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Dolphins’ Draft: When To Address Each Need

After last off season’s Free Agency shopping spree by then GM Jeff Ireland, the Miami Dolphins find themselves in a completely different situation this year.  Wow, a lot has changed in one year!  It seems like just a few months ago the Dolphins biggest problem was determining which free agents to spend their 90 million dollars on.  Today, amid the seemingly endless Incognito-Martin fiasco (is anyone else besides me tired of this and ready to talk football?) and the new hires in the organization, the Miami Dolphins are still just a few crucial pieces away from a playoff berth and possible playoff run.  They made the vital move of firing OC Mike Sherman and hired a new GM in Dennis Hickey.

His first task?

Filling Miami’s glaring holes through FA, and more importantly through the NFL Draft.  Whether or not Miami will take a need-based approach or a Best Player Available mindset into the 2014 NFL Draft has yet to be determined.  While I am on the BPA bandwagon, this article will focus on the Dolphins’ draft from a need-based approach.  I have the ‘Fins’ needs as the following: Offensive Linemen (both guards and tackles), Running Back, Defensive Back, Defensive Linemen, Linebacker, and Pass-Catcher (whether TE or WR).  These can obviously be argued one way or another, but these are my needs as I see it right for this team.  The big question is this: With which selection should the Dolphins address the aforementioned needs?  Here is my take on what position the Dolphins should address and when.

Round 1, Pick 19: Defensive Tackle

Frankly, I think Miami will snag either OT Branden Albert or Eugene Monroe in free agency, and I am not opposed to that idea.  After the top 2 or 3 options, the tackles in this draft simply are not that great.  I was also tempted to have Miami draft an OG with this pick, but I think the draft is deep enough for the ‘Fins to wait until later.  Defensive tackle will be a need for this team after they let either Randy Starks or Paul Soliai walk.  There is a chance they let both walk.  That would leave a gaping hole in the center of Miami’s defense, a hole that has been filled by a Pro Bowl caliber player for the past years.  This is why I think Miami should use their first rounder on a proven guy like Timmy Jernigan, Louis Nix or Aaron Donald.  Our defense struggled enough last year with top talent at the DT position, and I shudder to think of how much more it would suffer without a big plug in the center.

Round 2, Pick 18: Offensive Guard

There really is not a “for sure” first round pick among the guards this year, but there are plenty of second or third round talents at the position, which is why I think Miami should solidify their line and take a guard in round two.  Having already grabbed a bookend OT in FA, Miami adds to their weakened line by going with a proven, physical guard with their second pick.  A guy like Cyril Richardson or Gabe Jackson should be available at this time, and the ‘Fins would kill two birds with both stones, drafting both for need and BPA by adding a guard.

Round 3, Pick 17: Defensive Back

Assuming Miami reaches a deal with CB Brent Grimes (if they don’t I may riot), the Dolphins will still need to find some competition for the constantly injured Patterson and Jamar Taylor and Will Davis.  Safety Chris Clemons is also a FA who Miami could let walk to save money.  Numerous defensive backs struggled at the combine this year, which should make them available in the third round.  I would like to see Miami draft defense with their third pick, and solidify what was a promising secondary last season.  You can never have enough play makers on defense.

Round 4, Pick 16:  Running Back

Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas need some competition.  A fiery young rookie who is ready to start and get some reps in the NFL.  My guy has been and still is James Wilder Jr. out of Florida State, and he will almost certainly be available in the 4th round.   Regardless of who they choose, Miami should add a potential franchise back, and I think the position is deep enough to wait until the fourth round to do so.

Round 5, Pick 15:  Pass Catcher

Wide Receiver may be the most underrated position in terms of depth in this draft.  There is quite a variety to the spread too.  Speedsters, slot-guys, big bodied outside receivers, massive TE’s, you name it and this draft has got it.  Whether they go with a big-bodied TE with soft hands or a large WR like Brandon Coleman out of Rutgers, I think the Dolphins should bolster what was an injury-riddled WR corps.  After injuries to Brandon Gibson and Dustin Keller left what was arguably the strongest offensive unit weak, it pays to have a player who can come in and help Ryan Tannehill make plays.

Round 6, Pick 14:  Linebacker 

This is not necessarily Miami’s top need, but after the dismal performance by Dannell Ellerbe and Philip Wheeler, Miami could use some competition at the position.  What they really lack is an LB who can cover, and these types of players can be found in the later rounds.  Hopefully a speedy and strong beast falls into round 6 and Miami can snatch him up.  Hopefully.

Round 7, Pick 19: Offensive Linemen

Finding a small-school, 4 year OL starter could only help this team.  If Miami can somehow find a gem that can work hard and come in and start on this depleted OL, they will have addressed their number one need while also finding value in the later rounds.  Look for the ‘Phins to add another big body to compete for a spot on a wide open line.



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Tags: 2014 NFL Draft Miami Dolphins

  • Johnny

    This draft will produce a half dozen future pro-bowlers in the first round… This is a terrible time to HAVE TO fix the OLine!!! Great prospects at LB, CB, WRs TE, and RBs… Yes we might find a gem in rounds 2-5… But MAN!!! Could have got a top notch guy at those positions… But.. Got to fix the line in such a great first to second round TALENTED DRAFT!!!! Timing couldn’t be worse!!!

    • Dolfandave Uyemura

      That’s why we need to go heavy into O Line in free agency, three guys if we can. Not sure if that is realistic but we must get a LT and one G at least. I am interested in Rodger Saffold of the Rams for RT. Was thinking Eric Winston but he had a bad year. Not sure if he will be a better fit for us w/ our new O Line coach who is also a zone blocking guy. Heard we would have heavy interest in Zane Beadles, G from Denver too, and yes another zone blocking guy. Remember Winston played well in Houston though of course it was when he was younger too and they are a zone blocking team.

      But anyway we can get ourselves out of the corner we have painted ourselves into would be great by addressing the O Line. Then we can get the impact player ie BPA w/ No 19. I am thinking we would have interest in CJ Mosely and move Ellerbe to the outside but we may have to move up a few spots. Who knows? It’s only February. Love these discussions though.

      Also I am not sure why the love for Wilder Jr. I see nothing in the guy. Much more interested in LeGarrette Blount or one of the power guys in the draft, Hyde or LSU’s Hill.


      • Johnny

        I also think Brenner showed he’s able to hold down 1 guard position.. Kid was throw. In with the wolves.. He proves himself worthy of atleast competing for RG…

        • Dolfandave Uyemura

          He was a nice story especially considering all the crap this past season. I think he was proven to be a backup type vs Buffalo though but he is young so we’ll see. Also forgot Dallas Thomas. Who knows, guys like Clay, Reshad Jones, became players so maybe these guys will too. It’s crucial to do enough in free agency so we aren’t pinned down to pick an OT though. Can’t stress that enough. BPA works long term.

          • Eric Roddy

            AMEN! BPA all the way.

          • Miami Jules (Julian)

            Sorry … I do not share the BPA enthusiasm with you guys. If you’re talking about BPA for area of need, that’s one thing but to think BPA now isn’t the way to go in my humble (and it isn’t only a humble opinion it’s also a great one).. I don’t know how many Dolphins games you all were able to watch BUT it isn’t that simple. I watched or attended every game but one thing you didn’t have to be there to know is the fact we allowed 58 sacks… 58!!! Heavy OL by way of the draft, F/A, trades, even kidnapping …. whatever it is we must do to fix the base of our offense, then and only then we can even think about BPA.
            Hey Eric want to share the scoop on McCullers? Another Tenn product I’m looking at.

        • Dolfandave Uyemura

          BTW I would stay way away from Baylor G Cyril Richardson like he has the plague. He looks like another Baylor O Line bust to me. Love the UCLA guy though in round 2 or so. I think he will be a 10 year starter in the NFL.

      • Eric Roddy

        Like your idea Dave. Wilder Jr. is just a great athlete, that is why I love him. Absolutely no chance the Pats let Blount go, especially not to a division rival!

        • Dolfandave Uyemura

          Hi Eric,

          Thanks again for writing.

          Blount is a free agent, they either sign him or not. That being said “IF” he becomes a free agent they have no say where he goes. Here is more speculation for you. Hickey was in the Bucs front office when Blount was given a chance by TB. “IF” there is a connection there he could have some pull.

          Also per WQAM via Jason LaConfora we are guaging interest in Dion Jordan. I like Jordan so I hope that isn’t true but I fear it is. If it’s for an OT then I am so-so w/ it.



          • Eric Roddy

            Haha true about blount, what I meant was that NE will resign him if they hear we are even in the slightest bit interested! Also, looks like Jordan is safe in Miami.

  • ryan828

    Well that was a huge waste of time. THANK GOD Miami didn’t decide to make you GM.
    How can you possibly think that we would get our starting RT with the 7th pick in the draft??? Are you mental? I mean Christ. And what did you completely forget about Jared Odrick and AJ Francis? I’m not saying either are top tier starters but both will be just fine if Starks or Solia come back like you said. You are something else. Switch the pass catcher and running back out for linemen.

    • Johnny

      Really??? Your going to say “or write”
      The Lords name in vain?? Come on bro!

      • ryan828

        You’re right, I apologize. To you and God, no excuse.

        • Eric Roddy

          Ryan, thanks for the input. It seems confusing to me as to why you would want MIami to go OL in the first round. In reality, the Fins’ O-lIne is not that bad. Brenner and Garner both proved that if need be, they can come in and get the job done as starters. Also, I never said we would find a starter in the seventh round, I said we would find someone who could come in and compete. If Miami tries to fix their O-Line entirely through the draft (as you have them doing), they will miss out on great talent in other areas and will more than likely be disappointed with who they draft anyways. Thanks for reading and commenting though

  • ryan828

    Oh, and my pick would be;
    1) OLor trade down and then lineman
    2) LB
    3) OL
    4) Safety
    5) OL
    6) RB
    7) OL/WR

  • Christian Paige

    1. trade down BPA
    2. OT
    3a. OG
    3b. RB
    4. OL
    5. DL
    6. LB
    7. OL

    I have faith we resign Grimes and get Monroe. I do feel like we may also get a guard in FA. I really believe AJ Francais is going to come to camp with fire and win a starting role (since both DTs leave). I am also calling for Michael “Brady Killer” Thomas taking over Clemons role with Jones! We do not need any receivers. Everyone will come back healthy and ready to compete. I just wish we had Lazor running the offense last year. GO PHINS!!!

    • tpl

      Like your trade down. Hope Miami does trade down.

  • Miami Jules (Julian)

    I may join you when you riot if they don’t resign Grimes. You may remember I proposed a raid by Homeland Security, if they re-sign Carroll and let Grimes walk.
    I’m thrilled to see you still have Rutger’s Coleman. I haven’t posted my “post-Combine mock draft” yet, so until I do I shouldn’t list them anywhere but I’ll say this, Coleman has been a fixture on ALL my mocks since before the SR Bowl. My complements. Your idea for OG sounds fine, and it’s just as good as any. When it comes to this year’s OL draft class, just about everyone is good, however, I am going VERY heavily, after OL, and more so from the draft than FA, but either Albert or Monroe would be great additions.

    • Eric Roddy

      Love Coleman and thanks for the comment Jules. Insightful as always. Albert or Monroe will be a Fin come the fall. If not them then someone else in FA.

  • Gene Hauze

    The Dolphins will not draft Jackson or RIchardson at OG because both weigh around 330 lbs or more. Dolphins run a zone blocking scheme and prefer quicker guys that weigh less than 320 lbs. or even 315 lbs — they want the guards to be able to pull and get to the second level. If you have followed the Dolphins since hiring Philbin, the complaint about Jerry has been his weight and being able to play in the zone blocking scheme. So, you can either take Yankey (another Standford lineman — oh boy) or Su’a-Filo (UCLA), which are really slated for late first or early second round — pick #19 maybe too soon to take not great OGs. Or, you can wait until third round and take Dozier (Furman) or Steen (Alabama). Steen had shoulder surgery, but had it in December (unlike Dion Jordan who had it in February with a 6 month rehab) — so, Steen should be ready for Mini-Camp by mid June and the Dolphins should have a good idea about his progress by the time of the draft. Steen may be a good choice with a third rounder — notice that Alabama did not run well in their bowl game without the services of Steen.

    I would not be so sure that the Dolphins will get a quality left tackle in FA — Albert or Monroe. Albert will want too much money for his age. And, the salary cap has risen, so the Ravens may have the room to resign Monroe. The Dolphins may have to go with either short-arms Zack Martin (ND) or Cyrus Kouandjio (Alabama) and suffer thru the learning curve. I personally think they should draft a left tackle and develop the guy for the future.

    • Eric Roddy

      Can’t risk trying to fix entire offensive line entirely through the draft. Miami will find an OT in FA, mark my words. Thanks for the read and input. Not a huge fan of any linemen in this draft outside of the top 2 at each position.

    • Miami Jules (Julian)

      I agree with many of your points Gene… unfortunately, the “moderator” for this site found my reply had to be moderated (it may have had something to do with a certain source I cited, but I was not trying to include a link just crediting the source but… whatever). I am not sure though that weight alone would veer the Phins’ attention if the prospect was highly athletic. I have replaced Kuoandjio (arthritic knee) with Yankey ( oh no!!!! Not another Stanford OL!) but I’m not sold on Steen and would prefer Ohio State’s Jack Mewhort who has played every position and side of the OL except center. This process is fun though. Now, hopefully this reply wont need “moderating”.

  • Miami Jules (Julian)

    This is the way I have it, and it would make more sense if I included the names but my mock hasn’t posted yet, so I can’t share the names on here just yet. Eric your mock and mine are not that different and when you consider the names they become more alike. I should say for the masses’ benefit though, that the ONLY reason I include a WR at all, is because I am looking for a VERY tall WR, if not tall WR I liked were available, then I wouldn’t bother with one at all.
    WR (Brandon Coleman)

    • Eric Roddy

      Amen. This looks great, almost identical to mine actually! I am weary of drafting so many linemen because frankly I dont think it would do us any good to have 2-3 great linemen and then 3-4 linemen who are all of the same skill (and mediocre at that). WR looks great, I think Coleman is the next steal like a COlston!

      • Miami Jules (Julian)

        We have a couple of dissimilarities. The obvious heavy OL orientation of mine and no LB. I have 3 mocks (I always run 2 or 3 scenarios) The “Ideal Mock, so it aint gonna happen” mock “The Realistic” mock, and the “Alternative” mock. Can you share about another Tenn product: McCullers?

        • Eric Roddy

          Going to be honest, don’t know much about him! He is a big body though and would be a great run stopper if he progressed!

          • Miami Jules (Julian)

            Thanks Eric. We need to regain our excellence as a run stopping defense from not so long ago.

  • jeremy161616

    I personally would sign Albert and look for a short term player like Eric Winston as my starting RT. He’s been associated with Coach Benton from his days in Houston , and won’t be too expensive.
    The Dolphins are quite clearly looking for an upgrade at the safety position, so my pick at #19 would be Calvin Pryor, the hard hitting safety from Louiville.
    Second round target would take care of the interior line, Travis Swanson is the top ranked Center in the draft, he can pull and seal very well. This would allow Pouncey to play left guard. The right guard position can be decided with a camp competition between Arkin, Thomas and Brenner. I’m penciling Garner in as my back up tackle. As an extra player for consideration here I’d add Weston Richburg. He’s faster and stronger at the Combine than Swanson and I like his tape better. This is where GMs really earn there stripes.
    In the third I’m intrigued with the concept of the smaller ILB who is like a super strong safety.Telvin Smith can close on plays like lightning, his size may have him drop a round as to his draft ranking.
    In the fourth I would get a Tackle prospect who should be ready to take the RT position within 2 years. Ranked 112 on thee CBS board is Juwon James. Guess who has the #112 pick. Yup the Miami Dolphins.
    Fifth round. Developmental QB to be the primary backup in 2015. Ranked 153 on the CBS big board is David Fales. He should be available. The Dolphins pick 143. A year with Moore in front of him would be helpful.
    My thoughts on the RB situation is that Miller can play , but when you have to run behind a line that can’t block you get results like last years. My solution is to improve the blocking. Enter JC Copeland the massive FB from LSU. He also can become our short yardage back.5’11′ , 271 lbs and rated 191 on the CBS board with the Fins having the 187 pick.
    Free agency will help the Dolphins on the D-Line. Both Soliai and Starks will probably be gone, their age is working against them. Enter either Lineval Joseph or Arthur Jones. Both can play. Now all the Dolphins would need is a backup DT and Cal Barnett is the 212 ranked player fitting well with our pick 211.
    Hope you all like my draft