While the Miami Dolphins‘ 2012 campaign has not concluded, the 2013 NFL Draft looms large. Miami is still “in the hunt” for an AFC wild card spot but with four games remaining, they no longer control their destiny and are, basically, on life support. Yes, it may be time to begin talking about the upcoming draft, one, in which, the Dolphins hold five selections in the top three rounds.
Based on the current standings, here is the draft order:
|1.||Kansas City Chiefs||2-10|
|6.||San Diego Chargers||4-8|
|13.||New Orleans Saints||5-7|
|14.||New York Jets||5-7|
|15.||St. Louis Rams||5-6-1|
|16.||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||6-6|
|18.||St. Louis via Washington||6-6|
|22.||New York Giants||7-5|
|26.||Green Bay Packers||8-4|
|27.||San Francisco 49ers||8-3-1|
|29.||New England Patriots||9-3|
Ties are broken by strength of schedule. If tied, the team with the easier schedule, drafts first.
Miami is currently slated to have the 12th selection. Let’s look at players that are potentially on the Dolphins’ radar.
Dee Milliner, Cornerback, Alabama
Nov 26, 2011; Auburn, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back Dee Milliner (28) returns an interception for a touchdown against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium. The Tide defeated the Tigers 42-14. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports
If he enters the draft, this junior will be the top cornerback. Milliner is a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award and has earned All-American and All-SEC honors. Milliner has the size (6’1″, 200), speed (4.47) and athleticism to compete with NFL receivers. The Dolphins will likely need a top 10 pick to land him.
Keenan Allen, Wide Receiver, California
September 8, 2012; Berkeley, CA, USA; California Golden Bears wide receiver Keenan Allen (21) celebrates after returning a punt for a touchdown against the Southern Utah Thunderbirds during the fourth quarter at Memorial Stadium. The California Golden Bears defeated the Southern Utah Thunderbirds 50-31. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Many draft pundits have the Dolphins targeting this Golden Bear. Allen was considered one of the nation’s top receivers after hauling in 98 receptions for 1343 yards in 2011. In 2012, he matched his 2011 touchdown total (6) and became California’s all-time leader in receptions, but finished with dissapointing numbers mainly due to injury (61 receptions for 737 yards). Allen is big (6’3″, 210) but is not a burner (4.53). Miami will only draft Allen if the organization believes he can be a number one receiver. If re-signed, Brian Hartline is a solid number two and Davone Bess is a top slot man. Unless he breaks out in the combine, Allen can be had in the late teens, early twenties.
Xavier Rhodes, Cornerback, Florida State
Nov 17, 2012; College Park, MD, USA; Florida State Seminoles defensive back Xavier Rhodes (27) prior to the game against the Maryland Terrapins at Byrd Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports
Rhodes is a big cornerback (6’2″, 215) and has the tools to be physical with NFL receivers but lacks top end speed (4.5). He is only a sophomore but is eligible for the draft because he was red-shirted. As a freshman, he was an All-American. His versatility and size will likely have him drafted in the second half of the first round.
Justin Hunter, Wide Receiver, Tennessee
Nov 10, 2012; Knoxville, TN, USA; Tennessee Volunteers wide receiver Justin Hunter (11) catches a pass against Missouri Tigers defensive back E.J. Gaines (31) during the second half at Neyland Stadium. Missouri defeated Tennessee 51-48 in quadruple overtime. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports
The junior Volunteer has not declared as of yet. Last season he caught 73 passes for 1083 yards and 9 touchdowns. Not bad for someone returning from a torn ACL. This is Hunter’s HUGE negative. On the positive side, Hunter is tall (6’4″), fast (4.48), with long arms and good hands. His is a great leaper and has tremendous offensive awareness. The aforementioned along with his thin frame remind many of Randy Moss. If Hunter can prove he is past his injury, he will rise into the first round.
Who do you think the Dolphins should draft in the first round?
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