Perfect Picks: Miami Dolphins


With the NFL Draft approaching we will be looking at each team and evaluating where they need to improve. In this particular series we will run a seven round mock using the Draft Network Mock machine and find the ‘Perfect Picks’ for each franchise.

We will highlight four players that could help each team. This will feature picks 1 and 2, a mid round gem and a late round sleeper. 

Miami seem to be in somewhat of an ideal position going into this draft. With a young, hungry roster (only 1 current player over the age of 30), productive veteran players, and a passionate Head Coach who leads a team culture that is respected league wide. Add into that a young, talented QB who is both humble and determined, and who will be growing the biggest chip on his shoulder from all the off season press he’s received and Miami have a good base to build upon.

With 4 picks inside the first 50 in this year’s draft, they have the ability to take players who are the best available, or who can fill a need, or both. GM Chris Grier will have a plethora of options in front of him and a lot of those options end up with the Miami Dolphins being a better football team by the end of day 3.

Round 1 - Pick 6 - Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida

It’s pretty obvious to anyone who watched the Dolphins play off challenge last season that their biggest problem was pass catchers. Tua regularly threw up catchable passes and was let down by his receivers. Miami sit at 6 and depending how the board falls they could have one if not more of Ja’Marr Chase, Heisman winner Devonta Smith or speedster Jaylen Waddle available to them. With that in mind, I feel Grier can’t really miss on this pick, whoever he takes.

So why TE? Because, if he makes it to #6, Kyle Pitts is more than just a TE. Pitts is a freak athlete who transcends the boundaries of the traditional tight end. Pitts is a legitimate weapon who can line up in the traditional TE spot or from a WR spot in certain plays. Measuring in at 6’6 and 245lbs and with an insane 83+ wingspan, he still managed to put in a 4.44 40 yard dash.

Coming into the NFL off the back of a 12 TD season, Pitts is so much more than a TE, he is a large, quick target with an incredible catch radius. Miami also have Mike Gesicki, who is of similar style – a non traditional tight end, who often lines up from the slot and makes big plays as a receiver. Having both Gesicki and Pitts on the field together will provide unique offensive options which will be difficult for defenses and provides Miami with future TE security as Gesicki moves closer to his second contract, whether that’s in Miami or elsewhere.

Pitts is the pick in this scenario. Miami get weapons, protection at a strong position, an elite athlete and a true, true talent. But as I said, they can’t really get this pick wrong whoever they take.

Round 2 - Pick 18 - Najee Harris, RB, Alabama

Where I say the Dolphins can’t get the 6th pick wrong, this is the far more interesting pick, certainly amongst the fan base. They could go linebacker, especially if Micah Parsons slips, it would make a lot of sense for them to go edge and Azeez Ojulari and Joseph Ossai are common and popular names. 

In this scenario I have them taking Alabama running back Najee Harris, and prepare myself for the backlash of strong minded people who are dead against ever taking a running back in the first round.

But this is not just about a running back, this is about Najee Harris after a collection of seasons with terrible run play. Last season Miami paid Jordan Howard, and cut him mid year. They passed on Dobbins, Swift and Taylor, they tried to sign LeVeon Bell and missed out. That left them with a mix of Myles Gaskin, Matt Breida, Salvon Ahmed, DeAndre Washington and Patrick Laird. That as a group is missing THE GUY. I believe Harris could be it. 

Harris himself is often described as the next Derrick Henry, that’s exciting in itself. Now add that in his final year, he averaged around 2 TDs per game and ran over 1400 yards. He can catch, fitting beautifully into Tua’s favoured RPO offense, he has pace, power and has a highlight reel of hurdling fully grown athletes. Harris is another athletic freak and adding him to Pitts’s catch radius, Will Fuller’s speed and Devante Parker’s contested catch ability, gives them an offense that will tire defenses and put them in positions to win a lot of football games.

Mid Round Gem - Pick 156 - Buddy Johnson, LB, Texas A&M

Miami struggled against the run and in short yardage situations. They were without a commanding linebacker group last season and have been for a while. Therefore all signs point to Miami taking a linebacker earlier in the draft, names like Micah Parsons if he drops or Zaven Collins could fill the Van Noy hole nicely. But with potential to pick at center, edge, receiver and safety if the board falls, it would not surprise me to see them pick up Buddy Johnson in this position. 

Johnson comes out of Texas A&M as an unfinished prospect but with a lot of upside. Athletically people will point to his 6 foot height as an issue, but put against his 4.57 40 yard dash, his 10’8 broad jump and 4.03 short shuttle, I would say his other athletic traits outweigh his short build.

Plus, he’s a brute. He’s somewhat of a throwback in that he plays hard, he hits hard, he stands square to bigger and stronger players and is unfazed. A typical “punch-them-in-the-mouth” type player. Miami’s defense scares passers with Xavien Howard in the secondary. But I don’t think it scares running backs or receivers. They’re too nice and too clean. Add Johnson, add some fight, some dirt and start punching teams in the mouth.

Late Round Sleeper - Pick 231 - Malcolm Koonce, Edge, Buffalo

Miami have had some incredible pass rush packages with Brian Flores overseeing the defense, it’s something they value so highly. Taking a player like Koonce in the 7th round is a low risk opportunity. They did similar last year picking up Curtis Weaver and Jason Strowbridge on day two and three. While Weaver didn’t even make it to Game 1, Strowbridge barely made an impact. 

I think it is realistic to believe Miami will keep taking chances on edge rushers and D-Linemen while Grier and Flores are in tandem and one of them will eventually hit. 

Koonce would absolutely need to develop more and be more of a project, but sticking with the trend of finding ultimate athletes, Koonce has great athletic ability and would be a fantastic special teams contributor while he refines his pass rush ability. He has long, rangy arms which will make it hard for blockers to get inside him and square him up. He has relentless stamina and just keeps coming and coming. 

A bigger concern is that he is undecided between being a true pass rushing edge, where his finesse and technique need refinement, or whether he is a 3-4 scheme outside linebacker where he lacks in experience and awareness in coverage. By joining a Brian Flores defense which employs both of these aspects, his versatility could help him land a roster spot while they firm up a longer term plan.

Draft In Full:

6. Kyle Pitts, Florida (TE)

18. Najee Harris, Alabama (RB)

36. Gregory Rousseau, Miami (Edge)

50. Amari Rodgers, Clemson (WR)

81. Quinn Meinerz, Wisconsin-Whitewater (C)

156. Buddy Johnson, Texas A&M (LB)

231. Malcolm Koonce, Buffalo (Edge)

258. Deommodore Lenoir, Oregon (CB)


Miami Dolphins contributor

A long term Dolphins fan, JMR loves talking and tweeting about past, present and future Miami Dolphins. You can interact with JMR on twitter @JMRphin.