All roads lead here.
The skies are filled with the smoke from the rhetoric coming out of teams around the league, and only the draft winds can truly clear them up. Barring a pre-emptive trade, Miami's number will be called sometime during the second hour of the draft.
Before then, however, I offer up one last mock.
Pick: Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
This pick came down to two players: Quinton Coples and Tannehill. The quarterback won.
Jeff Ireland and Stephen Ross have both refuted the report that Ross is pressuring his GM to take Tannehill. Joe Philbin has stated there have been no internal discussion about whether the team should draft him at No. 8.
I smell smoke.
Despite all the posturing to the contrary, the quarterback out of Texas A&M is the pick here.
Jake Locker was taken with the very same pick last year, and some scouts believe Tannehill is a better prospect. Others believe he would be a reach with the No. 8 pick, but beggars cannot be choosers. Ideally, Miami would be able to trade down from their current slot and still snag their quarterback, but if he is really their man they cannot risk losing him by doing so.
The former Aggie is not as raw as some may think and Miami can let him sit behind Matt Moore and David Garrard. This may not sit will with the fans, but this is a multiyear process.
Pick: Amini Silatolu, G, Midwestern State
Indeed, while the Dolphins still need a wide receiver and pass-rusher, Silatolu presents a big upgrade at guard here. Jeff Ireland may not be able to resist taking the big lineman here.
With good size at 6'4" and 320 pounds, Silatolu is a versatile offensive lineman projected to play guard at the next level. Considering he possesses excellent athleticism, that makes him ideal for Miami's new zone-blocking scheme (ZBS).
Miami's offensive line needs a facelift, particularly on the right side. While Lydon Murtha is the leading candidate to replace Marc Colombo at right tackle, the situation at guard is a bit murkier.
John Jerry turned his career around last season after being a bitter disappointment his rookie year, and he was the starting right guard at the outset of voluntary minicamps. The problem is he may be too big and lumbering for the ZBS.
Artis Hicks and Nate Garner present similar problems, while Richie Incognito is trying to lose weight on the other side at left guard.
Silatolu would be an instant solution to all this, though it would create a bit of a glut at the position. Having too many decent offensive lineman is rarely a problem, however. As an added bonus, Silatolu could eventually be kicked back outside.
Pick: Ryan Broyles, WR, Oklahoma
Had he not injured his ACL as a senior, Broyles might be in the discussion for a first round pick. As it stands, however, he is making a hard charge up the draft boards thanks to improbable performances at the combine and his pro day just months after knee surgery.
The former Sooner is not terribly big at 5'10", but he is a speedy, precise route-runner whose game may just be tailored for Joe Philbin's offense.
Miami actually has a good number of receivers on the roster. With Davone Bess recovering from a torn ACL/MCL—injuries that did not require surgery—mind you-the Dolphins need to bolster their depth in the slot.
Broyles not only does that here, he could become a lethal weapon in this offense.
Pick: Bruce Irvin, DE/OLB, West Virginia
With Cameron Wake on the lam and a need at pass-rusher regardless, Irvin makes for a solid choice here in the third round.
The pass-rusher out of West Virginia has the makings of an ideal pick for the Dolphins. At 6'3" he is a bit undersized for a pure defensive end. That is the position he played in college, however. Given that Kevin Coyle will be running a hybrid 3-4/4-3 defense, Irvin fits in nicely.
Irvin possesses excellent athleticism and an elite pass rush. He is less-than-stellar against the run, however, partially due to his size.
Even without Philip Merling the Dolphins have the depth on the line to kick Jared Odrick outside on rushing downs and bring Irvin in for passing situations. They could even load Irvin into a 4-3 OLB slot at times.
Despite some legal issues, Irvin may not last to the Dolphins in the third round. With an extra pick in the draft, it may behoove them to move back up into the second to snag him.
Pick: Juron Criner, WR, Arizona
The Dolphins could still use a bigger receiver after taking Broyles with an earlier pick. Criner fits that bill.
At just under 6'3", the former Wildcat possesses similar measurables to Jordy Nelson, a rising star in Green Bay. Criner has the ability to make the amazing catches, but he has a tendency to drop some easier passes. He is excellent after the catch, however, making him a good choice for the West Coast-style offense.
Whereas Broyles would be the burner in the slot, Criner would be a possession receiver for the Dolphins. He is similarly-sized to Brian Hartline as well, which would give them two big receivers on the wings. While not exactly elite, Miami's receiving corps would be fully stocked with receivers who would work well in Philbin's offense at this point.
Pick: Coryell Judie, CB, Texas A&M
After losing Will Allen to free agency and reportedly moving Jimmy Wilson to free safety, the Dolphins could use some help at cornerback.
Despite signing Richard Marshall—who, incidentally, is better-suited for free safety himself—Miami needs to add depth at cornerback. Judie is the type of fifth-round pick that would suit them here.
The cornerback out of Texas A&M has decent size at 5'11". His two main issues going into the draft are injury concerns—he had shoulder surgery in the past and a lingering hamstring issue in 2011—and he is raw at the position.
Those are "good" problems to have, as oppose to just being plain slow or less talented. If they conspire to drop him into the fifth, he would be a good pickup for the Dolphins, who can develop him on the back end of the depth chart and still use him in dime situations.
Pick: Levy Adcock, OT, Oklahoma State
Adcock's draft stock is tough to pin down—he was projected as a second- to third-rounder by some at the outset of draft season, but he has long since fallen off the radar.
If he falls this far, the Dolphins would do well to snap him up, and they very will might.
Adcock was Brandon Weeden's left tackle in college, and he was effective enough to not allow a sack in 2010. The former Cowboy will likely make for a right tackle in the pros—possibly even guard—which is a position of concern for the Dolphins.
He may well be underrated going into the draft, largely because he has been invisible all offseason. His scouting report negatives sound like they can be fixed with good coaching—again, it is better to have a player with good measurables and natural ability and flaws elsewhere than vice versa.
The good news is he would be a depth pick at this point, allowing him to develop. He could be a potential starter down the road.
Pick: Taylor Thompson, TE/DE/OLB, SMU
Miami just signed an accountant to play tight end. They can afford to be creative with their seventh round pick.
Thompson has great size at 6'6", and his 4.57 40-yard dash at his pro day showed off some athleticism. His versatility is nice. The Dolphins could put him on defense and line him up as a 4-3 DE. Alternatively, they can add him to their tight end corps.
Finding a starter in the seventh round is rare.Some will point to Jimmy Wilson, who will be pushing to start, as a seventh-round success story. Frank Kearse was also taken in the seventh round last season. Robinson would be an intriguing project given his versatility, but I would not expect much out of any seventh round pick.