Miami had many needs entering this draft. None was bigger than quarterback, given the team’s recent history. That’s why, despite a flurry of rumors, the team took a gamble on Alabama star Tua Tagovailoa with the No. 5 overall pick.
But Tagovailoa might not play much as a rookie and the team has plenty of other holes to fill. Even when he does play, the Dolphins are going to have to find a way to keep him well-protected. That could be an issue considering the weakness in the offensive line the Dolphins had last year.
With that in mind, the Dolphins used their second 1st-round pick of the night, No. 18 overall acquired in a trade for safety Minkah Fitzpatrick from Pittsburgh, the Dolphins picked Austin Jackson, the tackle out of USC.
WIth Tagovailoa in place, the Dolphins badly need a quality left tackle and this is a draft that is deep with tackles. Miami passed on chances to move up for Andrew Thomas earlier in the draft and also passed on Jedrick Wills (who went to Cleveland at No. 10) and Tristan Wirfs (Tampa Bay, 13th).
Julien Davenport, part of a blockbuster trade with the Texans last September, was disappointing when he returned after suffering a broken leg after Week 1. Jesse Davis also manned the spot but might be better suited to the interior of the line.
There will be competition there. The Dolphins did well to beef up the middle by signing center Ted Karras, who was New England’s starter in the middle last season, and adding guard Ereck Flowers in free agency. But help on the edges remains a need. Jackson will need time to develop, but he has a high ceiling.
Tat’s what the Dolphins were after. There’s no use having Tagovailoa, after all, if the Dolphins can’t protect him on the line in the years to come.
What Austin Jackson Can do for Miami
Here is the NFL.com scouting report on Austin Jackson:
Early-entry tackle prospect who is raw but gifted and is likely to be coveted by a variety of teams, thanks to his true left tackle traits. Jackson has loads of athletic ability and play talent that is waiting to be developed and harvested. Inconsistent hand placement and footwork could be exploited early on if teams try and rush him into the starting lineup, but issues are correctable. He’s scheme-diverse with potential guard flexibility if he improves his strength. He could become an early starter but may offer a wider split between floor and ceiling than some teams might like.
Dolphins’ Current Draft Board
Miami entered the NFL Draft with 14 picks, including three in the first round. Both were most of any team in the league. Here’s where the Dolphins stand now and in the coming rounds:
- Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama. 1st Round — No. 5
- Austin Jackson, OL, USC. 1st Round — No. 18 (via Pittsburgh Steelers)
- 1st Round — No. 26 (via Houston Texans)
- 2nd Round — No. 39
- 2nd Round — No. 56 (via New Orleans Saint)
- 3rd Round — No. 70
- 4th Round — No. 141
- 5th Round — No. 153 (via Arizona Cardinals)
- 5th Round — No. 154 (via Pittsburgh Steelers)
- 5th Round — No. 173 (via L.A. Rams)
- 6th Round — No. 185
- 7th Round — No. 227 (via Indianapolis Colts)
- 7th Round — No. 246 (via Kansas City Chiefs)
- 7th Round — No. 251