RD1 Pick#5 – QB Tua Tagovailoa – Alabama
RD1 Pick#18 – OT Austin Jackson – USC
RD1 Pick#30 – DB Noah Igbinoghene – Auburn
RD#2 Pick#39 – OL Robert Hunt – Louisiana-Laffayette
RD#2 Pick#56 – DT Raekwon Davis – Alabama
RD#3 Pick#70 – S Brandon Jones – Texas
RD#4 Pick#111 – OL Solomon Kindley – Georgia
RD#5 Pick#154 – DL Jason Strowbridge – North Carolina
RD#5 Pick#164 – EDGE – Curtis Weaver – Boise State
RD#6 Pick#185 – LS Blake Ferguson – LSU
RD#7 Pick#246 – WR/QB Malcolm Perry – Navy
That’s some haul for one draft, 11 players in all, which is actually less than the 14 picks we came in with. So how, after having 14 picks, do we end up choosing only 11, and one of them is a long snapper??? OK, I’m going to let that one slide because I think they did a very good job addressing easily the biggest shortcoming of this team, our offensive line. We traded back once and up a couple of times and I believe we really upgraded the trenches significantly in this draft.
On the offensive line, Austin Jackson, the OT from USC is a young OT prospect who needs more playing time and lots of quality instruction to groom him into a premier LT, or RT, depending on where they choose to play him. At the moment, I think with the addition of the next OL we drafted with our first 2nd RD pick, Robert Hunt, who may be groomed to play RT, or may also be groomed to play RG with incumbent RT Jesse Davis remaining at RT. All that will be worked out in time. In RD 4 we added yet another OL, Solomon Kindley who figures to be an OG. We all hoped they would address the OL, and address it they did! All of a sudden, the depth looks pretty good, we have Julie’n Davenport and Austin Jackson at LT, Ereck Flowers and Solomon Kindley at LG. Ted Karras will be the starting C and I believe Michael Deiter will be potentially be worked at C as well. Either Robert Hunt or Jesse Davis will be the RG and the other one will be the RT. OG Shaq Calhoun, OG Danny Isidora and C Keaton Sutherland round out the depth. The O-line most certainly looks more promising.
We spent the #5 on a QB, so obviously that position was heavily upgraded. I don’t stress this lightly at all, there is no reason to rush Tua on the field, especially considering the current situation with COVID-19, and the fact that all football operations have been pushed back to the point where they will most likely end up being abbreviated. We have a very capable leader in Ryan Fitzpatrick for 2020 and we have a young QB coming off a devastating injury. In my mind I’d have Tua sit the entire year and heal up but have him compete in practice with Josh Rosen to help improve his play for next season or possibly a very late season appearance depending upon our playoff potential at that point. If we’re in contention, no monkey business, but if we’re out and they want to see a healthy Tua play, I’m fine with that if he’s 100%. It will be interesting to see if we carry 3 QB’s, I would almost guarantee we will, and Josh Rosen should be one of them.
Despite our numerous additions in free agency on the DL and LB with Kyle Van Noy, Shaq Lawson, Emmanuel Ogbah and Elandon Roberts, we remained vigilant in continuing to upgrade there in the draft. We started with DT Raekwon Davis from Alabama and added DE/OLB Curtis Weaver from Boise State. Curtis Weaver in the 5th RD was a WOW! pick. In 3 years at Boise St. Weaver amassed 34 sacks (13.5 last season) as well as an astounding (47.5) stops behind the line of scrimmage (19.5 TFL) in 2019. In RD 5 we added yet another DT/DE prospect in Jason Strowbridge from North Carolina who had an impressive week at the Senior Bowl. We came into free agency with a major weakness, and now after both free agency and the draft, we have so much more talent and potential. So many players we acquired are multiple fits, meaning they can play more than one position. It’s like DT/DE or DE/OLB etc etc. I don’t think one player will be utilized at only one spot, everyone moves around. Versatility is important in our scheme, and now we can employ it.
When we acquired DB Byron Jones, immediately you think what a CB tandem with both he and Xavien Howard. Flores loves his defense and in RD1 after a slight trade back, we selected at pick #30 DB Noah Igbinoghene. I feel like the designation DB should be used with all our guys because I think nearly all of them will be playing multiple roles. Igbinoghene looks to be a corner who will probably thrive in the slot or nickel corner spot, but he may also see work at safety like his veteran counterpart Bobby McCain. Igbinoghene is a very competitive player, very confident player and you need that at DB. Some people may look at the safety we drafted in RD 3, Brandon Jones from Texas as the replacement for Minkah Fitzpatrick, but I think Igbinoghene is as much a part of that if not more than Jones. Jones is a guy that likes to lay the wood so he may be a S/LB tweener, despite his somewhat smaller stature (5’11 200), which ironically was a part of Minkah Fitzpatrick’s repertoire.
Now what remains is to start working, see these guys on the field and hopefully we have enough time to evaluate these guys before the season starts to see how they fit best. I can’t wait to see Blake Ferguson snapping out there, I mean who can wait for that? Did we really draft a LS in RD 6? Was Tabor Pepper a problem last year? Confounding to say the least, but really, not sure why they treated that pick like a disposable pick. Did Grier and Flores both go to the bathroom simultaneously during that pick and did someone else accidentally make that pick? OK, I’m kidding but it was odd.
In RD5 we made a big move to upgrade our offense as I was probably ready to scream (OK, I WAS screaming already) where the F is our running back!!!!! Considering the fact that I was ready to pull the trigger on a RB late in RD 1 or in RD2, I was losing it that we hadn’t addressed that position yet in RD 5. The word came in that we traded our 1st of 3 5th RD picks (#151) for SF 49ers RB Matt Breida. That’s a great pick, or trade for a pick. Breida is the perfect change of pace for bruising RB Jordan Howard. He’s a speedy RB who can catch, but has had issues staying on the field. That’s the only caveat with him is he seems to get minor injuries that keep him out, missing 5 games in 3 seasons, which doesn’t seem like a lot, but considering that he was used sparingly his entire career, it’s a concern. Breida has eclipsed 150 carries once, in 2018, his most productive season. He has averaged over 5 yards a carry, quite the contrast from the pathetic 2.1YPC we’re used to. Breida had 814 yards in ’18, along with 3 rushing TD’s and 2 receiving TD’s on 27 receptions and an additional 261 yards receiving. He can help us on 3rd down as well as being a nice change of pace.
When we start making cuts after training camp (if there’s a training camp), it will be significantly more difficult to do so, as our depth after free agency and the draft is so much better. The edict was there, improve the trenches, and on that note, they will have at the very least tried their best to accomplish that. We needed a ray of hope that we have our franchise QB, and if we handle it correctly and don’t rush Tua onto the field in 2020, in 2021 we’ll have that. Ryan Fitzpatrick was a great leader, he has our guys believing and it’s no mistake that despite the quality of receivers in this draft that we passed to build the trenches. I didn’t really think we need a receiver anyway, I think we have a nice combo of young WR’s (Preston Williams, Isaiah Ford, DeVante Parker and Malcolm Perry) as well as some more veteran WR’s like Allen Hurns and Albert Wilson. It’s strange to me that so many Dolphins fans skip right past Allen Hurns, I think he may be the most overlooked player on the team, possibly with the exception of Charles Harris. (Who?). We picked up Navy QB Malcolm Perry with our final pick. Some here have suggested he can be our version of Julian Edelman. He has the wiggle and agility but he doesn’t have that insane short burst speed, which is the attribute that enables Edelman to get that quick separation from defenders, but he will probably be given the opportunity. For reference, Edelman’s short shuttle (20YD) was 3.92, while Perry’s is 4.31. That’s a HUGE difference, He may also be a gadget player because he can throw the ball as well.
I feel very pleased after this draft, and free agency. I don’t think as a whole, we could have done much better really. Sure, all of us would have liked to get this guy or that guy, we all have our favorites that went to other teams, but again, taking free agency and the draft together as steps I and steps II, we really crushed it!