18 days from now we will be counting hours and minutes and not days. 19 days from now and we will be discussing who the Miami Dolphins took in round 1 and speculating on what position will need to be addressed in round 2 and 3. Or maybe how the Dolphins will get more draft picks. Yes, the draft is that close. And with this time of year comes every thought, wish, speculation, and everything in between. There are so many names that the Dolphins could take, but only 1 pick to make. Which means something very simple. The Dolphins will only land one of these guys.
Here is my look at the names that could be wearing aqua and orange 19 days from now.
Rolando McClain: An early favorite to become a Miami Dolphin. Early mock drafts from seasons end had the Dolphins hoping that the big LB would drop to Miami at number 12. Many believe he would land one pick earlier to Denver. Then, the Phins went out and landed Karlos Dansby to man the middle giving him the largest contract for a middle LB. Now, the immediate thought is that McClain is no longer an option. However, Bill Parcells loves LB’s and pairing McClain with Dansby would be an amazing middle LB’ing corp. Of course then, the Phins would have to move Channing Crowder either back outside where he struggles or off the team all together.
McClain could still be a possibility…but not likely.
Sergio Kindle is the OLB prospect that many thought Miami would target after acquiring Dansby. The Texas product is one of those now common DE/OLB hybrid players who are good at getting to the QB. Something that Dolphins absolutely need. But Kindle has competition and has fallen on many mock draft lists from the early teens to the mid-late 20′s. Kindle could be one of those targets for the Phins if they trade down.
Jason Pierre-Paul is yet another OLB that had many people talking as a soon to be Dolphin. His meteoric rise up the draft charts however has moved him up to as far as 10 on some mock drafts. Paul is very raw but has tremendous upside and is said to have a non-stop motor. A South Florida product, Paul specializes in getting to the QB but he will need some fine tuning which means that the LB coach is going to have to do some work to get him ready for his first NFL season…but he can step in and play right away. A very good prospect that could be the pick at 12. If others are off the board.
Derrick Morgan is said to be the best DE prospect in the draft. Morgan is an all around player but he doesn’t possess the knock-out punch ability to get to the QB and that is something that the Phins want. He is solid in pass coverage and against the run but the Phins want more and at number 12 they need an impact player. Morgan will be good at the NFL level but how good is the question. He may never reach the Pro-Bowl level of some of the other players available at his position.
Brandon Graham is a fan favorite if nothing else. Many point to his size as a detriment and a Bill Parcells negative. His arm length is not ideal and in the NFL long arms can really help a guy get off blocks. Still, Graham is a play-maker and there were more knocks against Zach Thomas coming out of college. Thomas however fit a system, Graham will not. There are too many other positions of need and players likely to be available for the Dolphins to take Graham here. A trade down may put the Phins in a better “value” spot to take the Michigan product. The good thing about Graham? He doesn’t quit and refuses to fail. That is something you can’t teach.
CJ Spiller is the most explosive player in this years draft. 29 of his 50 or TD’s were f0r more than 50 yards. A legitimate home run threat every time he touches the ball. The Dolphins have built a solid offensive line in a short 2 seasons and a monster like Spiller could easily find the holes to make it happen. Look at Ronnie Brown when he gets into the open, only his lack of true speed keeps from finishing those runs. Spiller would. For the Dolphins however, the question is Spiller’s durability, is he more like Reggie Bush or Chris Johnson? Can he really make an impact and more importantly, is he strictly a luxury pick with the current saturation of RB’s? If Spiller is drafted, you can bet that the Phins will be on the phone trying to move one or two of their rostered runners. Spiller may be dynamic but the Dolphins need to fill needs. It’s because of that reason that Spiller doesn’t make a lot of sense…but then again, sometimes, it doesn’t have to.
Mike Iupati is an offensive guard and had you told me that the Dolphins would remotely consider drafting an offensive lineman in round 1 I would be screaming for my money back. I hate drafting lineman in the first round unless that is your only glaring need. But this kid? Man, he is hard to pass on. Iupati is a brutal lineman with a perfect blend of intelligence and menace. The Dolphins have a question mark on the left side at the guard spot and are trying to trade last years starter Justin Smiley. Iupati would fill a much needed hole. However, while a hole exists, the Dolphins do have depth and will have a competition at the position this TC. So again, Iupati may be nothing more than a luxury pick. If the Dolphins move down in the draft and their targeted player is gone, Iupati if still there could be a real option and I don’t know if that would disappoint me.
Earl Thomas and Taylor Mays I group together. Both would fill the void at Safety which has become the most glaring need for a team that is still building. If you want Int’s you go with Thomas if you want a big hitter you go with Mays. Both have some concerns, size for Thomas and playmaking ability for Mays. But both are solid in their own rights. The Dolphins need a safety and either one of these guys would fill that role. But are they worth drafting at number 12? That really is the biggest question when you get down to the 12th overall pick in the draft.
Eric Berry is the one player that many feel is the no-brainer pick for the Phins if he falls that far. And he may. There is hardly a player in this draft that would create a collective scream of joy at the number 12 spot. In fact, the collective groan if he were there and passed on would be louder. Berry is said to be the best pure athlete in this years draft and it is hard to argue with that. He is simply a play-maker. Berry would make an immediate impact on the field and the Dolphins would be thrilled to have him at number 12, or so we all think. The problem however is that there is so little chance of him falling that far. There are easily 10 other teams in front of the Dolphins that could take the safe route and draft this playmaker which is why I think the Phins have zero chance of landing him. Teams can grandstand all they want but when their names are on the ticking clock, the safest choice is sometimes the best.
Dan Williams is the beast up front that the Dolphins need to replace Jason Ferguson. He will be there at number 12 there is no doubt. The reason is at number 12, Dan Williams is a reach. He could be had in the 20′s and possibly the late 20′s at that. A 2 down lineman, Williams had the opportunity to meet the Dolphins staff up close and personal at the Senior Bowl when the Dolphins coaches, coached his team. They like him, but at 12 may be a bit much. Still, this really wouldn’t be a surprise pick for a team that cherishes pro-typical players at their positions.
Dez Bryant is the most scrutinized player in this years draft and more and more it appears that he will be there at number 12. Sometimes I get the feeling that this kid is going to be a swing and big miss and at other times I think he will be another Michael Irvin. Which could be a blessing and problem. I have never been a fan of Irvin’s but he could play WR. Will Dez Bryant be the impact WR that the team needs? Does he have that much to offer to pass on any of the players listed here above him? I’m not so sure. What I do know is that when the Dolphins are on the clock, if Dez Bryant is there, it will be a long 10 minutes.
The 12th pick:
The Dolphins are fortunate in some regard. They don’t have a glaring need at one position that they have to hope and pray for someone to drop. They have a glaring need at several positions which means they can go in just about any direction. RB with Spiller? Maybe. Oline with Iupati? Possible. OLB with any number of prospects from a Derrick Morgan to a Brandon Graham? Yep, very possible. 2 Safety prospects in Mays and Thomas that will be there at 12? Again, very possible. WR with what many believe to be the best in this years class and some believe is the best since Calvin Johnson went number 2 overall to Detroit? Absolutely. Or will the top physical draft specimen fall far enough to have fans screaming to hear his name? Maybe.
All those questions and the one that plagues me is this. Is the name that is called out on that card come draft day round 1 on this list? Or is it someone that none of us have given any thought to?
I guess we can debate it about 19 days.
Who do I think will be there at number 12? I have no clue.