Can the Miami Dolphins strike gold with the 11th pick overall?

If you’re a Miami Dolphins fan then 2017 wasn’t the year you’d hoped. The team finished the season 6-10 and in third place in the division. Third place. Just behind the Buffalo Bills who haven’t made the playoffs in almost two decades. They snapped their bad luck this season so why cant the Dolphins? Looking ahead to the future there’s plenty of holes to fill. So where do the Dolphins begin and what unit do they attack first with the 11th pick in the 2018 NFL Draft?

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Desperate Needs

Quarterback – After Ryan Tannehill there wasn’t a lot of hope in the teams quarterback this season. When Tannehill went down the team turned to Jay Cutler to be a fill in and keep the team afloat, and he failed miserably. When Cutler was out Matt Moore stepped in to be the backup and didn’t fair much better. Paying Moore past this season seems out of the question with his age and salary being a factor. The Dolphins need to shore up their QB unit if Tannehill doesn’t come back ready to go right away. Moore will most likely be a cap casualty as the Dolphins look to pay future stars.

Offensive line – The Dolphins have been swinging and missing on their offensive line for far too many seasons. They did little to improve a struggling group from 2016 in 2017 and just shifted players around. Depth seemed like more of a focus than building a starting unit, then once injuries happened they were forced to try to shuffle the deck. The Dolphins need at least one or two more starters to make this unit last longer throughout the season. Can it be their main focus?

Tight End – The Dolphins had a lot of hope here.  With Julius Thomas returning under Adam Gase expectations were high but disappointment was higher. While Thomas did okay, he failed to be a threat. His days as an every down starter are over and should be downgraded to packages or cut all together. In a passing league, the Dolphins need a guy who can open up the field as well as protect the quarterback. Thomas showed he couldn’t consistently do either.

Depth Needs

Linebacker – Miami sure tried to pony up for their linebacker unit last offseason, but the team still seems like they’re a player or two away. Lawrence Timmons played well but proved his heart wasn’t with the team. Once Raekwon McMillian went down the team was again stuck shuffling the deck. The Dolphins could get by with a few backup vets who can tackle or they might go after an instant starter this offseason.

Defensive Backs – The defense wasn’t terrible in 2017 but it wasn’t spectacular either. While the Dolphins seemed to have found their future with some great young talent. However, too often this season their young talent seemed out-of-place in their coverage schemes. Should the Dolphins go get a seasoned player to push their starters to be that much better? Will they continue to grow young and developing players in their defense?

Running Back – The sky was falling for Dolfans this season when the Dolphins traded away star running back Jay Ajayi. Luckily for them, the Dolphins seemed to have a plan. Back up Kenyan Drake flashed his potential to be an every down back and helped ease fears. Unfortunately for the team, there wasn’t much production beyond that. Miami will need a contingency plan if he doesn’t develop as a full-time player.

Picking just outside the top ten won’t be the kiss of death for the Miami Dolphins as plenty of players have been picked at 11. Dwight Freeney, Ben Roethlisberger, and JJ Watt were all picked at 11 and have gone on to dominate in their career. Pick 11 has plenty of value if the team chooses to draft there. The past has shown that the Dolphins are not only willing to trade up but also trade down. Will they stay at 11 and pick their next big star?

 

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