Sorry for the long hiatus dolfans… but I’m back!
After a solid first season under newly appointed head coach Adam Gase, the Miami Dolphins for the first time in a long time overachieved their way past mediocrity throughout the 2016-17 season. They finished second in the AFC East (10-6), and clenched their first playoff appearance since 2008.
With the previous season now fading in the rear view, there is a glimmer of optimism spreading throughout South Beach. Now it’s time to move forward from what was and focus on what is…aka the 2017 Draft.
Miami can go in several very different directions with the 22nd overall pick. While it’s far too early for predictions on which way Executive Vice President of Football Operations, Mike Tannenbaum and GM Chris Grier could lean in 2017, the Dolphins’ staffers do know they have a plethora of vacancies to fill. Those include but are not limited to: linebacker, guard, tackle, defensive end, tight end, cornerback, and depth at quarterback.
What to expect
Last year was “on paper” one of the Dolphins’ best draft classes in recent years (DSR post draft grade: B+). However, Miami has also seen their fair share of blunders in previous drafts classes. Those blunders have led to a general lack of reliable depth and big name off-season spending.
The Good News?
Adam Gase made it clear in 2016, that for his first term in office, he would make the offense great again.
Selecting only Xavien Howard, CB (Round 2, Pick 38) and Jordan Lucas, S/CB (Round 6, Pick 204) on defense, the Dolphins’ made their splashes throughout the draft, selecting almost entirely offensive players to fix the 26th ranked total offense left in the rubble of Joe Philbin and Dan Campbell.
Round 1, Pick No. 13: Laremy Tunsil, OL
Round 3, Pick No. 73: Kenyan Drake, RB
Round 3, Pick No. 86: Leonte Carroo, WR
Round 6, Pick No. 186: Jakeem Grant, WR
Round 7, Pick No. 223: Brandon Doughty, QB
Round 7, Pick No. 231: Thomas Duarte, WR/TE
Gase’s decision to go with a mostly offensive gameplan, paid off exponentially.
The Miami Dolphins’ improved in almost every facet of their offense, including PPG, Rush Offense, and Total Scoring.
So what direction should/will Gase go in this year?
With the 22nd pick….
If 2016 was the year of offense, my guess would be that 2017 will be all about the defense.
Building a defensive wall, and strengthening the secondary.
After losing defensive coordinator Vance Joseph to the Denver Broncos, the potential cutting of Byron Maxwell and Mario Williams, and a general lack of quality linebackers who can stop the run — my general consensus for 2017 is that Miami will move after one of these three positions with the first pick. (DE,CB, LB)
Option 1: Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan –
While at first glance this may seem like a strange pick for the Miami Dolphins, trust me when I say this, Jabrill Peppers may be one of the most physically gifted players entering the 2017 Draft.
The former defensive back turned Hybrid Safety/Linebacker, lined up in 15 different positions on his 933 snaps last season, finishing with 15.5 tackles for loss.
At 6-foot, 208 pounds, and a sub 4.4 40-yard dash, Peppers has unlimited potential to play multiple positions, while vastly improving the linebacker position.
Option 2: Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida –
Since moving on from former ProBowl CB Brent Grimes, there is one significant trait Miami’s newest crop of cornerbacks all share — Size!
After selecting Xavier Howard, in the second round last season, the Miami Dolphins’ can continue building a fast and prototypical backfield by selecting standout CB Quincy Wilson out of the University of Florida.
At 6-foot 1-inch and 215 pounds, Wilson’s long arms and athleticism make him a true CB1 prospect which is hard to find this late in the draft.
After multiple draft analysts comparing the Florida standout to a young Byron Maxwell, it’s starting to seem clear that Miami could move out with the old, and in with the new.
Option 3: O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama –
My last, and frankly least favorite option is moving in an offensive direction. Leaving the Dolphins’ to move on from TE Cameron Jordan and rebuild a position which has struggled for the past few seasons.
At 6-foot 6-inches and 251-pounds, OJ Howard is a run-blocking tight end, with excellent size, and a finesse to finishing routes. Those attributes easily make him the best TE of the 2017 class.
Finishing the season with 45 catches, 595 yards and 3 TDs, Howard gives the Dolphins’ a pro ready player whose run blocking could greatly help RB Jay Ajayi in 2017.