The Dolphins have the fifth pick after a 5-11 season, along with first-round picks 18 and 26. Many spoke of the Dolphins “tanking” last year, but I prefer to call it “building for the future” – they probably weren’t going anywhere, anyway. I am sure they went into each game trying to win and they may have overachieved, winning five games.
They currently have three first round picks mentioned before, in addition to picks 39 and 56 in the second round, a choice in the third and fourth, three picks in the fifth, a pick in the sixth, and three in the seventh – a total of fourteen picks. They can use some of those to move up or down in the draft.
I list the needs below, including major, for depth, and areas they are unlikely to look at. I may add categories for a particular situation.
Major Needs (No Particular Order):
Quarterback: Ryan Fitzpatrick was the starter and he is holding the fort for whoever they pick in the first round and played well, considering what was around him. They traded for Josh Rosen last year, but his future may be questionable in Miami. Jake Rudock is also on the roster. They are picking a quarterback: the question is where and do they trade up? The “Tank for Tua” calls have been heard the last year and they may pick him, but there is also talk of interest in Justin Herbert. We will know on April 23.
Running Back: The Fins had musical chairs last year. Kenyan Drake began the year before being traded to the Cardinals. Kalen Ballage had the most starts with six, with Mark Laird and the since-departed Mark Walton having four each. Jordan Howard was signed away from the Eagles in free agency and he will help them, possibly starting. Myles Gaskin and DeLance Turner return from last year. They will pick here, possibly in the first round and another back may also be chosen later in the draft.
Wide Receiver: Miami has one very good receiver in DeVante Parker, with 1,200 receiving yards last year and in the prime of his career. Albert Wilson caught 43, but averaged only 8.2 yards-per-catch and his contract expires after this year. Allen Hurns and rookie free agent Preston Williams each caught 32 passes, with Williams only playing eight games before being injured. Isaiah Ford is one of the reserves, along with Jakeem Grant, who is 5-7 and more of a return specialist. Ricardo Louis spent 2019 on injured reserve and competing for a roster spot are Mack Hollins and Gary Jennings Jr., who was a rookie free agent. It is not their biggest need, but in a draft deep with talented wide receivers, it would not surprise me if one was taken.
Offensive Line: Help is needed here because they allowed 58 sacks, 146 QB hits, and ran for only 3.31 yards-per-carry. Paulsboro alum Julie’n Davenport and Jesse Davis both started games at tackle last year, while the other starter, J’Marcus Webb, is unsigned. There is nobody behind them on the current depth chart, so both quality and quantity are needed. The interior will be different this year with the free agent signings of Ereck Flowers at left guard and Ted Karras at center. Michael Deiter enters his second year and moves from left to right guard. Last year’s center, Jonathan Kilgore, was released and part-time starter at center and guard, Evan Boehm is unsigned. In reserve at guard are Shaq Calhoun, Keaton Sutherland, Danny Isidora, and Adam Pankey, with Calhoun possibly having potential. The Dolphins will may address left tackle with one of their first round picks and the rest of the draft may include another tackle and an interior lineman.
Defensive Line: They are technically a 3-4, but I see them using multiple 3-and-4-man fronts. Davon Godchaux had a good season at nose tackle and is only 25. Christian Wilkins was their first pick and had a solid year with promise for the future at end/tackle. Together, they can form a very good inside pair. Behind them is Gerald Willis, while John Jenkins has not been signed. On the outside, Shaq Lawson (Buffalo) and Emmanuel Ogbah (Kansas City) were signed in free agency, combining for 12 sacks – slightly over half of Miami’s team total of 23. Behind them will be Taco Charlton and Avery Moss, with Charlton leading the team in sacks with 5. The Dolphins need an edge rusher and could use more depth on the inside, which they will find somewhere in the draft.
Linebacker: The addition of Kyle Van Noy from New England in free agency to play the outside is a good one. He increases the quality of this unit and will bring leadership. Playing opposite him is Vince Beigel, who brings energy and some pass rush, but is a liability against the run. Free agent signee Kamu Grugier-Hill (Eagles) will play somewhere and Sam Equavoen saw action. Andrew Van Ginkel and Trent Harris are others on the outside. Another is Charles Harris, who has been a dismal failure as their #1 pick in 2017. On the inside, Raekwon McMillian is very good against the run, but the pass is another story and Jerome Baker is solid, but doesn’t do anything special. Elandon Roberts was signed from New England and Calvin Munson could find a place on the team. There is a chance the Dolphins could draft someone on the inside or outside.
Safety: Free safety help is needed, as the Dolphins have not had a high-quality player there in years. Bobby McCain played here, along with Reshad Jones, who was released. McCain may be better off as a slot corner, but he may end up at free safety. Eric Rowe is the strong safety and he is not spectacular. Adrian Colbert and Steven Parker are also in the picture. Clayton Fejedelem was signed in free agency for his special teams play and he may be pushing Walt Aikens out the door, who is a similar player and an unsigned free agent. The draft has a good chance to provide help at both safeties.
Tight End: While Durham Smythe was technically the starter, Mike Gesicki played often and had 51 receptions. Gesicki is the receiving threat and Smythe the blocker. Both were chosen in the 2018 draft – Gesicki in Round 2 and Smythe Round 4. Others on the roster are Chandler Cox, Michael Roberts, and Chris Myarick. Clive Walford was on last year’s roster, but he is currently unsigned. They look to be in good shape here and I would be surprised if they address this area, but one could be taken late.
Cornerback: This is headed towards a position of strength with the signing of free agent Byron Jones from the Cowboys to team with Xavien Howard, who looks forward to a top year after missing much of last season. Nik Needham started 11 games as a rookie free agent. Cordrea Tankersley had a promising start to his career in 2017, but he has been out for over a year with a torn ACL. Ken Webster started some games plus Nate Brooks, Ryan Lewis, and Tae Hayes also played. This is not a big need, but one could be chosen in the last three rounds for depth purposes.
*Information from various sources, including Pro-Football Reference, Sportac, and ESPN. For this post, the Miami Herald was very helpful.