The 2020 NFL draft is in the bag. Miami Dolphins fans had been waiting for this moment for the best part of a year. Star players such as Laremy Tunsil and Minkah Fitzpatrick were shipped out in favour of accumulating draft picks galore. The ‘Tank for Tua‘ campaign became a ‘thing’. This was it. So how did the Miami Dolphins fare? We take a look in the Dolphins 2020 Draft review.
Round 1 Pick 5 Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
The Dolphins got their man. It was apparent early in the 2019 season that Miami were keen on the talented Alabama signal caller. In the weeks leading up to the draft, there was lots of chatter about the Dolphins being keen to draft Oregon QB Justin Herbert, but was this all a smokescreen to stop anyone trading up to snare Tua? We will never truly know but I think Tua was always their guy (and in fact Herbert was always the Chargers first choice too). Tua’s medical concerns are well documented but in truth, if he hadn’t suffered the dislocation and acetabular fracture, he would’ve been right up there alongside Joe Burrow for the number 1 overall pick.
So what should Dolphins fans expect from Tuanigamanuolepola Tagovailoa, to give him his full title? As a freshman Tua replaced Jalen Hurts as a starter in the National Championship Game at half-time and led a comeback victory – pressure and the ‘bright lights’ of the NFL won’t phase him. He is agile and moves well in the pocket. His is extremely accurate and careful with the ball, his TD:INT ratio is a healthy 8:1. He does however, have a tendency to scramble when faced with pressure and these moves outside the pocket have often been the source of his injuries.
Mounting injuries are a concern, however, but if he can remain durable the Dolphins have their starter at QB for the next decade
Round 1 Pick 18 Austin Jackson, OT, USC
With their second pick, the Dolphins chose an offensive tackle, a position of clear need coming into the 2020 Draft. As the ‘Big 4’ of Thomas, Wills, Becton and Wirfs were all of the board by pick 18, Miami chose the tackle they felt had the most upaidd moving forward in Jackson.
A behemoth at 6′ 5″ and 322lbs, Jackson has outstanding athleticism for a man of his size. This was evident with his 5.07 40 yard dash at the scouting combine. His footwork flashes, and he great length which will give pass rushers problems getting to the QB.
At only 20 there is plenty of time for him to refine his technique and adjust to the nuances of the NFL. Although maybe not a day 1 starter, Jackson has all the potential to be a solid LT for the foreseeable future in Miami. Drafting potential on day 1 can be risky, but Grier, Flores and Co should make this work.
Round 1 Pick 30 Noah Igbinoghene, CB, Auburn
The Dolphins dropped 4 places in a trade with Green Bay, picking up a 4th round pick in the process. They used this pick on Noah Igbinoghene, a corner from Auburn. With bigger names at corner such as Jeff Gladney, Trevon Diggs, Jaylon Johnson and Kristian Fulton still on the board this came as a bit of a surprise. The fact Miami even went with a corner, considering they had paid Byron Jones big money in free agency, was unexpected.
However, this seems to be a ‘scheme fit’ choice. Igbinoghene projects to play at nickel allowing Jones and Howard to play on the outside and McCain and Rowe as the safeties. This gives Flores even more flexibility in using multiple defensive back sets.
Speed, tackling and competitiveness are not lacking with Igbinoghene, but he will need to refine his techniques and ball tracking at the next level. Again, he seems more ‘one for the future rather than the now’ but as we saw last year Brian Flores has an eye for developing talent.
Other noteable picks
Raekwon Davis, DT, Alabama – a heavy hitter picked in the 3rd round, Davis will fit in well as a rotational piece initially alongside Davon Godchaux and Christian Wilkins on the defensive line
Curtis Weaver, DE, Boise State – snapped up at pick 164, Miami may have gotten a steal. Predicted to go higher earlier in the draft process, he was productive at the collegiate level with sacks and tackles for loss. He should give Flores a good option in pass rush scenarios
Matt Breida, RB, traded from 49ers
Although not technically a draft pick, after passing on some names in earlier rounds, the Dolphins traded a 5th to the 49ers for Breida. He should compliment Jordan Howard nicely as a change of pace back and offer some pass catching options out of the backfield
After waiting so long for this draft, I can now be cautiously optimistic about the Dolphins future, particularly with another 2 firsts and 2 seconds in the 2021 draft. It’s been a while since Dolphins fans could say that