The NFL Draft kicks off tomorrow night and continues through Saturday evening in Nashville, Tennessee. The Miami Dolphins hold the 13th overall pick in Thursday's first round. These are the facts. Everything else is a mystery. Most predictions will be proven wrong by this time next year.
None of us knows anything, but because the NFL draft brings so much hope, we obsess over it anyway
And given the past, Fins fans suffer from draft PTSD — which, by the way, might qualify them for a medical marijuana card.
But here are five recommendations that would kick off the Brian Flores-era on a good note.
1. Solidify the offensive line. Yeah, yeah. Strengthening the trenches is the surest way to build a winner in the NFL outside of drafting Aaron Rodgers, but it's about as exciting to watch as your dad cutting the lawn. We get it. But guess what? Dolphins fans just want to win, and this is bedrock.
Four first-round picks since 2008 have been spent on offensive linemen, and exactly one of those players (Laremy Tunsil) remains with the team.
Florida Gators offensive lineman Jawaan Taylor looks like a stud, so if he's still around at lucky #13, that seems the logical pick. If the Dolphins plan on finding the quarterback of the future next year, they better have a solid offensive line ready.
2. Don't be afraid to use a mid-round pick on a quarterback prospect. We've raved about what an amazing risk-reward North Dakota State quarterback Easton Stick offers in the mid-to-late rounds this year, but really, any quarterback with a big upside would be a quality investment. Such a pick might not be your quarterback of the future right away, but could be in a few years if other options fail. A QB with potential could also end up being a huge trade chip down the road.
Smart teams invest in the NFL's most expensive position more than once a decade — as the Dolphins have done. If someone such as Stick isn't the immediate answer, next year's draft offers amazing prospects.
3. When in doubt, draft playmakers. For some reason, draft "experts" often emphasize college prospects' NFL combine auditions more than seasons of football games on tape. "He's not tall enough," they'll say. "His hands are too small," they'll explain. They'll rave about reps and double-hopscotch hide-and-seek things a 250-pound guy did in Jockey boxer briefs. But for some reason, thousands of minutes of games sit on the back burner at times.
Jakeem Grant was passed over by a boatload of teams solely because he wasn't five inches taller. Ryan Tannehill was a first-round pick in the same draft Russell Wilson was a third-round pick because, oh, height. No one has to remind you about Tom Brady being taken at #199. The Dolphins should rely on tape, not bench press reps and 40 times, come Thursday night.
4. Forget needs; take the best available football player. As we covered in this space on Monday, the Miami Dolphins don't have just one hole to fill on their roster. Nope. The entire lineup needs work. So even if, say, wide receiver isn't the Dolphins' biggest need, if a pass catcher who was expected to go in the second round is there in the fourth, the team should take him.
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The Dolphins will never have too much of anything. They need doubles and triples. Why settle for something inferior just because it's a need? Grab the potential star and worry about where he fits later. There are only a few certain starters on the Dolphins roster now. Everyone else can be beaten out, cut, or moved aside for a few snaps.
5. Don't be afraid to trade and collect more picks. The Dolphins will have a massive number of draft picks in next year's draft. They currently hold two in every round starting in the third. Bad teams get good with more draft picks. Good teams get great when they hit on multiple picks and keep those players on cheap contracts while pursuing other draft gems.
The Dolphins should be sellers, not buyers. They need a lot of good prospects, not one great player. If the team wants to do what's best for the franchise, they'll move back from #13 on Thursday to multiple picks in the second and third rounds. A look across the league reveals many of the best teams are made up of midround choices.