April Madness: The “Other Guys” – Battle 1

With the 13th pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, the Miami Dolphins select…..

After trading first round picks with the Philadelphia Eagles, the Miami Dolphins now begin the 2016 NFL Draft with the 13th overall selection. Come hell or high water, it’s seemed Dolphins GM Chris Grier and Football Czar Mike Tannenbaum’s main draft objective since day one, has been dedicated to fixing crucial key parts Miami still lacks (CB,RB,OL,LB,DE). If prospects who have been linked to Miami, Ezekiel Elliott or Vernon Hargreaves III, happen to be selected before the 13th pick, the Dolphins new task at hand will be to select the next best thing, aka, “the other guys”.

In the spirit of March Madness, this 3-part article will place 6 total prospects in a 1-on-1 battle in which you the reader will select who Miami chooses.

First Round:
(1) Shaq Lawson vs. (6) William Jackson III
(2) Mackensie Alexander vs. (5) Darron Lee
(3) Eli Apple vs. (4) Reggie Ragland

In the first battle we have explosive pass-rusher and the number-one overall seed Shaq Lawson, taking on the sixth-seed from Houston, corner William Jackson III.

(1) Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson

HT: 6’3″ WT: 269LBS.
POSITION: DE
SCHOOL: Clemson
ARM LENGTH: 32 3/4″
HANDS: 10″

Combine Time
40-YARD DASH: 4.70 SEC
VERTICAL JUMP: 33.0 INCH
BROAD JUMP: 120.0 INCH
3 CONE DRILL: 7.16 SEC
20 YARD SHUTTLE: 4.21 SEC

STRENGTHS: Basically Shaq Lawson is an ACC highlight reel. The Clemson standout finished his collegiate career with 58 total tackles (24.5 for loss), 12.5 sacks, and one forced fumble. Ranked among the top edge rushers in this years class, Lawson’s power off the snap showed in his 50 pressures last season. His NFL ready size allowed Lawson to handle double teams extremely well, and his improving run-stopping according to Pro Football Focus, ranked just below Joey Bosa.

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Lawson (90) is quick off the snap and instantly beats the offensive tackle to the outside-in.

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Once inside Lawson continues to push through the tackle until he finally breaks the pressure.

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After completely moving through the tackle, Lawson easily gets to the quarterback for a sack and forced fumble.

WEAKNESSES: Could be in better physical shape, seems to gas by 3rd quarter. Uses power over technic and leverage. Has only been in the starting rotation for one season. Multiple scouts believe Lawson’s average athleticism and pass rush abilities won’t transition into the NFL, and that his skills fit more into a 3-4 linebacker.

Why Draft Shaq Lawson?

At the end of the day the Miami Dolphins pass-rushers are not getting any younger. Both Mario Williams and Cameron Wake are 30+ years of age. Even if the former Clemson star never becomes a great edge rusher, his ability to stop the run could help him become a two-down linebacker, vastly improving the Dolphins 28th ranked pass defense.

(6) William Jackson III, CB, Washington

HT: 6’0″ WT: 189LBS.
POSITION: CB
SCHOOL: Houston
ARM LENGTH: 31 3/4″
HANDS: 9 1/4″

Combine Times
40 YARD DASH: 4.37 SEC
BENCH PRESS: 10 REPS
BROAD JUMP: 116.0 INCH

Strengths: At 6’0″,189LBS the senior from Washington, William Jackson has the prototypical size to become an NFL ready corner. Excellent combine – confidence has never been an issue; plays fearless. According to Pro Football Focus, Williams has the second-highest coverage grade in the draft this season, allowing 47.4 percent of passes thrown into his coverage. Strong in coverage, he rarely cannot get his body around to contest a pass. Had five interceptions, two defensive touchdowns, and 12 pass breakups last season, including two interceptions against Florida State in the Peach Bowl.

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Jackson (3) is set in press man-coverage at the line. As the ball is snapped Jackson manhandles his receiver (17) forcing 17 to break outside to create separation.

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Once outside Jackson is able to stay stride for stride with the receiver, boxing him out of the incoming pass.

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Jackson reads the route correctly Turning only his head towards the ball then once again outperforms his opponent for position, securing an easy pick.

WEAKNESSES: While the tape I’ve seen on Jackson has been mostly positive, one glaring weakness the more I read is penalties. He also needs work against the run. Strength of schedule, he finds the tackle, but is not particularly a strong tackler and needs better wrap-up.

Why Draft William Jackson III

Vance Joseph loves big, physical cornerbacks. While Jackson may not be the first, or even second best corner in this class. Finding a player who fits the Dolphins’ defensive scheme, could be better in the long-term. Jackson is hyper aggressive in cover-2. Newly acquired cornerback Byron Maxwell pairs nicely with Jackson’s play style, and his 4-year collegiate experience gives him an edge over the younger corners in this class.

Who is your pick?
My Verdict

I’m taking the upset, William Jackson III. A CB is priority at this point in the Dolphins’ offseason and while I’m a fan of Shaq Lawson, there is something special about the senior out of Houston College.

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