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Ryan Tannehill might be Miami's franchise QB, but he'll need better protection to reach his full potential.

Ryan Tannehill might be Miami’s franchise QB, but he’ll need better protection and more consistent play from his weapons to reach his full potential.


To the surprise of some, The Dolphins are playing fairly decent this year. A significant part of that decent play is due in part to the weakness of the AFC East this season, but quarterback Ryan Tannehill and the offense have been performing at a fairly high level.  Defensively, The Dolphins rank 25th in run defense and need to address this issue if they want to take that next step and catch the Patriots in their division.

If the Dolphins went D-Line in the first round Arizona State’s Will Sutton would be a good option to beef up the front line and clog the holes that the opposing RB’s are constantly finding. The Dolphins also have free agents like Paul Soliai and Randy Starks, meaning the Dolphins need immediate help on the line. If the Dolphins were to wait for the second or third round to get a DT, guys like DaQuan Jones of Penn State, Timmy Jernigan of Florida State and Danny Shelton of Washington are all guys I really like.

Tannehill and the offense have pretty good depth at WR and a couple good young RB’s but the Dolphins might think about grabbing a play-maker at tight end fairly early in the draft.  Charles Clay has shown flashes of great play but with the talent at TE in this draft, I would not be surprised if the Dolphins hopped on one early.  Eric Ebron of UNC looks really good but he might not make it to the Dolphins’ pick.  My best fit for the Dolphins is Washington’s Austin Seferian-Jenkins, a big TE who would be great to add to the lineup and help pass and run protect.

If the Dolphins' don't address the need at tackle in the first round, solid options like Ohio State's Jack Mewhort should still be available on Day 2.

If the Dolphins’ don’t address the need at tackle in the first round, solid options like Ohio State’s Jack Mewhort should still be available on Day 2.

Tannehill needs time in the pocket and his O-line is not giving it to him.  He doesn’t have that quick release or the elite skills that allow him to get the ball out instantly and effectively.  In my opinion, Miami needs to spend three picks on offensive linemen in May. Specific positions on the line the ‘Phins need to address are both left and right tackles as well as left guard.

With the talent available at tackle in this draft, I’m confident that the Dolphins will go there in the first round despite their need for a DT. I like Tennessee’s Antonio Richardson to help the left side in the first round because there are good RT’s in the next couple rounds including Jack Mewhort of Ohio State, who will be around in the 3 or 4th round, or hometown guy Seantrel Henderson of Miami.

Assuming that Miami picks a LT in the first round, and a DT or TE in the second, I feel like the third or fourth round might be reserved for a guard.  Solid options that should be available in that range include Alabama’s Anthony Steen, Chris Burnette of Georgia and Notre Dame’s Chris Watt.


Updated 2014 Mock Draft Now Up!


We’re halfway through the football season, which means it’s time to updated our 2014 Mock Draft!

Check out the Mock Draft page for our latest projections, and join the discussion!  Give us your take in the comment section, or find us on Twitter @NFLDraftReport!

Updated 2014 Rankings NOW UP!


We’re halfway through the football season, which means it’s time to update our 2014 rankings!  Our TDR Top 50 and Top 5 By Position are now updated, and we want YOUR take!

Let us know what you think in the comment section or join us on Twitter @NFLDraftReport to discuss!

NFL Draft Round-Table Tomorrow Morning on Tampa’s 98.7 The Fan!


Tune in to Tampa’s 98.7 The Fan from 9am-noon (EST) tomorrow morning to hear TDR’s Luke Easterling talk NFL Draft with The Fan’s resident Draft expert Justin Pawlowski, The Tampa Tribune’s Bucs beat writer Roy Cummings and Pewter Report’s Scott Reynolds!

Listen LIVE at!

Also, if you happen to be in the Tampa area and looking for THE premier NFL Draft Party in town, join Justin, Luke, and a slew of other NFL Draft crazies for the 98.7 The Fan Draft Party at Ferg’s Sports Bar & Grill (1320 Central Ave.,  St Petersburg, FL, 33705)!  Coverage begins at 7 p.m. on Thursday, and will continue on Friday for the 2nd and 3rd rounds!

Be sure to follow on Twitter @NFLDraftReport, @987TheFan, @CommishOnline (Justin Pawlowski), @RoyCummingsTBO, and @PewterReport!


“Over/Under” is a glance at a pair of players at each position; one who TDR believes in overrated, and one who we believe is underrated. 

Texas A&M DE Damontre Moore

Texas A&M DE Damontre Moore

OVER: Damontre Moore, Texas A&M

At one point this off-season, Moore was in the conversation for the best overall player available in this draft.  Even though his stock has cooled quite a bit sense then (most projections have him in the late-first range now), I see bust written all over him and wouldn’t spend a premium pick on him.

At first glance, Moore is exactly what teams are looking for at the position, especially in a 4-3 scheme.  He’s got the perfect frame, and he has those flashes of brilliance that make you think he can really be a dominant pass rusher.  But a closer look at the tape reveals a terribly inconsistent player who doesn’t seem to go 100% on every snap and is the recipient of plenty of coverage sacks.

Moore has moments where he is so disruptive it’s scary, but other moments when he seems to be just standing around waiting for something to happen.  He tends to want to get his hands up and bat down a pass too early instead of trying to gain ground against the tackle in the pass rush first.  Against the run, it’s a similar story.  One play, he’ll blow up the ball-carrier in the backfield, and the next he’ll get completely blown up himself.

Again, Moore has the tools to be an impact player.  But the apparent lack of 100% effort and inconsistent play make me worried that he won’t be able to translate successfully to the next level, where every NFL opponent will require his best effort.  If he’s still available in the 2nd Round, I don’t blame a team for taking a chance, but earlier than that, the risk is too much for me.

WKU DE Quanterus Smith

WKU DE Quanterus Smith

UNDER: Quanterus Smith, Western Kentucky

Smith carries some of the obvious caveats when it comes to pass rushers with solid production.  He sports an extremely lean frame (6-5, 250) and did his damage in a lesser conference, but if you look closely at the tape, you’ll see a player who has all the physical tools and intangibles that can make for a dangerous threat to the QB.

Smith is a high-motor guy with an explosive first step who uses his hands effectively when disengaging and beating his opponent.  His initial quickness off the snap allows him to make just as much of an impact against the run, consistently disrupting ball-carriers in the backfield.  His read/react time is solid, and he spent plenty of time at both DE spots.  He’s best suited with his hand in the dirt in the 4-3, but could possibly fit as a 3-4 edge rusher if he can develop his coverage skills a bit further.

Smith had double-digit tackles-for-loss in three of his four seasons with the Hilltoppers, including 18.5 last season (12.5 sacks).  He’ll definitely need to add some bulk to be effective against NFL tackles, but the extra poundage should also improve his base and leverage against the run.  For a player who is projected in the middle rounds at this point, Smith will have the chance to make an immediate impact as a situational player until he fills out and can become an every down presence.

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Post-Combine Rankings Now Up

Now that the Combine has wrapped up, we’ve updated the TDR Top 50 and Top 5 By Position.  Check them out and give us your thoughts!

FSU CB Xavier Rhodes is one of many who improved his stock with a strong showing at the Combine.  See where he falls in our updated rankings!

FSU CB Xavier Rhodes is one of many who improved his stock with a strong showing at the Combine. See where he falls in our updated rankings!



First 2013 Mock Draft

Our first mock draft of 2013 is now up!  Check it out and give us your thoughts!

Should the Chiefs take Texas A&M OT Luke Joeckel #1 overall, or roll the dice on a QB?

Should the Chiefs take Texas A&M OT Luke Joeckel #1 overall, or roll the dice on a QB?

Early-Bird Special: #18 – Dallas Cowboys

Now that the 2012 NFL Regular Season is in the books, it’s time to get an early look at the 2013 NFL Draft prospectus for each of the 20 NFL teams who now know their draft position in the first round.  We continue with the Dallas Cowboys at #18 overall.

“America’s Team” was in the hunt for the NFC East title until the final minutes of the regular season, but fell out of the playoffs completely after losing to Washington in Week 17.  Dallas definitely looked like a playoff team at times this season, but there are plenty of holes to fill on a team riddled with inconsistent play, even from its best players.  From Tony Romo’s hot/cold streaks, to Dez Bryant’s dazzling catch to bonehead drop tendencies, even the ‘Boys strengths were there weaknesses at certain points throughout the season.                            406

Texas S Kenny Vaccaro

Texas S Kenny Vaccaro

There are two holes on this team that cry out for immediate help, however.  Last year, the Cowboys were slated to pick 14th and were pegged by most to take Alabama S Mark Barron, as he was the perfect balance of overall talent and desperate position of need.  The Cowboys fueled that fire even further by trading up to the #6 pick, but chose to draft LSU CB Morris Claiborne instead.  The need at safety is still just as gaping, so it’s no surprise that the top prospect available at the position this year, Texas’ Kenny Vaccaro, is the popular mock pick for Dallas at #18.  Vaccaro doesn’t have the star power or swagger of Barron, but he’s a more balanced player who can play either strong or free safety, and who is just as comfortable in coverage as he is in the box defending the run.

The other big need for Dallas is along the interior offensive line, particularly at guard.  Alabama’s Chance Warmack will more than likely be off the board by the time they pick, and it might still be a bit early at that point for the Cowboys to make North Carolina’s Jonathan Cooper their selection.  If Warmack and Vaccaro are both off the board somehow, it would make plenty of sense for Jerry Jones to trade back and look to grab Cooper later in the first round.  Jones has proven that he’s not afraid to move up to get his man, or move down if he’s not enamored with any particular prospect at his given slot, so definitely look for the possibility of the ‘Boys moving in one direction or another in order for them to acquire their intended target.

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2013 NFL Draft Order: Picks 1-20 Set

Week 17 is officially in the books, which means that the 2013 NFL Draft season can unofficially commence.  With the top 20 picks now set, the task of draft-pick prognostics has a solid framework, allowing us draftniks to get started on projecting next year’s top prospects and where they might end up on Sundays.

Here are your top 20 picks for the 2013 NFL Draft:

1. Kansas City Chiefs (2-14) .516 strength of schedule       kansas city chiefs logo
2. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-14) .539
3. Oakland Raiders (4-12) .469
4. Philadelphia Eagles (4-12) .508
5. Detroit Lions (4-12) .566
6. Cleveland Browns (5-11) .508
7. Arizona Cardinals (5-11) .559
8. Buffalo Bills (6-10) .480
9. New York Jets (6-10) .512 (4-8 conference record)
10. Tennessee Titans (6-10) .512 (5-7 conference record)
11. San Diego Chargers (7-9) .457
12. Miami Dolphins (7-9) .500
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-9) .502
14. Carolina Panthers (7-9) .516
15. New Orleans Saints (7-9) .522
16. St. Louis Rams (7-8-1) .537
17. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8) .465
18. Dallas Cowboys (8-7) .515
19. New York Giants (9-7) .522
20. Chicago Bears (10-6) .514

How do you feel about your team’s draft slot?  Are they well-positioned to get the best combination of value and need?  Does it look like they might have to reach, trade up/down, or simply take the best player available?  Comment.  Discuss.


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SHOWDOWN: Tennessee WR Justin Hunter vs. N.C. State CB David Amerson

Welcome to SHOWDOWN, where TDR will feature the best weekly match-up between projected top talent heading into the 2013 NFL Draft.  This week, we look at a top-shelf tangle between two underclassmen: Tennessee WR Justin Hunter and North Carolina State CB David Amerson, who face-off at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta tomorrow night at 7:30 p.m. on ESPNU as part of the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Classic.


DAVID AMERSON – CB – NORTH CAROLINA STATE – #1                                 

6’3″, 194 – Junior                                 

N.C. State CB David Amerson

The first thing that stands out with Amerson is his insane combination of size and natural athletic ability.  At 6’3″, Amerson can measure up with any receiver who lines up across from him without giving up the size advantage that the average corner must compensate for.  Though his frame does leave a little room for bulk, his technique and physical style of play show that he’s not simply a tall corner with long arms and range, but also delivers stout punch at the line of scrimmage and the ability to win jump-balls against big, physical receivers.

The most outstanding thing I see watching the film is how much of a game-breaker Amerson is once the ball is in his hands.  It’s one thing to possess great ball skills and to consistently make interceptions (which he does), but it’s a completely different ballgame when it comes to what to do with the ball now that you have it.  In watching Amerson on tape, I see a guy who turns into a dangerous play-making threat once he has the ball.  Every time he gets a pick and lands on his feet with more than a yard to work with, you’d better watch out.  Amerson consistently switches gears seamlessly from defender to offensive lightning bolt, showing great vision and awareness on interception returns, as well as the explosiveness to separate from offensive players who aren’t nearly as skilled at tackling as their defensive counterparts.

As far as his draft value, Amerson has a skill set very similar to that of Morris Claiborne, who was the top corner taken in this year’s draft (#6, Dallas).  Amerson, however, possesses a clear size advantage over Claiborne, and can only play himself out of a Top-5 selection next April.

JUSTIN HUNTER – WR – TENNESSEE – #11                                       

6’4″, 200 – Junior                  

Tennessee WR Justin Hunter

Hunter is a big-bodied receiver who is a home-run threat on every down.  As a freshman, Hunter only caught 16 passes, but they went for 415 yards and SEVEN touchdowns.  That’s an average of 25.9 yards per catch, and a touchdown for nearly every TWO receptions.  As a sophomore last year, Hunter displayed the same type of big-play ability in his first two games, hauling in six passes for 146 yards against Montana, and followed it up by proving himself a reliable possession threat (not just a field-stretcher) by grabbing 10 balls for 152 yards and a score against Cincinnati.  Hunter’s season came to an abrupt and disappointing end the following week, as he tore his ACL against Florida.

Obviously, Hunter is little tougher to evaluate on film because he just doesn’t have a very long reel because of the limited action he’s seen.  What I do see, however, is that he has all the physical skills you look for in a big-time receiver, and has the ideal frame scouts want, which gives him the chance to be a first-round pick next year.  The biggest thing scouts will need to see from him this year is whether or not he can has the same explosion while playing on a surgically-repaired knee.  If Hunter can put together a full season of the same kind of numbers he’s put up so far in his career, look for him to be among the top receivers taken in next year’s draft.


Both of these players have incredible natural athletic ability, and a flare for the big play.  But when it comes down to it, look for Hunter to struggle against Amerson, considering this will be his first game action since the ACL tear just three games into last season.  Hunter will have to rebuild confidence in his knee, while also shaking off a heavier layer of rust than Amerson will need to in the first game of the season.  This round goes to Amerson.