The Miami Dolphins have one of the proudest franchises in NFL history and they continue to attempt to build upon that tradition every year. However, for the last two decades, this franchise who was synonymous with winning has been in a complete rut.
The Dolphins haven’t seen much production from most of their draft picks in the last five years but recently with the drafting of DeVante Parker, Jarvis Landry, and Ja’wuan James, Miami has seen their young stars develop into primetime players.
With this year’s NFL Draft upcoming, there are many different avenues that management could take to help improve their franchise. The big fish that a lot of people want in South Florida is running back Ezekiel Elliot from Ohio State, but he might not be available at No. 13. Nevertheless, there are still a number of good options for Miami to take.
Every year when the draft rolls around there are always players that ooze potential so much that it’s a gamble to pass them up, and this year one of those players is linebacker Leonard Floyd from Georgia. Floyd to some has the elite combination of being athletically gifted and strong and many think that those physical traits are the reason he’ll be more successful as a professional football player than he was as a collegiate football player.
Floyd is built like a monster as he stands as a 6’6 244-pound linebacker. What makes him truly special not only is his ability to play linebacker, but also his ability to play as an edge rusher. Sine Floyd is explosive he gets out of the starting blocks quickly and uses his length to get to the quarterback. For the Dolphins, the Dion Jordan experiment didn’t work out but Floyd come become the person that the Dolphins thought Jordan would become as a player. Putting Floyd on a team that just lost Olivier Vernon, and need help at linebacker could be a wise selection.
“Questions about scheme aside, Floyd is an edge rusher and a linebacker who is capable in man coverage.”
– Chris Pflum
Due to the fact that Brent Grimes is no longer with the Dolphins franchise, they are going to need to find players that can come in and fill his spot. Now, Grimes was a Pro Bowl player during his tenure in Miami so for any rookie to come in and play to his level is unrealistic.
However, Eli Apple has the physical build to come in and do that in time. Apple is 6’1 199 pounds (he’ll eventually get bigger), and he’s excellent in press coverage. His balance that the snap is so patient that it allows him to mirror the receivers he’s guarding and not to overreact in coverage. Furthermore, he’s not just a press corner. Apple also mixed it up at Ohio State and was forced to play in zone coverage as well. Additionally, if there are any doubts about his game, it should be noted that Apple played well when he had to guard against Alabama’s Amari Cooper.
“Once he ran 4.4 at the combine, his already impressive resume really got a boost. He should fit nicely into what new Dolphins defensive coordinator Vance Joseph likes to do with his corners.“
– Charles Davis
Whether they like to believe it or not the Miami Dolphins are going to need help when it comes to their defensive line. The Dolphins have two of their edge rushers in their 30’s (Cameron Wake, Mario Williams) when they had a 25-year-old in Olivier Vernon in their possession entering into the prime of his career. They’ve got to find a way to bring in someone who can eventually take the mantle from Cameron Wake. Clemson’s defensive end Shaq Lawson could be that perfect fit.
Lawson is built like a solid rock standing at 6’3 and 270 pounds. He’s very powerful at the line of scrimmage and he’s got the ability to play in the 3-4 or 4-3. What makes Lawson special is his ability to shed blockers and because of his hand quickness he gets around blockers with ease. Furthermore, Lawson finished second in the nation in “stuffs” because of his instincts and feel to play the game. A lot of people see him as a mid first round pick but if a team likes him at 13 or 30 it shouldn’t matter what number he’s drafted at.
Who know’s the last time Miami had a Shaq on their team it resulted in a championship.
“I feel like I’m the best (defensive) end in this class, the tape shows it all.”
– Shaq Lawson
D’Joumbarey A. Moreau covers sports in Miami-Dade & Broward County. You can follow him on Twitter @DJoumbarey