MIAMI DOLPHINS: Miami Dolphins provide clues on who they might pick in Round 1

April 25, 2024

MIAMI DOLPHINS: Miami Dolphins provide clues on who they might pick in Round 1 | Dolphins general manager Chris Grier has already announced that the Miami Dolphins won’t even consider selecting a quarterback in the first round of the NFL Draft, so that means Caleb Williams, Jayden Daniels, Drake Maye, Michael Penix Jr. and Bo Nix wouldn’t be in play for Miami, even if one of them has a Laremy Tunsil-like slide down the draft board. It’s crazy to even talk about the draft’s three elite receivers — Marvin Harrison Jr., Malik Nabers and Rome Odunze — being within range for the Dolphins when they get on the clock with the No. 21 pick. All three are viewed among the draft’s top 10 talents, and will safely be taken within the first 15 selections unless a dead body is found in the trunk of their car before Thursday night. That’s eight of the draft’s top 30 talents likely being taken, or off Miami’s radar before the Dolphins are on the clock. That should provide Miami plenty of options with players who possess legit first-round grades. Here are the top 12 realistic fits for the Dolphins, and a breakdown of why they might slide, and how they could help Miami. OFFENSIVE LINE ▪ Penn State offensive tackle Olumuyiwa Fashanu Fashanu checks every box an NFL team is looking for, no matter the scheme or style, which is why he will likely be a top-10 selection. While this two-year starter needs to polish his technique and play with more consistency, that’s part of the reason evaluators say he still has more upside in him. Fashanu has the skill set and footwork to spend the first season at guard before moving to left tackle to replace Terron Armstead. ▪ Washington offensive tackle Troy Fautanu Fauntanu, who played left tackle for the Huskies, is a dominant blocker whose athleticism allows him to move people in short areas. He’s a perfect fit for an outside zone scheme like the Dolphins run, but he needs to polish his technique and rely less on his physical tools. He played left tackle and left guard during his collegiate career, so he’s a perfect fit for Miami and could easily unseat Isaiah Wynn for the starting left guard job. ▪ Oklahoma offensive tackle Tyler Guyton Guyton is one of the top athletes in this draft because of his combination of size (6-7, 330 pounds) and athleticism. He’s smooth and fluid, which hints that he could be a force in the run game. But he’s viewed as a right tackle-only player, which means attempting to transition him to left tackle might be a roll of the dice, and he’s likely too tall to play guard for a 6-foot-1 quarterback. This selection could make Miami consider moving Austin Jackson inside to right guard. ▪ Duke offensive lineman Graham Barton Barton became a starting center for the Blue Devils as a true freshman, but became a forceful left tackle in the three seasons that followed. He’s a fierce competitor who can play all five positions on the offensive line because of his strength and quickness. He will either be taken in the second half of the first round, or the top half of the second round because he’s a high-floor prospect. ▪ Oregon State offensive tackle Taliese Fuaga Fuaga is a beefy right tackle who plays with an aggressive demeanor. His pass protection technique is outstanding, but the prevailing thought is that this 6-foot-6, 324-pounder might become an elite offensive guard if he’s moved inside. There is some concern that Fuaga might struggle against edge rushers with speed. PASS RUSHERS ▪ Florida State’s Jared Verse Verse is a well-rounded defender who can win with speed and power. He produced 32.5 sacks and 50 tackles for loss during his collegiate career, which makes him a candidate to become the first defender taken in the 2024 NFL Draft. Even though he’s not an ideal fit for a 3-4 front, he’s the type of talent Miami might consider trading up for if he falls into the teens. ▪ UCLA pass rusher Laiatu Latu Latu’s first pass-rushing move wins most of the time, but this UCLA standout possesses a deep bag of tricks that help him get to quarterbacks (24 sacks in three seasons). The biggest question with Latu will be his medical history because a neck injury he sustained early in his career at Washington forced him to miss two years. That’s why he might slide into the late portion of the first round like Jaelan Phillips did in 2021. ▪ Penn State’s Chop Robinson Robinson presents the elite measurables the NFL hasn’t seen since Micah Parsons and Myles Garrett were in the process. Problem is, his college productivity (60 tackles, 11.5 sacks, 3 forced fumbles) in three seasons (35 games) doesn’t measure up to those NFL elites. While Robinson is a pro-ready pass rusher, he needs to build out his skill set as a run defender if he plans to become a true three-down defender. DEFENSIVE TACKLE ▪ Illinois defensive tackle Jer’Zhan Newton To some evaluators, Newton is the best interior pass rusher in this draft. To others, this St. Petersburg native, who recorded 18 sacks in four seasons, has a short (6-foot-2, 304) and maxed-out frame. He’s strong enough to hold the point, but more physical blockers can drive him off the ball. He will make most of his money on third downs, hunting quarterbacks and has the potential to become an edge player in a 3-4 front. ▪ Texas defensive tackle Byron Murphy II Murphy was half of college football’s best defensive tackle tandem, playing alongside T’Vondre Sweat, the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, at Texas. He’s a twitchy athlete (4.87 40-yard dash time) who is a three-down defender in most schemes, but his lack of prototypical height and girth (6-foot, 297 pounds) could become a problem against double-teams. But the motor is undeniable and gives him a chance to become a star. RECEIVERS ▪ LSU receiver Brian Thomas Jr. Thomas the type of chain moving, athletic possession receiver missing from Miami’s arsenal of weapons. His combination of size (6-foot-3, 209 pounds) and speed (4.33 time in the 40-yard dash) allows him to turn short receptions into long gains. He’s excellent on go routes and quick hitters, which makes him perfect for Mike McDaniel’s offense. But there are concerns about the fact he only had one season of high-level productivity. ▪ Texas receiver Xavier Worthy The grin on McDaniel’s face while talking to Worthy at Texas’ Pro Day exposes the worst-kept secret, which is that Miami’s obsessed with speed. That’s why adding Worthy, the fastest player in NFL Combine history, is being strongly considered by Miami. Worthy wins at the line of scrimmage with quickness and technique, and has the ability to high point balls. But there is some concern about his limited size (5-foot-11, 165 pounds) and functional strength, which could push him into the second day of the draft. Take Us With You Real-time updates and all local stories you want right in the palm of your hand. MIAMI HERALD APP VIEW NEWSLETTERS