Perhaps the Miami Dolphins will make some adjustments during the 2023 offseason. Remember that they still have a couple of openings on their roster. Of course, they can do so through the draft, especially with specific players who aren’t on anyone’s radar right now. Here we’ll look at the three sleeper rookie prospects for the Miami Dolphins to target in the 2023 NFL Draft.
The Dolphins are facing a challenging situation as they head into the draft. They have traded away a significant portion of their draft capital in recent years, resulting in a lack of a first-round pick this season. Nonetheless, the team is determined to succeed and must make the most of the four picks they do have. Their priority is to find talented players in key positions, such as edge rusher, tight end, offensive line, and punter, in order to improve their chances of success. Luckily, this year’s draft offers some excellent prospects in the second and third rounds that can help the team achieve these goals.
Again recall that in previous years, the Dolphins had a wealth of picks, including multiple first-round selections. That’s just not the case in 2023. Several of their picks were traded away in deals to acquire players such as Tyreek Hill, Bradley Chubb, and Jalen Ramsey. As good as those players are, those deals also left Miami with limited draft options. In addition, the team was penalized for tampering in their pursuit of quarterback Tom Brady and coach Sean Payton. That resulted in the forfeiture of their first-round pick. Despite these challenges, the Dolphins are determined to succeed and will use their remaining picks to bolster their team and achieve greatness.
Let’s look at three sleeper draft prospects for the Dolphins in 2023.
1. Warren McClendon
Warren McClendon was a highly touted offensive tackle prospect in high school. He received a consensus four-star rating and was ranked one of the top-35 offensive tackles in the country. He excelled on the field, earning multiple all-state honors. In his three years as a starter for the Georgia Bulldogs, McClendon also played a key role in their success. He helped them win consecutive National Championships.
McClendon’s skill set is well-suited for both the run and pass game. He possesses impressive upper-body strength, which allows him to create running lanes. Additionally, he is capable of climbing to the second level to pick off backs and works well in duo-blocking schemes. In pass protection, McClendon is adept at meeting rushers at the apex of their attack and disrupting their momentum. Despite his smooth lateral movement, McClendon remains attentive to his surroundings and constantly adjusts his hand placement for optimal leverage and grip. Having him at the o-line would be a great pick-up for the Dolphins.
2. Viliami Fehoko
Villiami Fehoko’s family has a strong football and athletic background. In fact, he is the second cousin of Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle, Vita Vea. Fehoko is an aggressive player who constantly attacks offensive linemen with a relentless mindset. He shows great physicality and strength in the run game. He can effectively anchor, stack, and shed blocks on the edges. Fehoko also has a strong understanding of various run-blocking concepts and how to disrupt them. He has a high defensive IQ.
#𝙈𝙒𝙁𝘽 𝘿𝙀𝙁𝙀𝙉𝙎𝙄𝙑𝙀 𝙋𝙇𝘼𝙔𝙀𝙍 𝙊𝙁 𝙏𝙃𝙀 𝙔𝙀𝘼𝙍
Viliami Fehoko, @SanJoseStateFB
Leads MW and ranks sixth nationally with 18.5 TFLs
Tied for second in the MW with nine sacks#AtThePEAK | #AllSpartans pic.twitter.com/ssA04FEBK8
— Mountain West (@MountainWest) November 29, 2022
In the pass rush, Fehoko has demonstrated significant improvement over the past three seasons. He can utilize multiple hand counters and moves to win. He understands the importance of not overrunning the play and has a good sense of timing in retracing his steps or spinning back inside to catch the quarterback. His presence on the defensive line would be a really good thing for the Dolphins.
1. Will McDonald IV
Will McDonald IV has played in over 50 college games and had his most productive seasons in 2020 and 2021. Recall that he earned double-digit sacks, Co-Defensive Lineman of the Year, and First-Team All-Big-12 honors two years ago. However, in the 2022 season, his performance dropped significantly with only five sacks. That’s possibly due to playing different defensive front alignments.
As a pass rusher, McDonald relies on his speed and a quick first step to attack the edges of offensive tackles. He also employs hand counters, such as the two-hand swipe and cross chop, to turn the corner and finish at the quarterback. While his fluid hips help him maintain his speed, McDonald needs to improve his lateral movement. Remember that his current segmented lateral moves allow offensive linemen to react and block him. Despite this, he has the potential to become a high-level edge rusher. If the Dolphins can get McDonald in the second round, that would be an absolute win for their defense.
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