An early look at potential Dolphins’ options with the 51st pick in the NFL Draft
The Dolphins don’t have a first-round pick in April’s draft but own three on Day 2 — their own second- and third-rounders and New England’s third-round pick, courtesy of the DeVante Parker trade.
What players could be in the Dolphins’ draft range when they make first pick at 51st overall in April’s NFL Draft?
Some of the early feedback and mock draft projections, with the obligatory caution that draft positioning is always fluid:
▪ The Athletic’s Dane Brugler has Miami selecting Texas A&M running back Devon Achane at 51.
The 5-9, 185-pound speedster ran for 1,102 yards (5.6 per carry) with eight touchdowns last season. He has two touchdowns and a 30.7 average on 20 career kickoff returns.
▪ USA Today mocks Oregon linebacker Noah Sewell to Miami at 51. The 6-3, 250-pounder had 114 tackles in 14 games in 2021 and 56 in 12 games last season. He has 20.5 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks and two interceptions in three seasons.
▪ Walter Camp Football has the Dolphins taking Alabama running back Jahmyr Gibbs, noting “the Dolphins will need a pass-catcher to pair with Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson Jr. Jahmyr Gibbs is an instinctive back who runs with power and catches passes well.”
Gibbs ran for 926 yards and 7 TDs on 6.1 per carry last season and caught 44 passes for 444 yards and three TDs.
In two years at Georgia Tech and one at Alabama, Gibbs has averaged 11.8 yards on 103 college receptions, including eight touchdowns. He has averaged 23.9 yards on 44 kickoff returns, including a touchdown.
Among others in Miami’s range, potentially, with some of these players projected by some to go in the 40 to 60 range:
▪ Tight ends Dalton Kincaid (Utah), Sam LaPorta (Iowa), Davis Allen (Clemson) and Tucker Kraft (South Dakota State).
The 6-4 Kincaid caught 70 passes for 890 yards (a 12.7 average) and eight TDs last season. In 2021, he also had eight TD catches, on 36 receptions for 510 yards.
The 6-4 LaPorta, according to NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah, is “a very athletic tight end who played in a very limited offense at Iowa. He lines up in-line, flexed in the slot and on the perimeter. He is a smooth, fluid route runner.”
He had 153 catches for 1,786 yards (11.7 per reception) in four years at Iowa.
The 6-6 Allen, rated 50th in Jeremiah’s top 50, had 39 catches for 443 yards (11.4 average) and five TDs last season. Jeremiah calls him a “tall, rangy tight end with a big catch radius…. Tremendous upside and is an underappreciated weapon in this position group.”
Kraft caught 27 passes for 348 yards and three TDs, after catching 65 for 773 in 2021.
▪ UCLA running back Zach Charbonnet, who averaged 5.1 yards per carry in two years at Michigan and 6.3 in two years at UCLA. Last season, he ran for 1,359 yards (7.0 per carry) and caught 37 for 351. He could be gone by 51.
“Overall, I loved Charbonnet’s 2021 tape — and he was even better in 2022,” said Jeremiah, who ranks him 44th in this draft. “He’s a Day 1 starter… A tall, physical running back.”
Georgia’s Kenny McIntosh could be available in the third round, if Miami is looking for a running back at that point.
▪ Offensive linemen Anton Harrison (a tackle from Oklahoma), Cody Mauch (a North Dakota State guard/tackle), Matthew Bergeron (a tackle/guard from Syracuse), Jaelyn Duncan (a guard/tackle from Maryland) and Dawand Jones (a tackle from Ohio State).
Mauch, who allowed just one sack last season, “should settle in as a solid starter somewhere along the offensive line,” said Jeremiah, who ranks him 45th.
▪ Cornerbacks Kelee Ringo (Georgia), Kyu Blu Kelly (Stanford), Emmanuel Forbes (Mississippi State), Deonte Banks (Maryland), Tyrique Stevenson (Miami) and D.J. Turner (Michigan).
Ringo, 6-2, has two interceptions each of the past two seasons but allowed multiple big plays last season. Jeremiah said he could be moved to safety.
Kelly, 6-1, has three interceptions and 23 passes defended in four seasons.
The 6-0 Forbes is a ballhawk; he had six interceptions last season and 14 in three seasons.
Banks, 6-1, had an interception and eight passes defended last season.
Stevenson, 6-0, had three interceptions in his two years at Miami. Jeremiah has him 48th on his top 50 and says he’s a “big, outside cornerback prospect with outstanding speed and aggression. His tape features a lot of ups and downs. He takes chances, which leads to splash plays on the ball ... and some big plays allowed down the field.”
Turner, 6-0, has three interceptions and 17 passes defended in 27 college games.
▪ Receivers A.T. Perry (Wake Forest), Tyler Scott (Cincinnati), Zay Flowers (Boston College), Jalen Hyatt and Cedric Tillman (both Tennessee), Rashee Rice (SMU). But this is the Dolphins’ strongest position and draft capital shouldn’t be used on it in the second and third rounds.
▪ Edge players Isaiah Foskey (Notre Dame), Derick Hall (Auburn), Tui Tuipulotu (USC) and Mike Morris (Michigan).
Foskey — who’s 6-4, 257 — had 13.5 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks last season. He had 25 sacks over his past 34 games.
Hall — who’s 6-3, 251 — had 6.5 sacks and 11.5 tackles for loss last season. He had 29.5 tackles for loss and 19.5 sacks during his past 33 games at Auburn.
Tuipulotu, rated 47th on Jeremiah’s top 50 list, had 22 tackles for loss and 13.5 sacks in 14 games last season. He’s “a bit of a tweener, but he has a knack for rushing the passer,” Jeremiah said, ranking him 47th on his top 50.
Morris — who’s 6-6 and 278 — is more of a defensive lineman and linebacker; he had 11 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks last season. He has just 40 college tackles, but 12 were for loss and eight were sacks. His playing time was limited before this past season.
If Miami picked an edge player, he likely would come in no higher than fourth behind Bradley Chubb, Jaelan Phillips and Emmanuel Ogbah.
▪ Linebacker Jack Campbell (Iowa), who’s big (6-5, 243) and highly productive. He had 125 tackles (including and 5.5 for loss) after producing 140 tackles in 2021. He has two interceptions each of the past two years.
Clemson linebacker Trent Simpson (72 tackles, 4.0 for loss last season) is expected by some to go before Miami’s pick. He has 23 tackles for loss in 33 college games.
Both would be helpful fits for a team needing inside linebacker help.
SI.com’s Albert Breer reported that the Dolphins will pay new defensive coordinator Vic Fangio $4.5 million per season each of the next three seasons. He will be the highest paid coordinator in football.