Plenty of options for draft selections at positions of need
Take a look at who could be available for the Miami Dolphins in next week’s NFL draft at five positions the team needs to address this offseason.
These draft prospects at quarterback, linebacker, defensive tackle, tight end and kicker are broken up into three categories, giving fans a best-case scenario, an option worth settling for, and a possible late-round gem that could contribute in time:
Best-case scenario at QB: Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield
Mayfield’s accuracy, quick feet, competitive nature and productivity in college (14,607 yards and 132 touchdowns) indicate that he’ll eventually become a solid NFL starter, if not a standout in the mold of Drew Brees if given the time he needs to develop. He’ll likely be a top-10 pick, which means the Dolphins might need to trade into the top-five picks to ensure they land him.
QB to settle for: Western Kentucky’s Mike White
The former University School standout has decent size, and an arm strong enough to make every throw. He completed better than 65 percent of his throws the past two seasons, and threw for 63 touchdowns. But White took a ton of sacks because his protection was horrible. He’ll likely be an early selection on Day 3 of the draft.
Don’t forget about this QB: Memphis’ Riley Ferguson
A two-year starter at Memphis, Ferguson put up big stats (7,955 passing yards and 70 touchdowns) because of his arm talent, and knack for keeping interceptions to a minimum. His decision making and size (6-4, 210 pounds) will likely earn him a spot as a late-round pick.
Best-case scenario at LB: Georgia’s Roquan Smith
Smith was a very productive two-year starter (124 tackles and 5.5 sacks last season), reading and reacting to plays quickly. He’s good in coverage and can play both man and zone because of his speed and athleticism. He’s a bit undersized (6-0, 230 pounds), which will cause some concerns about his durability. But that won’t keep Smith from being a first-round pick.
LB to settle for: USC’s Uchenna Nwosu
A two-year starter, Nwosu flashes the athletic traits and speed off the edge that will encourage teams to spend a couple of years investing in his development as a linebacker. Nwosu was more of a pass rusher at USC (12.5 sacks), but he has the size (6-2, 245 pounds) and traits needed to be a starting strong side linebacker in a 4-3 scheme, and therefore warrants a third or fourth-round pick.
Don’t forget about this LB: BYU’s Fred Warner
Warner’s instincts and cover skills in space indicate that he’s capable of handling the speed and complexity of the NFL. Warner moves around like a big safety, and pulled down seven interceptions during his collegiate career, which means he could excel as a nickel linebacker. He’s not very physical, which is why he’s projected as a third-day pick.
Best-case scenario at DT: Washington’s Vita Vea
Vea is light on his feet despite being 6 foot 4, 347 pounds. He has good body control, impressive power (41 reps of 225 pounds) and the ability to change directions seamlessly. He’ll likely be taken in the middle of the first round, and is competing with Alabama’s Da’Ron Payne and Michigan’s Maurice Hurst to be the first defensive tackle drafted.
DT to settle for: Miami’s R.J. McIntosh
The former Cardinals Gibbons standout possesses an imposing frame (6-4, 293 pounds), and has a knack for making plays. He started all 13 games in 2017, recording 52 tackles (12.5 for loss), 2.5 sacks, and seven pass breakups. His inconsistent film shows he’s far from a finished product, and he needs to improve against the run. But his upside could intrigue some team to select him in the second or third round.
Don’t forget about this DT: NC State’s B.J. Hill
Hill is a one-gap, up-field defensive tackle with decent athleticism and respectable college productivity (183 tackles, eight sacks and two forced fumbles in four seasons). His Senior Bowl practices were extremely impressive. He possesses the girth (6-4, 315 pounds) and strength (35 reps of 225) teams are looking for to plug the run. He’ll likely be a fourth or fifth round selection unless there’s a run on defensive tackles.
Best-case scenario at TE: S. Dakota State’s Dallas Goedert
Goedert’s combination of size, speed, agility, and reliable hands makes him the type of moveable chess piece that defenses fear. The former walk-on caught 198 passes for 2,988 yards and scored 21 touchdowns as a three-year starter. The biggest concern is the level of competition he faced in college, which will likely keep him out of the first round. He’s competing with Oklahoma’s Mark Andrews and Penn State’s Mike Gesicki to be the first tight end drafted.
TE to settle for: Wisconsin’s Troy Fumagalli
Fumagalli was a twoyear starter in Wisconsin’s pro-style offense, which means the transition to the NFL shouldn’t be too challenging. He’s consistent, reliable and a willing blocker with adequate run-after-catch skills. But the former walk-on has a thin frame (6-6, 245 pounds) and lacks top-shelf athletic ability, which indicates that he’ll be available on Day 3.
Don’t forget about this TE: Miami’s Chris Herndon
Herndon is a big receiver who has exciting athletic ability, but there is plenty of room for improvement — especially as a blocker — before he becomes a factor in the NFL. Herndon started 11 games his senior season (40 receptions, 477 yards and four touchdowns), but a knee injury ended it prematurely. He’d be a steal in the fifth round, but a run on tight ends might demand an earlier selection.
Best-case scenario at kicker: Auburn’s Daniel Carlson
Carlson has managed 13 career kicks over 50 yards, and has had good kickoffs, producing 156 touchbacks over the course of his career. He garnered Lou Groza Award finalist honors for the third consecutive year after converting 23-of-31 field goal attempts in 2017 (4 of 8 from 50-plus yards, three blocked) and all 57 extra point tries. He’ll likely be selected in rounds five through seven.
Kicker to settle for: Florida’s Eddy Pineiro
The Miami Sunset High product earned third-team AP All-American and second-team All-SEC honors after converting 17-of-18 field goal tries, including both his 50-yard attempts. He’ll likely be drafted in the later rounds.
Don’t forget about this kicker: Miami’s Michael Badgley
Badgley earned firstteam All-ACC honors for making 17-of-23 field goal attempts and 42-of-43 extra point tries for the Hurricanes. His inability to hammer kickoffs (32-of-75 kickoffs resulted in touchbacks) indicates that he’ll likely go undrafted.