What do you think of Dolphins taking Missouri DE Charles Harris in 1st round? Poll. Last chance to vote!; plus Fins stick with D in 2nd round, Cote slays Kiper/McShay in Mock Draft; also, Neil Diamond concert review, Hot Button Daily (Sat) & more
GREG COTE'S RANDOM EVIDENCE BLOG: MIAMI. SPORTS. AND BEYOND.
1) It is SATURDAY, April 29. It's NFL Draft Week in America! 2) Happen to know any Dolfans? Delight them. Get each of them our new book on club's first half-century? Check out Fins At 50. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins pre-draft poll, updated NHL odds & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.
Cote slays the Mock giants!: ESPN draftniks Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay both scored four bull's-eyes in their Mock first rounds -- exact player to exact team. Kiper correctly had Garrett to Browns, Fournette/Jags, McCaffrey/Panthers and Davis/Lions. McShay had Garrett, Fournette, McCaffrey and Davis to Titans. The Herald's Mock Man Greg Cote -- hey, that's me! --doubled both experts with eight (!) first-round bull's-eyes. I correctly had Garrett, Fournette, McCaffrey, Adams to Jets, Harris/Dolphins, Bolles/Broncos, Charlton/Cowboys and Watt/Steelers.
MY TAKE ON HARRIS PICK: OH YEAH!: [Click on Right Pick For Right Reasons for my full column on Miami's choice of Charles Harris]. I correctly had Miami selecting the Mizzou pass rusher 22nd overall in my Mock Draft (see below), so naturally I am somewhat predisposed to think the Dolphins did the right thing and made a great selection. But it's true. They could have taken Canes tight end David Njoku or Western Kentucky guard Forrest Lamp, but this first round should have focused on defense, and did. They could have then chosen Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster, a highly graded defender whose stock had dropped, but he had off-field issues that led to that tumble. In Harris the Dolphins get a quality talen, an outside-linebacker or end who brings a fierce pass rush -- a role of need. Read the column linked above for my full take. Now, how the Dolphins did in the first round Thursday night is up to you. Here's your poll. Vote now!
1. Cleveland Browns: Myles Garrett, DE/OLB, Texas A&M -- Garrett is the best player in this draft and a generational talent, according to Garrett. Cleveland also could trade down and take another stab at a quarterback, or hope for that with the 12th overall pick. Or, they could really be the Browns and overreach by taking a QB No. 1. (Does Johnny Manziel have a younger brother?) But I'm wild-hunching the Earthtones make an adult pick for a change. THE PICK: Garrett. A no-brainer, although with the no-brain Browns you're never sure. Loud booing for Goodell always sounds like music. Kiper always sounds like somebody impersonating Kiper. OUR MOCK SCORE: 1-for-1, 1 bull's-eye.
2. Chicago Bears (from San Francisco 49ers): Solomon Thomas, DE/DT, Stanford -- When SF had it: Niners need everything, everywhere, including the defensive help a better pass rush would bring. They need it enough to keep this Stanford kid at home in Santa Clara. Also need a QB, but no unequivocal franchise guys are in this draft. THE PICK: Trade! Bears up to 2nd pick and take QB Mitchell Trubisky, a surprise this high; I had him going 13th. Mike Glennon reaching for the whisky right about now. Niners now picking 3rd. OUR MOCK SCORE: 2-for-2, 1 bull's-eye.
3. San Francisco 49ers (from Chicago Bears): Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State -- When CHI had it: Some draft-graders think fellow safety Jamal Adams is a safer bet, but Hooker has the big upside to bring Ed Reed comparisons, highest possible praise for the position. THE PICK: Thomas, who I had going 2nd. Niners need a QB, but thought they'd go for defense, as they did. OUR MOCK SCORE: 3-for-3, 1 bull's-eye.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars: Leonard Fournette, RB, Louisiana State -- Need a tackle even though they traded for Branden Albert, but no OTs are worthy of this pick. Jags love DeShaun Watson but this is a more sure pick to goose an anemic offense. THE PICK: Fournette. Bull's-eye! Thank you, says Blake Bortles. OUR MOCK SCORE: 4-for-4, 2 bull's-eyes.
5. Tennessee Titans: Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State -- Titans also own 18th pick after getting this one in trade from Rams last year. Wide receiver (maybe Mike Williams) will tempt here, too, but secondary a more pressing need. THE PICK: WR Corey Davis. Wow. Surprise this high; I had Davis going 14th (to draft host Philadelphia, actually). Titans took a bit longer than first four teams. Indecision? In-fighting? OUR MOCK SCORE: 5-for-5, 2 bull's-eyes.
▪ SUPER BONUS DRAFT FACT: Bitter rivals ESPN and NFL Network are going all out this week to fill way too many hours of draft-related programming. Tuned into ESPN this morning and came across the tinkling piano and mournful strings of a maudlin retrospective on Chris Berman's ebbing career. NFL Network countered with an exclusive whatever-happened-to piece on Johnny Manziel, who has been mysteriously missing from headlines for nearly two weeks.
6. New York Jets: Jamal Adams, S, Louisiana State -- This pick could be sooo Jets with a reach for project-quarterback Mitch Trubisky. NYJ also entertaining trade-down offers. But can't go wrong with Adams at biggest need position after QB. THE PICK: Adams. Boom! Another bull's-eye. Such a solid pick even Stinkin' Jets fans can't bring themselves to boo. And a Dolphins AFC East rival just got tougher to move the ball against. OUR MOCK SCORE: 6-for-6, 3 bull's-eyes.
7. Los Angeles Chargers: Jonathan Allen, DT, Alabama -- The San Dieangelos Chargers need blocking help for Philip Rivers, but no OL'ers are top 10-worthy. Also might prefer a safety here should either Hooker or Adams fall. THE PICK: WR Mike Williams, whom I had going just below at 10th. And Philip Rivers is grinning like a donkey eating briars. (That's for you, Edwin Pope!) OUR MOCK SCORE: 7-for-7, 3 bull's-eyes.
8. Carolina Panthers: Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford -- Incumbent Jonathan Stewart is 30 now (Methuselah for the position), and McCaffrey figures as a dynamic, dual-threat asset for Cam Newton. THE PICK: McCaffrey. Booya! Another dart right in the heart. And McCaffrey becomes first white tailback drafted in first round in 40 years (although he's as much a slot receiver). OUR MOCK SCORE: 8-for-8, 4 bull's-eyes.
9. Cincinnati Bengals: Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama -- A wide receiver for Andy Dalton is very possible here, but Foster is a pro-ready inside run-stopper from the Saban Factory. However, Foster's draft stock has slipped with off-field issues. It would not entirely shock if he tumbled all the way into Miami's sights (and Fins would love-love-love him), but I doubt that happens. THE PICK: WR John Ross. A bit of a reach, although I had the speed guy going 18th. Andy Dalton = happy man. Promising draft so far for Miami, but it's still early. OUR MOCK SCORE: 9-for-9, 4 bull's-eyes.
10. Kansas City Chiefs (from Buffalo Bills): When BUF had it: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson -- A pass rusher will tempt, but Buffs' wideout room is Sammy Watkins and a whole lotta nuthin' so this pick makes much sense. (And is one more reason I think the division-mate Dolphins will be leaning cornerback with their top pick). THE PICK: Trade! Chiefs move up 17 spots for QB Patrick Mahomes. That's a real (and costly) conviction on this kid, a project guy who'll have time behind Alex Smith. And here's my first draft fizzle, as I did not have Mahomes in my first round. OUR MOCK SCORE: 9-for-10, 4 bull's-eyes.
▪ SUPER BONUS DRAFT FACT: The NFL Draft, no longer held in New York every year, is this week in Philadelphia, where perpetually angry Philly fans have been booing all week in anticipation of the Eagles' pick. Extra police will be on hand Thursday night amid reports of a planned massive demonstration by protesters who want to abolish the draft in favor of an all-volunteer NFL.
11. New Orleans Saints: Haason Reddick, LB, Temple -- Adrian Peterson saying he's signing with Saints is one more indication N'Awlins will go with D here. Corner may be bigger need but regard for Reddick is burgeoning. He'd seriously tempt Miami at 22 if miraculously he fell. THE PICK: CB Marshon Lattimore. I had him going 5th, so a nice get for a team always needing defensive help. Good draft so far for Miami, with Foster/Reddick still on board. OUR MOCK SCORE: 10-for-11, 4 bull's-eyes.
12. Houston Texas (from Cleveland Browns): O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama -- When CLE had it: Taking Garrett No. 1 frees Cleveland to think offense with this pick obtained from Philadelphia, and Howard is draft's premier TE. These are the Browns, of course, so a stab at a quarterback would not surprise. THE PICK: QB DeShaun Watson. I had him going 25th, to Cleveland. OUR MOCK SCORE: 11-for-12, 4 bull's-eyes.
13. Arizona Cardinals: Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina -- Carson Palmer is 37, Cardbirds need an heir to the air, and Mitchell is the perfect developmental guy they can wait a year or two to unleash. Also need help in secondary. THE PICK: LB Haasan Reddick. I had him going a smidge higher, at 11th. Cardbirds had to be in scramble mode, with all three top QBs unexpectedly off board early. And the draft's first real ouch for Miami. Fins would have loved Reddick had he somehow slipped to 22nd. OUR MOCK SCORE: 12-for-13, 4 bull's-eyes.
14. Philadelphia Eagles: Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan -- Birds had big interest in Ohio State cornerback Gareon Conley with this pick obtained from Minnesota, but a miserably timed rape accusation against Conley could see him plummet from first round entirely. Would also love RB McCaffrey if he falls. THE PICK: DE Derek Barnett. I had him going just below, at 17th. Another guy Miami would have seriously considered had he fallen. OUR MOCK SCORE: 13-for-14, 4 bull's-eyes.
15. Indianapolis Colts: Forrest Lamp, OG, Western Kentucky -- Here's a guy Miami would strongly consider as draft's only 1R-certified guard, but Andrew Luck has been sacked 156 times in five seasons, is coming off shoulder surgery and needs immediate help. THE PICK: S Malik Hooker. A steal, considering I had him going 3rd overall. But Indy passing on Forrest Lamp means the guard could fall to Miami. Uh oh. OUR MOCK SCORE: 14-for-15, 4 bull's-eyes.
▪ SUPER BONUS DRAFT FACT: The Dolphins will stage their annual draft-day fans’ party Thursday night from 7:30 to 11:30 on the field at Hard Rock Stadium. The event will feature appearances by bitter former players born too soon for the gravy train, entirely independent live reports by impartial journalists paid by the Dolphins, free cheerleader autographs (no, seriously) and also instant and expert analysis by Cam Cameron of the No. 1 draft pick's family.
16. Baltimore Ravens: Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama -- Help for Joe Flacco is Raven's priority, and Robinson is draft's highest graded tackle. Could be a receiver here if not a blocker. THE PICK: CB Marlon Humphrey. I had him lasting until 29th. Humphrey is son of ex-Dolphins RB Bobby Humphrey. OUR MOCK SCORE: 15-for-16, 4 bull's-eyes.
17. Washington Redskins: Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee -- Barnett targets need for a pass rusher. Skins would love a running back but the only two worthy of first round are long gone. THE PICK: DE/DT Jonathan Allen. Could be a 1R steal. I had him going 7th and Kiper I think had him graded second overall in entire draft. OUR MOCK SCORE: 16-for-17, 4 bull's-eyes.
18. Tennessee Titans: John Ross, WR, Washington -- Titans went defense with fifth overall pick so balance that with a nice little gift for quarterback Marcus Mariota. THE PICK: CB Adoree' Jackson. A reach. And a miss for me. Had him (barely) out of my first round. OUR MOCK SCORE: 16-for-18, 4 bull's-eyes.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: DAVID NJOKU, TE, MIAMI -- Dolphins' season-opening opponent takes a Miami kid to goose the offense and make Jameis Winston's life easier. Bucs have greater needs (outside linebacker), but can't resist Njoku's field-stretching, big-play ability -- something that also intrested the Dolphins. THE PICK: TE O.J. Howard. Well, I had the right position and right idea here. Thought Njoku because I was sure Howard would be long gone. OUR MOCK SCORE: 17-for-19, 4 bull's-eyes.
20. Denver Broncos: Garett Bolles, OT, Utah -- Broncos will have inexperience at QB no matter who starts, so an extra second in the pocket could make a difference. THE PICK: Bolles. BOOM! Bulls-eye! Take that, Kiper! OUR MOCK SCORE: 18-for-20, 5 bull's-eyes.
▪ SUPER BONUS DRAFT FACT: Bitter-rival South Florida sports radio stations The Ticket Miami (790) and WQAM (560) are ramping up their commitment to draft coverage this week, unaware that, in a national poll of what would most make listeners drive screaming off a cliff into a ravine to stop the sound, the No. 1 answer was, “Hearing a local radio host probe Trent Dilfer on Mitch Trubisky's rising stock.”
21. Detroit Lions: Kevin King, CB, Washington -- Detroit has not spent a first-round pick on a cornerback in 17 straight drafts, longest stretch of any NFL team. Time that ended. THE PICK: LB Jarrad Davis. The ex-Gator is a guy Miami, picking next, might have considered. I had him going two spots below. OUR MOCK SCORE: 19-for-21, 5 bull's-eyes.
22. MIAMI DOLPHINS: CHARLES HARRIS, DE/LB, MISSOURI -- In my first draft of my mock draft I had the Dolphins taking Ohio State cornerback Gareon Conley here. Then came that rape accusation. I still do not discount the possibility. Did they not jump on Laremy Tunsil despite the gas-mask bong thing? The controversy embroiling Conley is obviously worse, but he might still be the pick here if Miami determined the accusation is baseless and that Conley won't be charged -- a huge if. Harris is a safer choice as an outside linebacker who also can adapt smoothly to pass-rush end role. Todd McShay calls him the draft's best pure OLB and he very well may not last, but I think there's a chance he could fall to the Fins for a second straight of first-round good fortune. Miami emphasized defense in free agency led by Lawrence Timmons but still should have that side of the scrimmage line as their priority in the draft. (By the way, am hearing the Dolphins covet Michigan's Jabrill Peppers as a Day 2 pick if they can get him). THE PICK: Harris. GOT IT! NAILED IT! BULL'S-EYE! OUR MOCK SCORE: 20-for-22, 6 bull's-eye.
23. New York Giants: Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida -- Biggies need a run-stopper and Davis is an inside-'backer who fits the role. Also need blocking help. Right, Eli? THE PICK: TE Evan Engram. A misfire by me. Did not have him in my first round. (And David Njoku's draft party just sank further). MY MOCK SCORE: 20-for-23, 6 bull's-eyes.
24. Oakland Raiders: Malik McDowell, DT, Michigan State -- The Oakvegas Raiders are thin on interior D-line and need to beef up the run stopping. Hauling RB Marshawn Lynch out of retirement to fortify an already scary offense only underlines the likelihood they'll go with defense here. THE PICK: CB Gareon Conley. I had him dropping out of my first round after a recent rape accusation but the Raiders (of course) are rolling dice on a player who could prove a draft steal if exonerated. OUR MOCK SCORE: 20-for-24, 6 bull's-eyes.
25. Cleveland Browns (from Houston Texans): DeShaun Watson, QB, Clemson -- When HOU had it: Why? Because Tom Savage and Brandon Weeden are your quarterbacks, that's why. THE PICK: S/LB Jabrill Peppers. I thought he'd slip to second round, when Dolphins would have had an interest. OUR MOCK SCORE: 20-for-25, 6 bull's-eyes. Need to finish strong here.
▪ SUPER BONUS DRAFT FACT: Some might not be aware ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. consults experts in each city for inside draft info and that I was his Miami guy until that unfortunate mixup in 2014. What happened was, I slightly misheard a tip from a trusted source, and based on that, instead of reporting that Miami would select tackle Ja'Wuan James in the first round, Kiper instead reported that Dolphins planned to draft La'Bron James.
26. Atlanta Falcons (from Seattle Seahawks): Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin -- When SEA had it: Cornerback Richard Sherman is still a Seahawk, so team can turn to a more pressing need. Russell Wilson needs protection. THE PICK: DE Takkarist McKinley. Had him going 31st so we're back on the board. MY MOCK SCORE: 21-for-26, 6 bull's-eyes.
27. Buffalo Bills (from Kansas City Chiefs): Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State -- When KC had it: Jamaal Charles is gone, and Alex Smith needs a run-buddy, and the shifty former Seminole is the best ballcarrier left. THE PICK: CB Tre'Davious White. I had him going 32nd, so I snuck another one in. OUR MOCK SCORE: 22-for-27, 6 bull's-eyes.
28. Dallas Cowboys: Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan -- Charlton is a good fit for 'Boys defense. There also are rumors Dallas could reach for the big upside of his Michigan teammate Jabrill Peppers. THE PICK: Charlton. Awwright! A late bull's-eye. Wooooo! OUR MOCK SCORE: 23-for-28, 7 bull's-eyes.
29. Cleveland Browns (from Green Bay Packers): Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama -- When GB had it: Primary need in secondary makes cornerback a near-certain Pack target, although a RB such as Cook would tempt if he's still around. THE PICK: TE David Njoku. Finally! I had him going 19th. OUR MOCK SCORE: 24-for-29, 7 bull's-eyes.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers: T.J. Watt, OLB, Wisconsin -- J.J.'s kid brother has the bloodlines, and Steelers have the need at this position, with Lawrence Timmons gone to Miami and James Harrison turning 39 in two weeks. THE PICK: Watt. Oh, pinch me! (But not that hard, please). Another late-round bull's-eye! OUR MOCK SCORE: 25-for-30, 8 bull's-eyes.
31. San Francisco 49ers (from Atlanta Falcons): Takkarist McKinley, DE, UCLA -- When ATL had it: Atlanta has a big nee3d for pass-rushing helping. Opinions on McKinley vary, with some thought that he could go by mid-round. THE PICK: LB Reuben Foster. I had him going 9th. Fell precipitously due to off-field concerns, so this could prove to be a steal. OUR MOCK SCORE: 26-for-31, 8 bull's-eyes.
32. New Orleans Saints: Tre'Davious White, CB, Louisiana State -- Saints went defense with 11th overall pick and stay there with this pick obtained from New England in the Brandin Cooks trade. Drew Brees has spent a career needing better D. THE PICK: OT Ryan Ramczyk. I had him going 26th. OUR FINAL MOCK SCORE: 27-for-32, 8 bull's-eyes. Pretty damned good.
POLL RESULT: DOLFANS DREAMING OF REUBEN FOSTER: We asked which potential Dolphins first-round draft pick among seven listed would you most hope Miami selects, and Alabama LB Reuben Foster dominated 53.8 percent. Western Kentucky OG Forrest Lamp also had sizable support with 23.8%, followed by Florida LB Jarrad Davis with 12.1%. Then it was Ohio State CB Gareon Conley 4.5%, Michigan State DT Malik McDowell 3.4%, Alabama CB Marlon Humphrey 1.4% and Washington CB Kevin King 1.1%.
THE LIST: DOLPHINS PICKS IN NO. 22 RANGE: Miami is slotted to select 22nd overall tonight. Dolphins first-draft picks in the 20 to 24 range, chronologically:
Year Pick What happened
1971 22 Traded to Baltimore as compensation for Don Shula
1975 23 Drafted Tampa OT Darryl Carlton
1978 24 Traded to San Francisco for RB Delvin Williams
1979 24 Drafted Michigan OT Jon Giesler
1980 21 Drafted Alabama CB Don McNeal
1982 24 Drafted Southern Cal OG Roy Foster
1991 23 Drafted Miami WR Randal Hill
1994 24 Drafted Mississippi DT Tim Bowens
1996 20 Drafted Baylor DE Daryl Gardener
1999 24 Traded to San Francisco in trade-down
2000 23 Traded to Carolina in 1998 trade-up
2004 20 Traded to Minnesota in trade-up
2017 22 Drafted Missouri DE Charles Harris
REVIEW: THE STRANGE EXPERIENCE OF A NEIL DIAMOND CONCERT: I like seeing great music acts I've not seen before, and counted Neil Diamond in that category, so my wife and I attended his nearly sold-out show at the Panthers' arena in Sunrise Wednesday night. He'd been on my personal radar since his iconic Hot August Night double-album in 1972, and I was eager to see him. He played just over 2 hours, with the canon of songs to carry it. He is not a great singer in a classic sense, but at 76 his voice remains strong. I was most struck by the manner of his performance. He is very theatrical, from opening note to the hand gestures that close a song. There is melodrama to a Diamond concert. HIs lyrics and delivery can be a bit overwrought, sometimes bordering on schmaltzy. He knows how to milk a crowd, how to strike an emotional chord. He engaged the audience. Appropriately, for a 50th anniversary tour, the childhood photos and videos shown behind him were interesting, and enhancing. He's still that kid born and raised in Brooklyn. (Which is funny, considering his best-known and most-loved hit, Sweet Caroline, became the anthem of the Boston Red Sox). There were times you rolled your eyes at the over-the-top drama of his performance, and yet his adoring audience ate it up. His style ages well, plays well to his older demographic. (Put it this way: I felt young in that crowd). The guitar he plays mostly is an ornament. His main instrument is a microphone, and a connection to his crowd. Diamond is a gifted songwriter, a poetic lyricist, a showman, a real pro. He's a Hall of Famer with unequivocal cause.
HOT BUTTON DAILY / SAT 4-29-17: Up to five events on today's sports calendar that interest SoFla most:
1. Pittsburgh at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.: Fish try to snap 3-game losing skid.
2. NFL draft, noon: Day 3 wraps it up with rounds 4 through 7.
3. NHL playoffs, 3 p.m.: Ottawa, Washington host 2nd-round Game 2s.
4. Hurricanes at Boston College, 1:30 p.m.: UM baseball in 2nd of 3-game set.
[NBA playoffs have the day off].
Select other recent columns: Home Run For Miami, the latest, on Bush/Jeter group reaching agreement to buy Marlins. The Jose Statue's Positive Purpose, on controversy over Marlins' planned Fernandez memorial. Everyone's Shouting Defense, But..., on Dolphins and first round. An American Tragedy , on suicide of Aaron Hernandez. History Breathes at UM Sports Hall, a tour of a little-known campus gem. Spo's Greatest Challenge -- And Triumph, on this strangest of Heat seasons. Time to Make It About Baseball, Winning, on Marlins Opening Night. Jeter Everything Loria Isn't , on Marlins' potential ownership change. Mourning And Celebration, Marlins season preview. Is There A Team Brave Enough for Kaepernick?, on a curiously unemployed QB. Thank You, Mae Riback, as I meet my oldest fan. Also: A Ghost Tour of Miami's Sports Past, The Miracle of Liberty City and Thank You, Edwin Pope.