It is just three days until the NFL Draft finally arrives and we officially move from mock drafts to the actual selection process. But, that also means we have three days to make sure we are getting our fill of mock draft season. I decided yesterday morning to run another FanSpeak On The Clock mock draft for the Miami Dolphins. Unfortunately, my first two mocks hit errors in the during the draft, and I lost tem.
In both of those versions, I had a trades back with the Falcons and Steelers in the first round, then added players like Boise State linebacker Leighton Vander Esch, tight end Dallas Goedert, Wake Forest safety Jessie Bates, Arkansas center Frank Ragnow, and UCF linebacker Shaquem Griffin in the first three rounds. Once I lost the second draft, I decided it was time to go away and come back later to start another draft.
Here are those results. I used the premium version of the simulator, with the Matt Miller (Bleacher Report) draft board for the Dolphins and randomly selected draft boards for the remainder of the teams.
I once again picked up the trade from the Pittsburgh Steelers when I was on the clock. With Josh Allen, Baker Mayfield, Josh Rosen, Saquon Barkley, Derwin James, Tremaine Edmunds, Minkah Fitzpatrick, and Roquan Smith all off the board, my potential picks were Sam Darnold, Quenton Nelson, or Vita Vea. I was close to pulling the trigger on Darnold, but I assumed he would draw trade interested. The Steelers made the move giving me, the 28th position in the first round, while also picking up the 28th picks in the second- and third-round, along with the 11th pick in the fifth round.
Then they selected Rashaan Evans with the pick, which was a little bit of a surprise given the aggressive move up the board.
With the 28th pick, I again picked up Boise State linebacker Leighton Vander Esch.
With the tenth pick in the second round, one of my favorite prospects in the draft was still available, so I picked South Dakota State tight end Dallas Goedert. So far, my drafts were working out pretty much the same.
That continued with the 28th pick, where I selected Wake Forest safety Jessie Bates, who will be able to fill the true free safety role for Miami, even as he works to develop his tackling techniques.
I was surprised a little at the start of Round 3, with the Buffalo Bills grabbing defensive tackle Tim Settle, who was a player I was targeting in the fourth round. That messed me up later in the draft, where I took my full allotment of time trying to figure out exactly how I wanted to play out the picks.
As for the ninth pick in the round, I used it to select Tennessee running back John Kelly. Like Settle, he was a player I was targeting for the fourth round, but the way the Draft was going, Kelly was one of the top players on the board and I wanted to make sure I grabbed him. It put a couple of other potential targets, including one of my favorite picks, in jeopardy, but I made the selection.
Things worked out, however, I was still able to come back and doubled down on linebacker with the 28th pick in the third round, grabbing that favorite pick in this years draft, UCF’s Shaquem Griffin.
Not having a pick until the 23rd selection in the fourth round worried me, because I had my eyes squarely on one player. I actually attempted to find a drafting partner a couple of times in the teens, but no one wanted to allow me to move up. Everything worked out for me, though, and I added Western Kentucky quarterback Mike White with the 23rd selection in the fourth round.
With the 31st pick in the fourth round, I added a depth player that could push for at least the slot corner role for the Dolphins this year, Tulane cornerback Parry Nickerson.
In the fifth round, I was looking for depth options with the 11th pick, adding Humboldt State offensive tackle Alex Cappa. He needs time to develop and get used to NFL level competition, but he could find himself either as a reserve guard or as a swing tackle somewhere down the road. Giving him plenty of practice time against Cameron Wake should help him with some technique issues.
In the sixth round, I added another depth option who could fit exactly what Miami needed. Oklahoma Defensive Tackle Du’Vonta Lampkin could be a home run pick this late in the Draft, but he is inconsistent and needs to work on his technique before he can become a dependable starter in the league. Sounds a lot like Miami’s 2015 second round pick, Oklahoma defensive tackle Jordan Phillips. If Phillips can tutor Lampkin, and the coaches can work the same magic they did to get Phillips to be more consistent, then Miami could have a steal late in the draft here. With Phillips, Davon Godchaux, Vincent Taylor, and Gabe Wright already on the depth chart, Lampkin can be slow-rolled into a member of the rotation.
The seventh round is all about depth and developmental players. I took a player from just about as far away from Miami as possible, but one who should at least be able to deal with the heat. Hawaii center Dejon Allen (he’s from California, but the distance to Hawaii seemed like a better reference) has played left tackle, both guard positions, and center in college, and he has the athleticism to play any of them - though his size probably moves him back inside. He does not have the weight of a guard (yet?) but he should be able to continue to develop, and he may be best suited to play where Miami will need him in a year or two - center.
With the last pick of the Draft for the Dolphins, I pulled the trigger on a position of need that does not get a lot of coverage - kicker. I believe kicker is a position that can be addressed with either a free agent or an undrafted free agent after the Draft, but I used the 11th pick in the seventh round to add Florida kicker Eddy Pineiro. He may have to work on some of his mechanics, but he has a huge leg and is extremely accurate from long range. Why not give him a shot?
You can see the full draft by clicking here if you are interested. I feel like these results actually address the needs for the Dolphins well. There are some players that I really wanted, but could not get, and there are some players (Darnold) who someone will tell me I should have selected. In the end, I think the Dolphins would be a better team with this Draft, which really is the point of the draft, right?
Round 1: Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State
Round 2a: Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota State
Round 2b: Jesse Bates, S, Wake Forest
Round 3a: John Kelly, RB, Tennessee
Round 3b: Shaquem Griffin, LB, UCF
Round 4a: Mike White, QB, Western Kentucky
Round 4b: Parry Nickerson, CB, Tulane
Round 5: Alex Cappa, OT, Humboldt State
Round 6: Du’Vonta Lampkin, DT, Oklahoma
Round 7a: Dejon Allen, C, Hawaii
Round 7b: Eddy Pineiro, K, Florida