Mock Draft Roundup 2.0

Posted Feb 23, 2016

With draft season underway, we take another look at which players national analysts are projecting for the Dolphins to select with the eighth overall selection in the 2016 NFL draft.

The NFL scouting combine officially begins Tuesday when the first group of players — kickers, special-teamers, offensive linemen and running backs — arrive in Indianapolis.

Draft projections are likely to be altered to varying degrees based on what happens over the next six days until the combine wraps up when the last position group — defensive backs — works out at Lucas Oil Stadium next Monday.

The Senior Bowl at the end of January produced some movement in mock drafts, most notably raising the perception of North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz and Eastern Kentucky defensive end Noah Spence.

As we revisit mock drafts from major news outlets and websites, a consensus seems to have formed when it comes to the player the Dolphins might target with the eighth overall selection.

That player is University of cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III, who was the Dolphins’ selection for six of the 13 mock drafts analyzed.

Notre Dame tackle Ronnie Stanley was the only other player mentioned twice.

The feeling among national observers remains that the Dolphins will go for defense with their first pick: Stanley was the only offensive player tabbed.

Here’s the rundown of the Dolphins’ selection for those 13 national mock drafts, along with the accompanying comments.

Daniel Jeremiah, OLB Jaylon Smith, Notre Dame
“Even if Smith has to miss a portion of the 2016 campaign, he’s worthy of a top-10 selection.”
Previous mock: Smith

Dane Brugler, DE/OLB Noah Spence, Eastern Kentucky
“With Olivier Vernon set to hit free agency and Cameron Wake turning 34 years old last month, the Dolphins could be in the market for a pass rusher. No one knows how each team will view Spence's off-field baggage, but on the field, he is worth a top 10 pick.”
Previous mock: DE DeForest Buckner, Oregon

Rob Rang, CB Vernon Hargreaves III, Florida
“Despite fielding one of the most gifted defensive lines in the NFL, the Dolphins surrendered 31 passing touchdowns in 2015, more than any team which made the playoffs. Brent Grimes was the only cornerback to intercept a pass for Miami last year. The Dolphins won’t have to look far for a playmaker with Hargreaves, a three-time All-SEC pick, recording 10 interceptions for the Gators over his career.”
Previous mock: DE DeForest Buckner, Oregon

Todd McShay, ESPN: CB Vernon Hargreaves III, Florida
“At 5-foot-11, 195 pounds, Hargreaves has adequate size to go along with outstanding suddenness, body control and deep speed. He thrives in man-to-man coverage, and with CB Brent Grimes turning 33 this summer, Hargreaves would be a good fit in Miami. The other option would be Oregon DE DeForest Buckner if free-agent-to-be Olivier Vernon leaves town.”
Previous mock: OT Ronnie Stanley, Notre Dame

Mel Kiper, ESPN:  T Ronnie Stanley, Notre Dame
“Adam Gase will be charged with getting Ryan Tannehill back on track, and getting a potentially elite tackle is a good way to aid in that process, as sacks have plagued Tannehill throughout his career thus far. Stanley returned to Notre Dame and made himself more NFL-ready. The Dolphins would benefit if he’s available here.”
Previous mock: DE Shaq Lawson, Clemson

Lance Zierlein,  T Ronnie Stanley, Notre Dame
“The Dolphins are in desperate need of offensive line help and Stanley could be a plug-and-play starter on the right side. Branden Albert will be a potential cap casualty after 2016, which would allow the team to save money while swinging Stanley to the left side.”
Previous mock: CB Vernon Hargreaves III, Florida

Chris Burke,  CB Vernon Hargreaves III, Florida
“Hargreaves or Mackensie Alexander would be fine selections by Miami, which must find some help in the secondary. The Florida product can thrive in any coverage set and has the quickness to close on the ball — he intercepted 10 passes and broke up 27 over three seasons.”
Previous mock: DE Shaq Lawson, Clemson

Matt Miller, Bleacher Report: DE Noah Spence, Eastern Kentucky
“Brent Grimes’ declining play is likely to push him out of town, and with the No. 8 overall pick in the upcoming draft, the Miami Dolphins can attack one of their clear needs at defensive end or cornerback. Free agency will change things, of course, but the biggest hole on the roster right now is at the No. 1 cornerback position. Mackensie Alexander famously didn’t record an interception in his college career at Clemson, but in my charting of his games, I noticed he’s also not allowed a touchdown in 15 straight games. Opposing quarterbacks avoid Alexander, and if he’s on the board for Miami, he can step in and be that starting outside cornerback the defense lacks.”
Previous mock draft: DE Noah Spence, Eastern Kentucky

Steve Palazzolo, Pro Football Focus:  CB Vernon Hargreaves III, Florida
“Hargreaves was outstanding in 2014, our best cornerback in the nation, but he took a step back in 2015. Still, he’s sound fundamentally and can play a variety of coverages while staying with even the shiftiest of receivers. Not that division rivals should dictate draft picks, but he’s a good fit to match with the Patriots’ receiving corps. He’s sure to run into concerns about his size, and perhaps his speed, during the process, but few other cornerbacks can match his two-year body of work on the field in our system.”
Previous mock: Hargreaves

Eric Galko, Sporting News:  OLB Myles Jack, UCLA
“Almost unquestionably, linebacker is the Dolphins’ biggest need. Arguably all three spots need to be filled, with the weakside linebacker spot that Jelani Jenkins occupies being the only spot that has some long-term promise. While many in the NFL have begun advocating for non-pass-rushing linebackers to slide on draft day due to their perceived value, Jack-to-the-Dolphins offers a perfect blend of an elite talent falling into their laps coupled with addressing their most pressing need. He is one of the few elite athletes in the 2016 class, and is worth reaching on for positional value.”
Previous mock: OLB Leonard Floyd, Georgia

Eric Edholm, Yahoo Sports:  CB Vernon Hargreaves III, Florida
“The Dolphins’ secondary is a mess: Brent Grimes is turned 33 coming off a down season, Jamar Taylor is struggling and Brice McCain is replaceable. Only five teams allowed more yards per pass play last season, and in a division with Julian Edelman, Brandon Marshall and Sammy Watkins, the Dolphins could use a cornerback who has covered a variety of styles of receivers in multiple techniques and defensive schemes. Hargreaves’ size is a concer, and he was good — not great — last season. But the coverage skill is unquestioned.”
Previous mock: OLB Jaylon Smith, Notre Dame

Chad Reuter,  DE DeForest Buckner, Oregon
“Whether or not Cam Wake returns in 2016, Olivier Vernon and Derrick Shelby are free agents, so the Dolphins will need another pass rusher.”
Previous mock: DE Shaq Lawson, Clemson

Pete Prisco,  CB Vernon Hargreaves III, Florida
“He isn't a tall corner, but they need somebody who can come in and play press-man and be aggressive. That’s Hargreaves.”
Previous mock: None

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