Scouting Combine Prospects Who Fit Miami Dolphins' Biggest NFL Draft Needs
The Dolphins face major needs on both sides of the ball, with a secondary that is begging for help and an offense that needs to build around a young quarterback.
The 2013 NFL Draft will pave the way for the team's future, and the front office needs to address numerous areas of weakness prior to the start of next season.
With over 300 players attending this year's combine, it'd be impossible to analyze every single athlete who the 'Phins could possibly select throughout all seven rounds.
Therefore, I've narrowed the list down to impact players who could find themselves putting on a Dolphins' cap in either the first or second round of this year's draft.
These are the guys who, if on the board when it comes time for the Dolphins' selection, will certainly be in the conversation amongst Jeff Ireland and company.
Lane Johnson, OT: Oklahoma
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With Jake Long’s likely departure, the Dolphins will look to fill the void left by their former No. 1 overall selection this offseason.
The top two tackles in this year's draft, Luke Joeckel and Eric Fisher, are currently projected to find a home somewhere in the top ten picks.
Oklahoma's Lane Johnson, however, may still be floating around when the ‘Phins select at No. 12.
The upcoming combine will be an excellent opportunity to evaluate Johnson’s potential, especially since he only has two years at tackle under his belt.
Chance Warmack, OG: Alabama
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Speaking of NFL ready, meet Chance Warmack.
Over the past three seasons the 6'3", 320-pound guard from Alabama has helped pave the way for the likes of Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson and soon-to-be pro Eddie Lacy.
His ability to not only dominate his man off the snap but also use his mobility to get to the second-level, is part of the reason why he grades out as NFL.com's top prospect.
It's nearly unheard of to draft an offensive guard as early as No. 12 overall, but by selecting Warmack you're really not leaving much to "Chance."
Cordarrelle Patterson, WR: Tennessee
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The Miami Dolphins have a huge need for a wide receiver with good length and speed to team up with Ryan Tannehill.
Cordarrelle Patterson fits the bill and is the best receiver in the 2013 draft class, but many scouts still consider him too raw to be an early first round pick.
There is no doubt that he would make an immediate impact on the Dolphins' weak offense, it's just a matter of whether or not he's worth their top selection.
Depending on the players available when Miami is on the clock, it may even be wise to trade down a few spots and take a shot on Patterson while acquiring additional draft picks.
Travis Kelce, TE: Cincinnati
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It looks as though Zach Ertz and Tyler Eifert will be off the board by the time the Dolphins make a selection in Round 2.
With Anthony Fasano hitting the free agent market and Michael Egnew's doubtful future, the 'Phins will need to add some depth at tight end this offseason.
Travis Kelce is a very physical blocker at 6'6" and 260 pounds who also showed improvement as a receiver in his senior year.
Depending on how free agency pans out for the 'Phins, Kelce could be an excellent upgrade at tight end in 2013.
Dion Jordan, DE: Oregon
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The Dolphins need help with the pass rush opposite Cameron Wake, and Dion Jordan has the speed and build that they may be looking for with the 12th overall pick.
Aside from his keen ability to get to the quarterback, Jordan has proven that he can drop back into coverage against tight ends and slot receivers too.
From a game planning standpoint, this makes him all the more valuable as NFL offenses continue to focus more on the passing game.
With his good size and versatility, Jordan would be an excellent addition to the Dolphins' front line.
Margus Hunt, DE: SMU
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Margus Hunt comes into the combine at 6'8" and 275 pounds.
In other words, he's an absolute monster.
Hunt made his way to SMU in 2007 from Estonia, where his track and field dreams came to an end and his future in football began.
After nearly setting a new NCAA record with seven blocked kicks as a freshman, it became evident that his decision would soon pay off.
Hunt continued to improve with time, eventually evolving from just an opponents' nightmare on special teams to a standout defensive lineman.
He recorded eight sacks, 31 tackles and 11.5 tackles for a loss in his senior campaign with three blocked kicks and one interception to boot.
With the proper coaching and continued development, there's no telling what this guy is capable of.
Barkevious Mingo, DE: LSU
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Another player to watch when it comes to pass-rush support is LSU's Barkevious Mingo.
The 6'5", 242-pound defensive end has received some criticism for his lean frame, but his quick bursts of speed and surprising strength have caught the attention of NFL scouts.
As it currently stands, ESPN ranks Mingo as the No. 8 overall prospect in the 2013 draft class and a consensus top ten pick.
That being said, it might be tough for the Miami Dolphins to pass him up if he ends up slipping down the board to their pick at No. 12.
Kenny Vaccaro, S: Texas
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To say that Kenny Vaccaro would be an excellent addition alongside Reshad Jones is an understatement.
Under defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle, this duo would instantly emerge as one of the league's best safety tandems.
As a senior, Vaccaro recorded 96 tackles and two interceptions in what was ultimately a disappointing year for the Texas Longhorns.
Despite the team's poor production, he solidified himself as the top safety prospect with his ability to stop the run and his exceptional performance in coverage.
Todd McShay currently ranks Vaccaro at No. 6 overall on his list of the Top 32 prospects in this year's draft.
Dee Milliner, CB: Alabama
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Dee Milliner grades out as the third-best overall prospect heading into the NFL combine, according to NFL.com.
Being that the Dolphins are desperate for help at cornerback, Milliner would appear to be an obvious choice in the first round at No. 12.
His good size and athleticism at 6'1" and 199 pounds makes him all the more appealing to NFL scouts.
Milliner is an NFL-ready cornerback with the potential to make an immediate impact for the 'Phins secondary in 2013.
Xavier Rhodes, CB: Florida State
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Miami’s need for cornerback depth is no secret, and Xavier Rhodes has the build and skill set that teams value at the position.
His strengths lie in his excellent press coverage, although there are some worries about his reliability in a zone scheme.
He recorded three interceptions, seven pass deflections and 39 tackles for Florida State in 2012.
At 6'1" and 215 pounds, this physical corner will definitely be worth a look if he is still available in the second round.
David Amerson, CB: N.C. State
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David Amerson had a fine season 2012, recording five interceptions and 12 pass deflections as a junior.
However, it was his near record-setting performance in 2011 that really makes him an intriguing selection come draft time.
Amerson led the nation in interceptions with 13 picks in his sophomore campaign, placing him just one shy of the NCAA record set by Al Worley in 1968.
For a team in desperate need of play makers, this 6'3", 194-pound cornerback will certainly draw the Dolphins' attention in Round 2.