Miami Dolphins Draft Outlook: April's Coming
Mock drafts are a way for us fans to speculate or dream about the players that could possibly be a part of our favorite team this upcoming season. There also a way for fans to put down their own ideas of what direction their team should be headed in.
Now, in order to make a proper mock draft, one of the first things that needs to be taken into account is how involved your team has been in free agency. Who has the club picked up, and who have they let go?
Another factor is which positions on your roster could use an influx of youth. Is there a vet who has contributed year after year, but may begin to tail off?
And, last but not least, ask yourself what positions need to be addressed due to a straight-up lack of talent. Is the incumbent at each position still around, and do any of them need some competition to kick them into gear?
In all my years as a Miami Dolphin fan, I’ve had my fair share of failed drafts, especially during the Wannstedt era. But finally, thanks to God smiling on us, the Tuna (he who would never have passed on Anquan Boldin for Eddie Moore) has been sent.
Last year, we finally saw what a well-thought-out draft looked like. In the second round, when Merling and Henne were both on the board, our regime didn’t panic and chose the best available player, and still managed to land Henne later in the second.
I personally told family and friends before the whole process that Jake Long was the only pick to make at No. 1; I mean, if we had picked Ryan, he would have been killed. In 2008, we just needed to take care of the foundation of the team, which begins in the trenches.
We realized our real needs last year on both sides of the ball, and look at us now: defending division champs looking to fill out the roster with impact players.
Our top priorities presently are wide receiver, cornerback, inside and outside linebacker, and defensive tackle. But don’t let yourself think that these concerns will pigeon-hole our front office into picking players at only these positions.
With the acquisitions of CB Eric Green, DT Tony McDaniel, and OLB Cameron Wake, and the presence of four young talented WRs on the roster, Dolphins brass has the luxury of picking the best available player. Don’t be surprised to see a young tight end capable of stretching the seam or an inside linebacker who can contribute with natural turnover-making ability brought into the fold.
During the offseason, I have been scouting players that I think would fit the Dolphin culture and schemes both offensively and defensively. I’ve narrowed it down to five prospects in the first round, eight prospects feach for the second and third, and six prospects each for the rest of the rounds that the Dolphins have a selection in.
- WR Percy Harvin
His ability to play on the outside, in space, and his versatility to be lined up at multiple positions makes him very appealing to Dan Henning and David Lee. Note also that Steve Smith played for Urban Meyers’ Utah offense.
- WR Hakeem Nicks
Reminds me of Reggie Wayne coming out of college, so hopefully this regime won’t pass on him for a "Jamar Fletcher," like Wanny did.
- LB Connor Barwin
Could be a utility guy in our 3-4 defense, playing both end and outside linebacker. Kid's a freak athlete can play both sides of the ball.
- LB Clay Matthews
Brings many of the same qualities that Brian Cushing would, but for me, he's an even more explosive playmaker and tackler with natural instincts being put to use thanks to a matured frame. Plus, he can play inside or out in our 3-4 defense.
- CB Vontae Davis
Has great physical tools, much like his brother, but still I wonder if he lacks technique and polish (also much like his brother). He looks great in shorts, though, and his film is pretty nice, too.
- DT Ron Brace
Planet of a man who can plug a black hole. Would be a great compliment, if not upgrade to, Mr. Ferguson.
- WR Kenny Britt
A physical possession receiver with sneaky speed and promising potential to become more than a complementary target.
- WR Brian Robiskie
Son of a coach; you know he'll always be more prepared than the next guy due to his work ethic and character. Reminds me of Cris Carter with how he plays the game.
- CB Sean Smith
A physical specimen of a cornerback that could probably play a little safety as well. Either way, the kid is a playmaker who has magnets for hands.
- CB Alphonso Smith
I don’t care what his measurables and timed speeds are because he is the definition of a football player. Put some pads on him and a receiver in front of him, and you’ll see what a great player he is.
- CB Darius Butler
I’m sure Donald Thomas has given the Fins the lowdown on this kid’s talent. A fluid athlete with great hips and feet, he's the best corner out of the Big East this year.
- LB Lawerence Sidbury
A defensive end who would have to make switch to outside 'backer in our defense, but he has the skill set and speed to succeed rushing the passer off the edge.
- LB Clint Sintim
He's experienced in our scheme after playing under Al Groh at Virginia. Chris Long once said Sintim was the most talented player on his team.
- WR Juaquin Iglesias
A savvy veteran college receiver who is complete all-around, and although he won't "wow" you physically, put him on the field and ask him to make a play, and he'll respond.
- WR Louis Murphy
Outshined by his teammate Harvin last season, but was the guy on the outside creating space that allowed Harvin to run all his underneath routes. Not to mention, kid's got impressive speed and tools of his own.
- WR Ramsees Barden
To me, he is baby Keyshawn Johnson, though not as polished having come out of a small school. His giant frame and ability to go over the top makes him appealing. Early on, expect development reminiscent of the Chargers’ Vincent Jackson.
- CB Macho Harris
Straight-up football player whose measurables won’t blow you away. But his film will, just like his former teammate Brandon Flowers.
- CB Asher Allen
A compact and squatty corner with an impressive skill set, he's raw in his technique and recognition skills.
- TE Cornelius Ingram
A rocked-up and fluid athlete capable of impacting the middle of the field as well as deep down the seams.
- TE Jared Cook
A rare athlete at tight end in the sense of his size in proportion to his speed. Needs work as a blocker, as most college TE, but is a special kind of receiver.
- LB Cody Brown
Another player Donald Thomas has given the Fins a scouting report about, but even more so because he used to go up against him every day in practice. That said, he'd be a conversion guy that would need time to develop, but has scary explosiveness. His straight-line speed is a bit lacking, though, as his vert and broad jump tests indicate.
- CB Dominique Johnson
A small-school sleeper who reminds me a little of Dominique Rogers-Cromartie with his lanky frame still needing development. But can’t argue with his footwork and ball skills, which are very good.
- CB Sharrod Martin
From a school that is underrated for its development of good defensive players, he's a safety-corner 'tweener that is aggressive and mature due to his older age.
- LB Jason Williams
Turnover machine with the speed of an elite safety, has bulk to play inside in a 3-4 but lacks strength at the moment to shed blocks. But with his ability to cut angles and his legit 4.4 speed, he'll adjust fine.
- DT Dorell Scott
Comes from a school with a reputation of putting out quality linemen; played with Merling last year and still has room to add weight to his 6'4" frame. Good quickness and core strength to play nose tackle.
- LB David Veikune
Yet another conversion guy with an incredible motor who is already better than the guy he's often compared to, Travis LaBoy (starting 'backer on the NFC champ Cards).
- OT Alex Boone
Mammoth tackle who can play both sides but is better suited for right tackle due to his girth and aggressiveness. Off-the-field problems warrant monitoring.
- OT Andrew Gardener
A lunch-pail ,blue-collar swing tackle who will probably never start but will provide excellent depth during a long career.
- OT Joel Bell
Left tackle prospect with great tools but limited playing experience. Picked up football late in high school after moving around with family.
- CB Joe Burnett
No great physical tools, just a player. May be best suited for a cover-two scheme, but I just loved watching the guy play up the turnpike at UCF. Great ball skills and nice return man.
- LB Antonio Appleby
Much like Sintim in the sense that he knows our defense from playing at Virginia, and even though he isn’t the most athletic, he can step in and contribute immediately due to his toughness and smarts.
- DT Terrance Taylor
The prototypical nose tackle who is squatty and stout with excellent core strength; put up 37 reps at the combine. Former teammate of Henne and Long needs to work on stamina.
- DT Chris Baker
Former teammate of Kendall Langford who has experience at tackle and end, though is more suited to play nose tackle if he can improve his work ethic and strength.
- LB Frantz Joseph
Technician who never leaves the practice facility. Won’t necessarily beat you with his physical skills, but much like Zach Thomas, will beat you with his mind and instincts.
- LB Jasper Brinkley
An injury this past season has hurt his stock, but before that, he had the size-speed combo 3-4 teams are looking for in an inside 'backer.
- DT Darryl Richard
His strong build can hold up against double teams. He won’t run around anybody with his quickness, but he can definitely fill a gap.
- TE Davon Drew
Still learning his position, but has physical talent that encourages a coach to work with him. Former quarterback who knows how to make himself available as target in soft spots for his passer.
- OT Jose Valdez
A swing tackle who played for David Lee at Arkansas and understands our blocking scheme and the Wildcat offense.
- FB Tony Fiammetta
Versatile fullback who could add dynamics as a receiver and runner out of the backfield, having had experience at RB, FB, HB, and TE.
Since I’ve given you my round-by-round break-down, I might as well give you my ideal mock draft for this year’s Dolphins.
1. Percy Harvin: Can play flanker, split end, slot, and wildcat; gotta love the versatility.
2a. Sean Smith: Can play corner and safety and will succeed doing so. A starter from day one.
2b. Lawrence Sidbury: Speed off the edge he possesses is "Ware-like."
3. Cornelius Ingram: Younger, cheaper, and better version of David Martin.
4. Jason Williams: Size and speed ratio plus turnover causing ability are needed inside.
5. Terrance Taylor: Potential fire hydrant in the middle of our defense for years to come.
7a. Jose Valdez: Work ethic to succeed as a swing tackle behind Long and Carey.
7b. Tony Fiammetta: Is everything and more you could want from a FB.
Speculating is fun, so let's just see how close I am come April. The draft doesn’t have to go down like my mock, but I’d definitely like to see some of the players I think that fit our culture in Miami.
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