It started off looking like it was going to be an excellent season for the Miami Dolphins under first year head coach Mike McDaniel. That was until Tua Tagovailoa missed time due to multiple concussions. They still finished 9-8 and almost beat the Buffalo Bills in the Wild Card round of the playoffs. As the Dolphins look to build on this promising season, here is what the 2023 NFL Draft could look like for them before free agency.
*Simulated using the PFF Mock Draft Simulator, no trades.
Round Two: Darnell Washington, Tight End, Georgia
With Mike Gesicki possibly not returning in 2023, tight end becomes an important position to address. Darnell Washington would be the ideal tight end here for the Dolphins. As a receiver, Washington hauled in 45 receptions over three years for 774 yards, created 338 yards after the catch, had an ADOT of 11.6, and three touchdowns. What would make Washington valuable to the Dolphins is his blocking ability that is top-tier. At 6’7, 270 pounds, he absorbs contact, redirects defenders, and consistently finishes blocks. He plays with great pad level to gain leverage fairly quickly. His size also contributes to him as a receiver with his frame that he uses to shield defenders away from the ball and get past defenders to create after the catch. All this truly makes Washington ideal for the scheme the Dolphins run on offense.
Round Three: Tyrique Stevenson, Cornerback, Miami
After allowing the sixth most pass yards with 3,992 and 27 passing touchdowns, the cornerback spot needs to be addressed for Miami. Tyrique Stevenson is 6’0, 214 pounds, and uses his frame to efficiently high-point the ball and disrupt the passing lane. His strength and size also come into play when effectively jamming receivers at the one of scrimmage to disrupt their route. He processes routes extremely well and routinely runs receivers routes for them because of this. Over his four years in college, he allowed only 92 receptions for 1,050 yards, created 17 pass breakups and secured three interceptions. His physical mindset also saw him be willing to come downhill and stop the run, as he accumulated 47 run stops. Stevenson has steadily developed each year and that will continue in the NFL.
Round Three: Steve Avila, Guard, TCU
The Dolphins saw multiple injuries hinder their offensive line in 2022. Steve Avila would not only provide depth, but could challenge for the starting job. Avila plays with great strength that he uses to either clear running lanes or latch on in pass protection and anchor himself well to not let defenders by. Another factor that stands out about Avila is he is always actively looking for work and keeps his head on a swivel. Avila does come out of his stance a bit stiff, leading to him being delayed occasionally to get into his stance. Even with that, he allowed only 11 pressures last season and zero sacks. A key here with Avila is his versatility, playing snaps at all five positions. That is what makes Avila an ideal pick.
Round Six: Deshawn Pace, Linebacker, Cincinnati
With Sam Equavoen and Andrew Van Ginkel both set to be free agents this offseason, the Dolphins need to address their linebacker depth. Pace would bring youth to the position that they would need. Pace excels in multiple areas, as a blitzer, he has the speed and flexibility to come off the edge, get past blockers, and make a play in the backfield. This led to him having 11 pressures and a sack last season. Against the run this same speed that he uses to trigger downhill is evident, and he takes good angles when tackling, leading to 61 career run stops. Pace even is good in coverage, playing with great instincts to diagnose plays. Although his ability to track the ball is inconsistent, he limits yards as on 35 completions Pace only allowed 273 yards while creating five interceptions. There is a lot of talent here to work with.
Round Seven: Travis Dye, Running Back, USC
Raheem Mostert, Jeff Wilson, Salvon Ahmed, and Myles Gaskin are all set to be free agents. Mostert will most likely be back, but the other running backs the Dolphins may not be able to keep. This creates a need for depth at this position, and Travis Dye ends up being the pick. Dye has shown the ability to be patient behind the line and once he sees a gap form has the burst to get through it. He also is an ideal third-down back, with his leg drive to push piles and pick up extra yards. He falls due to not necessarily having the best long-speed. In a rotational backfield though, Dye should find a place to have success and provide depth.