The 2023 Free Agency portion simmering down brings the excitement of the upcoming NFL Draft. The NFL Draft is right around the corner; it begins April 27th at 8 PM Eastern Time. This is the event where College Football players have their childhood dreams come true. For some, they won’t have to wait long. For others, they may be waiting a full 72 hours on a phone call from their future Head Coach and General Manager. The NFL Draft is a three-day event where the most established and proven college players move on to the next step in their respective careers. Each team is given seven draft picks to work with, one for each round. Some teams trade their draft picks away for proven NFL players, while others love stockpiling draft picks to build their team with young talent that they believe will help their team win. Last offseason, our Miami Dolphins decided to start building their team by trading away draft picks for proven players. Chris Grier used the draft capital he attained through the years on a blockbuster trade for superstar Wide Receiver Tyeek Hill. A few months later, right before the trade deadline, Chris Grier dipped back into his draft capital and brought in Edge Rusher and Bradley Chubb. This brings us to where we are now; the very next offseason, Chris Grier gets on the phone, works his magic, and is sending his last little bit of draft capital to bring home superstar Defensive Back Jalen Ramsey. These transactions have led to our Miami Dolphins having only a select few draft picks. As it stands, Miami holds picks 51, 84, 197, and 238.
To begin this draft, I traded away the 51st pick to the Jacksonville Jaguars. In exchange for the 51st pick, I received picks 56 (round two), 127 (round three), and pick 202 (round six). With the 56th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, I selected Offensive Tackle Matthew Bergeron from Syracuse. Matthew Bergeron, a Quebec native, stands at 6’5 at 318 pounds. Matthew was a four-year starter for Syracuse. In his Freshman year, he started five of his twelve games as a Right Tackle. As a Sophomore, Bergeron started all eleven games. The first three starts were at Right Tackle before starting the final eight games on the other side of the offensive line. Matthew found himself as the starting Left Tackle in his Junior and Senior years, where he started and finished all twenty-three games before opting out of the team’s most recent bowl game. Thankfully, Bergeron has experience playing both Tackle positions. This is great for Miami as they have their star Left Tackle, Terron Armstead. Bergeron shows a strong desire to impose his will on the man across from him. His run-blocking technique is top-notch all across the board, as he has excellent body control, gets a great first step with his fast feet, and he stays connected to his defenders with quality hand placement. As good of a Tackle, as he is, he needs to improve his inconsistent footwork and hand placement in pass pro. At times, you can see Bergeron giving up too much space between him and a rusher while also landing his punches high and wide. Matthew Bergeron is a good to great run blocker while being an inconsistent pass blocker.
Matthew Bergeron, OT/G, Syracuse
*Maintains a grounded stance and possesses good core strength, allowing him to maintain his balance.
*Utilizes angles to his advantage to gain leverage and control
*Possesses excellent balance and footwork, allowing… pic.twitter.com/aJliSHZqFw
— Erik Turner (@ErikJTurner) February 15, 2023
With pick number 84 in round three, I picked up Defensive Lineman Tuli Tuipulotu from USC. Tuipulotu is 6’3 and weighs around 270 pounds. He possesses a rare blend of size, strength, and athleticism to line up as an interior and edge defender. Tuli played all across the defensive line for the Trojans. He started three of the team’s six games his Freshman year while coming away with 22 tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss. The following year, his sophomore year, Tuli broke out as a first-team All-Pac-12 Conference player and was USC’s Defensive Lineman of the year, collecting a team-high 5.5 sacks to go along with 48 tackles and two forced fumbles. The 2022 season was his best season, where he received first-team Associated Press All-American status. He would then be named as a finalist for multiple national awards before being named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year. He finished his Junior season with 13.5 sacks, 22 tackles for loss, and another two forced fumbles in his 14 starts. Tuli Tuipulotu plays with great bend and has the ability to elude and challenge offensive linemen. He also pops and sheds his opponents with his twitchy upper body while also having the ability to display his powerful hip movement and effective inside rush counters.
Tuli Tuipulotu's analytics,stats,&alignment via PFF pic.twitter.com/DlVH50dqRM
— 🇭🇹Tua ChampionshipVailoa (@TuasRevenge) March 26, 2023
Round four comes along, and I selected Tight End Luke Schoonmaker from the University of Michigan with the 127th overall pick. Schoonmaker was a fifth-year senior that stands at 6’6 250 pounds. He ran a 4.63 forty-yard dash with a 1.59-second 10-yard split during the combine. Not only is Luke Schoonmaker one of the faster Tight Ends, but he is also a good run blocker and is ready for contact as soon as he steps foot on a football field. Luke excels in generating lift from hip movements while in contact with his defender. He keeps a wide base into and through his blocks with an impressive feel for hand resets. In the passing game, Schoonmaker gets off the ball and into his route tree with quickness and agility due to his fluid feet while running routes; he has a knack for finding open space during his routes to be an easy completion for Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. Schoonmaker won’t blow you away with his juke moves or spins, but he seems to be an above-average player with the ball in his hands. Luke Schoonmaker ended his Michigan career with 54 catches for 637 yards and seven touchdowns. To reach his full potential, Luke must work on catching in traffic and learn to attack the ball in the air instead of waiting on the ball to get to him. Overall, I believe Miami Dolphins Tight End coach, John Embree, would love to coach up Luke Schoonmaker to make him an even better positional fit for this offense.
Luke Schoonmaker can block thread while I eat lunch: pic.twitter.com/hRHHNjOnED
— John (@JohnALimberakis) March 9, 2023
SCHOON! Here are a few Luke Schoonmaker highlights from the 2022 season! 🔥 Go Blue! 〽️ pic.twitter.com/FHlGBAGCn3
— JD 〽️ (@MGoJDBlue) December 16, 2022
With the 197 overall picks in round six, I drafted Interior Offensive Lineman Braeden Daniels, Utah. Daniels stands at 6’4 and about 300 pounds. In the 2019 season, Daniels was the starting Left Guard for all 14 games. In 2020, Daniels played in all five games while starting one of those games at left guard. Braeden Daniels then found himself to be the full-time starter in 2021, where he earned second-team All-Pac-12 Conference honors. For that season, Daniels started all 14 games on the offensive line; he had three starts at left guard and eleven starts at right tackle. In his final season with the Utes’, Daniels moved to left tackle, where he received first-team all-conference votes. Throughout his time in college, Daniels had 1,400 pass-pro snaps and gave up only five sacks. Braeden Daniels is an impactful blocker with quickness, agility, and great instincts to handle Mike McDaniel’s zone-blocking scheme. As good as he is, he struggles at times with blocking post-snap movement and lacks proper footwork and balances into his blocks. If he does get beat, he recovers fairly quickly. Braeden Daniels could find himself competing with Liam Eichenberg for the starting left guard role this summer.
Five picks later, with the 202 overall pick, I grab Running Back Keaton Mitchell out of Eastern Carolina. Keaton Mitchell is small but fast. He stands at 5’8 180 pounds with a 4.37 forty-yard dash and a 1.48-second ten-yard split. Mitchell put together almost 3,000 scrimmage yards in the last two seasons with 24 touchdowns. Mitchell can beat defenders to the sideline and has the ability to put together some chunk gains. In 2022, he led the FBS with 54 runs of at least ten yards. If he has a linebacker lined up against him on passing downs, Mitchell will more than likely win the matchup with his speed. Although Mitchell can wiggle around tacklers and can cut and burst upfield on any given play, he sometimes will need a clear hole or lane to succeed. He has good hands, but his drops seem to come in spurts. His size may be a weakness, but he is electric with the ball in his hands, and his big play potential might be too good to pass on. For what it’s worth, I would have no doubts that Mike McDaniel would be able to use him successfully and bring out his full potential.
Last but certainly not least. I have our Miami Dolphins selecting Linebacker Aubrey Miller Jr, Jackson St. He stands at 6’2 225 pounds. Miller started his college career at Missouri before transferring to play with Coach Prime at Jackson State. He made an immediate impact on the Tigers’ defense. In 2021, Aubrey Miller Jr was named first-team All-SWAC and followed up that honor by winning the SWAC Defensive Player of the Year award. Miller is a smooth and fluid athlete who plays within himself. He has no issues in coming downfield to punish the ball carrier, as he has a knack for making dynamic tackles and running at the correct angles. Not only does he step up to stop the run, but he also has the speed to run sideline to sideline to stop defenders on the outside. Miller is a serviceable backer in coverage and can cover the middle of the field as well as covering running backs on wheel routes up the sideline. With Vic Fangio as his Defensive Coordinator, I believe Aubrey Miller Jr could have a very successful NFL career.