NFL Network and NFL Draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah was a guest on The Audible this week. Here were some of his comments that stood out, along with some perspective:
“That, to me, is the real premier aspect of this year’s draft class. When I put together my top 50 list, my top five players were all defensive linemen. That tells you a little something there. It’s a great group of defensive linemen.”
— Jeremiah did not hesitate to say the defensive line looks like the best position in the 2018 draft when it comes to high-end prospects. As he mentioned the top five players in his first Top 50 prospects list, released three weeks ago, included Ohio State DE Nick Bosa, Alabama DT Quinnen Williams, Kentucky edge player Josh Allen, Michigan edge player Rashan Gary and Mississippi State DT Jeffery Simmons. It should be noted that Simmons’ stock will fall after he recently sustained a torn ACL while training.
“Having some personnel experience like Coach Flores has, I think that’s huge because now you not only can go get the Minkah Fitzpatricks and the (Jerome) Bakers, the guys that are ready-made right now, but now you can say, OK, hey, I see it, I see the long-term plan and vision for this player and let’s think both short term and long term here.”
— Jeremiah likes how Flores’ experience as a scout could benefit as he begins his chapter as Dolphins head coach. Jeremiah explained that head coaches often are focused solely on the immediate future, while scouts have the bigger picture in mind. This certainly comes into play here because the Dolphins have made it clear they’re looking to build something that will last.
“To say that I liked Laremy Tunsil would be an understatement coming into the draft. I had him as the best player in the entire draft. He was my No. 1 player He’s always had premier, premier ability.”
— Jeremiah clearly is a big fan of the Dolphins left tackle, going so far as to say he was one of the biggest Pro Bowl snubs this past season. After he played guard as a rookie, Tunsil took a step forward in 2017 and emerged as an elite player last season.
“When you look at the secondary and you look at those two pieces to build around, that’s a pretty darn good place to start when you look at Fitzpatrick as well as Xavien Howard. That’s what gives you some hope there of potentially building a special secondary.”
— Jeremiah understands the Dolphins have their areas to address in the offseason, but he likes Minkah Fitzpatrick and Howard as two cornerstones in the secondary. Jeremiah said he liked Howard’s natural ability when he came into the draft, though he said he needed to refine his skills, something Howard clearly did in his breakout 2018 season.
“When you get to the Dolphins, I don’t really see a great fit there for these first-round quarterbacks. Dwayne Haskins is the best guy, but even in that situation I might kick the can down the road a little bit and say, hey, we’re going to fill some other needs on our football team and then we’ll try and insert the quarterback maybe a year from now and find yourself a veteran guy to get you through the year.”
— Jeremiah used the Seattle Seahawks as an example of a blueprint he suggested the Dolphins consider following, which is building a strong roster before finding a quarterback to lead the way instead of doing it the other way around. It’s with that idea in mind that Jeremiah says he doesn’t necessarily see the Dolphins taking a quarterback with the 13th overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft.