With the rush of free agency in the rearview mirror it is time to focus in on the NFL Draft, specifically on team draft needs. In this article we look at the Miami Dolphins draft needs for 2016 as we approach the April 28th 1st round from Chicago. 2015 wasn’t a good year for the Dolphins. A 1-3 start lead to the sacking of head coach Joe Philbin, and while Dan Campbell was able to coax a 5-7 finish from Miami they never really found any consistency. Under the leadership of first time Head Coach Adam Gase, Miami will be looking to rebound in 2016 and get back into post-season contention quickly. To do that they’re going to need to fill a few key positions. They have already started that process with a busy start to free agency that included bringing in Byron Maxwell and Kiko Alonso from Philadelphia who should both be immediate starters, but come draft day where are they likely to be looking?
The Dolphins have some good options for 2016, but are on shaky ground going forward after Olivier Vernon was signed away by the New York Giants for a boatload of cash. Cameron Wake is already 34, newly signed Mario Williams is 31. Recent draftee Dion Jordan is still on the roster but has been a complete bust so there is no reason to expect much from him. They will need a young rusher to help with the rotation this year and give them something to build around for the future. It might not be a day 1 concern, but it should certainly be looked at.
Signing Jermon Bushrod is nothing but a short-term fix to a long-term problem. Branden Albert hasn’t been able to stay healthy at left tackle for them, the Dolphins guard play has been far from stellar and Miami were once again among the league leaders in sacks allowed. If Adam Gase is to get Ryan Tannehill’s career going in the right direction and generate the kind of offense he was brought in for then fixing their protection problems becomes key.
With Lamar Miller leaving in free agency there are big question marks in the Dolphins backfield. Jay Ajayi, presumably the #1 back at the moment, managed a poor 3.8 yards per carry in his rookie year so it’s likely Miami would like to bring in some competition. Having moved down to #13 in their trade with Philadelphia they could be in position to draft the top rated back, Ezekiel Elliott, in the first round.