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2016 NFL mock draft: Miami Dolphins select Eli Apple

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Even with Mackensie Alexander on the board, the choice for Miami in the SB Nation NFL writers mock draft is the Ohio State standout.

The offseason for the Miami Dolphins has been a series of big splashes. Earlier this month, the Dolphins made a monster trade acquiring the monstrous salary of cornerback Byron Maxwell along with linebacker Kiko Alonso from Philadelphia. They also brought in defensive end Mario Williams on a two-year contract to be a part of their high-dollar line featuring Ndamukong Suh and Cameron Wake.

With Williams on the line and Alonso in the linebacker corps, the Dolphins appear set on front seven. There are issues behind them, however. Kevin Nogle of The Phinsider checks in with his selection for the Dolphins in the SB Nation NFL writers mock draft:

13. Dolphins: Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State

Nogle: There is some argument that Miami should be looking to address the offense early in the Draft, having spent most of free agency rebuilding its defense. The team could be looking at either running back or offensive line with this pick. Ezekiel Elliott is off the board already, which really makes this choice between either offensive tackle Jack Conklin from Michigan State or a defensive player. The coaches seem to believe the offensive line can be solid with the players already on the roster -- including the free agent additions of Jermon Bushrod, Sam Young and Kraig Urbik -- so this pick goes to the rebuild on defense.

Miami could choose to grab a linebacker or defensive end here, but the Dolphins might start the season with Kiko Alonso, Jelani Jenkins and Koa Misi as the starting linebackers, and any defensive end is going to be behind Cameron Wake and Mario Williams at a minimum, and likely behind Andre Branch and Terrence Fede as well. That brings the pick back to cornerback, where Miami could use a starter opposite Maxwell.

Vernon Hargreaves came off the board two picks before Miami in this scenario, which leaves Mackensie Alexander or Eli Apple as the choices here. Alexander could absolutely be the pick, and he would be a good one, but at 5'10, 190 pounds, he could be overmatched against the bigger receivers in the AFC East. Apple, meanwhile, is 6'1, 200 pounds, giving him better size to match up against players like Brandon Marshall and Sammy Watkins while also possessing great athleticism and incredibly quick hands. He may be a little raw coming out as a redshirt sophomore, especially when it comes to tackling and committing penalties, but Apple's size and athleticism should help him make the adjustment to the NFL a little more easily than Alexander.

Analysis: This choice is a great example of drafting for fit. Personally, Alexander grades out higher than Apple for me. Alexander is more consistent and may make a bigger impact as a rookie. Apple, however, does fit that size required to cover bigger receivers and has greater potential. It's clear the Dolphins need a cornerback. It's hard to fault the one they choose.

Dan's Top 5 players remaining

  • 11. Darron Lee, LB, Ohio State
  • 13. Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson
  • 14. Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss
  • 15. Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville
  • 16. Reggie Ragland, MLB, Alabama

Dolphins picks

  • 1-13: Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State
  • 2-42: (coming April 13)

Our next pick of the day is coming up at noon ET courtesy of Silver and Black Pride making the selection for the Oakland Raiders.

Complete draft results:

1. Tennessee Titans - Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss (Link)
2. Cleveland Browns - Jared Goff, QB, Cal (Link)
3. San Diego Chargers - Jalen Ramsey, DB, Florida State (Link)
4. Dallas Cowboys - Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State (Link)
5. Jacksonville Jaguars - Myles Jack, LB, UCLA (Link)
6. Baltimore Ravens - Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State (Link)
7. San Francisco 49ers - DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon (Link)
8. Philadelphia Eagles - Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State (Link)
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Noah Spence, DE, Eastern Kentucky (Link)
10. New York Giants - Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame (Link)
11. Chicago Bears - Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida (Link)
12. New Orleans Saints - A'Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama (Link)