(CBSMiami)- The NFL’s week in Indianapolis is officially over, with the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine wrapping up on Sunday. Now, the draft process moves on to individual pro days, and speculation can begin about specific picks.
For the Dolphins, owners of three first-round picks and six picks in the first three rounds, this has the chance to be a franchise-altering class. While one need is clear (quarterback), what the team does with its other first-round picks is an interesting question.
There hasn’t been any confirmation from the Dolphins (nor would we expect any), but quarterback Tua Tagovailoa seems like the smart pick with their first first-rounder. The Alabama QB has, by all accounts, healed well from his devastating hip injury, and he looks to be on track to be ready for spring drills and training camp. Tagovailoa is the clear No. 2 guy in this class after LSU signal caller Joe Burrow. And with Ryan Fitzpatrick back for 2020, the team could even wait a few weeks to get him into action.
But, outside of that No. 5 overall pick, the Dolphins have two more first-rounders at No. 18 and No. 26. What should they do with those picks to give Brian Flores a competitive roster? Let’s take a look at some prospects who will likely be available and could fit their plans.
Pick #18 (from Pittsburgh)
Josh Jones, OL, Houston
CBSSports.com’s Ryan Wilson has the Dolphins selecting Jones here in his latest mock draft. Checking in at 6’5″ and 316 pounds, Jones had himself an impressive combine, posting a 5.27 40-yard dash time, 28.5″ vertical jump and broad jumping a little more than nine feet. NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein notes that Jones still needs work on his pass protection technique, but he showed plenty of improvement just within the season at Houston. So it would seem Jones is capable of picking up coaching points quickly. With most of the draft’s top tackles expected to be gone in the top 15 picks, Jones is a solid option with upside here.
C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida
It would be ironic to use one of the picks received in the Minkah Fitzpatrick trade on a defensive back, but Henderson is NFL.com’s Charlie Casserly’s pick for the Dolphins here. We mentioned Jones had a strong week in Indianapolis, but Henderson had one of the best of any player. The 6’1″ corner weighed in at 204 pounds and yet still ran a 4.39 40-yard dash with a 37.5″ vertical and 10’5″ broad jump. A first-team All-SEC selection as a junior, Henderson posted 11 pass break ups despite playing in just nine games after missing time with an ankle injury. A Miami native, Henderson would pair nicely with Xavien Howard, giving the Dolphins a pair of solid defensive backs.
K’Lavon Chaisson, DE, LSU
For those hoping the Dolphins add some pass-rushing ability on defense, Chaisson is likely to be the best available at this point. The redshirt sophomore posted a strong season for the national champion Tigers, leading the team in tackles for loss (13.5) and snagging 6.5 sacks. He does come with some injury concerns, as he missed all of 2018 with a torn ACL and a pair of games in 2019 due to an ankle injury. He did not work out at the Combine, instead waiting to show at LSU pro days later this spring. But NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein has a high grade on him, considering him to be a Pro Bowl level talent.
Pick #26 (from Houston)
Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
On a defense that could use a lot of help, the linebacker spot is in dire need of an upgrade. Murray, a Houston native, would certainly present one. He impressed in Indy with 4.5 speed and explosiveness in the vertical (38.5″) and broad jumps (10’9″). He was extremely productive at Oklahoma, posting back-to-back 100+ tackle seasons in his sophomore and junior years. He created plenty of havoc in that time too, posting 29.5 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks. He said in his combine interviews that he tries to pattern his leadership style after University of Miami great Ray Lewis. Dolphins fans could only hope he has that type of ability.
J.K. Dobbins, RB, Ohio State
These next two guys are both running backs, and yes, drafting a running back in the first round is frowned upon in the NFL today. But, with a putrid running game last year, a top running back couldn’t hurt especially in the latter part of the first round, as Chris Perkins of The Athletic notes. Dobbins didn’t run at the Combine, instead choosing to go through the interview portion only. Dobbins was wildly productive with the Buckeyes, totaling over 4,400 rushing yards and adding 645 receiving yards in his three seasons.
Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin
The higher grade of the two backs from Zierlein at NFL.com goes to Taylor, though not by much. That said, no running back impressed more in Indy. Taylor posted the fastest 40 (4.39), fourth-fastest three-cone time (7.01) and sixth-fastest 20-yard shuttle. He did all of this despite weighing in at a solid 226 pounds. That performance matches what he put on tape in college as a workhorse for the Badgers. A three-year starter, Taylor surpassed 2,000 rushing yards in two of his three seasons, barely missing out in his freshman year (1,977). The biggest concern is the long-term wear and tear of his Wisconsin career which saw him rack up 926 carries in three years.
The Dolphins have perhaps the most flexibility in terms of approach of any team in the draft because of the sheer number of picks and holes they need to fill. So, while these six prospects are a starting point, there are plenty of other players who will likely enter consideration in the coming months.