On this final Friday of October, with the Dolphins preparing for a Monday night game in Pittsburgh, it’s time to tackle your questions and I assure you my answers will be considerably shorter than the length of Ryan Fitzpatrick’s beard.
Q: Who are the three players each on offense and defense to build this team around and why? — John Schmitt
AC: OK, let’s take a stab at this. On offense, I’m going to go with wide receiver Preston Williams, tight end Mike Gesicki and offensive tackle Jesse Davis. On defense, I’ll take defensive tackles Davon Godchaux and Christian Wilkins and cornerback Xavien Howard. Williams is a No. 1 receiver in the making; Gesicki is finally showing his unique playmaking abilities and Davis is so versatile he is bordering on invaluable. As for the defense, Godchaux and Wilkins have a chance to be special together and Howard is a top five cornerback right now in the prime of his career.
Q: This may be the Dolphins’ most important game of the year considering draft implications. What are the chances that the Dolphins can actually pull off this win? — Zachary Turpin
AC: If the Dolphins can play the way they did in the first half against Buffalo, and do it for a longer period of time, I see no reason why they can’t win this game. I believe the key is Ryan Fitzpatrick having a big night, which he is certainly capable of. A word of caution: The Steelers have perhaps the fastest set of linebackers in the league and this should be a very telling challenge for the offensive line.
Q: DeVante Parker here next year? I see a receiver that has matured and is finally being used the right way and is finally healthy. — @rcatays
AC: I see the same receiver you do. I had some serious doubts about Parker after his first four seasons, as I know a lot of people did, but he seems to be a different player this year. Good health is certainly playing a huge factor, but at long last we are seeing that first round talent consistently come to the forefront. So yes, I expect him to be a part of this rebuild moving forward.
Q: What will be the second biggest target position after quarterback next spring in free agency or the draft? — @KelliX84
AC: With so many areas of need, I believe the Dolphins will be searching for great players regardless of position. That’s why it’s hard to pinpoint one or two areas following quarterback. Sure, it’s logical to think the Dolphins need a pass rushing defensive end or a dominating left tackle. But what if there is an elite receiver on the board, I’m talking about a future All-Pro, who is simply too good to bypass? It’s difference-makers this team needs, regardless of position.
Q: Does Jakeem Grant have a future with this team? — James Samuel
AC: He wouldn’t have been signed to an extension earlier this year if the team did not believe he has long-term value. You just can’t teach his speed and moves and now that he is healthy, I expect to see some big plays in the kick return game from Grant. I really like what he brings to this team.
Q: I’m a fins fan in the UK. Give me a reason to stay up for MNF: 12:15 a.m. kickoff for me? — @Mickk86_
AC: Because this is the only Monday night appearance of the season for the Dolphins and what’s a little sleep if you can watch your favorite team? Besides, it sure sounds like a good excuse to take the next day off.
Q: Okay Andy, Which Dolphin this season has been the biggest surprise? Who has been the biggest disappointment? — Raffi Derderian
AC: Okay, Raffi, the biggest surprise to me has been the emergence of Preston Williams, an undrafted receiver out of Colorado State. With his size and speed, he has a chance to be really good for a long time. I watch him play and it’s tough to imagine why he wasn’t drafted. I’d also include running back Mark Walton and linebacker Vince Biegel in that conversation. As for the disappointments, much of it is injury related. I’m talking about players like Albert Wilson, Xavien Howard, and Reshad Jones, who haven’t had the impact we expected because they’ve been battling injuries. I’m hopeful all three will be ready to go against the Steelers.
Q: There seems to be a lot of fans that would be happy to go 0-16 for the number one pick. Surely this proud franchise would not want that on their resume after being the only franchise to go perfect? — @Owlizee
AC: I wholeheartedly agree. Nobody wants to go 0-16 and I honestly don’t believe that will happen. People who talk about tanking need to understand that this coaching staff and these players are giving everything they possibly have every single day and what I see now is a team that is improving with each game. Sooner or later they are going to get that first victory and it will be well deserved.
Q: I’ve been a Dolfan my entire life. I’ve agreed 100 percent with the front office from day one that this rebuild is what’s best for the organization. I’ve also held the belief that “Tank for Tua” is the way to go. Being an LSU fan, I’m beginning to wonder if grabbing Chase Young, Jerry Jeudy and then Joe Burrow with our first three picks might be the best thing for us. Knowing where we’ve been as a franchise for the last 20 years, is Tua too good to pass on or do you think there’s a combination of picks that outweigh having to pick the No. 1 QB with our first pick? — Justin Sassanella
AC: Hello Justin: If the Dolphins have the first overall pick, I personally don’t anticipate them trading it away. Having said that, I’ve seen some incredible offers through the years to move to the top of the draft and the Dolphins certainly find themselves in an enviable situation with three first round picks. Whether Tua is too good to pass up is a decision that must be made by General Manager Chris Grier and his staff. There is plenty of evaluation time remaining I would imagine the one-on-one meetings at the scouting combine should have a lot to do with the final decision.
Q: There has obviously been a lot of talk about our QB situation in light of our record meaning we could pick first overall in 2020. Who do you think we will draft at QB? And out of curiosity does that differ at all to who you would really like to see as our QB of the future? — Nick Parke
AC: Nick, this is the ideal draft to need a quarterback. There are so many enticing alternatives. I’ve watched a lot of college football this season and I have seen most of the top quarterbacks. Assuming the Dolphins have their choice, and this is still not a guarantee, I personally see three prime options: Tua Tagovailoa of Alabama, Joe Burrow of LSU and Jalen Hurts of Oklahoma. I’m sure others will come into focus as the season progresses. But I love all three of those quarterbacks and I wouldn’t mind seeing any of them in this team’s future.
Q: Should the Dolphins trade down and pick up even more picks? — @TWilliams91_
AC: The benefit of having three No. 1 picks is the flexibility it provides. With that kind of ammunition, this will be as fascinating a draft as I have covered. I anticipate the Dolphins will consider all offers, and that includes trading for more picks. I’m sure, however, they won’t do it at the expense of a player they really covet.