Before we dive into the potential players Miami could pick up, there are still a lot of factors in the air.
The first big factor is free agency: What will Miami do with impending free agents Brian Hartline, Reggie Bush, Sean Smith, and most importantly Jake Long.
Hartline will likely be re-signed, and even if Bush leaves, Miami won't likely go after a running back in Round 1 (the Dolphins have Daniel Thomas and Lamar Miller wrapped up for 2013).
Even if Hartline is re-signed, wide receiver is likely to be a priority on Miami's draft list, meaning at least one or more of its five picks in the first three rounds will go to that position.
With Sean Smith, it's the same story as Brian Hartline. He will likely be re-signed due to Miami's need at the position, but whether he comes back or not, Miami is going to use a high pick on a cornerback.
The biggest issue though is that of Jake Long. It's no secret to anyone who follows the NFL that Long's play has declined, yet will still be a hot commodity in free agency due to the wide need for good offensive linemen in the NFL. In fact, Bleacher Report's own Matt Miller said that left tackle was a need for Miami, stating in his weekly power rankings:
Fans may be shocked to see left tackle listed here, but anyone watching the Miami Dolphins this season has seen that Jake Long is a far cry from the elite pass protector he used to be. A change could be coming.
Adding insult to injury is the fact that Long will be a free agent after the season. If you're the Miami Dolphins, with so many needs across the board, do you invest top money in a left tackle who was a perennial All-Pro but has struggled the last two seasons? I wouldn't.
Long can be replaced, and early in the first round, depending on where Miami finishes this season. The 2013 class has three tackles ranked in the top 12—Luke Joeckel and Jake Matthews from Texas A&M and Michigan's Taylor Lewan. Miami could replace Long with a younger, cheaper option and start building their offense around Ryan Tannehill, Jon Martin and the new left tackle.
It felt like I had written that, since I agree with every single point Miller made. That will factor into the players on this list as well.
The other factor is where Miami will draft. If the season ended today, the Dolphins would draft 14th based upon their projected record (7-9), as well as their projected strength of schedule. This information comes courtesy of PlayoffStatus.com.
However, if Miami didn't win another game this season (which would be an epic disaster considering that despite two games against New England and a trip to San Francisco, they also will be visited by the Buffalo Bills and Jacksonville Jaguars) and finished 5-11, they would likely draft somewhere between fifth and eighth.
However, if the Dolphins manage to win their final five games, thus finishing 10-6 and grabbing an AFC playoff berth, their draft position hinges on how well they do in the postseason. One-and-done could have Miami drafting at 20th, while an improbable "someone make a sports movie right now" Super Bowl victory for the Dolphins would have them picking 32nd.
Because I see Miami finishing the season at 8-8 (wins over Buffalo, Jacksonville and New England in the final game of the season), my ballpark estimation will be for Miami to draft somewhere between 14th-19th. With these picks I will likely go a bit higher and lower in the draft, depending on the players and the need.
For reference I will be using not only Matt Miller's latest draft rankings, but also CBSSports.com's mock draft.