If the Dolphins stay at #13, it’s most likely that they acquire the best offensive tackle left on the board. Miami’s Adjusted Sack Rate of 10.5% was second-worst in the entire NFL. Since Jawaan Taylor is likely to be gone, they will be looking at Jonah Williams, Andre Dillard, and Cody Ford. At 5/1, Dillard is SBD’s slight favorite to be Miami’s first-round pick, as he’s the best of the trio in pass protection. But no single player has terribly short odds. The Phins are rebuilding and have big needs at edge rusher, as well, not to mention QB. With all of that said, here is my breakdown of the offensive positions in this 2019 NFL Draft.
Comparison to the 2018 class: Ugh! It does even come close. There’s more than enough interesting prospects but the class is basically filled with a bunch of one-year wonders.
Elite Prospects: Kyler Murray out of Oklahoma, Dwayne Haskins out of Ohio State, Drew Lock out of Missouri, Will Grier out of West Virginia and Gardner Minshew III out of Washington State.
*Initially, I hadn’t planned on doing a write-up on Lock or Grier but there’s been potential rumors out there, no matter how far-fetched it seems, that both these guys could be available to the Dolphins in the early rounds. However, I would avoid them. Lock and Grier both have more experience than Murray or Haskins but to watch them on film, you would think they just started playing football.
Murray’s strengths: Murray is always able to find the open man, displaying good vision down the field. As far as mobility is concerned, no one really compares to Kyler Murray. He is in a class of his own in that category. When he has time to set his feet, he can manage to put some heat on the ball downfield.
Murray’s weaknesses: He struggles to throw the ball when he is under duress in the pocket. The arm strength just looks gone. He’s short too so he will definitely need to continue to bulk up and transform his body for the NFL. There are some minor character concerns as well. He does little to help out his teammates when it comes to blocking. There’s also his supposed ultimatum to the MLB and for whatever reason, he elected not to participate in Combine activities and he had to sit out the opening offensive series for the Sooners when they faced Baylor. Again, all this is pretty minor stuff but it does make you wonder about what is going on in his heart.
Murray’s verdict: It’s amazing what can happen when you are properly motivated. The Baylor game ended up being his best game of the season. In terms of the Dolphins, I don’t see him coming in and becoming a difference-maker for this team. I see a guy who has some good attributes but needs a lot of help around him to be effective. That isn’t the 2019 Dolphins. Murray will start for some NFL team. It just won’t be us.
Haskins’s strengths: Terrific arm strength. He can hit the deep ball even while under duress and just overall accurate with the ball in general.
Haskins’s weaknesses: His pocket presence could be better. There are times when he looks like a pro and scrambles around to keep the play alive and other times when he won’t even see the defender coming and will be forced into a sack.
Haskins’s verdict: The man just looks comfortable in his own skin when he plays. He was under duress so many times in the Big Ten Championship game and was still able to hit his man in stride. He might be the cure to Dolphin fans boredom in 2019.
Lock’s strengths: He was a four-year starter at Missouri. Definitely has the arm strength needed that you want to see in a potential upper-echelon quarterback prospect.
Lock’s weaknesses: It takes him too long to get going offensively. Doesn’t help when he throws a lot of interceptions but what really threw me for a loop was the 2017 Purdue game when the ball slips out of his hands and Lock just stands around looking for a whistle from the referee to blow the play dead as the ball lands on the ground and the boilermakers scoop it up for their second pick-six on the day. A quarterback has got to take care of the ball. He made no effort to go after the ball and play through it.
Lock’s verdict: Lock would be the number one overall pick this year if he had been more successful against elite competition. If he falls at 13, Dolphins should negotiate a trade back.
Grier’s strengths: He can throw the ball in tight windows. Always keeps his eyes looking downfield. Has good arm strength.
Grier’s weaknesses: His pocket presence is laughable. When he feels the pressure coming, he gets rattled. Doesn’t push the ball downfield. I never thought in a million years, I would have to say this about a potential high-round draftee but a quarterback needs to know where he is on the field at all times. In the Cyclones game this year, he steps out of bounds without even realizing it. Plus, he has got a case of fumbilitis. Plus, he got caught taking steroids at Florida and ran away to West Virginia.
Grier’s verdict: I don’t think there is a more polarizing prospect in this draft class than Grier. Yeah, he got caught taking performance-enhancing drugs but he is a family man now so you hope he has matured. Wouldn’t surprise me if the Dolphins at least schedule a dinner interview with him and pick his brain a bit to see where his head is at. With so many qb-needy teams, he will probably be the first quarterback taken on day 2.
Minshew’s strengths: The master of the short throws. It takes him a little while to find his groove but once he does….look out! All of a sudden he can hit the deep ball whether it be in tight coverage or a wide open receiver. Shows tons of emotion and really looks like he enjoys the game.
Minshew’s weaknesses: His accuracy is usually spot on but too often he tries to force the ball into tight coverage and as a result his accuracy diminishes. Sometimes, he tries to do too much and takes the sack instead of throwing the ball away.
Minshew’s verdict: He reminds me a lot of Matt Moore with that gunslinger mentality that I covet in quarterbacks. But, seriously, he is probably a career backup who could potentially start for a team down the road.
Who has the edge? The word “elite” here is being stretched for the purpose of this analysis but I’m going to go with Minshew. Minshew led the #1 passing offense in the country in 2018; smashing all kinds of records set by his predecessor Luke Falk. What makes it more impressive is Minshew was not surrounded by the kind of talent that Murray and Haskins had at their respective schools. Technically, all the quarterbacks I have mentioned are one-year starters but Minshew was a starter at East Carolina before transferring to Washington State for his senior year. Experience is a big thing with me when it comes to quarterbacks so that’s why he gets my vote in the draw.
Small School Standout: Brett Rypien out of Boise State. I’d live to acknowledge that Bret LaGasse of USA Today and Pro Football Network was the first one to mention this quarterback prospect to me.
Rypien’s strengths: He demonstrates good pocket awareness. When he has time to set his feet, he is very accurate with the deep ball. He makes good intermediate throws even while on the run.
Rypien’s weaknesses: His arm strength leaves a lot to be desired. He can be too aggressive at times. He throws into tight windows forcing the ball which often leads to interceptions instead of just throwing it away. When he is under duress, his accuracy is poor.
Rypien’s verdict: If the Dolphins draft him, it’s hard to see him as an immediate impact player. He is not going to have the supporting cast he had at Boise State in Miami. Hard to see him as anything more than a career backup in the NFL.
The Running Backs:
Comparison to the 2018 class: It is not as good as last year’s class but it is close. Slight drop off.
Elite Prospects: Josh Jacobs out of Alabama, Elijah Holyfield out of Georgia, Miles Sanders out of Penn State, Nick Broussette out of LSU.
Holyfield’s strengths: He is a team leader. Did a good job against elite competition. He has some spin to his game. Some natural athleticism.
Holyfield’s weaknesses: He was never the main starter at Georgia. It was always D’Andre Swift. Furthermore, he did not impress at the combine as he had one of the slowest times.
Holyfield’s verdict: He definitely is not Sony Michel or Nick Chubb. I am a fan who likes speed and this pick bothers me. Maybe in a few years with some coaching, things can get better.
Sanders’s strengths: He gives a good push off when he blocks. Has some elusiveness and gives good initial burst when he runs.
Sanders’s weaknesses: He is prone to making mistakes at times though. During the Michigan game, he fumbled the ball due to a miscommunication between him and McSorley in which resulted in a touchdown.
Sanders’s verdict: I think with a little bit of coaching he will have an opportunity down the line to become the lead back in a committee.
Broussette’s strengths: He is versatile. He can block and help on return duties. He can split out as a wide receiver. A grinder who can make you miss in open space. A competitor who does not like to go down.
Broussette’s weaknesses: He was in a committee role at LSU. Not super-fast either. He struggled to break tackles and at times, it looked like he was not giving much effort.
Broussette’s verdict: The reason he is considered a day-3 selection on many draft boards is his inconsistent play. If undrafted, Dolphins should still scoop him up just because he can help in blocking.
Who has the edge? I am going to go with Sanders. He had some big shoes to fill, replacing Saquon Barkley and he did not disappoint. He had 1,274 rushing yards and 9 TDs this season. (Barkley had 1,271 rushing yards and 3 TDs his junior year.) I loved watching him play this year.
Small School Standouts: Darrell Henderson out of Memphis and Darwin Thompson out of Utah State
Henderson’s strengths: When he finds a hole, he burst through it. He is a solid receiver. A true competitor. Really wanted to come back in when he got hurt in the Missouri game. Good vision as he is able to hold onto the ball and keep his eyes downfield.
Henderson’s weaknesses: He may have been able to carry defenders on his way to the end zone while at Memphis but for such a small player at his position, it is tough to see him duplicate that at the NFL level.
Henderson’s verdict: Henderson just looks the part of an NFL back. His body is pretty much filled out so you wonder how much more he can develop over time.
Thompson’s strengths: Speed. He is so fast. He never stops churning the legs. In the Hawaii game, he had over a hundred yards in just the first quarter. He can also contribute in the receiving game.
Thompson’s weaknesses: Many scouts believe he has a low football IQ and it definitely shows. There were times when Thompson looked lost on plays as he got hit in the back once with the ball against New Mexico when he wasn’t expecting it and another time, he fumbled it for the same reason. A junior college transfer who has only played one-year of FBS football and trying to make the leap to the pros. He is also only 5”8”.
Thompson’s verdict: He probably should have stayed with the Aggies for one more year but Utah State did have the third best scoring offense in the country this past season and Thompson was a big part of that. In the case of the Dolphins, they have had some luck in recent years with Mountain West running backs.
Who has the edge? I am giving it to Henderson. He was the FBS leading rusher in 2018. He had eleven plays for over +50 yards and was the first player since DeAngelo Williams with back to back 200-yard rushing games in school history.
The Wide Receivers:
Comparison to the 2018 class: It’s better. The elite prospects do not disappoint.
Elite Prospects: Marquise Brown out of Oklahoma, A.J. Brown out of Ole Miss, Parris Campbell out of Ohio State and Dillon Mitchell out of Oregon, DK Metcalf out of Ole Miss
Brown’s strengths: He gets good separation from defenders. He has good agility and a very fluid body to change directions if necessary. He can help on special teams and for a smaller guy, he actually is pretty strong.
- Brown’s weaknesses: He has a shoulder injury that forced him to miss the Combine as he had surgery on it.
- Brown’s verdict: If drafted by the Dolphins, he’ll probably sit out most of the 2019 season in order to give his body time to heal.
A.J. Brown’s strengths: He is a tremendous athlete. He has good upper body strength to go up and corral balls. High character and alpha personality. Not afraid to lower his shoulder and take hits. I really enjoyed watching him play. He has tons of emotion and a team player all the way. He can line up in the slot or outside.
A.J. Brown’s weaknesses: He is strong but not very fast. His blocking could use some work.
A.J. Brown’s verdict: D.K. Metcalf may have been the talk of the Combine and DaMarkus Lodge may have been the Jordan Ta’amu’s favorite receiver but I think Brown was the best of the Rebel trio in 2018. Hard to imagine the Dolphins selecting Brown that high but I’ll be shocked if he makes it out of round 1.
Campbell’s strengths: As soon as he catches the ball, he turns his head upfield. He’s a team player. He has good speed for a taller receiver. He was the fastest player at his position at the Combine. Good leaping ability.
Campbell’s weaknesses: Sometimes, though, when he is catching the ball, he takes off sprinting before securing the catch.
Campbell’s verdict: With him, it’s simply a case of fundamentals. A coach can fix that. I like speed. He’s a project that will probably cost the Dolphins their second-round pick.
Mitchell’s strengths: He was such a big part of the Ducks offense. He was sixth in FBS receiving yards. Good speed. He will make the tough catches despite being guarded well. Shows tons of emotion.
Mitchell’s weaknesses: Didn’t always win the jump ball. This cost the Ducks the Stanford game. His route-running could use some polish as well.
Mitchell’s verdict: I see him as a late-day 2 or early-day 3 selection.
Who has the edge? I had a tough time choosing. All these guys are intriguing. But, I’m gonna go with “Hollywood” Brown. I feel like he was the main reason Kyler Murray is getting so much hype now. He has great football instincts. More than average speed. It would not surprise me if he is the first receiver taken in the draft.
Small School Standout: Preston Williams out of Colorado State
Williams’s strengths: He has solid speed and the size needed to be a potential elite receiver in the NFL. He suffered from poor qb play during his time with the Rams. He can use his size and stretch out and make the tough catches.
William’s weaknesses: He was not invited to the Combine after he pleaded guilty to a harassment charge back in 2017. There are times when he will outmuscle his opponents and fight for the ball and other times when he loses concentration and drops the ball.
William’s verdict: It’s hard for me to see him on the Dolphins draft board but if he manages to go undrafted which he very well might, I could see the Dolphins taking a one-year flyer on him because they do have a need at the position.
Hometown Acknowledgement: I don’t do this often but I wanted to do a little write-up on Nyqwan Murray out of FSU.
Murray’s strengths: He makes a perfect YAC receiver. Has a good nose for the football. Good speed and showed some elusiveness during his time with the Seminoles.
Murray’s weaknesses: He did not have a good combine. His measurable were some of the worst at the position all across the board.
Murray’s verdict: Frankly, he is a long-shot to make an NFL roster. He’s got the right size but is going to need to be coached up a bit before having a chance to start for a team. There’s also some character concerns as he can be a locker room cancer.
The Tight Ends:
Comparison to the 2018 class: I personally feel it is about the same as last year. Only difference is last year had more early-round potential talent whereas this year, the money might be in the later rounds.
Elite Prospects: Noah Fant out of Iowa, Jace Sternberger out of Texas A&M, Kaden Smith out of Stanford and Isaac Nauta out of Georgia
Fant’s strengths: He can achieve good separation from defenders. He might be a better blocker than T.J. Hockenson. Has the size to get those mismatches when you need him to. Can make the tough catch. Good team player. Has good speed and shows tons of emotion. So many balls were underthrown during his time at Iowa but he still found a way to make it all happen for the Hawkeyes.
Fant’s weaknesses: His blocking could still use some work though. He needs to work on his footwork. Half the time, he seemed off-balanced. He needs to get his feet under him because as soon as he would catch the ball a lot of times he would fall down instead of continue downfield. Sometimes, he will be blocking and fall down.
Fant’s verdict: Scouts might like Hockenson better but Fant, I feel has a higher ceiling.
Sternberger’s strengths: He’s fast and can go up and make the tough catches. Plus, he gets good separation against defenders.
Sternberger’s weaknesses: He needs to work on his blocking. He has gotten penalties for holding.
Sternberger’s verdict: At this point, he is purely a receiving TE. But, blocking isn’t tough to teach. Hard to imagine the Dolphins spending another high-round pick on a TE this year but if you are, Sternberger is your guy.
Smith’s strengths: He had Costello’s ear at Stanford because the two were roommates at Stanford. He does bring some special teams value as well.
Smith’s weaknesses: I question his love for the game. He always seemed emotionless on film. He struggles to create separation against defenders.
Smith’s verdict: Like Fant, he had a down year. I see him as a day-3 pick if that.
Nauta’s strengths: He is a competitor. He fights for every ball thrown to him. He can create mismatches in order to better field the ball.
Nauta’s weaknesses: Not a whole lot to complain about. He can be a little stiff sometimes in his body movement. Needs to work on his hand placement as well.
Nauta’s verdict: He has the ability to be a more well-rounded TE but he’ll need to be coached up a bit to get there.
Who has the edge? He has great football instincts. He only had one-year in Fisher’s offense but that’s all he needed to become the Aggies Offensive MVP of the year. He made some critical catches in the Clemson game. He may have bounced around a lot but he is extremely hard working.
Small School Standout: Keenan Brown out of Texas State
Brown’s strengths: He is a jack-of-all-trades type of player. A steady blocker. He actually was an honorable mention for the John Mackey award. He was the subject of former TSU’s Everett Withers coaching. Barely used so it was tough to gauge him as a receiver. But, he can throw a good shoulder in order to create some space with defenders and watching film on him he made some tough catches in double coverage.
Brown’s weaknesses: I noticed though that he had a very nonchalant attitude about him as he always had his hands on his hips everytime the play was over. Could be he was not happy with his production as a receiver or something else.
Brown’s verdict: I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt but at best he is probably a 7th round selection but will probably get picked up as an undrafted free agent.
The Offensive Line:
Comparison to the 2018 class: Not as good interior linemen this year but better tackle prospects this year.
Elite Prospects: Jonah Williams out of Alabama, Greg Little out of Ole Miss, Kaleb McGary out of Washington, Chuma Edoga out of USC, Bobby Evans out of Oklahoma, and Michael Jordan out of Ohio State, Jawaan Taylor of Florida, Andre Dillard out of Washington St.
Williams’s strengths: I feel like Jonah Williams is a better prospect than Cam Robinson was. He has enough punch in his game to hold the line. Very nimble. He’s not bad in the run game either. Plays with a mean streak which I love. Good power as a lead blocker. Defends well against edge rushers.
Williams’s weaknesses: I’m not sure why scouts are worried about his size. I think he is the best offensive lineman in this class.
Williams’ verdict: I know there is a segment of Dolphin fans out there that don’t like taking offensive-linemen early in the draft, but how can you not when you are down four starters on the line? If Williams is there at 13, take him and be grateful you did.
Little’s strengths: Fluid and all-around athlete. Can recover quickly when he loses half a step. Powerful run blocker. Lands his blocks in space. Has good awareness.
Little’s weaknesses: He can be inconsistent in his blocks and is considered mechanical in his pass-pro sets.
Little’s verdict: I’m okay with him joining his former college teammate with the Dolphins on the right side. It’s very possible, he could be available to the Dolphins in the second round.
McGary’s strengths: He always, always finishes his blocks. He helped the Huskies out in a lot in the run game.
McGary’s weaknesses: Simply put, he is not a pass-protector.
McGary’s verdict: He may not be a pass-protector but thankfully the Dolphins don’t have a need there.
Edoga’s strengths: He improved his stock at the senior bowl. He can play both tackle spots. Gets out in space and lands his blocks.
Edoga’s weaknesses: Little on the short side as he is only 6”3”. Not considered very fluid and has poor hand usage.
Edoga’s verdict: If the Dolphins pick him, he will be their first pick on day 3.
Jordan’s strengths: I know there is a segment of the fanbase that would disagree with me but I think Jordan is the best interior lineman in this class. He has a well-porpotioned build. A fluid mover in the pocket. Very flexible in his hands, knees and ankles. Good initial punch.
Jordan’s weaknesses: He is flexible in his hands but like Edoga doesn’t know how to use them. The problem is when he snaps the ball.
Jordan’s verdict: His poor hand usage is enough to overlook when you need help on the offensive line badly.
Evan’s strengths: He has experience at both tackle spots. Has a mean streak. He is solid in pass protection.
Evan’s weaknesses: Doesn’t have the overall strength to play tackle in the NFL. Another thing that is a bit disconcerting is he got way too many penalties in college and I’m not just talking holding penalties. He got unsportsmanlike penalties, particularly in the Texas Tech game.
Evan’s verdict: Dolphins have not had good offensive line coaches in recent years and even if they did, I’m not sure Evans would be a piece you would want to build around Laremy Tunsil.
Small School Standout: Chidi Okeke out of Tennessee State
Okeke’s strengths: Doesn’t let anyone get by him. Swallows defenders. Has the size NFL teams covet for the tackle position. He may have been at a non-P5 team but he was tested quite a bit because the offense relied on his blocking for production. The running backs ran to his side.
Okeke’s weaknesses: There are some weight concerns. Seemed sluggish at times when I watched the film on him and there were times when he had a hard time picking up the blitz.
Okeke’s verdict: He played LT for the Tigers but most scouts are projecting him as a RT.