2012 NFL Mock Draft: Dolphins 7-Round, Pre-Combine Dart Board
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Draft season is in full bloom, and mock drafts are flying like footballs at quarterback pro days. The draft landscape will change dramatically over the next couple of months as the combine and free agency wreak havoc on draft boards.
As such, mock drafts get messy rather quickly—we simply do not have enough information. Taking a stab at what they might do is still a good exercise, however.
With the Dolphins rumored to be hot on Peyton Manning's trail and Philbin's connection to Matt Flynn, I will assume they find a quarterback in free agency for the purposes of this mock draft. I would not be surprised if they filled a hole on the offensive line on the market as well.
Round 1: Quinton Coples, DE, UNC
Coples is a disruptive force when he wants to be.
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The Dolphins will likely go in one of two directions in the first round, barring free agency: offensive tackle or pass-rusher.
Coples has been rising on many scouts' draft boards after a strong Senior Bowl week and a good combine may raise his stock too much to fall to the Dolphins. If he is there at the 8th or 9th pick, though, he will be hard to pass up for Jeff Ireland and the Dolphins.
Coples is a bit of a polarizing prospect. On the one hand, the 6'6", 281-pound lineman is physically gifted in a Jevon Kearse kind of way.
On the other, the only reason he is not a lock for the Top 5 is because of a down senior season—though he did lead his team with 7.5 sacks—and motivational issues. Look for any team who drafts him to remedy the latter with good coaching.
Consolation Prize: Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
If Coples is taken or Jeff Ireland feels the need to take yet another offensive lineman in the first round, Reiff makes the most sense if he is still available.
The Iowa tackle would make for an excellent bookend across from a healthy Jake Long. Given that Marc Colombo was little more than a blocking sled at right tackle, this might be the wiser choice after all.
Round 2: Dwayne Allen, TE, Clemson
Allen could play Jermichael Finley's role in Miami
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Allen's stock is also on the rise, meaning the Dolphins may miss out on him this far into the second round.
If he is there for the taking, though, he makes a lot of sense for Joe Philbin's offense—the Packers stockpiled tight ends like there was a shortage when he was there. Anthony Fasano is an underrated, underutilized tight end, but Allen brings a playmaking ability to the position the Dolphins have been missing for what seems like an eternity.
He may lack prototypical size for the position at 6'4"—if he even measures that much at official weigh-ins—but the same can be said of Antonio Gates and Aaron Hernandez if you catch my drift. Allen is a good blocker to boot. The Clemson product should grow into a big seam threat in the NFL.
Consolation Prize: Vinny Curry, DE, Marshall
Where Coples lacks in motivation, Curry excels—his motor is seemingly in overdrive on every play.
If the Dolphins go with an offensive lineman in the first round, Curry would make for a nice second-round pick. Curry is not freakishly big for defensive end at 6'3" and 265 pounds, but the Dolphins will be running a hybrid defense meaning the ends could be getting some time at OLB.
He also possesses leadership qualities and intangibles teams covet in the locker room.
Round 3: Joe Adams, WR, Arkansas
Adams is slippery in the open field
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The diminutive Razorback brings big playmaking ability to the table. Adams is fast and shifty, a combination that should make him an excellent slot receiver and special teams player.
Davone Bess has performed admirably as the Dolphins' third receiver, but Adams is a big play threat when he gets the ball in his hands. His excellent Senior Bowl week may have propelled him into the second round and, if he runs a 4.35 40 at the combine, he will be gone well before this pick.
Wide receiver is not high on the team's need list, but Adams represents an upside the Dolphins may not be able to pass up early in the third round, if he lasts that long. Joe Philbin's offense employs many receivers, so they may view the position as a bigger need than anticipated.
Consolation Prize: Levy Adcock, OT, Oklahoma State
The reality is Adams may be wishful thinking this late. If the Dolphins have not addressed tackle by now, they should and Levy Adcock has the makings of a starter at the position.
The 6'6", 322-pound lineman protected Brandon Weeden's blindside at Oklahoma State, but the Dolphins would move him to the right side to replace Marc Colombo. Adcock is not a mauler, but his size and athleticism should translate well to Philbin's offense.
Round 4: Harrison Smith, SS, Notre Dame
Time to Groom a Yeremiah Bell replacement?
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The Dolphins may have to trade back up into the third round to snag Smith (in this fictional draft), who has good size for the position at 6'2" and 256 pounds.
Having to contend with the likes of Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez twice a year—not to mention Dustin Keller and Scott Chandler—the Dolphins might want to capitalize on Smith's size in this position of need. Though he is not the fastest safety, he is a bit of a ball hawk, something Miami has lacked at the position.
Yeremiah Bell is not getting any younger, so replacing him sooner than later should be a priority.
Consolation Prize: Marvin Jones, WR, Cal
Underrated and overshadowed by teammate Keenan Allen coming out of college, Jones has been moving up draft boards in recent weeks. The 6'1" receiver has good size for the position.
While he may not be a burner, he runs crisp routes and has excellent ball skills. If the Dolphins are looking to bolster the position, a guy like Jones may quickly wind up supplanting Edmond Gates on the depth chart.
Round 5: Lucas Nix, OG, Pittsburgh
Lucas is on the right side of this running back sandwich
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If the Dolphins have managed to get their first choice thus far (according to this mock), they have not addressed their needs along the offensive line. Enter Lucas Nix, a versatile lineman who likely to play guard at the next level.
The 6'6" former Panther is a good run blocker, but needs to work on technique to compete in the NFL. Drafting Nix gives the Dolphins some flexibility along the right side of the line—they could kick Vernon Carey back out to RT or give John Jerry a shot out there while letting Nix develop behind Carey, assuming they re-sign the latter.
Consolation Prize: Eddie Whitley, FS, Virginia Tech
Whitley possesses good size and speed for the position, and the Dolphins need help at free safety—it has practically been a revolving door alongside Yeremiah Bell. Whitley played four years, starting the last two, and could make an instant impact on special teams while fighting for playing time on defense.
Round 6 (from NO): Cliff Harris, CB, Oregon
Unfortunately Harris likes to go fast off the field
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If excessive speeding was the worst off-the-field issue in the NFL, it would be a much happier place.
Harris' draft stock plummeted when he was suspended indefinitely for driving 118 MPH on a suspended license, potentially setting him up to a big steal for a team willing to gamble on his talent.
Harris is a bit undersized at 5'11" and 165 pounds, and his penchant for the big play got him burned a few times in college. He regularly cashes in on those gambles, though, and the Dolphins have lacked playmakers in their secondary in recent years.
The former Duck is also a dynamic punt-returner, another area where the Dolphins have been found wanting. His draft stock is difficult to predict based on his off-field issues, but scooping him up this late would be a coup if he can get his head on straight.
Consolation Prize: Chase Ford, TE, Miami
The U has churned out great NFL tight ends like no other program over the past 15 years, sometimes quite unexpectedly (see: Graham, Jimmy). Ford could be the latest in that line, quietly impressing scouts after a lackluster college career.
At 6'6" and 253-pounds, he has great size for the position. He also has good hands which helps offset his lack of speed.
If the Dolphins pass up or lose out on the top tight ends in the draft, Ford is a good developmental pick to stick behind Anthony Fasano and Charles Clay.
Round 7: Winston Guy, S, Kentucky
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Guy is a versatile defensive back, having played both safety positions, cornerback, gunner and even linebacker during his college career.
He has good speed for a safety, and he is a good tackler. Again, the Dolphins have to find ways to compete with the likes of the growing tight end menace, so why not turn over every stone they can?
At the very least, Guy is ready to contribute on special teams while fighting for a spot on defense.
Consolation Prize: Joe Long, OT, Wayne State
What better way to bolster the team's offensive tackles than with Jake Long's brother? Alright, that is a bit of a stretch—there is a reason Joe is not a top overall pick candidate. The younger Long is raw and has balance issues, but could improve with good coaching. Perhaps his brother can help him along.