Odds on Who the Miami Dolphins Will Select in the First Round of the 2012 Draft
Unlike last year—when everybody thought the 'Fins would take Mark Ingram—no one player stands out as the favorite. Instead, there are a slew of prospects that could hear their name called with the eighth (or ninth) overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.
Even though we're still roughly two months way from Draft Day, there are seven candidates that stand out above the rest.
Which one will Miami draft?
Here are the odds.
Riley Reiff, Offensive Tackle, Iowa
The quarterback position is obviously Miami's biggest need, but in all likelihood, they're going to have to address it in free agency.
The team's next biggest need is offensive tackle. Both Marc Colombo and Vernon Carey are slated for free agency, and the Dolphins must fortify their mediocre offensive line—especially if they want their new quarterback to thrive.
Iowa has a reputation for spewing out quality NFL lineman, and Riley Reiff could be the next Hawkeye to succeed in the pros. It's nearly impossible to gauge where Reiff will go, though. Todd McShay has him going third overall, Mel Kiper has him going ninth (to the 'Fins), and B/R's own Matt Miller has him going 18th.
Regardless, I don't foresee the Dolphins drafting an offensive tackle in the first round. They can probably grab a starter in the second round, and this team needs dynamic playmakers.
Odds: 12 to 1
Mark Barron, Safety, Alabama
I'm surprised there hasn't been more speculation about Mark Barron and the Miami Dolphins, but I suspect that will change after the NFL Scouting Combine. Safety is one of Miami's most pressing needs, and Barron is the consensus top-rated safety in this year's draft class.
As Omar Kelly astutely points out, Yeremiah Bell is making a whole lot of money for a safety who isn't particularly reliable in coverage. Consequently, Kelly suggests that he could be cut.
It's tough to envision the Dolphins cutting a team captain—and new head coach Joe Philbin probably won't, to risk upsetting his new team—but this only further laments the team's need for a young safety.
Keep an eye on Barron. He is the darkhorse.
Odds: 9 to 1
Robert Griffin III, Quarterback, Baylor
General manager Stephen Ross has made it no secret: he wants and expects to bring in a franchise quarterback this offseason.
But what if the 'Fins fail to acquire Peyton Manning and Matt Flynn?
It's a very plausible scenario, and if it comes to fruition, then the Dolphins might trade up for Robert Griffin III. Miami would probably have to pay a king's ransom to move up, but Griffin is a generational prospect who could be worth it.
Odds: 8 to 1
Courtney Upshaw, Outside Linebacker, Alabama
Reports claim that the Dolphins are switching to a 4-3 defensive alignment, but the team has yet to make an official announcement. So, there's still a chance that Miami will stick with the 3-4 hybrid defense that they've utilized over the last few seasons.
If the Dolphins do, in fact, continue using the 3-4, then Alabama's Courtney Upshaw will probably be their pick. Upshaw is the top-rated outside linebacker in this year's class, and he'd be a perfect complement to Cameron Wake.
However, it makes a great deal of sense for the 'Fins to make the switch over to a 4-3, and that essentially rules Upshaw out.
Odds: 7 to 1
Jonathan Martin, Offensive Tackle, Stanford
Like I said earlier, I don't believe that the Dolphins will use their first-round draft pick on an offensive tackle. However, there's still a fairly good chance of them doing so—especially if they land Peyton Manning.
If Miami chooses to take the offensive tackle route, then Jonathan Martin would be a great pick. He protected Andrew Luck's blindside for three years and has ideal size and strength. Installing Martin alongside Mike Pouncey and Jake Long would give the 'Fins an unrivaled nucleus of young linemen.
Odds: 6 to 1
Quinton Coples, Defensive End, North Carolina
Maturity and consistency concerns have and will continue to plague Quinton Coples, but he helped soothe those apprehensions during the Senior Bowl. Todd McShay said Coples was the "best player on the field" in Mobile, and there's no doubt he has superstar potential.
However, will Coples continue playing hard when the Dolphins are down by 17 in the third quarter?
Will he get flustered when he can't beat an offensive tackle?
These are questions the 'Fins must answer during the pre-draft process. Coples is a high-risk, high-reward prospect, but it's time for this organization to take some risks. There's a fairly good chance Coples will be off the board when Miami picks, but if he's there, it'll be tough for the team to pass on him.
Odds: 3 to 1
Melvin Ingram, Defensive End, South Carolina
A few weeks ago, I published a mock draft that had the Dolphins selecting South Carolina defensive end Melvin Ingram with their first round pick. Then, Todd McShay published a mock draft that had the 'Fins selecting Ingram in the first round.
But, regardless, I believe Ingram will be Miami's pick (Yeah, I know I had them taking Quinton Coples in my latest mock but I'm backtracking). He has ideal size, experience, and playmaking ability. The Dolphins desperately need another pass rusher, and Ingram could help Miami's front seven become a dominant one.
Odds: 2 to 1