Fixing the Miami Dolphins

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The Miami Dolphins appeared to go into full-on tanking mode before the season started, trading away some of the best players in LT Laremy Tunsil and S Minkah Fitzpatrick for first round draft picks. They started 0-7 before notching their first win of the season, then capped the last nine games of the season going 5-4. Head Coach Brian Flores did an incredible job pulling this team together and leading them to five wins when the front office was clearly tanking.

Miami seems to have their head coach of the future as the players seem to play really hard for him and honestly, if he can win five games with this roster, imagine what he can do with a roster like the Ravens, or even the Panthers. The Dolphins need to improve their roster this offseason, and with their head coach, cap space, and draft picks, they have a good leg up on the rest of the league.

Cap Space: 94 million

Trade:

– Josh Rosen, QB

You honestly kind of have to feel badly for Josh Rosen at this point. He hasn’t been offered a fair shot after two years in the NFL with two different teams. I’m not sure where he ends up next season, but he needs to find stability and probably a shot at a starting gig. The Dolphins will bring back Ryan Fitzpatrick and should look to grab another QB early in the upcoming draft.

Resign:

– Walt Aikens, S

Aikens played well on the backend of the defense and not only deserves another year, but he can compete for a starting job next season, depending on how the rest of free agency goes for Miami.

– John Jenkins, DL

Jenkins was a surprise revelation on this roster this season. He was able to generate a pass rush while also being effective against the run.

– Vince Biegel, LB

Biegel was one of the best players on the roster this year and definitely should get resigned to a multi-year deal this offseason.

– Deon Lacey, LB

Lacey really shined on special team this season and that’s the main reason the Dolphins should ensure he returns next season.

– Adrian Colbert, S

Colbert came to the Dolphins midway through the season and shows some real upside that Miami needs to further explore next year.

– Isaiah Ford, WR

The Dolphins need depth at receiver and Ford was able to contribute through it the season. The Dolphins should resign him and look to get him on the field more next season.

– Trent Harris, DL

Harris didn’t really see the field until the last month of the season, but his production during those games was very high. He can at least be a rotational player on this defensive line next season, also depending on how free agency and the draft go for the Dolphins.

– Evan Brown, C

Brown was claimed off the Giants’ practice squad last month and appeared in the last few games this season. They clearly liked what they saw to claim him off another teams’ practice squad that late in the season, so this resigning just makes sense.

Free Agency:

Tier One:

Typically teams that finish at the bottom of the league aren’t big time players in free agency simply because a lot of the top free agents don’t want to join a bad team. But the Dolphins are different. They’re definitely not up against the cap and Head Coach Brian Flores seems like someone a lot of guys would want to play for. The front office in Miami stripped this roster down before the season, but Flores was still able to get his players to rally behind him and win five games. So this first tier is made up of the top free agents, but Miami has a better than decent chance at landing at least one of them.

– Amari Cooper, WR
– Chris Harris, CB
– Byron Jones, CB
– Jadeveon Clowney, EDGE
– Chris Jones, DL
– A.J. Green, WR
– Yannick Ngakoue, DL

Tier Two:

This tier is full of players who won’t quite command top dollar, but the Dolphins should make sure they give them enough to lure them to South Beach.

– Kyle Van Noy, LB
– Brandon Scherff, OL
– Shaquille Barrett, EDGE
– Arik Armstead, DL
– Jack Conklin, OT
– Bud Dupree, EDGE
– Trae Waynes, CB
– Jamie Collins, EDGE
– Austin Hooper, TE
– Andrus Peat, OG
– Bruce Irvin, LB
– Vic Beasley, EDGE
– Bryan Bulaga, OT
– Hunter Henry, TE
– Joe Schobert, LB
– Bud Dupree, EDGE

Tier Three:

This group is made up of players that will be closer towards the middle of the league in terms of contract. Whether they’re higher in age, a career backup, or a player coming off their rookie contract that didn’t live up to pre-draft expectations.

– Jimmy Smith, CB
– Danny Trevathan, LB
– Anthony Harris, S
– Eli Apple, CB
– Dante Fowler Jr., EDGE
– Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S
– Anthony Costanzo, OT
– Logan Ryan, CB
– Leonard Williams, DL
– Emmanuel Sanders, WR
– Justin Simmons, S
– Jason Verrett, CB
– Ezekiel Ansah, EDGE
– Bryan Bulaga, OT
– Kendall Fuller, CB
– Andrew Sendejo, S
– Robby Anderson, WR
– Bradley Roby, CB
– Matt Judon, EDGE
– Darron Lee, LB
– Vonn Bell, S
– Mackensie Alexander, CB
– Eric Ebron, TE
– Daryl Williams, OT
– Logan Ryan, CB
– Jimmie Ward, S
– Nick Kwiatkowski, LB
– Jack Doyle, TE
– Kamalei Correa, LB

Draft:

The draft for the Dolphins is relatively unique because they don’t have a position that doesn’t need to be addressed, and every position could be addressed at the top of the draft. Washington, Detroit, New York, and even Cincinnati can be semi selective in the first few rounds (RB and even WR if A.J. Green resigns).

Therefore, this draft strategy outline is a little different from previous articles in that each position will be addressed progressively through the rounds with the late rounds consisting of a prospect at every single position, other than QB after round one.

Round One:

5 Overall:

Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama

Tua has officially declared for the 2020 NFL Draft, and I don’t think he’ll get past the Dolphins here, nor do I think they should pass on him. As long as his hip checks out pre-draft, and it sounds like it’s heading that way, the Dolphins should quickly scoop him up.

17 Overall:

– K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU
– Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
– Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
– Trey Adams, OT, Washington

28 Overall (projected):

– D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia
– Paulson Adebo, CB, Stanford
– Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama
– Tyler Biadasz, OL, Wisconsin

This synopsis combines analysis for both picks 17 and (projected) 28 simply because the Dolphins should go with a best player available approach here. Their roster is still baron of talent at almost every single position. Offensive line, edge, and corner should be priorities based on positions, but they also need a workhorse running back and another high quality wide receiver and if Higgins, Swift, and Ruggs are available that late, the Dolphins should look their way too.

Round Two:

The Dolphins have two picks in the second round, 39 and 56 overall. If they haven’t selected an offensive tackle, edge rusher, cornerback, running back, or wide receiver, then they need to be looking there. Some available options could be:

– Austin Jackson, OT, USC
– Alaric Jackson, OT, Iowa
– Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE, Penn State
– Terrell Lewis, EDGE, Alabama
– Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
– A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson
– Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
– Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin
– Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
– Michael Pittman, WR, USC

Other positions to look at in the second round are interior offensive line, linebacker, and interior defensive line.

– Creed Humphrey, OL, Oklahoma
– Tommy Kraemer, OL, Notre Dame
– Malik Harrison, LB, Ohio State
– Evan Weaver, LB, Cal
– Raekwon Davis, DL, Alabama
– Neville Gallimore, DL, South Carolina

Round Three:

The Dolphins have one selection in the third round at 70 overall. They definitely should have taken an offensive tackle by now, so I won’t list that option anymore. But every other position could be deferred by now, depending on how the board falls and the best player available approach.

– Jabari Zuniga, EDGE, Florida
– Anfernee Jennings, EDGE, Alabama
– Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia
– Damon Arnette, CB, Ohio State
– Cam Akers, RB, Florida State
– A.J. Dillon, RB, Boston College
– Chase Claypool, WR, Notre Dame
– Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State
– Ben Bredeson, OL, Michigan
– Nick Harris, OL, Washington
– Shaquille Quarterman, LB, Miami
– Troy Dye, LB, Oregon
– Rashard Lawrence, DL, LSU
– Alton Robinson, DL, Syracuse

Beyond these positions, Miami needs to look at safety and tight end starting at the mid to late rounds. The Dolphins have decent depth at safety, but safety is also a position that you can find hidden gems later in the draft.

They have a good starting tight end in Mike Gesicki, but need to find a serviceable second. I like to look in the mid to late rounds for that second tight end, especially with small-school prospects.

– Brandon Jones, S, Texas
– Julian Blackmon, S, Utah
– Colby Parkinson, TE, Stanford
– Jared Pinkney, TE, Vanderbilt

Rounds 5-7:

The Dolphins don’t have a fourth round pick, so we jump back in here with the fifth round. I’ve lumped rounds five through seven together and below I’ve listed one prospect from every position (besides QB) that Miami can take a shot at late in the draft.

– Eno Benjamin, RB, Arizona State
– Antonio Gandy-Golden, WR, Liberty
– Adam Trautman, TE, Dayton
– Matt Peart, OT, UConn
– Damien Lewis, OL, LSU
– Ray Lima, DL, Iowa State
– Khalid Kareem, EDGE, Notre Dame
– Joe Bachie, LB, Michigan State
– Darnay Holmes, CB, UCLA
– Kyle Dugger, S, Lenoir-Rhyne

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