Big Board

2020 NFL Draft Big Board: Saving the Dolphins

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We got a special edition of the 2020 NFL Draft Big Board this week.

For the past three weeks, I’ve been studying the Dolphins (I know, I’m a masochist) to identify which steps the Dolphins must take to start up this rebuild.

Here is my breakdown of what I would do with the Dolphins’ first four picks.

As always, the article is followed by the Top-50.

2020 NFL Draft Big Board

Tanking isn’t pretty, and it never feels good. Especially when you give up blue-chip talent for faceless lottery tickets. But hey, when nothing is right with the foundation of your house, you might as well tear it down and start over because it won’t hold up. The Dolphins organization is pretty obviously showing that’s what they think of their team at the moment.

When envisioning a successful tanking strategy, we look all the way back to the 1989 season. When the Cowboys pulled the biggest (and best) tank trade in history: giving up Herschel Walker to the Vikings for a BOATLOAD of picks and players. Picks they used to select Emmitt Smith, Kevin Smith, Darren Woodson… Picks that led them to 3 Super Bowl titles in 5 years.

Are Laremy Tunsil and Minkah Fitzpatrick comparable to Herschel Walker? No. But they sure are super talented.

They drafted Minkah for his versatility. Coming from the Patriots coaching tree, Brian Flores was probably super excited to use him all over the place in the secondary. But moving on and getting as much as you can when a player isn’t motivated to play for you is the best thing to do.

They’ve also traded away Laremy Tunsil to the Texans for 2 first round picks. A trade I personally don’t like, but the draft capital is interesting. The offensive line is currently non-existent so they absolutely must go for a cornerstone big man with one of their early picks.

Now the Dolphins find themselves at 0-5 six weeks into the season. They can count the number of playmakers currently on the roster on one hand (Drake, Preston Williams, Reshad Jones, Raekwon McMillan and Christian Wilkins). The Dolphins need pieces all across the board. But every rebuild needs a franchise QB and that should be step one: Tua Tagovailoa. The Dolphins need to protect this franchise QB. They cannot afford to wait for a tackle, they need their guy now, the top tackle in the class: Andrew Thomas. The left side of this offensive line now looks stocked with a second-year Michael Deiter and Andrew Thomas.

Next, they desperately need to address the defensive side of the ball. They need to start with what I believe is the number one priority when building a defense: pass rush. In today’s NFL if you can’t rush the passer, every other element of your defense will suffer. Your secondary gets torn up. You’re forced to load up on defensive backs and become vulnerable to the run, then your linebackers take a beating. It just falls apart from there. Bring on an elite pass rusher to complement rookie Christian Wilkins: Curtis Weaver.

And to kick off day two, the Dolphins should turn to coverage over the middle of the field. As I break down later in this piece, the Miami linebackers have been terrible in coverage and teams are exploiting that to the max (see Patriots game & Chargers game). They need a safety-linebacker hybrid athlete to shut down crossing routes and set up a no-fly zone over the middle: Troy Dye.

Let’s get to the break down.

1.01 (1st overall pick) – Tua Tagovailoa – QB – Alabama

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Alright, so the Bengals are one loss ahead of the Dolphins in the race for the first pick. In the 1000 Dolphins mocks I’ve done preparing this article, the Bengals selected Tua, leading me to select Herbert. It’s been tough, but I’ve fought through the imperfection. With the level of play both teams have put on tape, the Dolphins deserve pick 1, not the Bengals. They face off in week 16, in what promises to be an epic matchup and man I can’t wait. I hope they’re both 0-14 by that point. Then we’ll really see who wants Tua more.

All jokes aside, the Dolphins need a franchise QB to build around. They gave Rosen a shot and ugh… I believed in Rosen coming out but I wave the flag. He just cannot elevate his team’s play, or his own play really. He’s always a tick late… The issues are endless. But I guess he’s the perfect tanking quarterback. And what better way to make him lose all confidence and ensure he keeps losing than by switching him in and out for Ryan Fitzpatrick on a weekly basis?

On the bright side, the Dolphins will be able to grab their guy, and I believe that should be Tua Tagovailoa. The Dolphins need a star playmaker, a Deshaun Watson to take pick this franchise up on his shoulders. Tua has been just that for Alabama.

He’s a cerebral quarterback, always keeping an eye out for a big play opportunity down the field. He has a good arm, and throws with a good mix of touch and velocity. His deep ball is great. He has tremendous footwork in the pocket and is agreeably mobile. Tua destroys coverage with his eyes, he has a great ability to look off safeties making for so many highlight plays downfield.

Tua’s seen the big stage and has shun under the brightest lights. He took Alabama to a national championship coming in for Jalen Hurts in 2017. He made it back to the big game last season as the Tide’s full-season starter, but Bama lost the game.

The question we must answer about Tua is: how much of his success is a credit to his talent and how much is credited to that of his supporting cast. Tua has nothing but elite talent to throw to: Jerry Jeudy, the lightning fast Henry Ruggs, DeVonta Smith, Jaylen Waddle, Najee Harris… Any throw to these guys can reach pay dirt.

Tagovailoa will be joining a blank team with not as much talent on the outside. How patient will he be to move the ball down the field play by play, rather than having the chance to look for a big play on every down. There is no doubt in my mind he can do it, but it’s still a question worth asking.

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1.06 (6th pick) Andrew Thomas – OT – Georgia

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I’ve already said this, but I’ll say it again. No matter what blocking unit you lay on the field, the Miami QB play has been bad. So not all of the blame falls on the O-Line. But man they’ve been bad… The Dolphins allowed 36 QB pressures from the tackle position in five games. You don’t need me to do the math, that’s a lot per game. Add that to the pressure coming from inside and it’s just impossible to be productive in the passing game.

Miami drafted a top inside presence last year in Michael Deiter last season, and he’s shown tiny flashes, but he’s still getting kicked around most of the time. They MUST draft a tackle this year. They’ve been rotating rookie Isaiah Prince in this year but he looks lost on a lot of downs. He’s an interesting piece to watch develop but they need a first round talent to carry this line. Andrew Thomas is the perfect prospect for this team.

Andrew Thomas is the best offensive tackle in the draft by a lot. I mean, he’s the best tackle I’ve scouted in the last four years. He’s incredibly dominant both against the run and the pass.

He has tremendous balance, always staying up on his feet. The star left tackle has the ability to reset his feet and stay in front of his man, despite his matchup going to inside moves. He has amazing movement skills for a 6’5”/320 lb guy. Thomas engages low and wins with leverage, providing great drive from his lower half. He has mind boggling reach and great arm power, punching pass rushers back on passing sets.

Thomas sometimes gets beat inside when he’s caught anticipating. His feet flatten up and he’s a bit slow to readjust inside. But we’re really nit-picking here. He mauls in the run game and can shut down the blind side against the pass.

The Dolphins are set to have two top-10 picks if not top-5 picks, and if they don’t grab Andrew Thomas with one of those, you might see me rant on twitter for the first time in my life. Especially after trading Laremy Tunsil. At this point in time, the Dolphins can’t afford to wait for a late 1st round tackle, they need to grab the best pass protector in the class for their future franchise QB. That guy is Andrew Thomas.

1.25 (25th pick) Curtis Weaver – EDGE – Boise State

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The Dolphins have not been productive at all rushing the passer. That’s understandable when you lose your two starting defensive ends in Cameron Wake and Robert Quinn (the pair accounted for 12.5 sacks last season). Rookie Christian Wilkins has shown some potential from 3-tech and 4-tech, but he’s often double teamed and needs an elite presence alongside him. The Dolphins operate in a 3-4 and need an elite outside pass rusher.

An elite pass rusher is a mandatory cornerstone when rebuilding, and in this scenario, the Dolphins must find their guy late in the first (Texans’ pick). Curtis Weaver has all the traits you look for in an NFL edge rusher.

He’s very athletic, able to win with speed and bend coming around the edge. He has quick and strong hands using them for a good variety of moves. His ability to keep offensive linemen from locking up with him is extremely impressive. He rushes with a good variety of moves, inside and outside. He can overpower his blocker with great natural leverage. And best of all, he’s a finisher. Not only are the traits there, but so is the production. Curtis Weaver has been having a tremendous season.

Weaver’s upside in the NFL is tremendous and he could be make an early impact in the league. I like how he fits in Brian Flores’ system. The Dolphins can keep the lengthy Taco Charlton and polish up his coverage game to plug him in as the OLB in cover packages (as Brian Flores has been experimenting this season).

2.01 (33rd pick) Troy Dye – LB – Oregon

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Linebacker play against the run has been relatively okay for the Dolphins, when you compare it to pass defense. The lack of both discipline and ability in coverage at the linebacker position is GLARING.

The Dolphins allowed a 70.2% completion percentage between the numbers inside of 20 yards in the first five games, for 478 yards and three TDs. They NEED to address this in the offseason.

Isaiah Simmons is probably gone by the time the Dolphins’ second round pick rolls around. But there’s another mesmerizing athlete that Miami can turn to. The 4-year starter for the Oregon Ducks: Troy Dye.

Troy Dye doesn’t look like your typical NFL linebacker. And maybe he isn’t a linebacker. His best role might be as an extra safety covering over the middle in nickel and dime packages. But that’s basically what the Dolphins need at this point. They are getting TORCHED over the middle. Their linebackers CANNOT cover.

On limited snaps in coverage, McMillan has shown improvement in his 3rd season. But for some reason, he’s being kept off the field to the benefit of Jerome Baker and Sam Eguavoen (had no clue who he was until I looked at the tape)… If you needed any more proof that the Dolphins aren’t really trying to win.

Troy Dye won’t wow you with hits or pass-rushing ability, but man his athleticism is hard to ignore. If you want sideline-to-sideline speed, Dye’s the man. He’s got great twitch and acceleration. He reads plays really well, breaking on routes with good timing. He shows good awareness for routes crossing his zone. Dye seems to be a matchup nightmare in man-to-man despite it not being his primary usage. I really want to see Troy Dye at the Senior Bowl.


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I’m still very worried at his ability against the run. He goes for the legs a lot, and misses a lot of tackles. He struggles getting through the mess to get to the ball. If an offensive lineman makes contact to block him, there no way he gets to the tackle. (I lowkey laughed when star Auburn OT Tega Wanogho layed him out twice on the same play in week 1). He occasionally takes bad angles on outside runs when running through traffic. Troy Dye might exclusively be a dime/nickel package linebacker and my round grade may be to high right now. But I believe he represents what the Dolphins need in coverage over the middle.

RkNamePosPos RkSchool
1Grant DelpitS1LSU
2Jerry JeudyWR1Alabama
3Tua TagovailoaQB1Alabama
4Chase YoungEDGE1Ohio State
5Andrew ThomasOT1Georgia
6Justin HerbertQB2Oregon
7Isaiah SimmonsLB1Clemson
8CeeDee LambWR2Oklahoma
9A.J. EpenesaEDGE2Iowa
10Derrick BrownIDL1Auburn
11Tyler BiadaszIOL1Wisconsin
12Jeffery OkudahCB1Ohio State
13Javon KinlawIDL2South Carolina
14D'Andre SwiftRB1Georgia
15Kristian FultonCB2LSU
16Travis EtienneRB2Clemson
17Tee HigginsWR3Clemson
18Tristan WirfsOT2Iowa
19Jonathan TaylorRB3Wisconsin
20Curtis WeaverEDGE3Boise State
21Walker LittleOT3Stanford
22Julian OkwaraEDGE4Notre Dame
23Bryce HallCB3Virginia
24Laviska Shenault Jr.WR4Colorado
25Henry Ruggs IIIWR5Alabama
26Prince Tega WanoghoOT4Auburn
27Paulson AdeboCB4Stanford
28Creed HumphreyIOL2Oklahoma
29C.J. HendersonCB5Florida
30Jalen ReagorWR6TCU
31Yetur Gross-MatosEDGE5Penn State
32Trevon DiggsCB6Clemson
33Xavier McKinneyS2Alabama
34Jake FrommQB3Georgia
35Raekwon DavisIDL3Alabama
36Alton RobinsonEDGE6Syracuse
37Tylan WallaceWR7Oklahoma State
38Trey AdamsOT5Washington
39Tyler JohnsonWR8Minnesota
40Grant CalcaterraTE1Oklahoma
41Rashard LawrenceIDL4LSU
42Troy DyeLB2Oregon
43Ke'Shawn VaughnRB4Vanderbilt
44Mike HamptonCB7USF
45Carlos BashamEDGE7Wake Forest
46Darryl WilliamsIOL3Mississippi State
47Kenny WillekesEDGE8Michigan State
48Jaylon JohnsonCB8Utah
49A.J. DillonRB5Boston College
50Joe BurrowQB4LSU

Get all the great advice 2019 Fantasy Football season by checking out the rest of our Fantasy Football content.

About Selyan Lonqueux

Selyan's a football addict (no rehab planned). Winner of countless fantasy football championships. Prospect tape grinder, rookie draft smasher, and re-builder of dynasties. Oh, and also plays wide receiver.

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