Now that the NFL season is officially over, we can turn our attention to the NFL draft which is in approximately 74 days. After a 6-10 season, the Miami Dolphins hold the 11th pick in the draft. Even though the Dolphins’ disappointing season won’t result in a top 10 draft pick, that spot might put the Dolphins in position to potentially land an elite player in a position of need such as linebacker, offensive tackle or guard.
Several hall-of-fame quality players have been selected 11th overall, including Michael Irvin, J.J. Watt, Ben Roethlisberger, DeMarcus Ware, Dwight Freeney, Patrick Willis and even Jay Cutler. The Saints selected this year’s Defensive Rookie of the Year, Marshon Lattimore with the 11th pick last season.
The trend surrounding the Miami Dolphin fan base right now is using the first pick to draft a quarterback, more specially, Baker Mayfield. I believe that would not be the best decision for the Dolphins going forward. Miami has bigger problems such as lack of a coverage linebacker and consistent offensive line or defensive back play. Miami should focus their attention on Georgia’s Roquan Smith, Notre Dame’s Quenton Nelson, Texas’ Connor Williams, Alabama’s Minkah Fitzpatrick or Florida State’s Derwin James.
Roquan Smith is a 6’1 linebacker from Georgia that recorded 137 tackles and 6.5 sacks this season. He is the most recent Dick Butkus Award winner given to the top linebackers at the high school, collegiate and professional levels of football. His speed and versatility in coverage is something that Miami desperately needs.
Guard Quenton Nelson is viewed as the best offensive lineman and the most complete prospect in this year’s draft. The Dolphins had one of the worst guard tandems in the league, and Nelson can start right away and change that.
Derwin James is perhaps the most complete player in this year’s draft. Listed as a strong safety, James can play numerous amount of positions including cornerback, both safety positions, linebacker and kick returner. Although Miami needs a guard and linebacker more than a safety, James can easily be converted to a cornerback. You also don’t know if Nelson or Smith will be taken before Miami’s pick.
Baker Mayfield is the reigning Heisman Trophy winner and led Oklahoma to two straight college playoff appearances. His leadership and versatile play made him perhaps the best college quarterback for the past two years. You can obviously see how that is attractive for Miami who just played a whole season without their starting quarterback, but Miami should not jump the gun on a quarterback until later in the draft. There are a lot of quarterback’s in the draft that should be available in rounds two or three that can develop for the next few years until they move on from Tannehill. A player like Lamar Jackson or even Baker Mayfield would be a great second round pick.