With the 11th pick, the Dolphins …
… want quarterback Baker Mayfield, but he'll most likely be gone and they aren't expected to trade up if the price is too steep. Besides, exactly why has Mayfield run up so high?
… want linebacker Roquan Smith, but he'll probably be gone, and they could take linebacker Tremaine Edmunds.
… want cornerback/safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, and could take safety Derwin James, but fear James overlaps the talents of safeties Reshad Jones and T.J. McDonald.
… aren't sold on investing high on a defensive tackle like Vita Vea. He can be great. But if they're going to play three defensive ends more since offenses used three-receiver formations 65 percent of the time against them last year, the question is how much more to invest in defensive tackles. They need one. But at 11th? That's the question here — and, like everything else, the answer depends on the other options available .
Here's a darkhorse candidate who would instantly change the look of the team who the Dolphins surely have done full homework on.:
Too soon? Of course it's too soon, according to most draftniks. The Dolphins could trade down, if that would present itself. But Jackson is the most fascinating player in the draft for what he could be after watching him play at Louisville. I'm not alone in that idea.*
Mike Lombardi, the former NFL exec, rates Jackson as the third-best offensive prospect behind guard Quenton Nelson and running back Saquon Barkley. That's right. Jackson is his top-rated quarterback. And listen …
"That's one guy I really am intrigued with because he can spin it and he's been in a pro-style offense and he's been hard-coached by Bobby (Petrino)," said former Arizona coach Bruce Arians on AZCentral.com. "He brings that unique skill-set, and it makes me look back at Vince Young.
"Vince could beat you and he was a heck of a leader. I don't know why it didn't work out for him, but listening to him now, telling his story, he's like, 'I didn't put the time in.' I think Lamar puts the time in. He's going to get better, and he just brings that unique ability to break the game open with his legs."
Arians says quarterback-needy Arizona should take Jackson with the 15th pick.
"The guy I'm most excited about is Lamar Jackson,'' NFL Network draftnik Mike Mayock said. "He's the most exciting athlete in the draft. I think somebody in the first round is going to make a philosophical and schematic commitment to this kid and change what they do offensively. And it might not be this year where he makes a significant move, but I think long term, I can't wait to see what Lamar Jackson becomes."
Adam Gase is a creative coach. Jackson is a creative pick. If everybody's on board with him in the Dolphins front office, does he become an option if none of the hoped-for players drop to No. 11? He would to me. He's that intriguing a talent.
(I am inserting here this is just what I'd do. It's not based on anything I've been told. There always are two issues with mock drafts: Is this a draft you think the team will do? Or is what you would do? Let's be clear: This is what I would do.)