The NFL Draft is less than a week away and this is the point in the process where teams have pretty much finalized their draft boards.
It was reported recently that the Dolphins have 140 players on their board and that vice president of football operations Mike Tannenbaum and general manager Chris Grier will take a “best player available” when Miami is on the draft clock.
After finishing 10-6 and making the playoffs for the first time since 2008 this past season, the Fins are in a position where it can use this draft to bolster their roster and position themselves to challenge the New England Patriots for the top spot in the AFC East.
This is the final update of this mock draft before the NFL Draft (April 27-29).
Round One – 22nd Overall
Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida (6-foot-1, 238 pounds)
There seems to be two schools of thought about the Dolphins’ first round pick.
There’s the group of people who think Miami should take an offensive lineman at No. 22.
I was in this group going back to the 1.0 version of this mock and Alex Donno’s campaign for the Fins to draft Forrest Lamp was beginning to convince me to come back in the 3.0 update.
However, the other school of thought – that Miami should fill one of its needs on defense in the first round – just makes too much sense.
After mocking Vanderbilt All-American Zach Cunningham in this spot in the 2.0 update, the final decision is for the Fins to take Florida linebacker Jarrad Davis.
I did mock Davis to Miami as a second round pick in 1.0, but that now has become a pipe dream. Davis’ draft stock has soared in the past couple of weeks and he has all but solidified himself as a first round pick.
Miami taking the 6-foot-1, 238-pound Davis does a couple of things.
One, it completes the Dolphins total makeover in its linebacker corps. Miami re-signed Kiko Alonso and picked up Lawrence Timmons – and adding Davis would theoretically give the Fins three new starters in the middle of the defense.
Alonso lined up as Miami’s middle linebacker this past season, but the team has already flirted with the idea of moving to one of the outside linebacker spots. And it would seem that they are totally committed to that idea with their signing of Timmons, who has only played middle linebacker in his career and has made the Pro Bowl doing so.
Second, he’d give Miami a new, young face to its defense – a player that can end up being one of the cornerstones of the unit for the next decade.
In Davis, Miami gets a player who has been praised for both his tangible skills and his intangible traits.
As a junior, he racked up 98 tackles, 11 for loss, 3.5 sacks and four pass breakups. He is a “sideline to sideline” linebacker that knows how to finish tackles. He also has the potential to be an effective blitzer off the edge as well as being athletic enough to spy athletic quarterbacks.
Better yet, Davis will be a model citizen within the organization.
ESPN Draft Analyst spoke highly of Davis’ maturity.
“From an intangible standpoint, he’s top five in the class. He’s a player that loves the game. You can see the passion and the energy that he has for the game when you study him on tape,” McShay said.
Bottom line is, taking Davis over Lamp or any other offensive lineman would solidify a position group that was horrible in 2016 and give Miami a player with the ability to contribute right away and make an impact.