Friday, April 01, 2016

2016 Miami Dolphins 7 Round Mock Draft With Trades (2nd Edition)

The Dolphins, after trading down with Philadelphia for LB Kiko Alonso and CB Byron Maxwell by exchanging their first round picks, are now picking 13th instead of 8th.  The Dolphins hierarchy figures they just got 2 starters by moving down five picks. Plus, they should get another starter with the 13th pick.  That's 3 starters for moving only 5 picks down the line.

On a team that needs plenty of help, more than just one player to put us over the top, that's a good move. Of course, only if Alonso and Maxwell play and play well.  Alonso is coming off 2 years worth of injuries and Maxwell got burned quite a bit in the Philly scheme after playing well in the Seahawks scheme.

Lets face it, there are no guarantees in the draft.  You do your research and you hope that the guys you draft pan out. But there is no absolute certainty.

After reading about the Dolphins new Head Coach Adam Gase and how they plan to scheme around what players do best, I believe since the team is a number of players away from being a legitimate contender, they will be selecting the Best Player Available regardless of what position they play.

We have picks in each of the first 6 rounds and 2 in the 7th round so baring any trades we could wind up with 8 new players on the roster pushing our vets for playing time.

The purpose of this Mock Draft is to give fans an idea of who may be available in each round.  I am utilizing a Computer App to make the selections for the 31 other teams in the draft.  Unfortunately, I do not have the time to list all the picks nor all the players who may have been available when I picked for us.

ROUND 1 : Virtually every prognosticator and their mother has us drafting a corner in the first round. At pick 13 there is plenty to chose from as 3 corners are still available in Eli Apple out Ohio State, Mackensie Alexander from Clemson and, the guy recently moving way up the draft boards, Houston's William Jackson III.  However, I get 3 trade offers and decide to move back 8 spots by trading with Washington for their 1st Round (21), 2nd Round (22) and 3rd Round (21). There is a risk all three CBs could be gone but there are still plenty of other guys we could use anyway so adding 2 more pics within the top 84 is too good to pass up. Don't forget we need a few good men.

With the 21st pick, the corner I really like best is still there. This guy is 6'1", 199 lbs and loves to mix it up. He started the last two years for a national championship caliber program and more importantly, you know he is a tough kid since he hails from my neck of the woods, New Jersey.  Coached on the defense by the new Rutgers Head Coach Chris Ash, he possesses a tall, athletic frame with long arms and solid build and is able to bracket receivers downfield and consistently stay in phase. With his controlled hop and footwork in his transition and using clean hip motion to mirror in man coverage, he could step in day one and play press coverage which I believe we will do.

I like Ohio State's Eli Apple a lot and that's why I picked him. I like how he would fit in and disrupt by utilizing his length to keep receivers uncomfortable. Apple is also highly aggressive at the catch point with a "my ball" mentality. He competes and takes on blocks or throw his body around as a run defender.

Now all this aggression comes with a flip side. Apple will have to learn what he can get away with by using his hands at the line as the NFL officials are much more strict in their enforcement of defensive holding and illegal contact than their college buddies. This is something we will have to live with as well.

ROUND 2 : With our own pick in the 2nd round # 11, I stayed on the defensive side and grabbed this broad-shouldered defender who was asked to line up at virtually every spot along the defensive line, but he projects best as a base defensive end in the NFL, exhibiting the length, strength and toughness to intrigue scouts from 4-3 and 3-4 schemes, alike. Welcome Florida's Jonathan Bullard.  At 6'3", 285 lbs, Bullard is appropriately named as his game is about bullish power. He flashes an explosive burst off the ball, and does a nice job of getting his arms into passing lanes to distract quarterbacks.   Bullard is a classic two-gap run-stuffer with size, physicality and a blue-collar playing style. His no-nonsense game will go along way with his positional and schematic versatility to play outside or inside.

ROUND 2 : With the Washington pick #22, I stayed on the line but now on the offensive side. We all know we need some OGs so I grabbed Stanford's Joshua Garnett.  At 6'4", 312 lbs, he won the 2015 Outland Trophy as the best interior lineman. Garnett was a plow in front of Heisman finalist Christian McCaffrey. He is versatile enough to play different positions but he has the size and strength to play inside. Garnett has plenty of experience having stared since the middle of his freshman season. He will have to work on his pass protection as do many rookies coming into the NFL.

ROUND 3 : TRADE: Oakland offers their 3rd round # 12 and their 4th round # 16 in exchange for our 3rd round # 10.  I was looking at grabbing the top rated player but he wasn't necessarily a great need to fill but I took the chance in order to get another pick. The next two picks passed on my guy so it worked out well and we added the top rated TE in Arkansas' Hunter Henry. At 6'5", 250 lbs, he runs the 40 in 4.68 so he has the speed to get some separation. He has excellent hands and agility for a guy his size. The downfall is he needs to work on his online blocking but I believe that Adam Gase will find a number of ways to take advantage of his abilities before taking over for Jordan Cameron.

ROUND 3 : With our pick from Washington # 21, it was time to add some depth to the backfield with another Razorback in Arkansas' Jonathan Williams. He comes with some concern as he missed the entire 2015 season due to injury. Arkansas' leading rusher from 2014, Williams averaged 91.5 yards per game and 5.6 yards per rush. He was slated for significant playing time again in 2015 before suffering the foot injury in August that required surgery. He runs light for his 6'0", 224 lbs build with the body strength to run through arm tackles, lowering his pads and driving his legs to pick up tough yards between the tackles. Shifty feet and clean lateral burst to juke and quickly regain his momentum. If he can pass the medical, he will add good young, cheap depth in the backfield.

ROUND 4 : At our pick # 9, it was time to add some depth to the secondary, so I grabbed the 4th rated FS in Boise State's Darian Thompson. Halfway through his freshman season, Thompson earned his way onto the field as a starter and leaves Boise as one of the most accomplished defenders in school history. He was asked to do a little bit of everything on tape, attacking the run and playing deep coverage. Thompson posted at least three interceptions each of the past four seasons for the Broncos and his 19 career picks ranks No. 1 in the Mountain West Conference history. At 6'2", 208 lbs, he is a bit of a river boat gambler. He makes plenty of big plays but he also gives up some too by being a bit aggressive at the wrong time. With that said, Thompson would be better suited as a downhill safety with everything layed out in front of him.

ROUND 4 : With Oakland's pick # 16, I couldn't help myself and stayed in the secondary again. Only this time I grabbed a SS in this 6'2", 214 lbs battering ram by the name of Southern Utah's Miles Killibrew. He racked up 243 tackles over the past two seasons, including 132 as a senior to go with 2.5 tackles for loss, seven pass break-ups and another seven passes defended. He is a four-year starter who one area scout thinks Killebrew is a better football player coming out of college than Shaq Thompson (Carolina Panthers) and Deone Bucannon (Arizona Cardinals), two first-round picks, were when they entered the draft. This kid should be a nuclear weapon on special teams until he earns a starting job.

ROUND 5 : How about the highest rated player still on the board and a position of need with an OLB in Washington's Travis Freeney. At 6'4", 230 lbs,  Freeney ranks among the more intriguing senior defensive prospects in the country. Few athletes of his height can match Freeney's agility and speed. He runs the 40 in 4.5 seconds, which will help him stand out in pursuit and coverage duties. Combined with Killibrew, we could have 2 of the better special teamers in the league.

ROUND 6 : For some dang reason, I always happen to find a good WR late in the draft and this time is no different in Clemson's Charone Peake. At 6'2", 209 lbs, Peake had to wait his turn behind some talented wide receivers, Sammy Watkins and DeAndre Hopkins. That gave him a chance to learn, mature and develop into one of the top threats on Clemson's potent 2015 offense.  Peake has everything the NFL looks for in a wide receiver. He has good size, is big bodied, strong and runs well, posting a 40 in 4.45 seconds. Peake has excellent ball skills, hand-eye coordination and can make the difficult catches look easy. Peake's a good route runner that easily creates separation. He has soft hands and can beat a defense deep or work the middle or intermediate areas very successfully. In the run game Peake's a big asset is blocks the edge very well. So how does a guy this talented fall so far? He didn't have the best practice regiment until his senior year when it was time to fish or cut bait. Which guy will survive camp and hopefully thrive in the NFL? Time will tell.

ROUND 7 : Now I am just looking for someone who has some trait that would allow him to stand out and possibly surprise people by making the practice team.  So there is this one kid who has sprinter speed in that he runs the 100 in 10.86. Huh. That's interesting. Given the right scheme, this 5'10", 181 lbs, CB could contribute. So what the hey, welcome Oklahoma State's Kevin Peterson.
Smooth cover corner who shows up in run support, gets his hands on a lot of passes and quickly locates the ball away from him. Good short-area quickness. Breaks quickly on the football. Technician seldom looks out of place in his assignments. Track background in high school as state champion in the 100 meters (10.86) and 200 meters (22.21). Pound-per-pound toughness and durability so he may work his way in as a good nickel.

ROUND 7 : Lets see if we can add some depth and push a few of those big bodies on our DL to working a little harder. That's the idea with Virginia Tech's Luther Maddy, a 6'0", 287 lbs DT.
What you say? 287 lbs? Well this kid is an ideal three-technique candidate in a 4-3. Good quickness off the ball and makes a ton of plays behind the line of scrimmage. Also disrupts a lot and shows the ability to make plays down the line of scrimmage. Good motor and can run well for a big man. Maddy has solid strength at the point of attack and good short-area quickness in the box. He's an above average pass rusher for an interior defensive lineman and is effective against the run. Gets off the ball well and typically plays with very good leverage. His height, or lack of it, helps in that regard.  This is a good player to land in today's pass-happy NFL, as Maddy is an above average interior pass rusher. Those players are really hard to come by.

There we have my second edition and let me know what you think.

BTW...a shout out to got your corner.

Phins Up!!!

Carl Leone
Dolfan since 12/25/1971

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Daves two cents: concussions

I've been following the concussion storyline for quite some time. There's some meat to this and the NFL could and probably should change to address it.

But there's big money. And it's still king sport, so why bother?

But once in a while you hear something that makes you scratch your head. The first recent instance was Jerry Jones making some stupid comments that there's no connection between concussions and CTE. And then Irsay makes an inane comment about football being no more dangerous than taking an aspirin?!

But the thing that gets me is that NFL has "asked" the NY Times to retract the story I posted a link to. Why? Are they afraid of it? Was it factually inaccurate? It seems unlikely - especially since they said the numbers were skewed based on low reporting of concussions. Does the NFL really want us to believe that some teams had no concussions at all...for years?

Or perhaps they object to the linkage between big tobacco and the concussion story? Is it untrue? Did you not bring in the same consultants? And your knee jerk and attempt to silence the times sounds a lot like the smear campaigns when big tobacco was under fire.

This story isn't going away. And the NFL trying to take a stand will only serve to make the story bigger.

Players will react by retiring earlier. Parents will likely keep their kids out of the game. And somewhere along the way the NFL will cease being at the top of the heap as a sport.