The day has finally arrived. After months of speculation, smokescreens, and frequently changing mock drafts, the day die-hard NFL fans have been anticipating since the final whistle of the Super Bowl is here. We’ve come a long way since the beginning of the offseason, but we are no closer today than we were in January from pinpointing who the Dolphins’ first-round selection will be.
Yesterday on ESPN, Jeff Darlington of the Miami Herald picked Ryan Mallett in Sports Center’s mock draft, his co-worker Armando Salguero wrote this morning that the Dolphins are unlikely to select a quarterback in round one, the Palm Beach Post’s Ben Volin selected OT Gabe Carimi in his final mock, Omark Kelly of the Sun-Sentinel took Mike Pouncey, NFL.com’s Pat Kirwin predicted the unthinkable with Brian Gabbert slipping all the way to fifteen, and NFL network insider Jason LaCanfora seems pretty confident the Dolphins will surprise by drafting Colin Kaepernick.
As you can see, nobody can agree on anything. The Dolphins are just that hard to put your finger on in this year’s draft. Anything is possible tonight. Don’t get your hopes up for your favorite quarterback in this year’s class, and certainly don’t rule out off-the-radar prospects like UNC’s Robert Quinn, who wouldn’t address a pressing need but could be the best player available when Miami is on the clock. With that said, let me add to the mayhem by posting my final Dolphins’ seven-round mock.
Round 1, Pick 15: Dolphins trade 15th overall selection to team in picks 25-32 for that team’s 1st, 2nd, and 6th round selections- Most aren’t as optimistic as last year that the Dolphins will find a trade-down partner and acquire a second-round pick, but with free agency expected to start on Monday, I see someone willing to sacrifice a second round pick to land one of the premiere pass rushers or offensive tackles in this year’s class.
Round 1, Pick (25-32): Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas– Reports are circulating around the web that the Dolphins are unlikely to draft Ryan Mallett because of the “character concerns” that have haunted him throughout the entire scouting process. But I’m sticking to the pick I’ve made all offseason. I don’t think the Dolphins have tipped their hand by letting it leak out that they likely won’t take Mallett. Either those reports are just opinion or the Dolphins are throwing out a pre-draft smokescreen.
I just can’t wrap my mind around how Mallett can be the fifth and sixth quarterback on some of the “expert’s” boards. Like I’ve said all offseason, Mallett has elite size and arm strength, he played in a pro-style system, meaning he actually knows how to take a snap under center and go through progressions, and he’s arguably the only quarterback in this year’s draft that could potentially immediately contribute. This regime doesn’t have the time to invest in a project, but they must realize the Dolphins will never emerge as a legitimate contender until they find a franchise quarterback.
Round 2, Pick (25-32): Kendall Hunter, RB, Oklahoma St.- The Dolphins use their shiny new second-round selection to pick up one of my favorite running back prospects in this year’s class. Although Hunter only stands 5’7, he has outstanding bulk and has the quickness to easily elude defenders. Many believe Hunter could be the next Maurice Jones-Drew or Ray Rice. I wouldn’t take long to forget Ronnie and Ricky if those comparisons materialized.
Round 3, Pick 79: Clint Boling, OG, Georgia- In my first Dolphins’ seven-round mock, I had Boling going to Miami in round two. As we’ve inched closer to draft time, though, it seems as though they could possibly pick him up in round three. Boling finishes his blocks well and could be a significant boost to the running game.
Round 4, Pick 111: Rob Housler, TE, Florida Atlantic- I still see the Dolphins selecting a tight end before they draft a speed receiver. I wouldn’t be shocked if they addressed the need as early as round three. The Dolphins need a tight end that can stretch the seam to complement Anthony Fasano. Housler is a bit undersized and struggles in the blocking department, but he could potentially be what the Dolphins are missing.
Round 5, Pick 146: Roy Helu, RB, Nebraska- The Dolphins have doubled up on pressing needs in the past, and unless they have their sights set on a free agent back, they could do the same with running back this weekend. Helu possesses an excellent combination of size and athleticism, and paired with Hunter, could give the Dolphins a young, exciting running back tandem.
Round 6, Pick 179: Greg Romeus, DE/OLB, Pittsburgh
Round 6, pick acquired in trade: Ronald Johnson, WR, USC
Round 7, Pick 216: Sampson Genus, C, South Florida
Round 7, Pick 217: Derek Newton, OT, Arkansas St.
Round 7, Pick 234: Sitanilei Tupou, NT, Western Oregon