The Miami Dolphins finished the 2021 season with a 9-8 record and missed the playoffs for the fifth straight season.
Coming off their second-straight winning season, there is a lot of promise for the future of the Dolphins. While they fired head coach Brian Flores for...reasons, they got one of the hottest names on the coaching market with 49ers' offensive coordinator, Mike McDaniel.
Unlike previous years, who the Dolphins draft in the first round, or even what position they target remains a mystery. They are not too far away from being a competitive football team, so adding pieces that can immediately contribute could turn the Dolphins into a darkhorse contender.
With all of that being said, let's rebuild the Miami Dolphins.
Round 1, Pick 29: Drake London, WR, USC
Drake London is a machine. pic.twitter.com/dtUANPsPo9— Brennen Rupp (@Brennen_Rupp) February 20, 2022
The Dolphins are in an interesting position. Tua Tagovailoa has been fine at quarterback in Miami, but he also certainly has a long way to go before he can become a Super Bowl-winning quarterback.
Continuing to add pieces around him will do wonders for his development. While they do need help on the offensive line, if one of the top receivers falls to them, they need to take a flyer. London is a big-body receiver who possesses good separation skills and has the best deep-ball tracking in this class.
Round 2, Pick 50: Kenneth Walker III, RB, Michigan State
Kenneth Walker is a sick puppy. My heart is actually fluttering. pic.twitter.com/Gv6cM8beC7— Zareh Kantzabedian (@ZKantzFF) February 19, 2022
Once again, I have the Dolphins addressing their skill positions. Miami's running back room is deep, but they lack a true RB1.
Walker broke out this season with Michigan State after transferring over from Wake Forest. He rushed for 1646 yards and 18 rushing touchdowns for the Spartans this past season. Walker's biggest strength is his versatility and quick-cut ability. While he does not have a lot of weaknesses, one area of improvement is his play at the point of contact.
Round 3, Pick 101: Sam Williams, EDGE, Ole Miss
I have long said that you should always bring in a continuous wave of youth into your defensive line. There may be other areas of need for the Dolphins, but Williams is a very interesting prospect.
Heading into his senior season with Ole Miss, Williams needed to work on his explosiveness off the snap and his overall athleticism. He did take massive strides, although his play against the run does need some work.
However, he showcased great improvement with his technique and quick-twitch reflexes.
Round 4, Pick 119: Spencer Burford, IOL, UTSA
Watching UTSA-Illinois from opening week & it’s difficult to miss LT #74 Spencer Burford’s (@SpencerB74) presence, as LB Jake Hansen discovers here from the pulling blocker. The school’s 1st ever 4⭐️ signee, Burford’s an impressive athlete with prototypical #NFL size.#NFLPABowl pic.twitter.com/9sIZGmvRTS— Dane Vandernat (@DVandernat) September 13, 2021
Burford only allowed seven sacks in his 2,800 career snaps, but four of those sacks came this year. The majority of his career was spent at left tackle, but his game translates more to the inside.
He tends to get caught leaning in pass pro and struggles to absorb contact and quickly diagnose pass rush moves. His hand placement and hand strength is a plus, but with his big body, and great traits in zone blocking schemes, I would love to see his development be shifted towards the inside of the line.
Round 4, Pick 123: Matt Waletzko, OT, North Dakota
Coming into the draft process, Waletzko was not a well-known prospect, but after a solid Senior Bowl, the people are starting to talk.
While he does not absorb contact well, he is very strong, and his athleticism makes him a terror in pass pro. His incredible length gives him an advantage against more skilled edge rushers, and he protects the inside better than most tackles his size.
Round 5, Pick 157: D'Marco Jackson, LB, Appalachian State
.@AppState_FB LB D’Marco Jackson (@DMarcojackson20) is going to be an easy sell for NFL scouts once coaches become part of the eval process in the spring. Instinctive, violent, & productive downhill ‘backer is fun to watch. Love his intensity. 😡😤#TheDraftStartsInMOBILE™️ https://t.co/NwhIzfdcKQ pic.twitter.com/cOT0CPXQNB— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) October 26, 2021
Jackson is best suited to play the "Will" linebacker position due to his speed, change of direction abilities, and tackling in space. Like a lot of day three picks, Jackson needs some work, especially in coverage, but his football IQ and athleticism help make up for his shortcomings.
This is a developmental pick that could end up becoming a good depth piece, but there is something there with Jackson. He just needs to put it all together.
Round 6, Pick 198: Matt Hankins, CB, Iowa
The reason a lot of these "football-smart" players fall in the draft is that something in their game is a liability. For Hankins, that is his tackling. But he is pretty solid in coverage and is athletic enough to not let receivers just streak past him.
His physicality is just not good enough to be a full-time starter in the NFL, but his intelligence in zone coverage shows his understanding of what is happening during the play.
Round 7, Pick 221: Tyquan Thornton, WR, Baylor
Damn, Tyquan Thornton ran until it was night time pic.twitter.com/JFAb0Vt3pt— LandGrant Gauntlet (@the_LGG) October 19, 2019
Thornton stands 6-foot-2 and has solid separating speed. The problem is, he does not possess many other skills outside of his home-run ability. He is not a speedster, but there is a big difference between straight-line speed and football speed. Thornton has the latter, and that is something that can not be taught.
If Thornton passed any other redeeming quality, we are talking about a possible day two selection. Instead, he is going to slide, but he is well worth taking a shot on in the later rounds if you are trying to add an explosive weapon you can line up on the outside and just tell him to go.
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