2012 NFL Mock Draft: Miami Dolphins' Ideal 7-Round Scenarios
The NFL Draft hasn't been kind to the Miami Dolphins in recent years.
A report surfaced earlier this season claiming that the Fins wanted to draft Saints tight end Jimmy Graham in 2010, but the Saints took him before the Trifecta could. Meanwhile, draft busts like Ted Ginn Jr., John Beck, Pat White and Patrick Turner haunt the franchise to this day.
What if, for once, all of the cards fell in Miami's favor? What if the prospects that traditionally fall just out of their grasp fall into their hands?
Here's a look at how such a draft could materialize.
1st Round: Jonathan Martin, Offensive Tackle, Stanford
Since this is an "Ideal" Mock Draft, some of you might expect Robert Griffin III to fall here. But as the 2012 Draft approaches, it's looking like Griffin won't fall outside of the top five—and I'm trying to keep this mock draft realistic.
The next most ideal scenario for the Fins is to grab one of two highly-touted offensive tackles—Iowa's Riley Reiff or Stanford's Jonathan Martin. It's not the sexy pick, but it's the most sound.
Both Vernon Carey and Marc Colombo are free agents this summer, and Miami could solidify their line for years to come by drafting one of these tackles.
However, I'm not totally sold that the Dolphins will draft a right tackle here. John Jerry's strong play down the stretch could persuade the team to give him a shot at a starting job again, and Miami could then sign a quality right tackle or right guard to round out the line. Plus, Football Outsiders ranked this offensive line 17th in the NFL, suggesting it isn't as bad as the public seems to believe.
If a player like Alabama safety Mike Barron or South Carolina defensive end Melvin Ingram start rising up draft boards, I think the Fins might opt for one of them.
2nd Round: Dwayne Allen, Tight End, Clemson
If the Dolphins draft an offensive tackle, then there are three positions they will likely target in the second round: free safety, outside linebacker and tight end.
But in an ideal scenario, Clemson tight end Dwayne Allen—who is currently projecting as a late first-round pick—would slip into the second round, where the Dolphins could draft him. Allen has a solid 6'4", 250-pound frame, great athleticism and soft hands, a skill set that will have some comparing to him players like Jermichael Finley.
A seam-threat tight end like Allen would provide a substantial upgrade to Miami's passing attack, and there's no way they could resist drafting if he falls into the second round.
3rd Round: Chase Thomas, Outside Linebacker, Stanford
Jason Taylor's retirement leaves the Dolphins with a gaping hole at outside linebacker. Cam Wake is now the only linebacker on the roster capable of generating a substantial pass rush, and a 3-4 defense needs consistent pressure from the edges in order to be fully effective.
Most of this year's best rush outside linebackers will likely be gone by the third round, but there's one intriguing prospect who might fall that far: Stanford's Chase Thomas.
Thomas anchored an underrated Stanford defense with 51 tackles and 8.5 sacks. At 6'4", 239 pounds, Thomas clearly has the size, intensity and skills to be a great pass-rusher in the NFL.
Adding him into the mix with Koa Misi and Cameron Wake could give Miami one of the best linebacker corps in the entire league.
4th Round: Donnie Fletcher, Cornerback, Boston College
Outside of Sean Smith and Vontae Davis, the Dolphins have one of the worst cornerback corps in the NFL. Will Allen and Nolan Carroll simply don't suffice when you have to play the New England Patriots twice per season, so bolstering the secondary is a top priority for the Dolphins.
Miami must wait a few rounds to address the cornerback position because they have more pressing needs, but in an ideal scenario, they can still get a great prospect.
Boston College's Donnie Fletcher surfaced onto the national radar in 2010 when he intercepted five passes and racked up 58 tackles. He only registered 35 tackles and two interceptions during his senior season, but perhaps offenses chose not to throw his way.
5th Round: Russell Wilson, Quarterback, Wisconsin
There's only one thing holding Russell Wilson back from being an elite quarterback prospect: height. At 5'11", pundits will immediately bash Wilson's chances of becoming of a successful NFL quarterback, mainly because "he won't be able to see over a pro-sized line."
But everybody needs to realize that Wilson played behind a NFL-sized line at Wisconsin. The Badgers linemen boast an average height of 6'5"—the same average height as the Dolphins' offensive line.
Although Wilson is currently projecting as a mid-round pick, he'll probably shoot up draft boards over the next few months. But if NFL executives disregard Wilson because of his height, Miami should take a flier.
6th Round: T.J. Barnes, Nose Tackle, Georgia Tech
Incumbent nose tackle Paul Soliai is a free agent this offseason, and he will probably demand a huge contract. Even if the Dolphins manage to retain him, they need to draft a young nose tackle to develop and add depth.
Georgia Tech's T.J. Barnes is a monstrous 6'7", 333 pounds, but lacks outstanding skills. He only amassed 11 tackles in 2011, but with a few years of grooming, Barnes could become a dominant force.
7th Round: Derek Moye, Wide Receiver, Penn State
If the 2011 NFL season taught us one thing, it's that wide receivers are wildly misevaluated. Only three of the league's top 10 wide receivers were first-round picks. Meanwhile, two were undrafted and three were third-round selections.
So why not roll the dice on a wide receiver in the last round of the draft—especially if a physical specimen like Penn State's Derek Moye is on the board? Moye boasts a 6'5", 210-pound frame and caught 141 passes for 2,388 yards and 17 touchdowns over the last three seasons.
Jeff Ireland has shown a liking for Penn State prospects in the past. He signed tight end Brett Brackett as an undrafted free agent last summer, and cornerback A.J. Wallace as an undrafted free agent in 2010—all the more reason to believe the Dolphins could take a flier on Moye.