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Dolphins Top-50 Draft Board: 1-10 Trade Up Possibilities
You’ve probably heard a lot of complaining from people over the last week that the NFL Draft is in May instead of April. Not me! This just leaves more time for evaluating the talented players coming out in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Over the next week I will display my Top-50 Dolphins board. Keep in mind that these rankings are a marriage between the best players available and team needs. For example.. if the Dolphins had a bigger need at DE, I would probably have Anthony Barr a few spots higher.
Listed below are the 10 players in this draft that I would say have little-no shot of falling to #19. The Dolphins can, however, trade up for one of these players if they fall within reach.
1) DE Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina* (6-5, 266)
NFL Comparison: Mario Williams, Bills
Physical marvel in the Julius Peppers/Mario Williams mold who can be as dominant as he wants to be. Likely to be #1 pick by the Texans.
2) OT Jake Matthews, Texas A&M (6-5, 305)
NFL Comparison: Jordan Gross, Panthers
If provided the opportunity to do so, GM Dennis Hickey would be wise to leverage his 2nd round pick (and no more) in a trade-up for Jake Matthews. Matthews is a plug-and-play RT with the long-term ability to play LT He played RT from 2010-2012 before sliding over to LT in 2013 to replace Luke Joeckel. Matthews is a technically sound player with bloodlines, LT/RT versatility, and a nasty streak.
3) OT Greg Robinson, Auburn* (6-5, 332)
NFL Comparison: Jason Peters, Eagles
Robinson should be a Day-1 starter and a Pro Bowler by 2015. He can completely wipe out the left side of the OL on run plays, while maintainting a solid B+ grade in pass protection with the upside to improve.
4) WR Mike Evans, Texas A&M* (6-5, 231)
NFL Comparison: Vincent Jackson, Bucs
The Mike Evans-Vincent Jackson comparisons will not go away. Like V-Jax, Evans combines rare strength to outmuscle CB’s at the line and downfield in jumpball situations. I’d be surprised to see Evans fall past the Bucs at #7.
5) TE Eric Ebron, North Carolina* (6-4, 250)
NFL Comparison: Kellen Winslow, Browns (in his prime)
Ebron is a smooth, big-bodied athlete who is big enough to play on the OL and athletic enough to split out wide to create mistmatches. It’s very doubtful that Ebron slides past the Giants at #12.
6) LB Khalil Mack, Buffalo (6-3, 251)
NFL Comparison: Justin Houston, Chiefs
Mack made himself a lot of money in W1 against Ohio State when he was the best player on the field. He had 9 tackles, 2½ sacks, and an INT returned for TD against the Buckeyes. Mack’s rise to the top has continued over the last 8 months, and he should hear his name called in the Top-5.
7) OT Taylor Lewan, Michigan (6-7, 309)
NFL Comparison: Lane Johnson, Eagles
Lewan shocked a lot of people at the NFL Draft Combine when he ran the 40 in 4.87 and bench pressed 225 pounds 29 times. He also started 51 consecutive games in front of 100,000+ at the Big House in Michigan. Lewan’s flaws are all related to strength and technique, which are very coachable at the NFL level. It’s not outside the possibility that Lewan falls further than any player in this Top-10.
8) WR Sammy Watkins, Clemson* (6-1, 211)
NFL Comparison: Donald Driver, Packers
Top-3 pick? Stop it. Those draft spots are reserved for Calvin Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, and Andre Johnson types are dominant boundary WR’s at 6’3 and 220+ pounds. Watkins is similar to Donald Driver in the following ways: similar size, great route-runner, RB-after-the-catch mentality, and well-rounded. Driver also had seven seasons of 1000+ yards with 4 Pro Bowls along the way, and thus, I do not view this comparison as an insult.
9) DT Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh (6-1, 287)
NFL Comparison: Geno Atkins, Bengals
Chris Kouffman from UniversalDraft.com gave Donald the ultimate compliment on our Tuesday night radio show “On the Fin Side”: he is the best DT prospect since Ndamukong Suh. Donald is today’s NFL DT because of his ability to stack and shed C’s and G’s on his way to the QB. In 2014, Donald had more sacks (11), FF’s (4) and tackles for loss (28.5) than Timmy Jernigan, Louis Nix, and Ra’Shede Hageman combined.
10) DE Anthony Barr, UCLA* (6-5, 255)
NFL Comparison: Jason Taylor, UCLA
Barr should be a Top-5 pick because he combines innate pass-rush instincts without much experience. Can we give this kid a break? Since switching from RB to DE before the 2012 season, Barr has recorded 23.5 sacks, 10 FF’s, and 41.5 tackles for loss in his final 2 seasons at UCLA. He also ran a 4.44/40 at UCLA’s Pro Day on a 6’5, 255 pound frame. Several teams will be concerned with Barr’s lack of strength (16 bench reps) and rawness as a pass-rusher in both technique and experience.
Thanks for reading. Follow me on Twitter @BrianCat.
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