The Miami Dolphins entered the NFL’s 2020 league year with the most cap space of any team, more than $88 million. The team opened the free agency period aggressively, signing 10 players to new deals. The Dolphins draft, though, could still remake Miami.
The Dolphins are looking to reshape their roster after a 5-11 season, first under head coach Brian Flores. Despite the spending spree, the Miami Dolphins still have a number of draft needs entering April’s NFL Draft.
Dolphins Draft Needs
Under first-year head coach Brian Flores, the Dolphins looked like one of the worst teams of all-time to open the season. They suffered humiliating losses to Baltimore (59-10) and New England (43-0). They started the season 0-7.
The team seemed entrenched in the “Tank for Tua” sweepstakes, but then two things happened: Tua Tagovailoa got hurt, and the Dolphins started to win. Miami finished 2019 5-4, and ended up with the No. 5 overall selection.
Despite massive free agent spending already in 2020, the Dolphins draft needs are still numerous.
Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino retired in 1999. Since then, the Dolphins have fielded 21 different starting quarterbacks over those 20 seasons.
Although Ryan Fitzpatrick played well for the Fins in 2019, at 37-years-old, he’s not the long term answer. Fitzpatrick went 5-8 as a starter in 2019. And although the passing offense ranked 12th in the NFL, Miami’s scoring offense was 25th.
Josh Rosen did little with his time at the helm. He threw one touchdown pass and five interceptions over six games (three starts).
There’s a clear need at quarterback here for the club. And poised near the top of the draft has them in good position to fill this need.
For Miami, the offensive line is a significant need. Although the team signed free agent lineman Ereck Flowers, he’ll play guard. Miami needs to upgrade at both tackle spots, where Jesse Davis, Julie’n Davenport and J’Marcus Webb saw time.
According to Pro Football Focus, the Dolphins had the worst offensive line in the NFL. Their average time to pressure allowed of 2.22 seconds. In addition, the team’s rushing offense ranked 32nd in the league. And they surrendered 56 sacks, third-most in 2019.
With three first round picks and a bevy of talented tackles, the Dolphins draft should address this need early.
Miami had a top-12 passing attack in 2019, in large part, because they couldn’t run the football. Dolphins’ running backs averaged a paltry 2.9 yards-per-carry for the season, worst in the league. Their 1,156 rushing yards were fewest in the league.
The Dolphins signed veteran running back Jordan Howard as a free agent, but the team should still look to fill this need in the draft.
Before the start of free agency, the Dolphins parted ways with 10-year pro Reshad Jones. At safety, Miami turned to a pair of former cornerbacks in Eric Rowe and Bobby McCain with little success. The team surrendered 262.4 passing-yards-per-game, 26th-most.
Although the team addressed their front-seven in free agency, they should still look to upgrade at safety in the draft.
Dolphins Draft Capital
Heading into the 2020 NFL Draft, the Miami Dolphins hold more picks than any team. The Dolphins draft consists of three firsts and two seconds. They have six picks in the top-100.
In the first round, Miami has the No. 5, No. 18 and No. 26 pick. Most mock drafts have the Dolphins selecting Tua Tagovailoa with the No. 5 pick. Some experts, though, feel Miami might need to trade up to the No. 3 pick in order to guarantee their selection of Tagovailoa.
With the No. 18 pick, Miami may pivot to their offensive line needs. Tackle is one of the deepest positions in the draft this year. There could be as many as five first-round tackles in 2020. Among the options the Dolphins will consider at No. 18: Georgia’s Andrew Thomas (if he falls), Alabama’s Jedrick Wills and Houston’s Josh Jones.
Day 3 of the Dolphins draft could see the team add as many as eight players. IOL Lloyd Cushenberry III could solidify the interior offensive line, should he last this long.
Miami may look at Clemson safety K’Von Wallace in the fourth round. Other Day 3 Dolphins draft targets could include DB Michael Ojemudia (Iowa), CB Myles Bryant (Washington) and DL Khalil Davis (Nebraska).
The Miami Dolphins are heading in the right direction. Under Brian Flores, the team overachieved in 2019. They should continue to improve in 2020, especially considering the talent acquired in free agency already.
The Dolphins draft remains a pivotal part of the rebuild, but the team is loaded with draft capital to make just about any move necessary.