Have the Miami Dolphins done enough in free agency to allow the organization to take the “Best Player Available” in the NFL Draft?
There was a plan – to sign their own free agents while filling holes in the lineup and add depth at key positions that were weaker than others in 2016. The result could be deemed a success with Andre Branch, Kiko Alonzo, Reshad Jones, and Kenny Stills all coming back to south Florida. Dolphins making They then added linebacker Lawrence Timmons, guard Ted Larsen, safety Nate Allen, defensive end William Hayes, and tight ends Julius Thomas and Anthony Fasano.
There is still a chance the team signs linebacker Zach Brown, leaving the team one less area to worry about in April.
This Miami Dolphins team is on the verge of something big. Bigger than the 2016 playoff berth. Head coach Adam Gase has brought winning back to an organization that lost its way in the past decade. The culture and attitude in Miami are different. They are more defined. While the New England Patriots are still the class of the division, Miami will make another run at the postseason with a chance to move past the first round.
Of course, health is the key to this success.
Miami still needs help at linebacker, guard, defensive line and in the secondary – all spots that could be addressed in the Draft. The Dolphins have seven picks this year but do not have a fourth or sixth round selection, which means the organization must find the right fit at the right time.
Here is how I see the Miami Dolphins draft breaking down.
Round 1, Pick 22 – Taco Charlton, Defensive End, Michigan
Cam Wake can still play at a high level, but he is getting older and the Dolphins must find a younger pass rusher to compliment him and eventually replace him. Charlton has great size at 6-foot-6 and 277 pounds and could be the team’s next Jason Taylor.
Charlton’s first step off the line is explosive. In certain situations, the Dolphins may choose to use Charlton as a stand-up linebacker. His versatility makes the Dolphins even better on defense.
Round 2, Pick 54 – Kevin King, Cornerback, Washington
King has great size at 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds. He is a dependable tackler who has long arms and can move stride for stride with wide receivers. His height makes him a matchup problem for pass catchers who are used to battling smaller defenders.
Miami has Byron Maxwell, Xavien Howard, Bobby McCain, and Tony Lippett as their top cornerbacks, but adding another player for depth and to challenge for the nickel cornerback position makes sense.
Round 3, Pick 97 – Isaac Asiata, Guard, Utah
A real grater at 6-foot-3 and 323 pounds. He could push for a starting role with the Dolphins quickly.
The three-time all-conference selection has started at least part-time every year of his college career, locking down the left guard role during his junior and senior campaigns after logging his first action (including four starts) at right tackle as a redshirt freshman.
He adds depth immediately to Miami’s offensive line.
Round 5, Pick 166 – Matt Milano, Outside Linebacker, Boston College
Boston College puts out tough, durable linebackers. Of course, Milano is not the biggest player on the field at 6-foot and 232 pounds. But that does not mean he isn’t one of the better players.
Milano adds depth to the position. Even if the Dolphins sign Zach Brown or another player, Milano is a nice addition to the rotation. In the meantime, he can play on special teams.
Round 5, Pick 178 – Charles Walker, Defensive Tackle, Oklahoma
Charles Walker would make a nice, big run stuffer as a pro. Moreover, Walker is not the typical tackle teams look for. He is a bit shorter than most like at 6-foot-2, but at 310 pounds, he can plug the middle.
This is not a need pick as much as it is a choice for depth. Presently, Miami has Ndamukong Suh and Jordan Phillips as the starters, with Nick Williams and Lawrence Okoye as the reserves.
Round 7, Pick 233 – Justin Senior, Tackle, Mississippi State
Senior is a project player that the Dolphins could develop on the practice squad.
He is a big kid at 6-foot 5 and 310 pounds with room to grow. In fact, Senior is not a need for this team. However, adding him to the rotation as he develops will be a benefit to the run game in the future.
The Miami Dolphins have made moves to make the offensive line better. Consequently, playing in the SEC, against top competition will help in his maturation on the next level.