MDD Assistant Editor: Chad Pullen
In our third and final Dolphins 7 Round Mock Draft we will focus on an offensive slanted draft. Our first mock showcased a balanced, need filling look at how the Dolphins could draft on draft weekend. Mock 2.0 focused on what it would look like if Miami wanted to overhaul the defensive side of the ball with talent from this draft. Here, we will draft with the main priorities in mind on the offensive side of things, while using an occasional pick on defense just to plug some holes and grab some BPA’s along the way. Coming up, we will look at all three mocks and examine what might be the best course of action for the Dolphins and which focus the fan base prefers.
Round 1 Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
It is possible the Dolphins will have to do some moving up in order to nab Johnson, however, if he was to fall this far, it’s almost guaranteed Miami would be running up to the podium to select him. If Lane does not make it to #12, it is possible the Dolphins could trade down, grab Oline later in the draft, and add a pick or two along the way. Bottom line, the options are all open for the Dolphins at this point. Jonathan Cooper from North Carolina could be a possibility at 12 as well. Johnson would take over for Jake Long at the LT spot and slide last year’s second rounder Jonathan Martin back over to RT. Cooper would most likely take over at RG, and Miami would need to find someone to play RT, maybe via the free agent route, such as Eric Winston.
Round 2 Alex Okafor, DE, Texas and Jamar Taylor, CB, Boise State
Even with the focus on offense, there will be holes that need filling, and the best value for those holes begin in round 2. Okafor and Taylor would become starters immediately and help strengthen the defense and get it closer to becoming a complete overall unit. Both the secondary, and pass rush outside of Cameron Wake were less than stellar last season. These two picks would improve both areas. Take note, Taylor has been chosen in each scenario of our mock drafts, his value in round 2 should match up with how we approach the draft, even if a CB was selected in round 1. Okafor would line up opposite Wake and give Miami a boost in the pass rush department. He may never be a dominant pass rusher, he will at least compliment Wake better than Jared Odrick has and will occasionally get to the QB. It’s possible that with technique and training, he could become a better overall pass rusher and with an already solid background against the run, could be a solid all-around defensive end. There are enough DE’s ranked ahead of him that he should still be available at pick #42 and still be productive enough to warrant starting right away once he learns the ropes of the NFL game. Even without the starting spot, he can be used on day one as a situational pass rusher.
Round 3 Gavin Escobar, TE, San Diego State and Johnathan Franklin, RB, UCLA
Escobar could fill an immediate role for the Dolphins, large red zone target. With Michael Egnew’s status still unknown until preseason game action takes place, Escobar could surpass him right away and earn a spot on the roster behind Dustin Keller. Once inside the 20 yard line, Escobar could be used on potential fade routes or over the middle against smaller safeties. It’s a little risky using back to back third rounders on the same position, (usually costly in terms of depth in other areas) but the spot still needs filling and either Escobar or Egnew will need to step up and take the spot and show that they can handle the position full time in 2014 and beyond. He is not a very good blocker, something that hurt Egnew last year, but he can catch the football, something Egnew couldn’t provide last year either. Has very very good hands and would provide Tannehill options inside the red zone, an area the Dolphins need to improve upon. Franklin will start out as the third RB behind Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas, but could quickly pass Thomas on the depth chart if Thomas continues to struggle with consistency. Franklin is similar to Miller in that he’ll make one cut and move behind his line as opposed to Reggie Bush who tended to dance in the backfield more than the Dolphins liked.
Round 4 Tavarres King, WR, Georgia
If Davone Bess has truly fallen out of favor with the Dolphins staff, King could represent a replacement right away as he uses his 4.4 speed and solid route running to get in and out of breaks quickly and find the spaces to get open. Solid after the catch, he could be the type of possession receiver that would flourish opposite Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline. He does not have the trusted hands that Bess does but that is something that can be improved or taught, speed and agility are not. Not the biggest of wideouts, he is quick however, and can create plays in the open field when he does get the ball. Even if Bess does regain his stature in the Dolphin offense, his contract is up after this year meaning Miami may be able to stash King and develop him over the year to be a viable cheaper option going into next season.
Round 5 Will Davis, CB, Utah State and Hugh Thornton, OG, Illinois
Davis is a project corner but a solid overall athlete. He hasn’t played a ton of football and what football he has played is in the WAC, so he’ll certainly be raw and capable of being formed by coaches at the next level. What he does have is great agility in quick spaces just not the straight line speed you would hope for out of most corners. It’s possible he could be used in nickel or dime packages and guarding the slot receivers that don’t have elite speed. He also has the size measurables that Ireland likes in his corners and could be a fit this late in the draft. Thornton could be a nice value sleeper. He played three different positions on the line in college which would give Miami plenty of versatility to use him even if as a backup to multiple positions. He played in a zone blocking scheme which is what Miami wants to employ and he is solid in both run and pass blocking. He was used as a pulling guard, while also used protecting his QB’s blindside as a LT. Add all that up for a fifth round pick, and Miami may have completed their young offensive line to protect their franchise QB.
Round 7 Dustin Hopkins, K, Florida State – Gilbert Pena, DT, Ole Miss and Mark Harrison, WR, Rutgers
Dan Carpenter has been slowly trending down recently as his contract has been trending up. Hopkins could come in and become a cheaper option and free up some cap space for other areas of the roster. In that same mold, with both Paul Soliaii and Randy Starks only having one year left on their contracts, Miami will need to stash DT’s on the roster to develop in the background along with the potential move inside by Jared Odrick. Last year’s seventh rounder Kheeston Randall and now Pena would give the Dolphins a couple of options to evaluate and develop in case a spot indeed opens up next season. Harrison is a bigger WR that the Dolphins do not have on the roster at this time. 6-3 with good hands, he fits a similar bill that Rishard Mathews did last season in the seventh round as well. Ireland has found a couple of useful players in the seventh round in special teamer and backup linebacker Austin Spitler, CB Jimmy Wilson and Mathews and Randall from last season. So what may seem like throw away selections, these three could prove useful down the line.