It is undeniable that the main focus of this year’s draft for the Dolphins should be on the offense. The lack of a deep threat receiver or play making running back, a sub-par offensive line, and a mediocre quarterback make that painfully obvious. However, looking at the top draft prospects from an offensive standpoint it’s unfortunate that many of the stars in this year’s draft are defensive players. For this reason, it may make sense to embrace the plethora of defensive talent by looking to draft a stud player to help us on the defensive side of the ball.
Midway through the 2010 season the Dolphins showed interest in obtaining a bookend to Cameron Wake when they put in a waiver request to try and get Shawn Merriman who was released by the San Diego Chargers. Although quarterback may be the Dolphins preeminent need, the top two quarterbacks are projected to go in the first 10 picks. With Miami drafting 15th it is unlikely for one of them to be available at that point. Additionally the Dolphins lack of a 2nd round pick also hurts, as this is where up to five top ranked quarterbacks are expected to be taken.
Miami could solve this problem by trading down in the first round, possibly by switching 1st round picks with New England. The Patriots are looking to add a running back early in the draft and this could put them in position for Mark Ingram. In return we could receive their later 1st round pick as well as one of their two second round picks.
You may be wondering why I’m willing to let the dreaded Patriots draft a running back who many thought we would pick up in the first round. Don’t worry I loathe the Patriots just as much as any of you. The Dolphins need a second round pick to draft one of the many qualified quarterbacks such as Ryan Mallet, Christian Ponder or Colin Kaepernick.
As far as filling the need for a running back goes there is plenty of talent in the third round projections. Jorday Todman of UConn showed a lot of grit and was awarded the Big East offensive player of the year. Shane Vereen of Cal, who I would like to see the Dolphins take a serious look at, is also a 3 round possibility. Out of a school known for producing great NFL running backs recently such as Marshawn Lynch and Jahvid Best, Vereen is fifth in the school’s history in all-purpose yards after just his junior year. Finally, Daniel Thomas of Kansas State is another great 3rd round option.
Given that there are plenty of quality options for Miami’s most desperate positions in the second and third round, it could prove profitable to see the Dolphins take advantage of some of the young defensive talent in this year’s draft to give Cameron Wake a partner in crime in the opposing backfield. A great opportunity could be Justin Houston, an outside linebacker out of Georgia who many SEC coaches called the most feared pass rushers in the conference.
Named to the all SEC team and a finalist for the Butkus and Nagurski Awards, he had 67 tackles – including 18.5 tackles for a loss. He was also second in the SEC in sacks with 10. In addition, Georgia has credited him with 44 QB hurries – 3 times that of any other Georgia Defender. Houston is projected to go late in the first round, right where Miami could end up should they make the necessary adjustments to acquire a 2nd round pick. At 6’3” weighing 258 pounds he matches our own monster to the left, Cameron Wake. Just imagine the terrible twosome knocking Tom Brady’s pretty-boy block off. Another option for a pass rusher could be UCLA’s Akeem Ayers. Slightly bigger than Houston, though he could be taken in the top 20 and out of Miami’s reach.
While the Dolphins improved in total defense from 22nd to 6th there is still room for improvement. If they can manage to address their offensive needs in the 2nd and 3rd round and there is a perfect pass rusher just ripe for the picking in the 1st, then by all means take him!