Analyzing the needs of the Miami Dolphins heading into the 2013 NFL Draft
04/15/2013 12:00 AM
04/16/2013 12:30 AM
This is the only place on the field where the Dolphins have a glaring hole. They need a starter at tackle, but have flexibility: Draft a left tackle and Jonathan Martin moves back to the right side; take a right tackle and he can stay at his most natural position.
Early-round options• Eric Fisher, Central Michigan: He has been soaring up the draft boards since a breakout Senior Bowl. Would be a great fit for Miami, but will likely be long gone by pick No. 12.
• Lane Johnson, Oklahoma: A physical specimen who ran a blazing 4.69 40-yard dash at the Combine – despite weighing 303 pounds. A popular trade-up possibility.
• D.J. Fluker, Alabama: Fun fact – D.J. stands for Danny Lee Jesus. The Dolphins don’t need a savior at right tackle, just someone dependable. Fluker has been that.
Others to watch: Terron Armstead, Arkansas Pine-Bluff; Kyle Long, Oregon; Justin Pugh, Syracuse; Menelik Watson, Florida State.
The Brent Grimes signing lowered the panic meter from 10 to 6 or 7 at the position, but few will mistake the group as currently constructed for Madison and Surtain. Plus, Jeff Ireland covets young and cheap covermen.
Dee Milliner, Alabama: Miami would sprint to the podium if Milliner is still there at 12. Only reason he might be is concern over shoulder surgery performed in March.• Desmond Trufant, Washington: At just under 6 feet, Trufant isn’t big. But he’s plenty quick (4.38) and is seen as a superb zone corner.
• Xavier Rhodes, Florida State: The three-year starter is a press corner who broke up 10 passes in his junior. Unclear if Dolphins see him as a fit, however.
Others to watch: Robert Alford, Southeast Louisiana; Johnthan Banks, Mississippi State; Jordan Poyer, Oregon State; Jamar Taylor, Boise State.
Dustin Keller will replace Anthony Fasano as the featured target, but his one-year signing was a stop-gap measure. We’ll know if the Dolphins see Charles Clay or Michael Egnew as their long-term seam-buster by Round 3.
Early-round options• Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame: He’s the consensus No. 1 player at his position. A physical specimen (6-6, 250) who ran a 4.6-second 40 and showed off a 35.5-inch vertical leap at the Combine.
• Zach Ertz, Stanford: Hurt himself with a poor Combine performance, but Ertz should still be gone by the end of Round 2. Caught 69 passes in 2012, his only year as a starter.
• Gavin Escobar, San Diego State: Went pro after a junior year in which he led the Aztecs in receptions (42) and was named a John Mackey Award semifinalist.
Others to watch: Nick Kasa, Colorado; Jordan Reed, Florida; Vance McDonald, Rice; Dion Sims, Michigan State.
Cameron Wake was the league’s best 4-3 defensive end last year, according to Pro Football Focus – and by a wide margin. But the team’s other ends combined for just 8.5 sacks last year, and that includes Jared Odrick, who often rushed from inside.
Ezekiel Anseh, BYU: Despite logging just five sacks last year, “Ziggy” has zoomed to the top of the first round based on overwhelming ability. Mel Kiper has him going second overall.• Bjoern Werner, Florida State: Some people love him; others don’t – to put it kindly. He could go top-10; he could fall out of the first round altogether.
• Datone Jones, UCLA: He’s a hybrid DE/OLB, but Gil Brandt sees Jones as a pure pass-rushing 4-3 end. Had 19 tackles for loss, including 5.5 sacks, as a fifth-year senior.
Others to watch: Tank Carradine, Florida State; Margus Hunt, Southern Methodist; Corey Lemonier, Auburn; Damontre Moore, Texas A&M.
Just like at tight end and cornerback, the Dolphins have a starter (Chris Clemons) with no job security beyond this year. The tandem of Clemons and Reshad Jones was solid in 2012, but combined for just six interceptions.
Early-round options• Kenny Vaccaro, Texas: The best of a very deep class. Vaccaro visited the Dolphins, so they have interest in the 6-foot, 214-pounder who ran a 4.59-second 40 at the Combine.
• Johnathan Cyprien, FIU: Few have risen as fast or as high since the end of the college season as Cyprien. Mel Kiper believes he could even be a late first-round pick.
• Matt Elam, Florida: A big-hitting, in-the-box player, Elam is a true strong safety. Would be an intriguing pair with the rangy Jones.
Others to watch: Don Jones, Arkansas State; Eric Reid, LSU; Phillip Thomas, Fresno State; Shamarko Thomas, Syracuse.
Just because it’s not a need doesn’t mean it’s not an option. Familiarize yourself with some roster-bulking gems who could end up in Miami.• Defensive tackles: Johnathan Jenkins, Georgia; Star Lotulelei, Utah; Sheldon Richardson, Missouri; Sylvester Williams, North Carolina.
• Running backs: Montee Ball, Wisconsin; Giovani Bernard, North Carolina; Andre Ellington, Clemson; Eddie Lacy, Alabama.
• Linebackers: Jon Bostic, Florida; Barkevious Mingo, LSU; Dion Jordan, Oregon; Manti Te’o, Notre Dame.
• Guards: Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina; Ryan Jensen, Colorado State-Pueblo; Larry Warford, Kentucky; Chance Warmack, Alabama.
• Wide receivers: Tavon Austin, West Virginia; Stedman Bailey, West Virginia; Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee; Terrance Williams, Baylor.
• Kickers: Brett Baer, Louisiana-Lafayette; Dustin Hopkins, Florida State; Brett Maher, Nebraska; Caleb Sturgis, Florida.
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