We are days away from the NFL Draft and the rumor mill is in full effect. I am not going to jump into every pre-draft rumor as it would be a waste of time. Nobody knows what the Dolphins will do. But I will say this, nothing will shock me. I know I said different last week in my mock draft write up, but honestly at this point with Mike Tannenbaum nothing would shock me. Could the Fins trade future picks to move up to get Ezekiel Elliot; wouldn’t shock me. Could the Fins trade down to stockpile picks; wouldn’t shock me. Could the Fins just stand pat and take the best player available in each round; wouldn’t shock me.
Let’s get into some other news surrounding the Fins though.
DE Jason Jones close to signing with Miami–This is a move I have been banging the table on for over a month now and it looks like the Fins are close to signing Jones. The Fins may wait until after May 12th to “officially” sign him as any signing before that day counts towards the 2017 compensatory draft pick process. Here is why the Dolphins need Jason Jones and why this signing would quietly be a great addition. The Dolphins DE position right now is not a pretty picture as we head into May. Now of course the Dolphins could go draft a DE in Round 1 and change that whole thing, but let’s assume they don’t for a second and let’s look as we stand today. You have Cam Wake now as a part-time player who will be a situational pass rusher. He is 34 and coming off a major injury in which he will lose a step speed wise. No two ways about it nobody at that age comes back the same from that injury. You have Mario Williams at 31 who is coming off a train-wreck of a season. I feel a lot of it was the scheme he was in up in Buffalo last year under Rex Ryan but we don’t know for sure, maybe he is just a bad player now. Jury is still out on Mario. Andre Branch stinks folks, I said it the day we signed him he is a back-up DE who doesn’t do anything great and maxes out as “just ok” across the board. He is a total back-up and not someone you can count on. Then there are a bunch of young guys like Terrence Fede and Damontre Moore who we don’t know what they are.
With Jason Jones you know what you are getting, a 29 year old DE who has improved every year he has been in the NFL. He is very very good against the run and can bring pressure on the QB as well. On passing downs he can slide inside to DT which will allow you to bring Cam Wake in at DE and get your 3 best pass rushers on the field. He is the perfect replacement to Derrick Shelby because he is exactly like Derrick Shelby production wise, just slightly better overall. He is a better version of Derrick Shelby and that is exactly what the Fins need right now. Oh, and his former Defensive Line coach Jim Washburn is now the Dolphins defensive line coach so he knows exactly what Miami will be doing and there will be no adjustment for him scheme wise.
Not every free agent signing needs to be a big splash. Sometimes signing a run of the mill, solid, productive defensive end who just stays quiet, shows up, and produces on the field is what a team needs. In this case it is exactly what Miami needs.
The Running Back position–I have no idea what Miami will do in Round 1 of the draft. If Elliot falls do I expect them to draft him, yes from the many reports I see out there. Do I expect Elliott to fall; no. Will they trade up to draft Elliott; who the hell knows. Let’s assume the Fins don’t get Elliott….what’s plan B for running back next week?
Five names stick out in this draft as back-up options. Derrick Henry, Kenneth Dixon, Devontae Booker, CJ Prosise, and Jordan Howard. Now if you watched the ESPN NFL MATCH UP pre-draft shows when they broke down tape of Derrick Henry I am thinking Henry’s agent jumped off a building. They killed the poor kid. They showed his poor footwork and how that won’t translate to the NFL game and how he will struggle. It soured me on him I won’t lie, but out of the 5 names above the two to keep an eye on are Jordan Howard and Devontae Booker. Both I think are perfect fits for what Miami wants to do. Booker has size and speed and was productive at Utah. Howard was super productive at Indiana and could be had in the middle rounds He is a big bruising back (I know Miami really wants a speed back but this kid has “enough speed” to get by.) CJ Prossie scares me a little as he is “new” to the RB position and is a former WR. It might be a long while before he picks up blitz protections and such and gets on the field. Dixon I like as well but he isn’t an every down back in the NFL and Miami is looking for a guy who might need to be a bell-cow back as Ajai has an injury history and can’t seem to stay healthy. So, Booker and Howard are the names to keep an eye on heading into next weekend.
I will be doing a revision to my first MOCK DRAFT. With the news of Jason Jones likely signing with the Dolphins and with the news that one of my picks is skyrocketing up the draft board and probably won’t be there in the round I predicted he would be. So I am going to tweak my Mock Draft early this upcoming week.