Safid Deen: Dolphins should focus on offense on first two days of NFL draft

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LSU wide receiver Justin Jefferson (2) runs with the ball as Georgia's Eric Stokes (27) looks to make the tackle during the SEC Championship game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on December 7, 2019. - Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images North America/TNS

With the 2020 NFL draft less than three weeks away, here’s a look at the draft focusing on the Miami Dolphins’ top six picks which are in the top-70 selections overall.

The Dolphins have 14 total picks in the draft, but their three picks in the first round, two in the second round, and their third-round pick all have the potential to be major contributors in Miami’s rebuild under coach Brian Flores and general manager Chris Grier.

Some of these picks could be in line with Miami’s thinking before the draft. Others, most likely, might completely deviate from how Flores and Grier may want to build the team.

In any event, the Dolphins have a number of position needs to fill to take their rebuild to the next level.

With the help of a mock draft simulator by TheDraftNetwork.com, here are my picks:

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No. 5 pick

Here’s how the top 4 unfolded: CIN: QB Joe Burrow; WAS: DE Chase Young; DET: CB Jeffrey Okudah; NYG: OT Tristan Wirfs

Top-10 available: Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa; Oregon QB Justin Herbert; Clemson DB Isaiah Simmons; Louisville LT Mekhi Becton; Auburn DL Derrick Brown; Georgia LT Andrew Thomas; Alabama RT Jedrick Wills; LSU DE K’Lavon Chaisson; Alabama WR Henry Ruggs III; Oklahoma WR CeeDee Lamb

My pick: Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa

Here’s why: My career may not be on the line taking Tagovailoa at No. 5 and paying him $30.5 million, but this is a decision the Dolphins must feel is worth it. Without regards to health, Tagovailoa is a superior quarterback than Herbert and Love. With regards to health, Tagovailoa’s durability going forward is a major concern. The fifth pick may be “too high” to take such a risk, but the Chargers at six and Panthers at seven would scoop him up the moment the other team passes on him. This rebuild was about finding a quarterback, and Tagovailoa is the best one available. With the pick, I hope one of the top tackles in the top 10 is still available at 18.

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No. 18 pick

Top-10 available: South Carolina DL Javon Kinlaw; LSU WR Justin Jefferson; Alabama S Xavier McKinney; LSU S Grant Delpit; Ohio State RB J.K. Dobbins; TCU CB Jeff Gladney; LSU CB Kristian Fulton; Utah State QB Jordan Love; Wisconsin DE Zack Baun; Wisconsin RB Jonathan Taylor

My pick: LSU WR Justin Jefferson

Here’s why: Well, damn. None of the top tackles fell to 18. But I’m going to add another piece on offense. This might go against the Dolphins’ thinking altogether, but Jefferson is one of the best receivers who could take the top off a defense in an instant just like he did for Burrow at LSU. Why not take one of the draft’s best receivers, in one of the deepest receiver drafts, when you have 14 picks to use if you’re the Dolphins?

McKinney would address another need at safety with great value, but others like Minnesota’s Antoine Winfield or California’s Ashtyn Davis could be available later in the draft. Kinlaw would be another stellar addition, too, but adding a defensive tackle isn’t a major need.

No need to take a cornerback because of Byron Jones and Xavien Howard, and it’s too early to take a running back at 18.

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No. 26 pick

Top-10 available: Kinlaw; Delpit; Dobbins; Taylor; Oklahoma LB Kenneth Murray; LSU LB Patrick Queen; Houston OT Josh Jones; Penn State DE Yetur Gross-Matos; Iowa DE A.J. Epenesa; Oklahoma DL Neville Gallimore

My pick: Houston LT Josh Jones

Here’s why: I’m surprised Kinlaw and Delpit hung around, but I just drafted a quarterback with the fifth pick, and I need offensive tackles to block for him. Jones fills the need at left tackle, with right tackle being Miami’s biggest concern for the rest of the draft.

Also, still too early to draft a running back, but I’d be ecstatic if Dobbins or Taylor is still on the board at No. 39. Of the next 13 picks, I only expect the Ravens at No. 28, the Chiefs at No. 32, and the Lions at No. 35 to take a running back.

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No. 39 pick

Top-10 available: Delpit; Dobbins; Taylor; Queen; Auburn DT Marlon Davidson; Clemson WR Tee Higgins; Winfield Jr.; Alabama DE Terrell Lewis; Southern Illinois S Jeremy Chinn; Alabama CB Trevon Diggs

My pick: Ohio State RB J.K. Dobbins

Here’s why: This may also go against the Dolphins’ thinking taking a running back so early, but Dobbins is the type of home-run-hitting offensive player Miami could use to elevate its offense. He’s got less wear and tear than Taylor, who ran for more than 6,000 yards in college, and he’s a better receiver out of the backfield.

I’m surprised Delpit is still on the board but concerns about his overall tackling is a reason why he went from being considered a top-10 pick during the season to a late-first or second-round pick by others. Also, Winfield and Chinn, who has risen up the draft boards after the Senior Bowl and combine, are still on the board so still able to land a talented safety with the next pick.

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No. 56 pick

Top-10 available: Winfield; Chinn; Alabama DT Raekwon Davis; Lenoir-Rhyne S Kyle Duggar; Ohio State DL Davon Hamilton; California S Ashtyn Davis; Florida State RB Cam Akers; Utah CB Jaylon Johnson; Arizona State WR Brandon Aiyuk; Boise State DE Curtis Weaver

My pick: Alabama DT Raekwon Davis

Here’s why: I’m passing on a safety again because Davis is a monster. He’s 6-6, 311 pounds, ran a 5.12 40-yard dash, and had 11.5 sacks with 19.5 tackles for loss in college. He’ll clog the trenches, and can play as a nose tackle, defensive tackle or defensive end on the line. With a player of his ability, any safety in the secondary could do because the quarterback will be pressured immensely.

Maybe, we’ll finally take a safety in the third round …

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No. 70 pick

Top-10 available: Chinn, Davis, Akers, USC WR Michael Pittman Jr.; Michigan DE Joshua Uche; Georgia RT Isaiah Wilson; Dayton TE Adam Trautman; Virginia CB Bryce Hall; Washington QB Jacob Eason; UConn RT Matthew Peart

My pick: Georgia RT Isaiah Wilson

Here’s why: Passing on a safety again. It’s a need, but not as much as the Dolphins need a right tackle. Wilson is massive at 6-7, 340 pounds. He bookended Georgia’s offensive line with left tackle Andrew Thomas, who will likely go in the first round. He’s a Brooklyn native just like Flores. He’s still raw, but talented, and will contribute immensely to Miami’s new rushing attack while being a solid pass blocker who will improve in time.

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Analysis

With six picks in the top 70, I’ve filled needs at quarterback, left tackle, right tackle and running back, while adding a dynamic receiver and a stout defensive lineman.

The Dolphins will have to wait 71 picks to make their next selection at No. 141 in the fourth round, beginning a stretch of eight picks on the final day of the draft. There will also be three fifth-round picks, one sixth-round pick and three picks in the seventh round.

The Dolphins should be able to fill needs at safety and interior offensive line, while hoping to add solid contributors in the later rounds. Miami’s knack for finding talented players late in drafts bodes well for the rebuild with players like defensive back Bobby McCain (fifth round, 2015), receiver and kick returner Jakeem Grant (sixth round, 2016), defensive tackle Davon Godchaux (fifth round, 2017), Isaiah Ford (seventh round, 2017) and Andrew Van Ginkel (fifth round, 2019) already on the team.

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