With every passing day, the Miami Dolphins and the rest of the NFL are getting closer to the 2014 NFL Draft. The draft will show the direction that this team is going in, and will give us our first glimpse of new General Manager Dennis Hickey’s plan to turn this franchise around. Hickey’s success in this draft very well may determine his fate as a GM for this team in the future, coupled with his success in Free Agency. While I think the Dolphins should draft the BPA (Best Player Available), here is my mock draft based on what I think the ‘Phins will do. Keep in mind that this is simply a mock draft, and that there is very little chance that anyone will be able to predict Miami’s route until after they have drafted. I mean seriously, who saw Miami selecting Oregon’s Dion Jordan (actually I did, but it was pure luck) in last year’s draft ?
Round #1, Pick 19: Zack Martin, OT Notre Dame
If I had my way, Miami would trade down in the first round and pick up at least a second round pick. There are plenty of teams who will be looking to trade up and grab one of the better QB’s or even one of the better pass rushers, something that the ‘Fins’ are not in high demand for. Adding another second would be huge. That being said, if Miami does stay at 19, I see them taking Martin. Martin increased his stock at the Senior Bowl, and has a tremendous upside. He could come in an start immediately on the line, bolstering what was easily Miami’s weakest subsection last season. Case in point, Martin is “safe” and “makes sense.”
Round #2, Pick 18: Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State
Assuming Miami does not re-sign both Randy Starks and Paul Soliai, they will need to add depth to what was one of their deepest positions last season. Jernigan can do it all. He is big enough at 6 foot 2, 298 pounds to clog the middle and wrestle down running backs, and he is fast and strong enough to break through the middle and get to opposing QB’s. He could come in and immediately earn playing time while also learning behind either Starks and Soliai.
Round #3, Pick 17: Jeremiah Attaochu, OLB, Georgia Tech
Aside from the abysmal Offensive Line, Miami’s linebackers were the next worst part of the team. Enter Attaochu, a 6 foot 3, 252 pound tackling machine. He has improved on his coverage abilities, and has the athleticism to do it all in the NFL. The best part? His 4.68 speed helps him get to the QB. He had 12 sacks last season.
Round #4, Pick 16: James Wilder Jr., RB, Florida State
Wilder Jr. could be Miami’s franchise back. He is not only 6 foot 1, 229 pounds of pure athlete, but he showed that he can be an all-purpose back for FSU throughout his three years there. He flew under QB Jameis Winston’s radar for much of the season, but Wilder Jr. has all of the necessary skills to be a starting RB in the NFL. I would like to see the Dolphins take him and bring him in to compete with Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas for the starting job. He reminds me of a mix of both, with Millers’ explosiveness and Thomas’ toughness.
Round #5, Pick 15: Brandon Coleman, WR, Rutgers
This guy is a freak of nature. He is 6 foot 5, 220 pounds and runs a 4.59 forty yard dash. He finished second in Rutgers history with 19 TD catches, and is only a junior. He is ranked so low because he struggles to get separation from defenders. This can be taught. His size alone is enough to make him a red-zone target for Ryan Tannehill, something Miami lacked last season. Coleman would give the Dolphins size at the position and would only draw more attention away from Mike Wallace.
Round #6, Pick 14: Brandon Linder, OG, Miami
Linder is a mountain of a man at 6 foot 6, 316 pounds. He started for 3 and a half years at the University of Miami, and would be a nice addition to a depleted ‘Fins’ offensive line. He may not come in and start immediately, but with growth he could soon be a solid piece to a restructured offensive line. He blocked for a Hurricanes Offense that averaged over 400 yards of total offense a game.
Round #7, Pick 19: Dontae Johnson, FS, North Carolina State
If Miami doesn’t resign FA safety Chris Clemons, it will leave a huge whole in their already average secondary. Hopefully, Miami will resign CB Brent Grimes, but will not likely pursue a safety in FA in order to save cap space. Enter Johnson, a rangy 6 foot ball-hawk with 4.5 speed. In 2013, Johnson had 81 total tackles and 3 INT’s. With some grooming, he could be a future starter and potential stud in this league.
As of now, these are the picks I see the Miami Dolphins making come this April. They are likely to change as we get closer to the draft, but it is always fun to see the differences in what we “experts” choose now versus what we say will happen closer to the draft. Please feel free to leave any comments or opinions in the comment section below! Happy drafting and remember to keep those