- WR Hartline cut after 6 seasons WR Gibson was also released
- Mike Tannenbaum hired... ...as Dolphins' executive VP of football operations
- Philbin retained Coach Philbin was given a contract extension
- Fins season ends on low note Jets down the Fins to end their season 8-8
Dolphins Draft Board #10: 5-1
***4 RULES FOR THIS LIST***
1) NOT INCLUDED in this list are: All QB’s (Teddy Bridgewater, Johnny Manziel, Blake Bortles, Derek Carr), DE Jadeveon Clowney and Anthony Barr, OT’s Jake Matthews and Greg Robinson, WR Sammy Watkins, and LB Khalil Mack. The Dolphins are not going to draft a QB at #19, and the odds of one of these non-QB’s slipping to #19 is between slim-none and unworthy of the conversation.
2) I am assuming 2 things happen in Free Agency: the Dolphins retain CB Brent Grimes and sign at least 1 OT among a deep FA class (Branden Albert, Eugene Monroe, Jared Veldheer, Rodger Saffold, Anthony Collins, Jordan Gross, Michael Oher.).
3) Trust me: I know where each player is projected to go as of today. Don’t waste your time with comments like “Mike Evans won’t fall to #19!!”, because I’ll probably agree with you.
4) This board will change between now and May 8th. Dramatically. Case in point: WR Keenan Allen, DE Damontre Moore, and DT Johnathan Hankins were 1st Round “locks” at this point last season, and all went in the late 2nd round or later.
Here are my Top 5 prospects for the Dolphins at #19 (with these rules). There is VERY little separating these 5 stars on my board.
5) TE Eric Ebron, North Carolina* (6-4, 245)
NFL Comparison: Jermichael Finley, Packers
Ebron combines long arms with great hands and tackle-breaking ability. His upside and athleticism is a bit overrated; he’s no Vernon Davis. But he is a very good athlete for his size who would add a much needed dimension to the Dolphins passing game.
4) LB C.J. Mosley, Alabama (6-2, 238)
NFL Comparison: Mixture between NaVorro Bowman (49ers) and Lavonte David (Bucs)
Mosley started four consecutive years on Nick Saban’s Defense, winning the Butkus Award as a Senior as the best LB in the country. His addition would speed up the process of eliminating Dannell Ellerbe and/or Philip Wheeler from the Miami Dolphins roster. It’s quite possible that Mosley could start immediately at “WILL” LB as a rookie in place of Wheeler (June 1st cut?) before moving to MLB to replace Ellerbe in 2015. His range, instincts, and tackling skills jump out immediately.
3) OT Taylor Lewan, Michigan (6-8, 310)
NFL Comparison: Nate Solder, Patriots
Look for Eugene Monroe (Ravens) and Jared Veldheer (Raiders) to be re-signed before beginning of Free Agency. The Dolphins are expected to sign at least one OT in Free Agency (Branden Albert? Anthony Collins? Rodger Saffold?), but another clear-cut starter is still needed at RT or OG. Lewan was a four-year starter for the Wolverines who would’ve been a 1st round pick had he declared for the 2013 NFL Draft. Although he could initially struggle with bull-rushers given his TE-like build, Lewan has the size and big-game experience to start immediately at either LT or RT because of his feet, experience, and long arms.
2) WR Mike Evans, Texas A&M* (6-5, 225)
NFL Comparison: Vincent Jackson, Bucs
Evans ranks somewhere between Vincent Jackson and Michael Floyd as a prospect. He violently fights off press coverage at the line, and then shows great body control and hands to catch passes in traffic downfield. The Dolphins, like many teams in today’s NFL, used 3-WR sets in over 75% of their snaps last season. Evans would be a dynamic addition to 3-WR sets, while giving the Dolphins leverage in contract renegotiation talks with Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline. I don’t expect Evans to be here at #19, but would be pleasantly surprised if he were.
1) TE Jace Amaro, Texas Tech* (6-5, 257)
NFL Comparison: Mixture between Jimmy Graham and Greg Olsen
Amaro is your typical “WR in a TE’s body”. He led all NCAA TE’s with 1352 receiving yards on 106 catches, and would provide a physical red-zone threat that the Dolphins desperately need on an offense playing small-ball with Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline, and Charles Clay. Amaro demonstrates the crisp route-running skills of TT graduates from years past (Michael Crabtree, Wes Welker, Danny Amendola) and would allow the Dolphins to use Charles Clay more creatively in a “move” role. My one conern with Amaro, is that he only did it for one year.
1) OT Cyrus Kouandijo, Alabama* (6-5, 312)
I’ll say the same thing about him that I said about Jonathan Martin two years ago: his potential is high, but his tape is poor.
2) DT Timmy Jernigan, Florida St* (6-2, 298)
Some have Jernigan as a Top-10 pick after a great performance in the NCAA Title Game vs. Auburn. I worry that he’s strictly a 4-3 pass-rushing DT who will be neutralized by bigger, better OL’men in the NFL.
3) CB Darqueze Dennard, Michigan St (5-11, 197)
Good player capable of playing in many schemes, but the Dolphins are overstocked at CB as is. The Lions at #10 are a popular landing spot for Dennard.
4) WR Kelvin Benjamin, Florida St* (6-5, 235)
Some people see Alshon Jeffery. I see Ernest Wilford. Benjamin struggles to separate and lacks great leaping ability to overpower DB’s downfield.
5) DT Stephon Tuitt, Notre Dame* (6-6, 312)
Solid player with great size. Nothing really jump out about him, and I see him as purely a 3-4 DE for a team late in the 1st round.
6) OT Zack Martin, Notre Dame (6-4, 305)
I cringe seeing Martin projected to the Dolphins in mock drafts at #19 because he’s an undersized LT who will probably have to move inside to LG in the NFL, where he has never played. He’ll be a good player. But if we’re talking about an OL’man at #19, I want him to have either elite upside or plug-and-play ability.
7) CB Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma (6-0, 200)
Big, physical CB who will battle Dennard to be the first CB taken. As I mentioned above, the Dolphins already have too many CB’s to get on the field.
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