Rhodes and Johnson aren’t the only players the Dolphins don’t exactly love. Tavon Austin is a great slot receiver and perhaps the most promising playmaker in the draft.
But he’s barely 5-9, and his shorter arms don’t make him a good target on the outside for Tannehill. And Ireland loves players with prototypical size. And the Dolphins just spent a ton of money on signing three receivers in free agency.
So the Dolphins like Austin. But for the stated reasons, they don’t quite love him.
The truth is some players would be easier to love if Miami wasn’t picking so high. The Dolphins really like Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro, who was in town visiting the team Tuesday. They really like defensive tackles Sheldon Richardson and Sylvester Williams, cornerback D.J. Hayden and even Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o.
So are the Dolphins ready to commit to any of those players at No. 12? No, they all appear possibilities in a trade-down scenario, where the increased value of the picks could bring the Dolphins to loving any of those players, particularly Vaccaro.
But if the club stays at No.12, love will continue to be hard to find. Defensive tackle Star Lotulelei is great example of that.
He’s more than a good value at No. 12. He plays a position that Randy Starks and Paul Soliai currently play, so that makes him a good fit for the future because Starks is tied only by a one-year franchise tag and Soliai is in the final year of his contract.
But Lotulelei’s problems are he admittedly takes some plays off and he also plays a position that is not a huge need right now. Next year? Sure. But now? No.
So can Ireland get past those issues and pick Lotulelei?
It would depend on if he finds a way to love the guy.