In my opinion, there is no greater month in all of sports than March. Not only does March typically bring more sunshine and the start of Spring, but it also gives sporting fans NFL Free Agency, NCAA March Madness, pre-NFL Draft hype and rumors, the Indian Wells tennis tournament (for all those fellow tennis fans out there), the start up of professional baseball (even if it is just mainly preseason) and the winding down (a.k.a) crunch time of the NBA regular season. In other words, March hosts a plethora of meaningful events for all sports across the board. Arguably the most hectic of them all, barring of course March Madness, is the NFL Free Agency and the pre-NFL Draft discussion. The Miami Dolphins recently made a relatively large splash in FA by signing LT Branden Albert and corner backs Brent Grimes and Cortland Finnegan. Today, they are reportedly hosting FA running back Knowshon Moreno for a visit. What does Miami’s involvement in FA mean for their future draft plan?
The Dolphins have decisions to make regarding their first round pick, the 19th overall selection in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Most fans and analysts alike (me included) would argue that GM Dennis Hickey and the Dolphins did not do enough in FA to fix their weak O-Line. They made the necessary move in adding bookend tackle Branden Albert from the Chiefs and also added Guard Shelley Smith from the St. Louis Rams. That leaves two spots remaining on the Miami O-Line. One guard and one tackle. There is still time for the ‘Phins to add another trench man.
The majority of Dolphins nation is calling for an offensive linemen of some sort with that 19th overall pick. A lot have joined the Zack Martin (OL of Notre Dame) bandwagon. I must admit, I was skeptical of Martin at first. That being said, if the big man is still available at 19, the Dolphins would be foolish not to take him. Martin can play either RT or Guard, and his versatility would be a huge asset to an O-Line that may need to be moved around before perfected. Martin has great potential too, and given some time to groom under new O-Line coach John Benton, I see Martin becoming a great bookend tackle for the ‘Phins.
However, the Dolphins could also draft a RB at 19 overall, or select the Best Player Available, regardless of his position. Although Miami recently re-signed DT Randy Starks and added Earl Mitchell from the Texans, it would not hurt to add another monster run-stuffer or inside pass rusher. As for RB, I Miami could strike a deal soon with Knowshon Moreno, and therefore not need to go RB with their first pick.
Having options with a draft pick is not necessarily a bad thing. What GM Dennis Hickey needs to be careful of his entering the draft with a narrow mind. We have seen teams like the Oakland Raiders enter drafts with predetermined mindsets and draft horrendously as a result (example Darrius Heyward-Bey). Yes, the need for linemen is a big one. That doesn’t mean the Dolphins should reach for a 2nd round talent at 19th overall though (i.e. any of the linemen after Zack Martin). If the right linemen is there at 19, I say go for it and anchor down what was the weakest position for the team last season. But if the right guy is not there at 19, I believe Miami should draft BPA or address another need (like LB).
I am looking forward to a successful first draft by Dennis Hickey and the Miami Dolphins.