And though the 2016 NFL draft is still more than three months away, the mock drafts are out in full force.
The Dolphins have the eighth overall pick and they will be going for a defensive player with that selection, according to a sampling of 10 mock drafts from national outlets.
Nine of the 10 mock drafts have the Dolphins selecting a defensive player in the first round, with the one exception being the one done by ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay, who has Miami selected an offensive lineman.
Two players both were named twice as Dolphins picks in mock drafts, Clemson defensive end Shaq Lawson and Florida cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III.
Here’s the rundown of the 10 national mock drafts, along with the comments that accompanied their Dolphins picks.
Daniel Jeremiah, NFL.com: OLB Jaylen Smith, Notre Dame
“If not for a knee injury in the bowl game, Smith would’ve been in the mix to be the first overall pick.”
Bucky Brooks, NFL.com: OLB Myles Jack, UCLA
“Despite Jack’s season-ending knee injury, the Dolphins could take a flyer on the UCLA star to add a new-school linebacker with superb playmaking skills to the mix.”
Dane Brugler, CBSSports.com: DE DeForest Buckner, Oregon
“The Dolphins need to continue and invest in the defensive line and Buckner gives Miami another option on the edges.”
Todd McShay, ESPN: OT Ronnie Stanley, Notre Dame
“Stanley needs to improve his overall strength, but he has the ideal frame, length and athleticism to play left tackle in the NFL. He moves naturally and is comfortable in space. Stanley definitely benefited from staying another year in school, as he has been more consistent with his balance and hand placement this season.”
Mel Kiper, ESPN: DE Shaq Lawson, Clemson
“Lawson led college football in tackles for loss with 25.5, and Miami should add another edge rusher because
Chris Burke, SI.com: DE Shaq Lawson, Clemson
“I had Lawson at No. 16 on the December Big Board and that might have been underselling him. This dude’s a beast. He comes at blockers with a variety of moves and rarely, if ever, takes a play off. The Dolphins will need help off the edge next season, and Lawson can bring it.”
Matt Miller, Bleacher Report: CB Jalen Ramsey, Florida State
“Cornerback? Free safety? Football player. Jalen Ramsey may not have a neatly labeled position heading into the 2016 draft class, but he does rank as one of the best pure players in the class. And for some, his experience playing “Star” (nickel linebacker/cornerback), safety and outside cornerback will be viewed as a plus. The Miami Dolphins have a huge need at cornerback, thanks to some poor decisions and the regression of
Steve Palazzolo, Pro Football Focus: CB Vernon Hargreaves III, Florida
“Though his 2015 season was not nearly as strong as 2014, Hargreaves has already shown that he’s capable of mirroring opposing receivers while playing fundamentally sound football as a bonus. His 22.3 coverage grade in 2014 is the best we’ve had in two years and while deep speed and size may come into question during the draft process, his upside as a natural cover man is too much to pass up.”
Eric Galko, Sporting News: OLB Leonard Floyd, Georgia
“Despite spending draft picks and ample free agent money on it, the Dolphins need still plenty of upgrades in their defense. Cornerback and linebacker are their two most immediate needs, and Leonard Floyd is the best talent available with Miami picking in the top 10. A do-it-all upside linebacker, Floyd offers rare length and fluidity in coverage for a likely strongside linebacker, along with the bend and closing speed to work as a 3-4 or 4-3 edge player. With his ceiling being among the highest of any defender in this class, expect Floyd to land in the top 10 this year.”
Jason McIntyre, TheBigLead.com: CB Vernon Hargreaves III, Florida
“In a pretty weak cornerback class, Hargreaves is the best cover man...New coach Adam Gase has plenty of tools to try and turn