The draft picture became clearer after the combine, as free agency dragged on for Miami. After whiffing on Peyton Manning and Matt Flynn, quarterback became a focal point for the Dolphins in the draft. Losing Brandon Marshall without replacing him whatsoever also signaled they would be looking to the draft for wide receiver help.
As such, these are the picks I made in the draft I drew up after free agency simmered down:
Round 1: Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
The Dolphins need a quarterback. Or they do not, depending on what day of the week it is and who is talking.
Lately, information coming out of the Dolphins front office has been muddled, with reports coming one day saying Stephen Ross has mandated that Jeff Ireland find a franchise quarterback immediately, and Miami gushing about Matt Moore the next.
Then there is the fact Ireland and Joe Philbin had dinner with Tannehill the night before they attended his pro day.
Tannehill's draft stock remains eristical, with some scouts insisting he is not worth a top pick while an increasing number of others warming up to the former Aggie.
Whatever scouting opinions there are about him, draft buzz surrounding Tannehill is growing louder. He completed 60 of 64 passes and ran a 4.58 40-yard-dash at his aforementioned pro day, adding fuel to the fire that he will be a top-10 pick.
While there may be questions about his turnovers and a perceived inability to close games, Tannehill represents a potential franchise quarterback for Miami. They may have other needs, but landing a potential franchise player at the most important position may trump everything else.
Round 2: Vinny Curry, DE, Marshall
With Miami going all-in on Ryan Tannehill in the first round of this mock draft, the focus shifts to a pass-rushing specialist.
Curry had a monster Senior Bowl week, performing particularly well in the game. He was expected to continue that momentum into the combine but was disappointing to the point where Mike Mayock openly wondered if he was nervous.
He rebounded with a fantastic pro day, restoring his draft stock at the right time.
Curry may not belong with the elite pass-rushing prospects, but his intensity should put him close. The Marshall graduate has a motor unmatched by any other prospect in this draft class. This should make up for any lack of athleticism or small school concerns he may have, though questions about his athleticism should be put to rest after his pro day.
Because pass rushers tend to rise on draft day, it is possible that Curry winds up at the tail end of the first round. The Dolphins would do well to snag him with their second-round pick should he be available after taking a quarterback in the first round.
Round 3, Pick 1: George Iloka, SS, Boise State
It remains to be seen whether Miami will have Yeremiah Bell back after his dramatic release, but he will be 34 years old this season, so picking his replacement, whether for the present or future, is ideal if the right man falls to Miami.
Iloka fits that bill.
At 6'3", the Boise State product possesses excellent size for the position. With the evolution of the tight end position bringing us beasts like Rob Gronkowski, drafting a guy who can at least come close in size is a plus.
The big safety has experience at cornerback, giving him even more credibility in coverage. While he does not have blazing speed, he is big and athletic enough to hang with the big boys.
The Dolphins could very well go with a wide receiver with this pick, or they could wait...
Round 3, Pick 2: Marvin McNutt, WR, Iowa
... until the very next pick, which they obtained from the Bears in the Brandon Marshall trade.
Trading the mercurial receiver away rid the team of a big headache, but also left Miami with a 6'4" hole at the position. At just under that size, McNutt can step in and be the big-bodied receiver the Dolphins would be missing.
The former Hawkeye is not in the same elite class as Marshall, but he has great measurables and production coming out of Iowa. As a senior, he caught 82 passes in 13 games for 1,315 yards, which amounts to an excellent 6.3 catches per game and 16 yards-per-catch. He also caught 12 touchdowns.
McNutt is flying a bit under the radar of other receiving prospects. His unofficial time at the combine was 4.42, though it was adjusted to 4.54 officially. While that does not make him a burner, he still has good speed for his size.
Joe Philbin and the Green Bay Packers may not have taken big receivers often, but McNutt has about the same size and athleticism as Jordy Nelson, who was not too shabby for them last season.
Round 4: Matt McCants, OT, UAB
One position the Dolphins have not addressed via free agency or this mock draft yet is offensive tackle.
With Marc Colombo liable to be outplayed by a tackling dummy last season, Miami needs to improve at right tackle in a bad way. While there may be a plan in place to start John Jerry or Lydon Murtha, rarely does a draft go by where Jeff Ireland eschews the offensive line.
McCants did not have a very good Senior Bowl week, but having to go up against Quinton Coples, Courtney Upshaw and Melvin Ingram may have had something to do with it.
The big man has the tools to excel at the next level, but his quality of competition may just hurt his draft stock enough for Miami to snag him this late.
Round 5: Chris Givens, WR, Wake Forest
Sticking with the wide receiver theme, the Dolphins will likely use two picks to bring new blood to the position.
Givens fits the Joe Philbin mold of wide receivers to a tee at 6'0" and 193 pounds. In fact, he is faster on a track than the average Philbin receiver, having run a 4.41 40-yard dash.
The Wake Forest product would finish shoring up a position rocked by the loss of Marshall. Truth be told, Givens has a much higher grade than the fifth round by many scouts, but the receiver position is so deep that he might fall here by simple virtue of oversupply.
Round 6: DeAngelo Peterson, TE, LSU
Joe Philbin wants a big seam threat, and he may not be satisfied with Anthony Fasano.
While coming away with a guy like Coby Fleener is ideal, the Dolphins have too many needs to spend a high draft pick at an already-stocked position.
Peterson comes into the draft with a lot of upside, but he is raw and has perceived motivational issues. He could have helped himself with a great combine performance, but he was quite average considering the top tight ends did not perform in all the events.
The LSU product is worth a shot late in the draft on upside alone, however. It is not far-fetched that he would fall this far in a relatively weak tight end class.
Round 7: Travaris Cadet, RB, Appalachian State
Miami actually has good depth at the running back position with Reggie Bush, Daniel Thomas, Steve Slaton and CFL import Jerome Messam. Is there room for more?
A team can never have too many good running backs. Well, perhaps unless they have too many good running backs, like the New Orleans Saints. The Dolphins crop is not nearly inspiring as the one in Louisiana, however, so there is merit in turning over every stone where it is prudent.
Cadet is a versatile player in whom the Dolphins have shown interest this draft season. The local product was a dual-threat quarterback in high school, and he was a big contributor in special teams. The 6'1" running back has good size that could help him land a spot on the roster in the NFL.
The influence from the BR Community Draft is clearly evident here, with the top four picks having also been taken in said draft.