In 2016 NFL Draft, the Miami Dolphins need to address their immediate roster needs and give new head coach Adam Gase the pieces to build a successful future in South Beach. Round by round the Dolphins must take the best players available at their positions of need, and take the occasional risk on a dynamic player who has fallen during down the draft boards prior to the draft. Here is a seven round game plan with a projected Plan A and Plan B for when Miami is on the clock.
Round 1. Pick 13
Plan B. If above are taken trade back with QB-needy team for additional 2nd or 3rd round picks. Do not reach for a player at thirteen but cash in when the price tag for moving up to take QBs (Goff and Wentz) has been set so high.
Round 2. Pick 42
Plan A. Draft high-risk high-reward LB Jaylon Smith. Dolphins need help linebacker and Smith is a first round talent that could be found in the second due to injury. If Smith recovers it could be the steal of the 2016 draft.
Plan B. Draft safer pick like versatile USC linebacker Su’a Cravens, stout run-blocker Stanford guard Joshua Garnett, or cover free safety MTSU safety Kevin Byard.
Round 3. Pick 73
Plan A. Draft high-rated guard like physical Isaac Seumalo from Oregon State or skilled pass-blocker Christian Westerman from Arizona State. Guard is a position of need for Miami, and the third round is where the better guards start to come off the board.
Plan B. Draft a versatile running back like UCLA’s workhorse Paul Perkins, Utah’s three-down back Devontae Booker, or Notre Dame’s explosive threat C.J. Prosise. If Ezekiel Elliott does not fall to the Dolphins at 13, Miami needs to add another back who can be a threat out of the backfield as a receiver to compliment Jay Ajayi’s physical style.
Round 4. Pick 107
Plan A. Draft a raw but talented edge rusher like Ronald Blair from Appalachian State or Will Anthony from Navy. Not big names, but talented pass-rushers that can rotate in and help replace Olivier Vernon’s production.
Plan B. Take a flier on either former college playmakers Ohio State WR Braxton Miller or South Carolina WR Pharoh Cooper. Both have unique explosive skills and tremendous upside, and could benefit from the creative mind of Adam Gase to incorporate them into the offense.
Round 5. Pick 147
Plan A. Draft physically gifted corner like Mike Jordan from Missouri Western, D.J. White from Georgia Tech, or Eric Murray from Minnesota. At this point in the draft polished corners ready to start are off the board, but players that possess the physical skills to play the position but need further development are still available and can pay off (i.e.Richard Sherman).
Plan B. Draft versatile guard like North Carolina’s Landon Turner or Michigan’s Graham Glasgow. With a need already at guard before training camp it is important to have replacements for the offensive line that can be asked to play multiple positions.
Round 6. Pick 186
Plan A. Draft possession receiver who can play in the slot like UCLA’s Jordan Payton, Troy’s Teddy Ruben, or Florida Atlantic’s Jenson Stoshak. With the departure of Rishard Matthews to the Titans in free agency, the Miami Dolphins do have a need at slot receiver and if a sixth round selection could make an impression at camp there is an opening at the position.
Plan B. Draft a hard-hitting strong safety like T.J. Green from Clemson or Keanu Neal from Florida to develop behind Reshad Jones. Jones made a name for himself in his 2015 Pro Bowl season, but needs a legitimate backup who can also contribute on special teams.
Round 7. Picks 227 and 231
Plan A. Draft backup tightend prospects like Jake McGee from Florida, or Ben Braunecker from Harvard to develop behind Sims and Cameron and play on special teams
Plan B. Draft a flier on talented but raw QB prospects like Ohio State’s Cardale Jones, Utah’s Travis Wilson, or Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott for Adam Gase to develop as a longterm project if Ryan Tannehill is not the answer.