Because of the depth and available talent in this year’s NFL Draft, it has been one of the hardest drafts to predict (as if they aren’t all extremely difficult). Analysts both professional and amateur (like me, though keeping my fingers crossed) have listed numerous options for the first round possibilities of all 32 NFL teams. One of the teams who has been predetermined to draft a certain position in the first round is the Miami Dolphins, whose abysmal O-Line last year has analysts penciling in an Offensive Tackle for the ‘Fins at 19 overall. While I think that is very likely and a high possibility, I think who Miami chooses with their first selection depends greatly on the scenario come draft day. Let’s take a look at the possible scenarios the Dolphins could face.
1. Zack Martin, OL Notre Dame, IS available: If Martin is there when the Dolphins pick 19th overall, I simply don’t see them passing up on him. He is considered the last first round talent of the tackles behind Greg Robinson, Jake Matthews and Taylor Lewan. He started 52 games in college and would fill the glaring hole Miami has at the right tackle spot. Furthermore, Martin is versatile enough to play Guard if need be, and his value is much too high for the ‘Phins to pass on him if he is available at 19.
2. Zack Martin (and any other first round tackle talent) is NOT available: While most scouts believe Martin will be there for the pickings at 19, some don’t. Given his value and the consistent need of linemen in the NFL, I very well could see Martin going higher. If that is the case come early May, here are Miami’s options as I see them.
Option 1: Reach for a 2nd round tackle talent at 19. This move, in my opinion, would be INCREDIBLY stupid by Miami. If Martin is not there, I would much rather see Miami address another need (see below) than reach for a guy like Morgan Moses or Cyrus Kouandijo in the first round. While these guys should do well in the NFL, they are by no means worth risking a first round pick, especially not with Miami’s other needs and the depth of the draft.
Option 2: Trading down and adding pick(s): If Martin is not available, this would be a fantastic alternative to option 1. I believe the winners of this draft will be those who can convince other teams to trade up and give up picks. This draft is absolutely bursting with talent in almost every round and at almost every position, so even one or two additional picks would do wonders. If the Dolphins can trade down, they could add a pick or two and pick up two linemen (or any other position), for the price of one. Smart drafting teams often have the best records, it isn’t rocket science.
Option 3: Stay at 19, and fill another need: If the Dolphins can’t find another team to trade down with, they should stay at 19 and fill another need. I am in love with (and so is fellow staff writer Tyler McMullen) Alabama’s ILB C.J. Mosley. The guy reminds me of a more physical Zach Thomas. He covers the field using both speed and instincts, and is physical enough to stop the run and cover TE’s in the passing game. Mosley would also make a lot of sense for Miami, who struggled stopping the run last year (especially in the second level, i.e. the LB’s job!). Mosley would not be a reach at 19, and could come in and challenge a seemingly weak LB core that Miami spent a lot of money on last FA. If Miami wanted to stay offensive with this pick, they could also draft a Guard at 19.
As you can see, it is a nightmare trying to project what team will draft what player and when. That is both the frustrating and fun part of the NFL Draft. I hope the Miami Dolphins, led by new GM Dennis Hickey, use this talent-studded draft as an opportunity not only to fix their weakest spots on the roster, but to also add competition to those already proven positions. The Dolphins are VERY close to becoming a consistent playoff team. I believe the answers to Miami’s recent struggles are in this draft.
It is just a matter of finding them.