The Miami Dolphins made a surprise playoff appearance in 2016 thanks in large part to first-year head coach Adam Gase. The culture he brought with him was a big reason for the recent 10-6 season. This offseason, Miami focused on retaining most of their own players including Kenny Stills and Andre Branch. Heading into the 2nd year of the Adam Gase era, what can we expect from the Miami Dolphins during the 2017 NFL Draft?
The 22nd overall pick will likely be spent on the offensive side of the ball as an effort to give Ryan Tannehill more help. They did just that by giving him a franchise left tackle in Laremy Tunsil in 2016. Miami Hurricanes tight end David Njoku could be the perfect fit and would keep him in Miami. While Julius Thomas is a nice addition, Njoku would give Miami a pass-catching tight end in the middle of the field. Kenny Stills and Jarvis Landry are nice targets but the Dolphins really lack a big-bodied weapon they can lean on during red zone and third down situations. Njoku, 20, ran a 4.64 at the combine and should be a matchup nightmare immediately as an athletic tight end.
In the 2nd round (54th overall) look for Miami to look for defensive upgrades. Miami could look to bolster the defensive line either at defensive end or defensive tackle. In regards to defensive end, Derek Rivers of Youngstown State could be an option. With Cameron Wake nearing the end of the road, Rivers could be the perfect fit as a rotational pass rusher. Leading up to the draft process, Rivers has had one of the best initial bursts off the line of the scrimmage that was really showcased during the Senior Bowl. At 6’4″, 248, Rivers also benched 30 reps at the combine showing elite strength that should show up in the run game.
One defensive tackle prospect Miami could consider in the 3rd round would be Eddie Vanderdoes of UCLA. Vanderdoes plays a little out of control sometimes but does have the potential to become an elite player as he is a former highly recruited collegiate player. Vanderdoes suffered some knee issues in the past but when he is right, look out.
Later in the draft, look for the Dolphins to add a cornerback. Xavien Howard and Tony Lippett are both extremely young and raw, plus you can never have enough corners. Shaquil Griffin from Central Florida could be exactly what the Dolphins are looking for. Griffin could be that matchup corner the Phins use in the slot to match up with Julian Edelman and or Brandin Cooks for those eventual Patriots matchups. Griffin had a really nice showing at the combine as well running a 4.38 – 40 time and looked like one of the smoothest performers in the drills.