Miami Dolphins' 2013 NFL Draft Wish List
It's hard to predict the direction a team will head in the draft before free agency begins. Needs at the end of the regular season will always be different than needs after free agency. Teams can either fill holes, or create new ones.
For the Dolphins, the needs are likely to change before the draft. They have a lot of money to spend and won't be cheap when it comes to giving away their money.
If you followed the Dolphins at all this season, the needs seem to be pretty obvious. Wide receiver, cornerback, pass-rusher and offensive lineman seem to be the biggest and most pressing needs. With a deep class of receivers and a talented class of pass-rushers, Miami might be looking at those positions in the early rounds. However, it's too early to predict anything without knowing the direction Miami goes in free agency.
Here's a wish list for the Dolphins if the draft were to be held today.
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Miami decided to trade their best cornerback before the season began. They thought they would get similar productivity from the group they had put together, but the results did not show.
Sean Smith was supposed to be the Dolphins' best cornerback. And in fact, he was the team's best cornerback. The problem is, he wasn't very good compared to other cornerbacks across the league.
With one of their biggest needs at the cornerback position, Miami might be looking to pull the trigger on a shutdown corner in the first round or early second round.
Dee Milliner is the top cornerback prospect coming out this year, but it is highly unlikely that he will be available when the Dolphins pick at No. 12. The only way the Dolphins get Milliner is if they trade up, but I highly doubt that because Milliner is not a can't-miss prospect.
Miami's safest bet if they decide to go with a cornerback in the first round would be Johnthan Banks. Banks is considered by many to be the second-best cornerback in the draft and could come in and contribute right away.
With Banks in the roster, Miami would be able to move Smith (if he re-signs) away from covering the opposition's best wide receiver. Banks is a physical cornerback that is strong against the run, but is even better in pass coverage, something the Dolphins desperately need.
If Banks and Milliner are both gone by the time Miami is on the clock, their safest bet is to go another direction. There are only two cornerbacks that are worthy of being picked as high as 12.
Second-round prospects the Dolphins might want to take a look at are David Amerson, Xavier Rhodes, Jordan Poyer and maybe Desmond Trufant.
Again, Miami might not need to draft a cornerback this high if they address the need in free agency.
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This may be Miami's biggest need. Ryan Tannehill must be given more weapons if the Dolphins expect him to be successful. Miami fielded one of, if not the, worst wide receiving groups in the entire league.
The Dolphins were making Davone Bess run seam routes and expected Brian Hartline to be a No. 1 receiver. Both of these players are very good, but they played out of position the entire season. Giving them someone that attracts attention would allow them to play to their strengths.
In this draft, there is no wide receiver that really stands out from the rest. There is not Calvin Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald or A.J. Green. However, there are a lot of talented receivers that can very well reach an elite level.
If Miami is looking to go with a wide receiver in the first round, the safest bet would be Cordarrelle Patterson or Keenan Allen. These are considered by many to be the top two prospects in the draft. Patterson fits Miami's need of a No. 1 receiver and someone who can stretch the field. Allen is more of a possession receiver that is capable of making big plays at any time.
There are other prospects that are worthy of a late first-round pick. Miami can either trade back into the first round or simply give up the No. 12 spot and move further back.
Terrance Williams is on the cusp of being a late first-round pick or an early second-round pick. With a strong showing in workouts before the draft, he may be gone before the first round is over. Williams, like Patterson, possesses great speed that can help the Dolphins become more dangerous offensively.
If Miami decides that wide receiver is not the way to go in the first round, there are still a lot of talented players in the second round. Players such as DeAndre Hopkins, Justin Hunter, Da'Rick Rogers, Cobi Hamilton and Robert Woods, to name a few.
There's a lot of talent at the wide receiver position, and Miami is sure to come out of the draft with one of these players.
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Miami has the luxury of having one of the best pass-rushers in the league. Cameron Wake has proven that he can get to the quarterback on nearly every snap with his great speed off the edge, his strength and his relentless motor. However, it's a tough task to ask one person to get to the quarterback on every down. He needs help.
This draft has a lot of great pass-rushers that can contribute immediately. Depending on whether Pro Bowler Randy Starks decides to re-sign, Miami might be forced to move Jared Odrick inside. Even though Miami drafted Olivier Vernon last year, he projects more as a linebacker than an every-down pass-rusher.
The top two defensive ends in this draft (Damontre Moore, Bjoern Werner) will most likely be gone by the time the Dolphins pick. However, there is still plenty of talent to go around.
Dion Jordan has been climbing up the draft boards lately and projects to be a top-15 pick. He has great speed off the edge, but he could be better suited as a 3-4 outside linebacker.
Alex Okafor is also a great prospect, but No. 12 seems a bit high for him. If Miami were picking in the middle-to-late first round, he would be a great value pick, but not this early.
Sam Montgomery and Barkevious Mingo are also great prospects. They are both great pass-rushers that will help take some of the attention away from Wake. Mingo is more of a raw prospect, but he has a lot of potential. Montgomery is more NFL-ready, but some people believe he is as good now as he'll ever be.
Ezekiel Ansah is a mysterious prospect. He hasn't been playing football for too long, but his productivity has increased as he has gained experience. He has great athleticism and a lot of upside. With the proper coaching, he can become something special. If Miami is willing to take a risk on Ansah, the first round is when they have to take it because he'll be long gone when the second round begins.
Other prospects the Dolphins might be interested in if they decide to go with a different position in the first round are Corey Lemonier, Margus Hunt, Tank Carradine and Trent Murphy.
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If Miami decides not to re-sign Jake Long, they will have to look to the draft or free agency to replace him. They will probably slide Jonathan Martin to the left side and bring someone in to take over the right side.
The Dolphins can either draft a guard or an offensive tackle if they don't bring anyone in during free agency. John Jerry has been given the duties of playing right guard, but he can also slide one step to his right and play right tackle.
The best guard in this draft is Chance Warmack by far. The Alabama product faced stiff competition in the SEC and performed admirably. He will contribute right away and can form a great tandem with Mike Pouncey. Warmack is strong and rarely gets pushed back in pass protection. He is also a great run-blocker who will open up holes just about anywhere.
Other than Warmack, there are no guards worthy of the 12th pick. Jonathan Cooper is a good prospect, but he's not a top-12 player. He may slip to the second round when the Dolphins are on the clock, making him a great value pick. Dallas Thomas and Larry Warford are also solid players that can be strong contributors. Warford is best at run-blocking while Thomas makes his money in pass protection. Thomas is also capable of sliding to the right and playing right tackle.
If Miami looks for a tackle, they also have some options. They won't be able to snag Luke Joeckel, and with Jake Matthews and Taylor Lewan returning to school, there won't be any surefire tackles when the Dolphins pick.
Eric Fisher might draw some interest in the first round, but he's not as talented as the aforementioned players. Also, if Warmack is there at 12, he would be the safer pick. Fisher comes out of Central Michigan, which doesn't play a lot of elite teams. He's an intriguing prospect the Dolphins might take a chance on in the first round if they're willing to risk a lot.
Other than Fisher, there are no tackles that should be taken this high. Lane Johnson, D.J. Fluker and Brennan Williams are solid prospects, but in the second round. There is a lot more to choose from in the second round if Miami does decide to go with a tackle. If they want to draft an offensive lineman in the first round, Warmack and Fisher are the only two they should worry about.