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ericsvibe

2018 Draft, players we like

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Well, it's time to transition to next year. Our season imploded due to 3 major reasons, all must be fixed this offseason for the Dolphins to have a chance at the playoffs next year.

1. No viable option at QB behind Tannehill. This was the biggest failure of the front office this year. Miami, Green Bay, Cleveland, Houston, all failed to have a good backup plan behind their starters. All didn't make it into the playoffs. Whether it is a young QB you are developing, or a cool as a cucumber veteran, teams need a backup plan.

 

2. Key missing pieces of the offense, namely an Alpha WR, and a showcase TE. I will give the front office a pass on the Alpha WR, they hoped that Parker would grow into that role. Right now, he is nothing more than a boundary possession WR. The front office also has a major fail with Thomas at TE, he simply sucked. Whether via the draft, or free agency, one of these two issues must get corrected this year.

 

3. Poor LB play. Again the front office thought that they had this corrected, they failed. Our defense was 28th in the league defending the sideline. Runs to the outside, QB's scrambling for yards, screens, all gained significant yardage against our defense. Our DE's simply couldn't get off of blocks and get to the ball carrier, our OLB's simply weren't fast enough to make a play and were constantly out of position. Our defense is built for an era where teams would just pound it up the middle. Right now, the rushing leaders in the NFL are on teams that run most of their plays at the edges, not straight up the gut. They bounce plays either inside to the outside, or use off tackle, sweeps, or zone runs. Big bruising RB's aren't effective, unless they have elite speed. Lets look at the current rushing leaders.

Todd Gurley, Rams. 6-1 227lbs

1st round pick. 279 attempts, 4.7 yard average. 64 receptions, 12.3 average. 13 rushing TD's, 6 receiving TD's.

Kareem Hunt, Chiefs. 5-10 216 lbs

3 round pick. 271 attempts, 4.8 average. 53 receptions, 8.6 average. 7 rushing TD's, 3 receiving TD's.

Le'Veon Bell, Steelers. 6-1 225 lbs

2nd round pick. 321 attempts, 4.0 yard average. 85 receptions, 7.7 yard average. 9 rushing TD's, 2 receiving TD's.

LeSean McCoy, Bills. 5-11 210

2nd round pick. 276 attempts, 4.1 yard average. 57 receptions, 7.5 yard average. 6 rushing TD's, 2 receiving TD's.

Jordan Howard, Bears. 6-0 224 lbs.

5th round pick. 267 attempts, 4.2 yard average. 22 receptions, 5.5 yard average. 9 rushing TD's, no receiving TD's.

Just one was a first round, elite level RB coming out of college. With the exception of Jordan Howard, all are just as deadly receiving.

 

I am going to concentrate the players I'm going to list, with the preceding top three in mind. 

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Dolphins need to draft a QB this year. Round 3 or later. The only 'developmental' option behind Tannehill has been Doughty, who couldn't even see the field ahead of Cutler, Moore, or friggin' Fales.

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The first player I am going to mention would be a long shot, as he may not make it to our pick. If he is there in the first round, the Dolphins have to seriously consider drafting him.

QB Lamar Jackson, Louisville. 

6-3, 205 lbs.  This local player shouldn't need any introduction to south Florida football fans. He is a rare, electric playmaker with exceptional deep ball accuracy. In fact, his game is perfectly balanced. His ability to scramble and create with his feet force safeties to stay put, allowing his receivers to get behind the coverage, where his deep ball accuracy allows him to throw over the top of the defense. Cam Newton has proved that this play style works in the NFL. He excels in running the shotgun. In fact, his biggest negative is his inexperience operating under center. He has also had problems with accuracy in the second level on timing routes. Gase's offense doesn't use allot of timing routes, so this is less of a concern for the Dolphins. Being drafted by the Dolphins would be great for Jackon's development, he will be able to learn behind Tannehill. The only reason that he would have to play is if Tannehill goes down due to injury. Jackson is a team first player, his demeanor and natural leadership won't cause problems because he sits the first year. The same can't be said for some of the other first round QB's who have some big ego's. Rumors right now say that the Jets are willing to trade up to get Jackson, which would really suck as we will have to face him twice a year his entire career.

Pro's

Throws accurately on the run, especially into the 3rd level

Doesn't need perfect mechanics to deliver an accurate ball, can throw even if feet aren't set, or balance is off

Works the pocket well, can feel pressure and adjust to beat the rush

Knows his playbook inside and out, knows what his receivers are doing, where they will be

Hard to bring down, has elite speed allowing him to eat up big chunks of yards when flushed from the pocket

Looks for opportunities to throw when chased, doesn't just run the ball. Created many big plays after being chased from the pocket, with down field passes

Has great accuracy in the first level, throws on screens and short passes were on the mark

Negatives

Was never asked to be a repetition passer. Doesn't have experience dropping back, counting, and throwing

In college, he needed to see the receiver to make the throw. Had trouble on blind timing routes where he just threw to a spot on the field.

He was never asked to be a drop back, under center passer. He had most of his success in the option, and shotgun

Accuracy issues plagued him in the second level.

Edited by ericsvibe
Added additional info

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Sign Bridgewater. Trade up for Chubb, or go with Wilkins or Vea in Round One. A stud next to Suh.

Chubb, Wilkins, Vea are my Round One guys. OG Quinton Nelson is tempting.

OG or LB in Round 2

Bigger RB in Round 3

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16 hours ago, freak_of_nature said:

A stout DLine and a franchise QB are the linchpins to victory.

We actually have a very good set of DT's. Even with our DE's failing miserably in run support, our interior defense was 12th in the league. Godchaux looks to be special, and Phillips is more than capable. A stud DT really isn't needed at this point. Suh isn't going anywhere. The team is going to move on from Thomas, James, and Timmons. That frees up 18 million in cap space. With the 14 we currently have, that will be enough to resign Landry, sign a couple free agents, and sign draft picks.

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11 minutes ago, ericsvibe said:

Godchaux looks to be special, and Phillips is more than capable.

Their bulk stats don't stand out, but that's because they each played around 500-600 snaps (compared to 834 for Suh). PFF has them both graded highly and the eye test tells me they have both been consistently disruptive.

Vincent Taylor is a good 4th DT to have too.

Miami is set at DT for 2018 in my opinion.

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As I said earlier, I don't like any of the other first round QB's. So if Jackson isn't the pick in the first, the Dolphins will have another chance at an upgrade to QB in the 3rd round with....

 

Luke Falk, Washington State

6-4, 205 lbs

Luke is the prototype of a super accurate, pocket passer. Unlike Jackson, Falk can make accurate throws in all 3 levels, including timing routes. He has above average arm strength, which has allowed him to fit passes into tight windows. Falk excels in operating out of a shotgun offense, fitting in with Gase's style very well. He has shown the ability to anticipate what his receivers are doing, throwing the pass at the right time to beat coverage. In the system he ran in college, they ran a large amount of screens, and short timing passes. Falk's throws were on the money, hitting receivers in stride, allowing them to easily transition and get big yards. Falk also showed the ability to quickly get the ball out, beating the rush. Falk shows lots of touch on his deep passes, the balls seem to float right into the receivers basket. Falk also shows poise in the pocket, he will hang in against a fierce pass rush. Falk was loved by his coaches and players, he has natural leadership.

 

The negatives are what you expect from a shotgun offense QB. Falk really didn't have to learn to look off coverage, he has many receiving options on both sides of the field. Because of this, he could lock onto one side of the field. In the NFL, Falk will have to learn to scan the entire field for open receivers. Falk hasn't been asked to be a repetition passer, so he doesn't have any experience with drop back passing. Falk would rely on his arm talent allot, and beat coverage. In the NFL, CB's are way faster, and he will have to learn to throw around defenders. Falk isn't very elusive, he has been compared to Kirk Cousins. He will run when the pocket collapses, but he isn't very quick or fast.

 

Falk is a perfect example of the over analyzing that goes on in the NFL scouting community. If a QB doesn't meet the perfect metrics, or comes from a shotgun based offense, or isn't an athletic superstar, their draft ratings suffer. A QB should be based on how they play, not potential. Falk is the exact type of QB Gase wants to run the Dolphins. The knocks on Falk being a "system" QB ring hollow when the pro team uses that same system. In that line of thinking, Tom Brady is a system QB. He happens to be the best QB ever for the shotgun, but he is a system QB. Tom would suffer in a running based, drop back system. 

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I don't follow college ball, so I'll just list what I consider Miami's needs to be in rough order:

1) LB - After Alonso and McMillan the Dolphins have.. Stephone Anthony? There's clearly a huge need here.

2) LG - Larsen is garbage and could be cut to save $1.1 million. I have trouble putting faith in Asiata when he is unable to get active on gamedays ahead of UDFAs such as Davis and Smith. Bushrod gets some undue hate but he isn't worth re-signing, not with Jesse Davis likely starting at RG next season. Can Miami finally found a serviceable mid-round guard?

3) Developmental / backup QB - Moore/Doughty simply isn't cutting it. Miami has zero vision beyond Tannehill and that needs to change, as insurance for 2018 and possibly to push Tannehill in 2019 and beyond. Dolphins fans need to accept that Tannehill is THE starter for 2018 and there is virtually zero incentive for him to restructure, or indeed for Miami to cut him outright.

4) Developmental DE - Yes, again. Hayes isn't under contract for next season (yet). Wake is Wake with 90.5 career sacks but he'll be 36 with a cap number of $8.6m. Harris has speed off the edge but at 235lbs but still doesn't look strong enough to me to take on the Hayes / Branch role opposite Wake. Miami should continue looking to the future and Hayes, Wake, and Branch all may be gone by the time 2019 rolls around. Give me a bigger body who could play DE in a 4-3 and possibly 5-tech in a 3-4.

5) TE - Miami has Marqueis Gray & AJ Derby are the only ones under contract for 2018 (Julius Thomas is a virtual lock to be cut). Re-sign Fasano? Derby has some developmental potential but more young talent needs to be injected.

6) Developmental WR - I do NOT want to re-sign Landry for more than $11.5m / year, nor do I want to franchise tag him for a whopping $16m. DvP, Stills, Grant, Carroo are all under contract for next season.

7) Backup RB - Doubt the Dolphins re-sign Williams, Drake needs some cheap talent behind him to spell him.

8) OL depth - BPA here. Draft a center behind Pouncey, add OG depth, look for someone to compete with Ja'Wuan James / Eric Smith at RT. 

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The last QB I like in this draft, is another local kid who has all the tools to run a Gase shotgun based offense. He is also slated to be a 3rd round pick, although I wouldn't be mad if the Dolphins drafted Falk or him in the 2nd. 

Kurt Benkert, Virginia

6-4, 215 lbs.

Kurt has been described by the NFL scouting community as a sleeper prospect. Allot of eyes are going to be on Benkert during the Senior Bowl. Kurt can make every throw, and has great accuracy in all 3 levels, including a very good deep ball. To be honest, he didn't have allot of talent around him in college, so he has been inconsistent. But watch the game tape against the Hurricanes to see what Kurt can do when faced against a fearsome defense. Kurt is also a prototypical pocket passer. Unlike Falk, Kurt will run with the football when he has the chance, even though he isn't very fast. Kurt throws on the run with great accuracy and timing, scrambling to extend the play and sucking in the safeties, and then delivering the football over the top, hitting his receiver in stride. Kurt has also had to work through his progression in college to find open receivers, so he has experience reading the field. The ball jumps out of Kurt's hand, and maintains spin and velocity to the receiver. He has shown the ability to torch coverage with accurate throws into tight windows. Kurt also has the ability to lead the defense with his eyes. On many throws I watched, Kurt would stare down the outlet receiver, and then snap to a down field receiver and hit them in stride. Kurt is a very exiting QB to watch when he is at his best.

 

The negatives are the same as the other QB's I like in this draft. He is labeled as a "system" QB. He ran a shotgun based offense in college. He has never been asked to be a repetition QB. Some scouts are worried that they don't know who the real Kurt is, is he the QB that played against the Hurricanes, or the QB who did very little in other games in his career. It is always hard to judge a QB that isn't on a team loaded with talent. Kurt has also showed poor footwork at times, which could be the product of scrambling for his life. Kurt also suffered from having some favorite receivers, he would try to get the ball to them, sometimes ignoring better passing opportunities.

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I think there's 5 top talents in this draft: Chubb, Barkely, Wilkins, Nelson, and probably Fitzpatrick.

Godchaux has been good, I agree, but I think Wilkins would have a huge impact - almost Suh-like. I don't think they pay Phillips.

I don't think they pay Landry what he wants, either.

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So the next position I am going to cover is TE. This draft has some good talent at the position, but very few who have the physical skill set to be a showcase TE. Because of this, the Dolphins will have to either trade back in the first to select one, or get one in the second round. There are plenty of big bodies/blocking TE's in the draft, but not a lot of sizzle. 

Hayden Hurst, TE South Carolina

6-5, 250 lbs

The only negative on this player is he is going to be selected towards the end of the first round, or very early in the second. Hurst has the size you want, with long arms, and a powerful frame. He is an excellent blocker, in fact he was very underutilized as a receiver. He has very natural hands, and catches everything. He runs good routes and knows how to work man and zone coverage. He is a polished athlete, having played pro baseball for a couple years out of high school, before deciding to go to college and play football. Hurst plays with a mean streak. He is a walking hype machine, showing tons of emotion. I know I don't want to say it, but I will say it, watching tape of him, reminds me of Gronk. You can see some videos on youtube. Watch how he plays. Once he has the ball, he looks to hurt people. He just doesn't try to get away, he tries to punish the defenders for tackling him. He has crazy ball tracking ability, making terrific catches away from his frame, elevating to reach balls that are too high, wheeling around to catch balls behind him. His balance and footwork are crazy good for a man his size. After big plays, he will just stand over the defender, staring him down. He looks to impose his will on the defense. 

If Hurst runs a 4.5 forty, or a low 4.6, and kills it in the combine, he may have the value to draft at 11. There aren't any major holes in his game, and showcase TE's have become very important to good offenses. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by ericsvibe

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The next and last TE I am going to list is going to have to be taken in the second round, because there isn't anyway he lasts until the third. The rest of the TE's in this draft all have some flaws, they either aren't very fast, aren't very strong, or aren't very tall. I'm not saying that they won't be good players, but I am only listing the players that I feel would be instant upgrades.

Troy Fumagalli, TE Wisconsin

6-6, 248 lbs

Troy is an exiting player to watch. He is a big WR, and plays that way. He isn't the best blocker but holds his own, but the man can catch. He has a massive frame, great hand eye coordination, and can make any catch look easy. He can get vertical and grab the ball at the highest point. He is a fantastic route runner that understands coverage. He is quick, and moves fluidly. Again, Troy isn't a bruising type of player, my only real concern would be how well he can hold up in the running game against NFL talent. Troy doesn't look like he has maxed out his frame, and due to this, he might need to add some muscle. It will be interesting to see what he does on the bench press in the combine. We all know that an average college LB/DE isn't in the same ball park as a Cam Wake. For a team looking for a TE that can hurt defenses in the passing game, Troy is ideal.

 

 

Edited by ericsvibe

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10 minutes ago, ericsvibe said:

The next TE I am going to list is going to have to be taken in the second round, because there isn't anyway he lasts until the third.

Troy Fumagalli, TE Wisconsin

 

Dude's got 9 fingers. 

 

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19 minutes ago, ericsvibe said:

The next and last TE I am going to list is going to have to be taken in the second round, because there isn't anyway he lasts until the third. The rest of the TE's in this draft all have some flaws, they either aren't very fast, aren't very strong, or aren't very tall. I'm not saying that they won't be good players, but I am only listing the players that I feel would be instant upgrades.

Troy Fumagalli, TE Wisconsin

6-6, 248 lbs

Troy is an exiting player to watch. He is a big WR, and plays that way. He isn't the best blocker but holds his own, but the man can catch. He has a massive frame, great hand eye coordination, and can make any catch look easy. He can get vertical and grab the ball at the highest point. He is a fantastic route runner that understands coverage. He is quick, and moves fluidly. Again, Troy isn't a bruising type of player, my only real concern would be how well he can hold up in the running game against NFL talent. Troy doesn't look like he has maxed out his frame, and due to this, he might need to add some muscle. It will be interesting to see what he does on the bench press in the combine. We all know that an average college LB/DE isn't in the same ball park as a Cam Wake. For a team looking for a TE that can hurt defenses in the passing game, Troy is ideal.

Nice write ups good to compare opinions and helps me look into more depth at players I may have not noticed in the same detail.

 

Edited by mountainpd

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