13 weeks worth of college football every year calls for a lot of intriguing draft prospects. Those who indulge in watching film end up favoring some prospects over others. They’re what I refer to as “my guys.”
It doesn’t mean that I’d move heaven and earth to draft them, but it means that I’d always be cognizant of their availability when my pick came up in the draft. These aren’t one through five on my big board, but I like these picks for the Miami Dolphins where they should (hopefully) fall on draft night.
Alim McNeill, DT, North Carolina State, 6-2, 320 lbs, Jr.
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McNeill played almost only as a nose tackle (DT) for NC State this past season, but was a linebacker and running back in high school. His athleticism routinely shows up on tape, and it earned him the No. 32 spot on Bruce Feldman’s 2020 college football freaks list.
He squats 640 pounds, benches 445 pounds, and is aiming to run a sub-4.9 forty at his pro-day. McNeill also played at around 340 pounds during his junior season, but is trimming down to 320. He doesn’t have advanced pass-rushing moves, but has a ton of raw talent to build upon given his power and athleticism to play anywhere on the interior. McNeill was the third-highest graded defensive lineman in college football in 2020 by Pro Football Focus and earned a 92.1 run defense grade.
Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern, 6-4, 305 lbs, Sr.
Slater’s game film in 2019 is some of the best college offensive line tape you can watch. He’s been starting for Northwestern since his freshman year and shot up draft boards after switching to left tackle in 2019. Slater isn’t a massive road-grader like some other tackles in this draft class, but he wins with superior technique and movement skills.
His ability to mirror pass-rushers is especially impressive (see above). The question with Slater is if he’ll remain at tackle or be moved inside. The measurements at his pro day will be most important to evaluators and could determine where teams see him playing. I think Slater is a great fit for Miami if they trade down to the 8-10 pick range and pass on a receiver.
Javonte Williams, RB, North Carolina, 5-10, 220 lbs, JR.
Williams is the captivating running back prospect in 2020. He led all of college football in broken tackles this past season and is a natural runner. He will not fly past the defense every play, but has legit burst and is one of the very best blockers at his position.
Williams wasn’t overused as a college back, and his skill-set has proven to be successful at the next level. He likely won’t fall out of the second round, but could be there for either of Miami’s second-round selections. Instead of going for Najee or Etienne in the first round, wait and get the (arguably) better back.
Tommy Tremble, TE/FB, Notre Dame, 6-4, 248 lbs, Jr.
You have to really pay attention while watching Tremble’s film to appreciate his game. Tremble brings maximum effort on each block and is terrific when used as a lead-blocker. He isn’t targeted a ton in the passing game, but has pretty solid athleticism and hands.
Assuming Miami is going to use more two-back sets, I’d like to see them grab Tremble in the mid to late rounds and stick him at fullback. If Ed Godsey and Eric Studesville can get creative when deploying Tremble as a pass-catcher, he could bring a lot of value in that regard as well.
Cameron Sample, Edge/IDL, Tulane, 6-3, 280 lbs, Jr.
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Sample made himself some serious money at the Senior Bowl, as he was one of the best edge players all week and showed the ability to win against good competition. As something of a tweener, Sample has positional versatility on the defensive line — which is something Brian Flores greatly values. He’s a power player with surprisingly effective pass-rush skills.
He plays with high effort and at the very least would be an effective run-defender on early-down and short-yardage situations. Sample vaulted himself up the draft boards, but will be overlooked in favor of the more flashy, freakishly athletic edge players in the early rounds.