Google "Miami Dolphins mock drafts," and you'll find hundreds of articles speculating about which players the 'Fins will grab in the 2012 draft.
But draft day is still more than two months away, so let's take a step back for a minute.
The Dolphins draft board is (presumptively) still in its infancy. Rather than try to pinpoint which player Miami will select with each pick, let's broaden the scope and look at the array of prospects the 'Fins might consider with each of their selections.
I recently wrote an article discussing which prospects the Dolphins might target with their first-round pick, so you can check that out for a more in-depth analysis.
Anyway, here's an abbreviated look at the players Miami will considering with the eighth (or ninth) overall selection.
Melvin Ingram: My personal favorite. He's undersized, but brings it on every play. His intensity compensates for his size. Best suited as a 4-3 defensive end and could solidify Miami's front seven as a dominant unit.
Courtney Upshaw: Fierce pass-rusher who specializes as a 3-4 pass rusher, but can step down and play defensive end in a 4-3. Depending on which defensive alignment the Dolphins use next year, Upshaw could a great fit.
Quinton Coples: Pro Bowl potential, but concerns about his consistency and motor are disheartening. He was impressive at the Senior Bowl and has a chance to soothe character concerns at the combine. If he does, he'll be high on Miami's draft board.
Jonathan Martin: Offensive tackle is Miami's second most pressing need, and Martin could fill the position for the next decade.
Riley Reiff: Like Martin, Reiff projects as a franchise offensive lineman. If he falls to the Dolphins at eight/nine, they might not be able to pass on him.
Cordy Glenn: Massive, experienced offensive lineman who can play guard and tackle, which makes him a perfect fit for the 'Fins. Might be a longshot to fall into the second round, but if he does, Miami has to draft him.
Whitney Mercilus: If the Dolphins draft an offensive lineman in the first round, they'll target a pass-rusher in the second. Mercilus is flat-out dominant. Hendricks Award winner, led the nation in sacks in 2011 and can play defensive end or outside linebacker. Might not fall out of Round 1, though
Orson Charles: Freakishly-athletic tight end with soft hands and great blocking skills. The Dolphins need more weapons, and Charles is a dynamic one.
Zebrie Sanders: Needs to pack onto his 295-pound frame, but definitely has the potential to become a solid NFL player. He struggled at the Senior Bowl, but that might lower his stock enough for Miami to grab him here.
Brandon Boykin: Electric athlete who can do it all. Boykin is a cornerback by trade. He has experience on the outside and in the slot. The Dolphins needs to bolster their secondary, and if they get a shot at Boykin, there's no way they should pass it up.
Ryan Steed: Another cornerback to keep an eye on. Although he played in the I-AA division, Steed was dominant enough to earn an invite to the NFL combine.
Sean Spence: It's been awhile since the Dolphins drafted a Miami Hurricane, but Spence could end the drought. He was a standout three-year starter for the Canes and would fit nicely into a 4-3 scheme (assuming the 'Fins actually make the transition).
Marvin McNutt: There's no doubt the Dolphins wide receiver corps can use some upgrading. McNutt is a stocky, physical wideout who was groomed in a pro-style offense.
Aaron Henry: The Dolphins will be on the hunt for a free safety this offseason. Henry can help. He's struggled with injuries in the past, but has an NFL build and was a team captain at Wisconsin.
Bruce Irvin: Pure pass-rusher who might just be a situational player at the next level. Irvin has a nose for the quarterback, and the Dolphins can use all of the pass-rushing help they can get.
Michael Egnew: Seam-threat tight end who posted huge numbers at Missouri. Needs to bulk up, but has great hands and could definitely become a weapon for any team.
James Brown: Dominant offensive tackle who starred at Troy. He'll have to prove he can handle top-flight competition. Brown seems to have the physical tools to become a starter down the road.
Trenton Robinson: Another mid-round free safety to keep an eye on. Robinson was a team captain at Michigan State and excelled against the run and the pass. Seems to have a promising overall skill set and could be a steal.
B.J. Coleman: Small-school quarterback prospect who earned an invite to the East-West Shrine Game. He's probably a developmental project right now, but he could fit in as a No. 3 quarterback for Miami.
Rishaw Johnson: Blue-chip high school recruit who played for Ole Miss, but was dismissed at the start of the 2010 season and transferred to California (PA). Has the size and raw ability to become a serviceable lineman, but questions about his work ethic and attitude must be answered.
T.J. Graham: Slender wide receiver with blazing speed. Definitely needs to bulk up, but could eventually become an asset in the vertical passing and return games.
Asa Jackson: Another prospect with amazing speed. Jackson will have to overcome a steep learning curve after playing his college ball at Cal Poly. Still has the chance to develop into a nickel or dime corner based on his athleticism.
Stephen Good: Versatile lineman with experience on a championship-caliber offense. Good has played both right and left guard for the Sooners, and he could become a rotational backup for the 'Fins. If he can pack onto his 6'6", 300-pound frame and polish his game, he could become a starter down the road.
Derek Moye: Athletic and physical specimen who was mildly productive at Penn State. His size alone should encourage somebody to take a late-round flier. Dolphins have taken a liking to Penn State prospects recently, and Moye could be the latest to Nittany Lion join the 'Fins.
Nick Provo: A local product with minimal upside, Provo can still become a serviceable blocker and occasional receiving threat. Has durability issues, but managed to stay healthy for the last two years.
Foswhitt Whitaker: Wasn't a feature back at Texas, but Whittaker did produce with the carries he was allotted. Texas has a history of producing quality NFL backs, and Whittaker could be the next Longhorn to surprise in the NFL.