November 13, 2010; Morgantown,WV, USA: West Virginia Mountaineers linebacker Najee Goode (52) at the line of scrimmage against the Cincinnati Bearcats at Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium. WVU defeated Cincinnati 37-10. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USPRESSWIRE

Could This Finally Be Miami’s Year?


Feb 1, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Jenna Rockhold (left) , Alex Rockhold (center) and Lily Rockhold hold the number one jerseys of the Green Bay Packers and the Miami Dolphins and Indianapolis Colts at the NFL Draft set at the NFL Experience at the Indiana Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE

With the NFL Draft rapidly approaching, Miami Dolphins fans everywhere should be ecstatic. Why? Personally, I am always excited come draft time. But, this year has a different type of excitement. This could finally be the year Miami receives an “A” or an “A+” when Mel Kiper grades each team’s draft class. Let’s dive into this with more detail:

Miami’s needs:

Quarterback

Wide Receiver

Right Tackle/Right Guard

Pass Rusher

Safety

Corner (depth)

Tight End

Middle Linebacker

 

Outlook:

Quarterback: Well Miami fans, it seems as though your beloved Miami Dolphins will finally get their guy. If everything goes to plan, it is almost certain that the Miami Dolphins will select QB Ryan Tannehill with their 1st round selection, wherever it may be (given that Tannehill is still available). If Tannehill is not available, Miami could look to either Kirk Cousins or Brandon Weeden in the second round. Both are extremely smart and accurate. Either way, Miami comes out of this draft with a Quarterback.

 

Nov 12, 2011; Manhattan, KS, USA; Texas A

Wide Receiver: The top WR in this years class, Justin Blackmon, is likely gone when Miami picks at number eight. But, Michael Floyd is the alpha type receiver that can fill the void left by Brandon Marshall (Floyd should be available at 8). With Miami likely looking towards Tannehill or a pass rusher, Floyd seems out of the question at this point. WR’s Rueben Randle, Marvin McNutt, Tommy Streeter, Mohamed Sanu, Brian Quick, and dare I say it, Alshon Jeffrey, will likely will be taken between rounds two and four. If Miami could land Jeffrey in the third, it could be the steal of the draft. But with motivational issues, many general managers wonder if he is really worth it. If the Dolphins could land two of these guys (One in the third and one in the fourth maybe?), it would boost Miami’s receiving corp a ton! Cross your fingers.

 

October 8, 2011; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; LSU Tigers wide receiver Rueben Randle (2) against the Florida Gators during the first quarter at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

Right Tackle/Right Guard: Although solidifying the right side of the offensive line seems to be an issue, there is excellent value during the later rounds of this years draft. Guys like Lucas Nix and Nate Potter can be taken in the fourth or fifth round. Both of these guys are ready to step in and contribute. With untapped talent in Nate Garner, John Jerry (they gave up on this kid too quickly) and Lydon Murtha, the right side of the offensive line is not as bad as people think (letting Marc Colombo walk gave Miami an upgrade).Also, do not sleep on Zebrie Sanders in the third round (he reminds me a little of Tyron Smith).

 

Oct 8, 2011; Winston-Salem, NC, USA; Florida State Seminoles offensive tackle Zebrie Sanders (77) blocks the defense in the third quarter. The Wake Forest Demon Deacons defeated the Florida State Seminoles 35-30 at BB

Pass Rusher: Lets get this out of the way right now, it’s either Tannehill with #8 or Miami MUST trade back. In my own opinion, Quinton Coples is not worth a top ten pick. Melvin Ingram is the only rusher worthy of a top ten selection, BUT, he is a little small to anchor the outside edge against the run (I wouldn’t complain if Miami selected him!!). The second round is where I think we get our pass rusher. DE’s Whitney Mercilus, Chandler Jones and Vinny Curry are three guys worth a look. Chandler being the most intriguing based upon his size and body frame. But, I can not understand why every analyst is skeptical of Mercilus. He racked up 16 sacks last season!!! Sure, he may be a “one year wonder”, but he could be a big time player at defensive end. Pairing Cameron Wake with one of these three will give the Dolphins a pair of explosive defensive ends (JT and Adewale Ogunleye anyone?).

 

Dec 31, 2011; San Francisco CA, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini defensive lineman Whitney Mercilus (85) lines up for a play against the UCLA Bruins during the second quarter at AT

Safety: The Dolphins need an upgrade at safety. Point blank. Although I have high hopes for Reshad Jones, who will likely be played at Strong Safety now (thank gosh), Miami does not have a ball hawking safety on the roster. Yes, the Dolphins just signed Tyrell Johnson. No, he’s not going to be the new Brock Marion. Expect Miami with one of their first four picks (1- first round, 1 – second round, 2 – third round) to look for an upgrade at safety. Three guys I have had my eyes on are Harrison Smith, George Iloka, and Brandon Taylor. Iloka and Taylor seem to be the better options for Miami as they could be available in the third round, but Smith would step right in and start from day 1. Iloka is my pick for Miami, but Brandon Taylor has slowly been growing on me. He could end up being the guy, especially if he lasts until the fourth round (which is highly unlikely).

 

Jan 9, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; LSU Tigers safety Brandon Taylor (18)tackles Alabama Crimson Tide tight end Brad Smelley (17) during the first half of the 2012 BCS National Championship game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

Corner: Yes, we all know Miami’s secondary was horrendous last season. Nolan Carroll needs a lot of work and Jimmy Wilson, although he showed promise at corner, seems like he may be better suited at safety. Sean Smith’s contract is up after this season, and nobody really knows if Miami will want him back (they should). Vontae Davis is, in my opinion, one of the most under-rated corners in the league. There are a few guys who could be selected in rounds 4-7 who could develop into solid starters. Brandon Boykin, Jayron Hosley, Mike Harris, and Ron Brooks all have the size and speed needed to become legitimate starters in the NFL. Boykin and Hosley are both projected to be 3rd – 4th round selections, but I would not be shocked to see Miami take that route. Both have high ceilings.

 

January 2, 2012; Tampa, FL, USA; Georgia Bulldogs cornerback Brandon Boykin (2) during the second half of the 2012 Outback Bowl against the Michigan State Spartans at Raymond James Stadium. Michigan State Spartans defeated the Georgia Bulldogs 33-30 in triple overtime. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

Tight End: This should be labeled “hybrid” tight end. With the new style of offense in the NFL, hybrid tight ends are a necessity for a high potent attack. What is a hybrid tight end? Basically, a big and fast target that runs like a running back but looks like a linebacker (i.e. Gronkowski). This is not a glaring need, Charles Clay is a break out candidate in my book, but it is a minor need. Dwayne Allen, Orson Charles and Deangelo Peterson are three guys I think Miami should give a look. Of course Allen and Charles would be 2nd – 4th round guys, but they would instantly improve Miami’s passing game. Peterson could be taken in the 5th – 7th round and provide an excellent seem threat for whoever is commanding Miami’s offense. All three possess good size, speed and blocking skills.

 

Oct 29, 2011; Atlanta, GA, USA; Clemson Tigers tight end Dwayne Allen (83) runs the ball after making a catch against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets during the first quarter at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Josh D. Weiss-US PRESSWIRE

Middle Linebacker: Not a glaring need, but still a need in the later rounds for depth (similar to corner). Although Koa Misi will likely get a crack at MLB, Miami really has no TRUE MLB on the current roster. If Vontaze Burfict slips into the 4th round, Miami better sprint to the podium to select him (DEAD SERIOUS). BUT, Miami has other needs for those rounds. Taking a shot in the 6th or 7th with someone like Chris Galippo, Najee Goode, or Tank Carder is a more likely route. All three can contribute on special teams while developing their skills. Goode and Galippo have the ability to develop quick enough to earn a solid role in the line up later on in the season.

 

The Miami Dolphins look to be in line for a great draft based on depth at the positions of need. The later rounds of the draft are loaded with potential contributors and starters at most positions. Whether or not the ‘phins deliver fans a solid draft is another story, but we always have remember to stay positive. Philbin and co. have a plan in place. Give the Philbin plan some time. Soon Miami will be back on top!

 

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