers taking, is versatile and fast, solid against the run and could line up opposite Rhodes once he is ready and the Dolphins decide to move on from veterans Richard Marshall and Grimes. The first two rounds would offer Miami plenty of newfound depth in their secondary and establish a unit built to last for several seasons.
Round 3 Stedman Bailey, WR, West Virginia and Oday Aboushi, OT, Virginia
Quickly, the Dolphins take a pause from re-forming the defense to help out Tannehill a little further. With the departure of Jake Long, and the selection of a CB at #12, Miami will need to find additional Oline help at some point, and Aboushi while raw, possesses the physical tools to get the job done. He may not be ready to start on opening day, but with work and coaching at the NFL level, he could be inserted at some point during his rookie season and beyond. He also offers the ability to play at Guard or Tackle which would certainly be useful until Miami can settle on their best five lineman unit. Bailey would represent a fair replacement for passing on Tavon Austin in round one, and could still offer plenty of explosiveness to the offense opposite Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline. Miami may stick with Davone Bess for an extra season before handing over the slot receiver position to Bailey, or they could thrust Bailey into action in the preseason if he shows enough to earn the spot.
Round 4 Devin Taylor, DE, South Carolina
On top of improving the secondary fully, Miami can also help out by improving the pass rush opposite Cameron Wake. With last year’s third rounder still in the fold in Olivier Vernon, Taylor could possibly remind Miami fans of another tall lanky DE by the name of Taylor as well. Still raw and with room to grow in terms of his overall game, Taylor at least represents a JJ Watt effect in that his 6-7 height could present a problem for opposing QB passing lanes and if he does develop his pass rush skills, Miami stands a real chance of having one of the better defenses in the NFL.
Round 5 Cornelius Washington, DE, Georgia and Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon
A straight best player available haul, as well as doubling up on a need position, Washington would provide both Vernon and Taylor with competition for the RDE spot. Washington is an athletic specimen and if he could ever harness that, he could turn into a steal this late in the draft. He is the definition of raw, but with his skillset, his upside is well worth the fifth round pick especially as a backup option to Taylor (or Vernon for that matter). Barner would be an addition of extra speed at the running back position behind Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas. Barner can also return kicks and is a threat out of the backfield in the passing game. A bit on the smallish side and sometimes a tad inconsistent, he still would hold a nice value towards the end of round five and providing depth to a unit that figures to have its first two spots filled already.
Round 7 Anthony McCloud, DT, Florida State, Rod Sweeting, CB, Georgia Tech, and Don Jones, S, Arkansas State
Similar to last season, Miami takes a DT in the seventh round as a developmental player that could be useful in years to come. Miami has Paul Soliaii and Randy Starks under contract for 2013 only, with last year’s seventh rounder Kheeston Randall still only a rotational piece at best. With bigger needs to address first this season, DT will be placed on the backburner until next offseason. Adding McCloud along with Randall gives Miami a chance to evaluate each player for a period of time before they need to make decisions on quickly they need to address the spot for 2014.
Sweeting provides another option at CB and someone that fits the Ireland mold. Not the best of talent, he plays hard, and smart and did face decent enough competition in the ACC, he could be useful in time if developed properly or stashed on the practice squad as they monitor his progress. Jones would fit under a similar plan as at this point Miami is merely adding options to positions they can still improve. Jones has been mentioned quite a bit this draft season and it’s possible he may not even be available this late in the draft if someone needs to fill a need sooner. At pick #250, Miami should be thrilled if he made it there.