I'm going to kick myself if Myles Jack is off the board and the Dolphins select Eli Apple, since I've had them taking the Ohio State corner for a while. I believe Apple will be Miami's pick unless either Jack or Ezekiel Elliott falls (or the latter is available via trade).
Jack could go as high as No. 5 depending on how the third and fourth picks shake out, but it's sounding like he's due for a draft-day slide. There are serious concerns about his knee, but the Dolphins apparently are fine with it. Thus, he could be the pick, filling a huge need.
*** OTHER 2016 NFL DRAFT POSSIBILITIES: ***
1. Eli Apple, CB - Apple is a great fit for Miami's scheme and the team would definitely consider taking him at this spot, as he would fill a huge need.
2. Ezekiel Elliott, RB - The Dolphins love Elliott, but they foolishly moved down while acquiring players who aren't very good. Perhaps they'll move back up for Elliott.
Pick change; previously Eli Apple, CB
Rd. 2, Pk. 11
Jason Spriggs, OT, Indiana
The Dolphins addressed their secondary in the first round, so they can opt for an interior offensive lineman at this spot. Upgrading the guard position is a must; Jason Spriggs or Branden Albert could slide to guard.
Pick change; previously Germain Ifedi, OT/G
Rd. 3, Pk. 10
Kenyan Drake, RB, Alabama
The Dolphins tried to sign C.J. Anderson, but failed. They clearly want a new running back to replace Lamar Miller, so here's a possible solution.
Rd. 4, Pk. 9
Eric Murray, CB, Minnesota
The Dolphins are linked to Eli Apple in the opening round. If they don't take him there, they'll have to settle for someone like Eric Murray.
Pick change; previously B.J. Goodson, LB
Rd. 5, Pk. 8
Thomas Duarte, TE, UCLA
The Dolphins haven't gotten much out of Jordan Cameron, so they'll probably search for a tight end at some point in the 2016 NFL Draft.
The Dolphins needed to improve their cornerbacks even before they lost Brent Grimes. Miami has shown interest in Apple, plus Mike Tannenbaum has always been aggressive for acquiring cornerback talent.
Apple has a good skill set and lots of upside to develop. He has an excellent combination of size and speed, but he needs work on his technique. Apple grabs too much with receivers and needs to improve his ability to run with them without resorting to contact. That rawness keeps him from being a high first-rounder. The 6-foot, 200-pounder looks like he has No. 1-corner potential.
In 2015, Apple recorded one interception, eight passes broken up and 33 tackles. He had some coverage lapses early on, but played better to close out the year. Apple was very impressive for the Buckeyes in 2014 down the stretch of their title run, recording 53 tackles with three interceptions and 10 passes broken up on the year.
Rd. 2, Pk. 11
Devontae Booker, RB, Utah
The Dolphins let a talented young back in Lamar Miller leave in free agency. They need another option to pair with Jay Ajayi.
Booker (5-10, 219) is a quick and shifty runner who is more physical than one would think. In the NFL, he could be a good back, especially for a passing offense. He could go higher in the draft, but he really struggles with the mental part of the game, and that could hurt him come draft day.
Booker averaged 4.7 yards per carry in 2015 for 1,261 yards with 11 touchdowns. He also snagged 37 receptions for 318 yards. Booker broke out in 2014 with a huge season as he carried the Utes' offense. Booker averaged 5.2 yards per carry for 1,512 yards with 10 touchdowns that season. He also showed receiving ability with 43 receptions for 306 yards and two scores.
Rd. 3, Pk. 6
Spencer Drango, G/OT, Baylor
The Dolphins have to get some guard help, and Drango also offers some tackle ability in an emergency.
Drango (6-5, 315) spent four straight seasons as the starter at left tackle for Baylor. He is a quality run blocker who improved his pass protection over time, but still has a ways to go in that area for the NFL. That was apparent at the Senior Bowl as he manhandled some linemen on run plays, but struggled in pass protection on the edge in one-on-ones. Drango would fit best as a guard, or maybe a right tackle in the NFL.
Before being injured in 2013, Drango was playing at a really high level as a pass protector for Bryce Petty. Baylor really missed Drango when he went out for the season with a ruptured disc in his back in mid-November that year.
Rd. 4, Pk. 9
James Bradberry, CB/S, Samford
The Dolphins could use another safety option to go with Reshad Jones. Walt Aikens is a converted corner and a pick of the prior regime.
Jaquiski Tartt represented Samford at the Senior Bowl last year, and this year, it was Bradberry. The 6-foot-3, 236-pounder has a NFL skill set with size and speed. The senior recorded 45 tackles with 11 passes broken up and two interceptions in 2015. He had two interceptions in his junior, sophomore and freshman years.
Bradberry's steady play earned him an invitation to Mobile, and he had a respectable week. Bradberry has prototypical size for the next level and could fit as a press-man cornerback or a free safety; the latter is probably more likely.
Word is the Browns want to accumulate even more picks after their fleecing of Philadelphia, and with needs everywhere, they'd have to fall in love with Stanley or Hargreaves to hang out here. Everyone's in love with Elliott, of course, but Hue Jackson likes what he sees from Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson Jr. especially, so Sashi Brown and Mike DePodesta, with the green light to rebuild Cleveland under RGIII--what a world we live in, huh?--go get some more picks. And who better to swing them, say, a 3rd (73) and 5th (147) than Miami, who returns to their original spot to snag Elliott, potentially the most impactful, franchise-altering player in this draft. With the three-down workhorse of Zeke, Jay Ajayi, Jordan Cameron, DeVante Parker, Jarvis Landry, and Adam Gase...I know we've said it before, but Ryan Tannehill is out of excuses FOR REAL this time.
P.S. Miami essentially turned a 3rd and a 5th into Byron Maxwell and Kiko Alonso. Good looks, Chris Grier.
Ronnie Stanley here would make a ton of sense, but Branden Albert is a very selfish player and refuses to kick inside where he and his team would be much better off. Plus, Juwan James is really a LT, so they would be so underpowered at the edges with two finesse players out there.
I have a hard time seeing Eli Apple fall out of this round altogether, which is what happens if he's not picked here. I think he's being under-rated, and this talk about him being grabby is a little odd. That's easily correctable for a guy with his skill set and confidence. Apple is ten times the player that Mackensie Alexander is, for example. I have a top 10 grade on him, so he's a good value here for me.
** Previous Pick ** CB Vernon Hargreaves.
** Previous Pick ** LB Myles Jack.
Hargreaves falling out of top 10, but staying in Florida. Dolphins have pretty much nobody opposite of Byron Maxwell, so CB is an obvious choice here. There is no consensus on no.1 corner in this class (I see Ramsey as safety). William Jackson III really helped his stocks in pre draft process. Eli Apple has all the physical attributes that coaches like to see at corner. Alexander is also very good.
But I feel like Miami will not overthink this one. Vernon was playing in their back yard for 3 years. They are well aware of his qualities.
Jack could easily go earlier than this, but he may have teams mildly concerned after he missed the Combine workout. A big Pro Day would surely put him back in the top-5 mix, but Miami wouldn't mind him going here, as he'd provide playmaking ability that would help the theoretical pressure from their overpaid front four turn into turnovers.
His coverage ability is particularly impressive, which is big for the Fins as they had none of that at the second level last year.
The Dolphins will be looking to upgrade their secondary here and should have no problem doing so by drafting Mackensie Alexander.
Scouting report: Fiery competitor who is quick to mix it up with a receiver after the play. Extremely confident and shows signs of being able to rise to the occasion against elevated competition. Allowed just 29.6 percent completions and no touchdowns. Got the best of OU wide receiver Sterling Shepard in back-to-back seasons. Smaller, but well built with good muscular definition. Able to read wide receivers and gain a head start on their plans. Goes to work in the film room. Reacts quickly to what he sees. Has very good recovery quickness within the first 10 yards to close out any early separation. Showed improved technique as season progressed. Loves to trap and crowd outside releases against the sideline. When he learns to play ball over man, his passes defensed will jump. Plays stronger than his size and his demeanor fires up his teammates.
Other possibilities: Kevin Dodd DE, Ronnie Stanley OT, Cody Whitehair OG
Show/Hide Other Mocks with Mackensie Alexander Going to Dolphins
Rd. 1, Pk. 13
Laremy Tunsil, OT,
How did the best player in the draft (according to some) fall to No. 13? I'll be shocked if Laremy Tunsil is on Twitter ever again.
This is a slam-dunk A+. I suppose Miami isn't the most ideal environment for Tunsil, but his talent level is unquestionable. He's a franchise left tackle with an All-Pro skill set, and Miami will need one once the injury-prone Branden Albert moves on. Taking Tunsil here is a no-brainer. The risk is well worth the reward, and this could end up being the best pick in the entire 2016 NFL Draft.
Rd. 2, Pk. 7
Xavien Howard, CB,
This would've been a great pick had the Dolphins not traded for it. With lots of cornerbacks available, I don't think they needed to do that, however. Why surrender resources to do something like that? Having said that, I'm not giving Miami a poor grade, as a C+ seems about right. Howard should be a good player for them, and he's filling a big need for sure.