Cornerback is a big problem area for the Dolphins. Byron Maxwell was released, so Miami will need to find a replacement. It helps that the Dolphins are getting one of the top players available with this pick.
It's going to be a close call as to which corner is selected first between Joshua Jackson and Denzel Ward. Both could be taken near the bottom of the top 10.
Pick change; previously Roquan Smith, LB
Rd. 2, Pk. 10
Hayden Hurst, TE, South Carolina
The Dolphins could add another offensive weapon. Addressing tight end makes sense, as I don't have much hope for Julius Thomas.
Rd. 3, Pk. 9
Terrell Edmunds, S, Virginia Tech
The Dolphins have an atrocious linebacking corps that absolutely has to be fixed. They couldn't defend tight ends or pass-catching running backs at all this past season, and that needs to change.
Pick change; previously Kameron Kelly, CB
Rd. 4, Pk. 11
Skyler Phillips, G, Idaho State
Miami's offensive line is an absolute mess. Laremy Tunsil has never adjusted to left tackle. Center Mike Pouncey needs hip surgery. And yet, both players have been much better than either of the two starting guards.
Rd. 4, Pk. 30
Royce Freeman, RB, Oregon
The Dolphins traded Jay Ajayi, so they'll look for a new running back this upcoming offseason to pair with Kenyan Drake.
Rd. 1, Pk. 1
Charles Harris, DE/3-4OLB/OLB, Missouri
I think Miami wants to find an edge rusher most of all, and Harris would be a fit for the organization as a speed rusher who also has great football character. The Dolphins also could use a linebacker upgrade, so if Harris off the board, I think Jarrad Davis is their Plan B. Miami wants smart defenders with great football character, and both Harris and Davis fit those criteria perfectly.
Harris started off the 2016 season with underwhelming performances against West Virginia and Eastern Michigan, totaling five tackles in those games. However, he exploded versus Georgia with three sacks and seven tackles. In November, Harris grew red hot, racking up 4.5 sacks over two games. He totaled 61 tackles, 12 tackles for a loss, nine sacks, two passes batted and two forced fumbles on the year.
Harris is a speedy edge rusher who broke out in 2015 with 56 tackles, 18.5 tackles for a loss, seven sacks and two forced fumbles. He was a backup as a redshirt freshman in 2014 and notched two sacks. The 6-foot-3, 253-pound Harris is a fast edge rusher who puts a lot of heat on the quarterback. He is very similar to Vic Beasley and Shane Ray.
Rd. 2, Pk. 2
Cordrea Tankersley, CB, Clemson
The Dolphins could use some young talent at cornerback, plus Mike Tannenbaum loves to draft corners early. Miami has hosted Tankersley, and he could compete quickly.
Tankersley recorded 47 tackles, four interceptions and 10 passes broken up in 2016. The 6-foot-1, 199-pounder has the size and coverage skills to be an first-rounder. In 2015, Tankersley was part of a tough cornerback duo for Clemson with Mackensie Alexander, showing impressive ball skills by racking up five interceptions and nine passes broken up. Tankersley also had 48 tackles.
Rd. 3, Pk. 3
Justin Evans, S, Texas A&M
The Dolphins signed T.J. McDonald and Nate Allen to 1-year contracts, but Allen may not even make the team. Miami could use another long-term safety to pair with Reshad Jones and has shown interest in Evans.
In 2016, Evans notched 87 tackles with eight passes broken up and four interceptions. The 5-foot-11, 205-pounder created a real buzz with his Week 1 game against UCLA, and there was talk that he could be a first-round pick. In that game, he made eight tackles and two interceptions. Evans totaled 78 tackles with three pass breakups and one interception in 2015. Sources say that Evans has nice feel and awareness. They think he is a good hitter and tackler, but a little tight and more of a strong safety type for the NFL.
The Dolphins have a huge need at guard and would be very fortunate if Nelson made it to their pick. <br> <br>
Nelson has been exceptional throughout 2017, dominating opponents on a weekly basis. He has superb strength to blast open holes and is a true road-grader as a run blocker. As a pass protector, Nelson is very athletic with balance, agility, and quickness to shut down pass-rushers. Some league sources say that Nelson is the highest graded guard they've ever scouted, and that includes the likes of Logan Mankins and David DeCastro. <br> <br>
The 6-foot-5, 325-pound Nelson was dominant in 2016 as well, showing strength at the point of attack to open holes in the ground game and athleticism in pass protection. That year, teams sources told me that Nelson was receiving first-round grades prior to him deciding to return for his senior season. One general manager told me in fall 2017 that they have Nelson as clearly the best guard prospect for the 2018 NFL Draft. They have Nelson as a top-five prospect at any position.
The Dolphins have not had a great off the ball linebacker since Zach Thomas. And for the past few years they have been really hurt by this. They hoped Kiko Alonso could regain his rookie form, but injuries have robbed Alonso of his ability and he is now a borderline starter at best, and he is arguably the Dolphins best linebacker. That shows you how bad it has gotten.
Smith is small, but other than size Smith is a very good off the ball linebacker prospect with great speed, instincts and tackling ability. He has the frame to add a bit of weight, so some time in an NFL strength and conditioning program should help the size problem.
The Dolphins took a chance last year with Charles Harris, but he was given very little playing time to show what he can do. The Dolphins are most likely just letting him ride bench this first year and learn from a proven vet in Cameron Wake, who is near the end of his career. Now, they need to keep building that defense and get someone who can boost a secondary that is experiencing some troubles overall. Ward is one of the top corners in this draft, but more importantly, he's probably the most consistent corner and that's just what the Fins need. Reshad Jones is the leader of the secondary for Miami, but he's getting up there in age and had an injury scare in 2016. Ward is someone who can be immediately plugged into the top corner slot and have immense success. That said, they can draft Ward and go for a playoff push right out the gate.
The Dolphins are a team that could use an upgrade at linebacker over Lawrence Timmons who is not the player he once was and has already shown scary mental lapses like over the summer when he randomly flew to the wrong city. Plus, Kiko Alonso is jut an okay linebacker and last year's rookie Raekwon McMillan is a question mark having missed all last season. Scouts and analysts love Edmunds with his athletic upside to play at the line or off it. I see him as being an athlete just yet and still needs to build up his instincts. However, I can see him turning himself into a versatile player like Cameron Wake who was once a standing edge rusher and now working with his hands in the dirt. Edmunds can learn a lot from him and be a LEO linebacker for them giving the defense more bite.
Last Mock Pick: Vita Vea DT Washington
The Dolphins could use a safety upgrade next to Reshad Jones, plus could use help at corner. Thus, Fitzpatrick could be a fit for them. <br> <br>
Fitzpatrick totaled 60 tackles, one interception, eight passes broken up and a forced fumble in 2017. He played really well, doing everything that could be asked of a safety. Fitzpatrick is a superb center fielder, covering receivers deep downfield. He is also fast in pursuit, tackles well in space at the second level, can come down into the box, and is able to play man coverage against tight ends and slot receivers, plus help out his cornerbacks. The 6-foot-1, 203-pounder has excellent size and some natural cover skills. Sources have said that Fitzpatrick is a prototypical free safety for the NFL. They say he has good size, speed, athletic ability and high football I.Q. in a play-maker. <br> <br>
In 2016, Fitzpatrick recorded 66 tackles with seven passes broken up and six interceptions. He was dominant at times for Alabama, splitting time between corner and safety. Fitzpatrick had a superb 2015 season for the Crimson Tide. The freshman totaled 45 tackles with two sacks, 11 passes broken up and two interceptions - both returned for a touchdowns.