We are within touching distance now of what could be the most important draft for the Fins in a generation. With 14 picks, and a very distinct set of needs, Chris Grier knows that the pressure is on. However, success in the draft is defined by so many more things than how many picks you have. In reality, we’ll not know for sure how successful this draft will be until 2 years down the line but, when the dust settles on Sunday 26th April, what factors should we use to determine whether the Fins have had a successful 2020 draft on paper?
Get A Franchise QB
The supposed tank, to get a high draft pick, was for one reason only: to get the pick of Quarterbacks in the 2020 draft. Things did not quite work out because the Dolphins suddenly found a way to win late in the season and four teams were worse. Stephen Ross loves Joe Burrow, but it’s debatable whether he is indeed the best QB prospect. Pick #5 gives the Fins the opportunity to land a franchise signal-caller, whether it be Tua Tagovailoa or Justin Herbert. Chris Grier might feel it necessary to trade up to get his preferred target, but I cannot imagine that this pick is not used in some way to try and get Miami’s next franchise guy. I cannot see any sense in deferring the problem until the 2021 draft. However good Trevor Lawrence may be, we would only get him if we secured the #1 pick. I do not want to risk that nor go through another year where it is hard to know whether you want the team to win or lose.
Draft an OT early
Offensive Tackle is our biggest need in my opinion. It seems inconceivable to think that Davenport and Davis could open up the season, whenever the season starts, as the starting Tackles. Three RD1 picks gives us ample capital to ensure we can get at least one Offensive Lineman. Fortunately, this is a good year to need a Tackle. There are 5-6 prospects worthy of a RD1 pick although I would expect at least 4 of them to go in the top half of the round. If Grier does not look to trade up from #18, we might be looking at one of the 2nd-tier of prospects. It is important that Miami avoid drafting a developmental type prospect as we really need a plug-and-play guy. I would also expect the focus to be on an obvious Left Tackle rather than a prospect that has primarily played on the right side.
|Jedrick Wills Jr.||Alabama||6-4||312|
— DolphinsTalk.com (@DolphinsTalk) April 15, 2020
Be historically active – Trade up & down
Given the isolated, remote nature of draft war rooms this year, I keep hearing that there are not likely to be as many trades. Miami is not a team that traditionally trade much on day-1 of the draft, but Chris Grier could take full advantage of the situation this year. 14 draft picks certainly helps with the flexibility to trade. Grier needs to be decisive and fearless, but also open to every eventuality. I would expect the Dolphins to be active and I would be massively surprised if we end up with any more than 12 drafted players by Saturday. We need to avoid trading up simply for the sake of doing so. Over-reaching for positional need is generally something that leads to perceived failure.
Fill the main needs early
An active free agency diminished the number of holes on the roster and glaring needs heading into the draft. There are, however, several positional needs that the Fins still have to address. QB and OT are the obvious two, but we must come out of the draft with another RB, OG, and Safety as a bare minimum. Ideally, having 5 picks in the first two rounds could secure those obvious needs, but it is never that easy. I could see an Edge-Rusher or Cornerback still being taken early, but surely not a WR, TE, or LB. I would be disappointed if we took a RB or OG in RD1 as I don’t think there are prospects worthy of that high a pick at those positions. RD2 is the place to draft a pass-catching RB to compliment Jordan Howard.
Take the BPA in lower rounds
If reaching for need is avoided, but the main needs are still addressed in the first 3 rounds, then we can go crazy with taking the best player available with our picks from RD4 onwards. The best drafting teams (e.g. Ravens, Seahawks, Patriots) tend to take a BPA approach anyway and look to trade down to acquire more picks if they feel there is not decent value where they sit. GMs might feel that they have not had ample time to evaluate and meet prospects, but this is a deep draft with great value in the later rounds. It would be nice to unearth some gems in rounds 6 & 7 but, even if we do not find all-pros, the plethora of picks should be used to give the roster stronger depth.
— DolphinsTalk.com (@DolphinsTalk) April 15, 2020
Draft high-character guys
I suspect Coach Flores would like to have a roster of players in his own mold. Hard-working, high-effort leaders are the order of the day. Normally there are a couple of players in each draft class that have questionable characters. The 2020 draft class is bereft of the sort of players that are best avoided. Ryan Fitzpatrick aside, the Fins lack natural leadership on their current roster. If there isn’t a cavernous talent deficiency, we should look at players that can positively add to the culture of the team.
Add some ‘Nasty’ in the trenches
We would all love to see a bit more meanness and toughness from our offensive and defensive lines. In 2020, the Dolphins must be able to develop the run on offense and stop the run on defense. There were other factors at play, but it appeared to me that a lot of the deficiencies in these areas were down to playing too soft. We need hard-nosed players on the defense that are willing to put their bodies on the line and make the tough tackles. Free agency may have supplied a few players with more physical styles of play, but we need plenty more in the draft.