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2023 NFL Draft Preview – Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins are a team on the ascension and Steven Pintado has a path to attack their needs in this 2023 Mock Draft!

Credit for the mock draft simulation goes to NFL Mock Draft Database. Team needs are also generated from this site. Compensatory picks have not been assigned and will not be included in this exercise.

The Miami Dolphins had a roller coaster-like season but eventually got into the playoffs for the first time in five years. It was primarily due to a healthy Tua Tagovailoa, who had a breakout season. Moving forward, the concussion concerns are on high alert. They did grab Skylar Thompson as a promising backup who almost won the playoff game he started. The run game will need an upgrade as Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson are free agents but did perform well.

The receivers have an elite group, with Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle as unstoppable forces. They could use an upgrade over Cedrick Wilson and Trent Sheffield, but some youth for the 2022 class can help in Erick Ezukama and Braylon Sanders. The tight end position could use an upgrade, as Mike Gesicki could be gone, who didn’t fit well with the team, and Durham Smythe then is just a guy. The Dolphins’ offensive line could use an upgrade all over the line to better protect their quarterback. 

The Dolphins’ front seven is a solid unit, as Christina Wilkins had a career year for a defensive tackle. They need to produce more sacks, as Jaelan Phillips did his best but led with seven sacks. Hopefully, he can grow with newcomer Bradley Chubb now in Miami. They could use more from their linebackers in overall play, but Jerome Baker needs a buddy. In the secondary, they only had eight interceptions on the season, and Jevon Hollards led the way with just two. They have aging shutdown cornerbacks Xavien Howard and undrafted gem Kader Kokou but need to create turnovers. 

 2.51 Zach Charbonnet, RB UCLA

Since the Dolphins don’t have a first-round pick, they selected Charbonnet out of UCLA with their second-round pick. Charbonnet has the combo of size, power, and strength for the position. He is a downhill runner with an elite vision behind the line and in the open field.

When he finally got a chance at the starting job, he rushed for 1,359 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2022. He is patient when getting pressed at the line of scrimmage to find the holes, although he can sometimes have happy feet. Once he has the ball in his hands, he is a powerful runner and can break most arm tackles and knock over defenders. Charbonnet also has a knack for making defenders miss and not just run them over. His hands are serviceable enough to be productive in the passing game. The only concern is Charbonnet doesn’t have breakaway speed, but he is very effective for what he gives the Dolphins. He has three-down back potential, which is something Miami needs. 

3.77 Matthew Bergeron, OT Syracuse

In round three, the Miami Dolphins select Bergeron, an offensive lineman with a ton of versatility among the offensive line. Bergeron played both right tackle and left tackle in college and could be used on any side of the line. He is excellent in pass protection due to his movement ability and how well his feet move. He’s a crafty operator in the run game, and Bergeron has fantastic timing on run plays. While he did play on either side of the ball, he is better suited for the right side playing tackle or guard. He will make an impact at the NFL level. The Dolphins could continue to use interior work and overall quality depth at the position. 

3.84 Tucker Kraft, TE South Dakota State

The Dolphins’ second pick in the third round has to be another difference maker as they select Tucker Kraft, a tight end from South Dakota State. He flashed in 2021 with 773 receiving yards and six touchdowns. In 2022 he would have likely matched his 2021 total had he not had an ankle injury that ended his season. Kraft has excellent size and strength for the position. He is very athletic and has receiver ability upside in this game.

Unlike Mike Gesicki, Kraft can play more in line and line up in the slot. He has shown to be reliable in both the run and pass game, which is something Miami doesn’t have on the roster. He has good short-area quickness and knows how to get extra yards with the ball in his hands. Miami needs a tight end who can be a weapon in all phases of the offense and be what George Kittle is to the 49ers. Kraft’s biggest concerns are his rawness and the level of competition from South Dakota, but Kraft’s untapped potential will make it to the next level.

6.178 Owen Pappoe, LB Auburn

The Dolphins select a gem in the sixth round in Pappoe, a linebacker from Auburn. When you first look at him, you see tremendous athleticism to do it all as a three-down linebacker. Pappoe’s best trait is his coverage ability; he has a fantastic upside with his speed to keep up in the passing game. He needs to develop more in the run game because there is room to grow. Pappoe needs to get back to basics, as he missed many tackles in 2022, even with 91 tackles. The biggest thing is Miami needs to get younger and faster in their linebackers. Jerome Baker has been a solid player but needs help, and Pappoe’s athleticism will help. 

7.240 Keaton Mitchell, RB East Carolina 

The last pick for the Miami Dolphins is Mitchell, a running back out of East Carolina. Fun fact, Mitchell was drafted by the USFL league this past week in their college draft. Granted, that means those players drafted don’t have a shot at the NFL draft or to be drafted by a team.

Mitchell can make a difference and use the extra spotlight to make his case known. He has the terrific foot speed to move from side to side to find holes in the line. Mitchell can bounce on outside runs and pick up huge chunks of yardage. He has top-end speed, and you aren’t catching him if he gets into the open field. He will be more of a weapon than the primary running back for a team since he doesn’t pass block well. Mitchell is a bit undersized, so he isn’t a tackler-breaker. He does bounce around too much, which is why he had a high rate of negative runs in college.

If he can be paired up with a running back like Charbonnet, getting a guy with his speed is a nice complement in the running game. Miami will have a new rookie backfield, and getting two rookies shows they need to get younger and faster. 

Fantasy Analysis

If Charbonnet heads to Miami, He is locked into a top-eight rookie fantasy pick. He’ll likely lead the Dolphins’ backfield in touches. He has a nose for the endzone, and I’ll catch enough passes to have a chance for a high-end RB2 fantasy season. We saw Miami’s running backs have a system in coach McDaniel’s offense scheme, having multiple high-end RB2 weeks in 2022.

Kraft would likely be a late-round three pick in rookie drafts because of his upside as a receiver in fantasy. He would also have a shot at the starting job in Miami if drafted there. Coming from a smaller school, he may need time to develop, so his rookie success could be limited. Mitchell likely would go undrafted unless we hear things coming out of camp that he is flashing. Probably a mid-season waiver wire stash for 2024. Pappoe is the only defensive player. He would likely not be drafted due to his draft capital, but he would be a good waiver pick to stash to see if he can develop.

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