Miami Dolphins 2013 Mock Draft: The Smartest Pick Miami Can Make at Every Spot
Without playing a single game and even with the lockers cleaned out for the season, the Miami Dolphins still were impacted by the Wild Card run in terms of their draft position.
Specifically it was the second round. Now we know that the Dolphins will have their second round no. 2 draft pick come in as the 56th pick in the draft.
This is a godsend for anyone doing a mock draft of the Miami Dolphins, including myself, who will guide you through the smartest pick the Dolphins could make with each of their nine draft picks.
I will also throw in two trades Miami could make (they should make one of them) because there is one player that value-wise Miami shouldn't use their number 12 pick on, but I would love to see in a Dolphins uniform.
Round One, Pick No. 12: Chance Warmack, G Alabama
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Fans in Miami might not love the idea of drafting an offensive guard No. 12 overall, but Chance Warmack is worth it. Watch Trent Richardson, Eddie Lacy or T.J. Yeldon dominating defenses with their legs over the last two years and you'll see Warmack clearing lanes and punishing defenders in the hole. Offensive guard may not be a sexy pick, but it's a damn smart one for a team on the rise.
I've always been man enough to admit that there are writers who are better than me, and like Diddy back in the late-90s when he sampled good musicians, I've never been afraid of doing that either.
But here's why the Dolphins should draft Warmack, from the perspective of a Dolphins writer that watched this team every week.
The Dolphins want to run a zone blocking scheme along the offensive line. Right now their two guards are Richie Incognito and John Jerry. There's nothing wrong with that, except Incognito is starting to get up there in age, while Jerry is better suited as a tackle in this offense.
On top of that, I doubt Jake Long will re-sign in Miami, which will necessitate Jonathan Martin becoming the permanent left tackle. Miami will need a right tackle, a position that can be filled with little change in chemistry with the aforementioned Jerry. As for Incognito, he's serviceable, for now, but not ideal.
At the very least Miami will have to replace one (or possibly both) of their guards. They need a more athletic offensive line in order to get Lamar Miller or whomever is in the backfield some space to run screens (notice how Miami didn't use Reggie Bush in that capacity last year even though it's been a key part of the West Coast Offense since Bill Walsh implemented it in Cincinnati back in 1969).
They also need a more athletic line to better combat the faster pass rushers coming into the league.
So enter Chance Warmack from Alabama. He's athletic despite his 6'3" 320lb frame. He only committed two penalties in 372 snaps, and had a team-best 37 pancake blocks while making the All-SEC First Team.
Yes, he is the smartest pick for the Dolphins to make at the 12th spot, but what if they decide to leave the 12th spot? We shall get to that later.
Round Two, Pick No. 42: Margus Hunt, DE SMU
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My fear with Margus Hunt is two-fold. Either he will impress many at the NFL Combine with his freak athleticism to go along with his 6'8" 275lb frame and jump into the late-first round or early-second round, or he will bust.
I doubt he will bust simply based off of his body of work at SMU, as the only real concern I'd have with him is the fact that he is already 25 years old. The upside to that is Cameron Wake was 27 when he signed with the Dolphins and plays the same position. That worked out pretty well.
Hunt originally was my third round choice, but he has been moving up plenty of draft boards and will only move up further. Odds are this will be the latest the Dolphins will be able to grab him.
But if he is available, he's a must-grab. The size and athleticism simply can't be found in many other football players (CBSSports.com's Bruce Feldman named Hunt number one on his "Freak List" of 2012), and he has progressively gotten better while at SMU, finishing with 16.5 sacks in his four seasons at SMU (two of them on defense) including eight in 2012.
I forgot to mention that Hunt is still raw, he began playing organized football in 2008, his freshman year at SMU. He attended SMU hoping to work with their Track & Field Coach Dave Wollman before SMU dropped their Track program. June Jones would recruit Hunt to the football team, and he played Special Teams in his first two seasons with the Mustangs, setting a school record for blocked kicks.
I see a lot of Jason Pierre-Paul in this kid.
Round Two, Pick No. 56: Stedman Bailey, WR West Virginia
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Wait just one second: do these numbers come from a video game? Let's analyze: 114 receptions for 1,622 yards, 25 touchdowns.
Well West Virginia does love to pass the ball a lot, so the 114 receptions for their number one receiver isn't that big of a surprise.
Wait, he's their number two receiver? Tavon Austin is their number one?
Austin is a popular draft pick amongst Dolphins fans because he seems to get more attention. He's the one slated to go in round one, but he's not quite right for the number 12 pick (again, I'll explain later how I'd get Austin drafted to Miami in round one).
But whether the Dolphins can get Austin or not, Bailey actually provides the better pick.
He will likely be available when Miami is on the clock in round two (available for their second round two pick that is), and did almost double up Austin in the touchdowns department while gaining more yards than him while having the same number of receptions.
He's also an inch taller at 5'10" than the 5'9" Austin, and outweighs him by only 14 lbs while having the same speed.
Bailey is also more of a deep threat than Austin, and Miami desperately needs one of those.
As if this pick isn't smart enough already, there's this: Bailey hails from Miramar, which I'm sure most Dolphins fans know is only a hop, skip and a jump away from Sun Life Stadium. I'm big on the Dolphins going out and drafting local products considering that South Florida produces NFL talent like a factory, and Bailey would be a great start with that.
Round Three, Pick No. 77: Carrington Byndom, CB Texas
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I'd rather the Miami Dolphins sign a cornerback than take one in the draft.
I'm sure you've noticed but I'm very high on Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Derek Cox. I know he will cost a pretty penny but honestly, if the Dolphins are able to sign him, Greg Jennings and Jared Cook, they will have won free agency and made drafting for this team that much easier.
Cox however is the target I find the most important because Miami needs cornerbacks, yet outside of Dee Milliner, who will be gone by the time Miami is on the clock, and Johnthan Banks, who I believe is slightly overrated and not exactly worthy of being drafted 12th overall (but will be drafted high due to the dearth of cornerbacks), I'm not really crazy about the position.
I loved Xavier Rhodes in round two, but considering this mock draft started with addressing Miami's need along the offensive line then went to their other two pressing needs at wide receiver and pass rusher, there simply wasn't any room for him.
So round three is where Miami goes cornerback, and I'm divided over whether or not they should actually use the third round to double up at the position, or double up at wide receiver. I guess you will find out in the next slide. The best corner likely to be available in round three is Texas' Carrington Byndom, who as you can see in the picture is defending a pass thrown by Ryan Tannehill (the game was from 2011, the last time the Longhorns and Aggies played each other).
Byndom only has five interceptions for his career at Texas, which on the surface doesn't look to strong. However he is constantly tasked with covering the best receiver on the opposition, and the ball isn't thrown his way too much.
This by the way is a great sign for a cornerback. He also has 22 pass breakups for his career, and at 6'0" 180lbs, he's not "too big" for the position, an issue I hear brought up a lot when it comes to Sean Smith, yet I never thought made too much sense.
In round three he will not only fit a position of need for Miami, but will be the best available. He's worth the risk.
Round Three, Pick No. 82: Robert Lester, Safety Alabama
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You got me, we're doubling up in the secondary. Only instead of going after another cornerback, we're giving Reshad Jones a new partner in crime as Miami's last line of defense.
I'm talking about Alabama's Robert Lester, a three-year starter with the Crimson Tide who will start for a team in the NFL in 2013.
Why can't it be the Dolphins? He's 6'2" 212lbs, and when he hits you, he means it. He's also a ballhawk that reads the quarterback's eyes very well and also has great ball skills.
He was born to play safety, and he has done that well. Imagine him back there with Reshad Jones, you would have one of the top safety duos in the NFL, fresh out of the box.
How's that for the return on investment on Brandon Marshall? If Miami chooses Lester, it will make the Brandon Marshall trade well worth it, even if Michael Egnew never plays a snap for the Dolphins (which is still a possibility).
Round Four: Gerald Hodges, Linebacker Penn State
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If you're wondering where Miami will select in round four, don't worry, you're not alone.
Due to the awarding of the compensatory draft picks that will come later on in the offseason, no one knows when after round three any team will wind up drafting. Because of that for the remainder of this mock draft, I will only name the round and nothing more.
Penn State's Gerald Hodges has been projected to get picked anywhere between the late third round and the early fourth round. I wouldn't be too shocked if he falls to wherever it is in round four where Miami happens to have a draft pick.
It will also be a smart pick for the Dolphins. New blood is needed among the linebackers, and Hodges fits the bill for the Dolphins in their 4-3 scheme.
Primarily an outside linebacker, Hodges can also play inside and serve as a defensive quarterback-type player. While this role has run through Reshad Jones this season (and he did it well), it does help to have a linebacker that is closer to the play to dictate where to go.
Learning from Karlos Dansby for a couple of years would also be a benefit for Hodges, but despite that suggestion, he's ready to play in the NFL right away, and would be a solid fourth round pick for the Dolphins.
Round Five: Connor Vernon, Wide Receiver Duke
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Ideally, Swope would be the second wide receiver taken by the Dolphins in the 2013 draft.
Ideally Miami would take Swope in round three, where he should be taken.
Swope however has seen his draft stock rise to the point where he likely won't be available when Miami is on the clock. But in round five, Duke's Conner Vernon (a "Key-Rat" who attended Gulliver Preparatory School in Miami) would fit the bill that seems made for Ryan Swope.
Yes, he's more of a slot receiver, and I know the Dolphins already have Davone Bess in that position.
But what exactly could the Dolphins do once Bess was injured for the final three games of the season? Does that mean more Armon Binns dropping picture-perfect passes? I wouldn't want to go through that.
Instead I'll take Vernon, the ACC's all-time leader in receptions. While he's not the biggest or fastest, he does have reliable hands that seem to stick to the football when thrown to him.
That's exactly what Tannehill will need in year two, and exactly why the Dolphins should draft Vernon in round five.
Hey, Where's Miami's Sixth Round Draft Pick?
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Weren't the Dolphins supposed to receive a sixth round pick from the Indianapolis Colts due to the Vontae Davis trade?
Yes, they were, however it was a conditional pick that would only be rewarded to Miami if Davis met certain conditions while playing for the Colts.
To put it bluntly, he didn't, at least that's what ESPN's Adam Schefter is reporting, stating:
The condition on the sixth-round pick was that Davis play in 65 percent of the Colts' plays during the regular season, according to a league source.
But a sprained left knee sidelined him for enough of the season that Davis played just short of the 65 percent threshold and now the Dolphins only will get the Colts' second-round pick, according to sources.
So Miami loses out on a sixth round pick. It is better than losing out on a second rounder, but it still stings just a little bit. That's one less pick for the Dolphins to play with and throw into any possible trades. One less place to search for the ever-elusive acorns.
So that, along with the sixth rounder Miami gave up last year when they traded up in the fourth round with San Francisco to acquire Lamar Miller, is why the Dolphins will not be selecting in the sixth round this season.
Seventh Round: Joseph Fauria, Tight End UCLA
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The fact that Joesph Fauria will be available in the seventh round speaks more to UCLA's recent struggles than it does Fauria's ability.
It also speaks to their game planning. Fauria finished the 2012 campaign for the Bruins with 46 catches for 637 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Fauria is great at creating mismatches, how could someone who comes in at 6'7" 255lbs not create a mismatch? He's not the fastest tight end out there, but he's a good one, and in round seven would be a bargain for the Dolphins.
Seventh Round: Jordan Rodgers, Quarterback Vanderbilt
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So exactly how far does the apple fall from the tree?
Here's a good chance to find out. Much like his more famous brother, Jordan Rodgers will be a development quarterback in the NFL. Unlike Aaron however, Rodgers will likely go in the seventh round; that is if he's drafted at all.
My feeling is he will be because he does possess the size that his brother has, coming in at 6'1" 212lbs. That's only an inch shorter and 13lbs lighter than his brother.
Again, it's a development piece, but there's talent here. Why am I in favor of the Dolphins attempting to develop a quarterback when they're already in the process of developing another one? It's the Green Bay system, and it has worked for them well over the years.
Developing Mark Brunnell allowed them to trade him to Jacksonville for draft picks. Developing Matt Hassellbeck allowed them to trade him to Seattle in exchange for trading up in the first round of the 2001 draft as well as an additional third round draft pick.
It's a system that works, and should be embraced by the Dolphins. Yes, they still have Pat Devlin to develop, and based off of his preseason performance he seems to be coming along fine. But the more the merrier in terms of quarterback development. It's like creating an asset that could be used when needed later.
Half-Baked Trade Ideas
Mr. Ireland, I come to you with a modest idea, one that hopefully you will not only accept, but also be sure to not screw up.
It's actually two ideas but it centers around getting one of the following three players: Keenan Allen, Tyler Eifert, or Tavon Austin.
Those players are all players that play a position of need for the Miami Dolphins, but with Miami drafting 12th, they would be reaching in order to pick up those players. With that in mind, here's the ideas.
Idea number one would be to trade down the first round pick at the 12 position. The best opportunity to do that would be if Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o is still on the board. Now if you like Te'o and would rather just draft him, I'd completely understand; however his value to this team might be better served as trade bait in order to move down to the 15-22 range along with picking up an additional second or third round pick along with a second rounder in the 2014 draft.
With that, Miami could use the later draft pick to draft Tavon Austin at the value he's graded at. With a third second round pick, Miami could then use that round to not only pick Hunt and Austin's West Virginia teammate Stedman Bailey, but also address the need at offensive line I highlighted in the first round slide.
The other idea though might mean Miami gives up more, and potentially keeps them from addressing some of the other needs I have them addressing in the second and third rounds. That would entail trading a second and third round pick to get an additional first rounder late that day, and using that to draft Austin.
However, that would also keep Miami from adding one of their key needs at pass rusher and in the secondary, unless of course you can manage to dig up an acorn with one of Miami's fourth, fifth, or seventh round draft picks. Despite that, there would still be enough ammunition to address many of Miami's needs in the first three rounds.
Either one of those decisions would work well for the Dolphins once you look at it, and even standing pat would work, provided you make the correct decisions (such as the ones I'm suggesting to you, but even those aren't guaranteed to be perfect as I'm sure you know).
This is the most important offseason for the Dolphins since, well last year, but for Jeff Ireland its likely his last chance to make an impact.
The right draft could propel the Dolphins into the playoffs in 2013, let's hope they get it right.