Will the Dolphins load up along the offensive line in 2022 NFL draft?

NFL Draft News

Two months ago, most Miami fans would have thought you had their record backward if you told them the Dolphins would be 1-6 through the first seven games.

But the defense has struggled, Tua has had more downs than ups, and the team traded away its own first-round pick. When the best thing fans have going for them is a potential trade for one of the most polarizing players in the league, it’s easy to see why Dolphins fans are miserable right now.

But a good draft can do a lot to right the ship – as long as the team gets more out of its rookie class than it has in recent years.

Here are six players in Rounds 1 through 4 who would fill immediate needs for Miami:

Round 1: OT Nicholas Petit-Frere, Ohio State

Liam Eichenberg, the team’s second-round pick this year out of Notre Dame, has had more good moments than bad. And the move to left guard for 2020 first-rounder Austin Jackson seems to suit him. But the team can do better at just about every other position along the line, including right tackle, currently manned by Jesse Davis, an undrafted free agent in 2015 out of Idaho.

Petit-Frere would fit right in and would be back at the same right tackle spot he started for at Ohio State before transitioning this season to the left side. The 6-foot-5, 315-pound junior hasn’t allowed a QB hit in over 500 pass-blocking attempts since 2019, according to PFF. Last season, he allowed a pressure on just 0.5 percent of OSU’s pass attempts, per PFF. From Fansided’s Scarlet and Game: “Petit-Frere is exceptionally athletic and light on his feet. He’s strong, rarely gets out-muscled, and is very good with his hands. He uses all of those physical skills to control defenders equally well in pass and run blocking. You’re starting to hear rumblings of him possibly pushing into the first round of the upcoming NFL Draft.” Likewise, Pro Football Network’s Tony Pauline isn’t sold on the tackle as a first-round prospect – yet. Pauline named Petit-Frere as a riser in his recent prospect stock report, saying he “has displayed consistent development in his game the past three seasons and grades as a Day 2 selection.” Other analysts, though, disagree and list Petit-Frere as the second- or third-best OT and a definite Day 1 selection.

Either way, solidifying the team’s offensive line should go a long way toward evaluating QB Tua Tagovailoa and whether he’s the long-term answer at the position.

Round 2: WR Garrett Wilson, Ohio State

Miami turns to Columbus, Ohio once again for its second-round pick – and it would be quite a coup for the Dolphins if Wilson falls this far. The 6-foot, 192-pound junior has 36 receptions for 605 yards and 6 touchdowns this season, giving him a line of 109-1,760-17 (and counting) for his career. PFF had Wilson going to New Orleans at pick No. 21 overall in its most recent mock draft, so it’s debatable whether Wilson will still be there near the top of Round 2. PFF, though, thinks the 2022 receiver class is deep and diverse enough that “someone is going to be picked lower than what same fans think is appropriate.” One thing is for sure, though: Wilson would fill an immediate need for the Dolphins and would be another tool in the toolbox for a young, still-developing quarterback. Keep in mind, Will Fuller, Albert Wilson and Preston Williams (restricted) will all be free agents at the end of the season.

From PFF: “Regardless of where his name is in the order, Wilson is a very talented former five-star wide receiver who brings NFL athleticism to the field every time he suits up on Saturdays. He’s a mesh-route machine when it comes to yards after the catch, and he also shows great body control and quick feet when running routes deeper down the field.”

Round 3: S Brandon Joseph, Northwestern

This is a slight reach here, but the Dolphins can’t hope that Joseph or Arkansas’ Jalen Catalon are still available late in the third when they pick again. And, if the Atlanta-Kyle Pitts debacle proves anything, it’s that Miami needs a long-term answer at safety.

When the season started, this would have seemed like too low of a pick for Joseph after the 6-foot-1, 192-pound redshirt sophomore intercepted six passes last season. But thus far, Joseph has just one INT and has given up too many first downs in coverage, prompting PFF to name him as one of the season’s most disappointing players earlier this month. But Joseph has picked things up since the Sept. 25 game against Ohio, when he snagged his first INT of the season. Since then, Joseph tied a career-high with 10 tackles against Nebraska, garnered a career-high two passes defended against Rutgers, then set a new career-high in tackles with 12 against Michigan, along with his first sack of the season.

Overall, Joseph has a career-high 52 tackles, giving him 102 for his career (and counting).

Joseph is also dangerous in the return game, as he’s returned four punts this season for 114 yards, a whopping 28.5 average per return.

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