The Dolphins were the busiest team on the board on Thursday night in the NFL Draft’s first round, with three picks on hand and a heap of needs to fill.
They got what they hope will be their franchise quarterback—Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa—with the No 5 overall pick and tried to address long-term concerns on the offensive line with Austin Jackson at No. 18 and in the secondary with cornerback Noah Igbinoghene at No. 30, having traded down and added a 4th-round selection in doing so.
Counting those three players, Miami has 15 total picks in this draft, so the Dolphins will be busy on Friday and Saturday, surely looking to cash in some of their remaining picks for future considerations (they’re not going to bring in 15 drafted rookies next season).
“Still a lot more work to be done,” coach Brian Flores said, according to the Sun-Sentinel. “We’re trying to make the best decision for this organization.”
Those decisions now are all about Tua, even as it is unclear how much he might play next season with Ryan Fitzpatrick returning for what is likely his final NFL season. But everything the team does now will be based around getting more weapons for Tua, getting better protection for Tua and building a defense that can eventually give Tua a chance at leading the Dolphins back to the postseason.
What’s Next for Dolphins
The Dolphins are likely to look to one of three areas to bulk up in the second round—running back, safety or defensive line. All three got attention in free agency from the Dolphins, but the team still needs depth and youth at those positions.
They have two 2nd-rounders (Nos. 39 and 56) on Friday as well as one 3rd-rounder (No. 70). With nine picks lined up Saturday, there’s a chance the Dolphins could package some spots to add players they might like on Friday—or, they could package 2020 picks for higher picks in 2021.
But there are a handful of players to look out for:
Running backs: D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia; J.K. Dobbins, RB, Ohio State; Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin.
The Dolphins need depth in the backfield even after signing Jordan Howard, a tough interior runner. Swift is a first-round talent who would be a good change-of-pace from Howard. Whether the Dolphins spend a 2nd-rounder on a back will give an indication as to their confidence that Kalen Ballage’s career can be rescued.
D-linemen: Ross Blacklock, DL, TCU; Neville Gallimore, DL, Oklahoma; Justin Madubuike, DL, Texas A&M, Jonathan Greenard, DL, Florida.
Blacklock is a first-round talent and it is doubtful he will remain on the board long enough for Miami to grab him. But there is depth at the position and it is a near guarantee that, barring a trade, the Dolphins will add someone on the line on Friday.
Safety: Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama; Antone Winfield, S, Minnesota; Terrell Burgess, S, Utah.
The Dolphins have decent frontline safeties but they need depth. There is considerable value here, given that no safeties were drafted in the first round (unless you count Isaiah Simmons, who is a special case).
Dolphins’ Current Draft Board
Here’s where the Dolphins, with 15 total picks, 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)
- Noah Igbinoghene, CB, Auburn. 1st Round — No. 26 (via Houston Texans)
- 2nd Round — No. 39
- 2nd Round — No. 56 (via New Orleans Saints)
- 3rd Round — No. 70
- 4th Round — No. 136
- 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