Miami Dolphins 2013 NFL Draft Big Board: Real Time Updates and Analysis
With the Miami Dolphins making a big splash so far in Free Agency in 2013, the draft expects to wield an even bigger long-term impact on the team.
The Dolphins have plenty of holes to plug this year, and free agency will not be the be-all, end-all mode of filling such holes, making Miami's 2013 draft that much more important.
Miami possesses 10 draft picks in this April's selection meeting, and that's not counting the potential compensatory draft pick Miami might receive, which according to The Sun-Sentinel's Omar Kelly, could be in the fourth round.
Compensatory draft picks will be announced during the owner's meeting, which will be held in Arizona from March 17-20.
Here's a look at Miami's big board, which will be a fluid big board that will include updates to rankings based off of each player's pro days as well as any moves Miami might make in free agency.
You will not only get the top 15 players on the board for Miami based off of their needs, but also a position-by-position look at each need Miami should address in the draft in inverse order of Miami's positions of need. Other positions like quarterback, linebacker and defensive tackles will not be present or ranked; however, if Miami can grab a steal in the later rounds at those positions, then they will be advocated for the pick.
Updated 5:00pm March 13, 2013.
Top 15 Players Overall Miami Should Look at
1. Dee Milliner, Cornerback (Alabama)
This is the dream scenario for Round 1: Will Millner falls to the Dolphins at No. 12.
Again, it's a dream scenario.
However if Milliner is available, then Jeff Ireland should employ Usain Bolt to sprint to the podium to get the draft pick in the second Miami is on the clock. Milliner would make the job of Miami's pass rush that much easier in the same way Darrelle Revis helped the Jets' pass rush and would instantly be the Dolphins number one corner.
2. Jonathan Cooper, Guard (North Carolina)
Sadly, so many Dolphins fans would boo this pick into oblivion.
That would be a mistake.
Cooper is an athletic guard made for Miami's zone blocking scheme. He has shown the ability to not only make the initial block, but also to take care of any linebackers attempting to come through.
Drafting him and putting him next to Pouncey and Incognito would give Miami a formidable middle of the offensive line, which would help make the jobs of Jonathan Martin and Miami's future right tackle that much easier.
3. Bjoern Werner, Defensive End (Florida State)
This is another pipe dream.
Werner will likely be gone by the time the Dolphins pick, yet I have Cooper ahead of Werner due to Cooper filling a bigger need for Miami but with less fallback options than Werner.
4. Desmond Trufant, Cornerback (Washington)
Trufant is a corner that fits well with Miami's scheme, as he spent most of his time at Washington playing the zone coverage favored by Dolphins defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle. Of the top five on Miami's big board, Trufant is the most likely to wind up with Miami and should be a great pick up in a position where Miami likely needs the most help.
Previously: fifth, moved up due to bigger need at cornerback after the signing of Mike Wallace.
5. Xavier Rhodes, Cornerback (Florida State)
Rhodes is another corner that fits Miami's scheme well and will likely be theirs for the taking in Round 1. However, while picking up a receiver in man coverage has been an issue for Rhodes, he does make up for it with his football IQ as well as the hard hits he's able to dole out.
Previously: seventh, moved up due to bigger need at cornerback after the signing of Mike Wallace.
6. Cordarelle Patterson, Wide Receiver (Tennessee)
Of all of the wide receivers available in this season's draft, Patterson has not only the greatest upside potential, but also the greatest bust potential. The intriguing upside includes the prototypical wide receiver size of 6'3", 205 pounds as well as his great play-making speed and ability.
The problem? The drops, as well as the fact that he's still raw when it comes to running routes. The Dolphins have seen this movie before (albeit in a smaller package) and might be timid to go down this road again. I know I am.
Previously: fourth, moved down due to the signing of Mike Wallace
7. Keenan Allen, Wide Receiver (California)
Allen's injuries of late might make him a lightly candidate to drop in this year's draft, meaning Miami could likely afford to trade down from the No. 12 spot and still land him later on in Rd. 1. A dynamic wide receiver for the Golden Bears, Allen not only has the prototypical NFL wide receiver body at 6'3", 205 pounds, but also has great hands and good speed.
The main reason why I've been in the Wallace camp instead of going after Greg Jennings is due to the availability of not only Allen, but also other wide receivers that will be profiled later on that possess similar skills to Jennings (with a lot more upside due to their youth).
Previously: sixth, moved down due to the signing of Mike Wallace
8. Kenny Vaccaro, Safety (Texas)
The top safety available in this year's class, Vaccaro would be a great compliment to Reshad Jones in Miami's defensive backfield. With great ability at stopping both the run and the pass, it's very likely that he will be the only safety taken in Round 1, but the difference between him and the second best safety in the draft is minimal.
9. Tyler Eifert, Tight End (Notre Dame)
Eifert fits Miami's offense very well and would be a great replacement for fellow Golden Domer Anthony Fasano (on his way to Kansas City according to Adam Schefter). He already has a fan in former Dolphin great Nick Buoniconti, who managed to plead with the Dolphins to draft Eifert while also insulting the team by stating "I'm sure he doesn't fit the mold for the Dolphins, he's too good" (per Sports Illustrated).
While the No. 12 spot is a bit too high for Eifert, he would be a great option for the Dolphins if they trade down, and if he's available during when the Dolphins pick in Round 2, then he is a must-grab for Miami.
10. Barkevious Mingo, Defensive End (LSU)
My opinion of Mingo is mixed when it comes to his fit with the Dolphins.
I'm still not sure if he would fit better as an OLB on a 3-4 team than he would as a defensive end with the Dolphins. I'm not so sure he'll drop to Miami in Round 1, despite the fact that I do think he's a tad overrated. I was not impressed by his 2012 season at LSU, but his 2011 season was excellent, and while his combine didn’t overwhelm me, I did think he had a decent outing.
When considering Miami's needs, I think being No. 10 on their big board is a pretty fair assessment. Would he be nice to have? Absolutely. But there are too many questions surrounding him for me to say he's a must-have.
11. Jonathan Cyprien, Safety (Florida International University).
One of three players on this list I've seen in person (and the only one I've seen in person on a consistent basis), Cyprien has shot up draft boards throughout the offseason thanks in part to a strong Senior Bowl, combine and pro day.
A few months ago, I thought this kid would be a great fit for the Dolphins in Round 3, but now Miami would be lucky if he got to their first second-round pick. If he does, then he's worth a shot. He'd also compliment Reshad Jones very well and was one of the hardest hitters in college football during his time at FIU.
12. Zach Ertz, Tight End (Stanford)
The Eifert-Ertz conundrum was solved for me by one thing: Ertz has fairly short arms, which isn't great when it comes to catching passes or blocking.
There's still a lot of talent in Ertz, who will more likely be available in Round 2 than Eifert. Either way, both would be a great pick up for the Dolphins. Eifert is a preferable; however, Ertz is not only a great backup plan, but also would be a great fit in his own right.
13. Tavon Austin, Wide Receiver (West Virginia)
I floated around the idea on Twitter that the Dolphins should consider dealing Davone Bess, the No. 12 pick and their third-round pick to Minnesota for their two first-round picks (No. 23 and No. 25 respectively), because Bess will be a free agent in 2014 and there will be a plethora of slot receivers available in this year's draft.
Austin is one of those receivers. He is also the most explosive. He'd be a great pick up if the Dolphins did consider such a trade and a great replacement for Bess in the slot. (Note, I'd only consider this trade if the Dolphins do wind up signing Mike Wallace.)
14. Johnthan Banks, Cornerback (Mississippi State)
Banks' combine wasn't exactly the best, and while he did have a decent pro day at Mississippi State, it wasn't exactly enough to convince me that he's a first-round pick (despite the fact that I thought he was as recently as last December).
Banks won't be worth the No. 12 pick but should be available with Miami's later second-round selection. If the goal is to overhaul the cornerback position, then he will likely be the pick, even if Miami chooses Trufant or Rhodes in Round 1.
15. Cornellius Carradine, Defensive End (FSU)
A torn ACL will likely knock Carradine away out of the Round 1; however, he would make a great compliment to Cameron Wake if utilized properly.
I have him well ahead of the potential shown by Eziekial Ansah and Margus Hunt, two players who could wind up having great NFL careers but have struggled at times in the Senior Bowl and combine (Ansah's Senior Bowl game was dominant, but the workouts leading up to the game left much to be desired).
1. Bjoern Werner, Florida State (Round 1)
Werner is the top name among pass rushers, a position that the Dolphins will have to address in the draft.
The question is should it be in Round 1 or later on? That depends on how important the cornerback position is.
With Miami's weaknesses in the defensive backfield, it might be a better idea to wait until Round 2 or 3 to pick up a pass rusher; however with the depth at the corner position in this draft and the fact the DE is so top heavy, a pass rusher might be a better pick at No. 12.
Werner is at the top of this top-heavy position.
2. Dion Jordan, Oregon (Round 1)
Let there be no doubt that Jordan possesses great talent, but from the film I've seen of him at Oregon, most of his biggest plays came about when he wasn't lining up in the three-point stance. While Jordan might be the second best defensive end available, he might not fit Miami's 4-3 scheme as well as others.
3. Barkevious Mingo, LSU (Round 1)
Mingo has many of the same questions as Jordan, which is why he's higher on the Dolphins' draft board I posted at the start of the slide but is ranked behind Jordan.
Mingo seems more of a natural 4-3 end than Jordan does, but as mentioned before, he just leaves me feeling "meh."
4. Ezekiel Ansah, BYU (Round 1)
Ansah excited me during the Senior Bowl with his play, but the stories of him failing to grasp football concepts during the week leading up to the game makes me wonder what, other than age, is the difference between him and SMU's Margus Hunt.
Ansah will go in Round 1, and you can thank Jason Pierre-Paul's success with the Giants for that; however, I'm not so sure I'd take him in Round 1 (despite the fact that at one point I was in favor of the Dolphins going in that direction).
5. Damontre Moore, Texas A&M (Round 1-2)
Things that make me wary of Damontre Moore: a 4.9 40-yard dash, 12 bench reps at 225 pounds at the combine (he weighs 250 lbs) and stories like this (courtesy of AL.com) about a Twitter follower that not only mocked him for only benching the same weight 19 times at his pro day, but could also bench more than him (then did).
6. Cornellius Carradine, FSU (Round 1-2)
Unfortunately for Carradine (who Matt Miller has as the top defensive end in the draft), a torn ACL will likely knock his draft stock down.
This is fortunate news if you're the Miami Dolphins. The Fins' defensive schemes fit Carradine's skill set very well. Carradine's play helped spring Bjoern Werner on unsuspecting quarterbacks throughout the ACC, and could he find himself getting the same favors from one Cameron Wake.
7. Datone Jones, UCLA (Round 1-2)
Mix in a productive senior season—where he recorded 6.5 sacks and 19 tackles for a loss—and an impressive showing at the NFL Combine, and Datone Jones has found himself possibly jumping into late Round 1 in an already fairly pass-rush heavy draft.
8. Margus Hunt, SMU (Round 2-3)
Where does one start when describing Margus Hunt?
One place would be his upside. Hunt has only played football since 2009, yet has already tantalized scouts with his blocked field goals on special teams and the way he had infiltrated the pocket while at SMU.
On the downside for Hunt is the fact that despite his impressive 6'8", 277-pound build, he doesn't seem to have as much speed or agility as initially thought. Add that to his age (25), and teams will likely be wary of choosing the former Estonian track and field star.
There is one good question: Other than age, what is really the difference between Margus Hunt and Ezekiel Ansah?
9. Corey Lemonier, Auburn (Round 2-3)
Lemonier followed up a rather impressive NFL Combine with a better pro day at Auburn, where he posted a vertical of 34 inches. At one point projected to go on the third day, it's looking more and more like Lemonier is a day-two talent and a possible steal for Miami if the opportunity presents itself.
10. Sam Montgomery, LSU (Round 2-3)
Montgomery's teammate Barkevious Mingo has looked like the better player in the draft; however, Montgomery has posted better (and more consistent) numbers during his time at LSU.
However, it's fairly easy to see why Mingo is rated higher. Montgomery is lacking in many aspects where Mingo has excelled and isn't as athletic as his teammate either.
1. Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame (Round 1-2)
While a reach at No. 12, Eifert fits Miami's offense very well and would be a steal in Round 2.
2. Zach Ertz, Stanford (Round 1-2)
I love Ertz' ability and upside; however, I can't see him breaking into Round 1 the same way I see Eifert doing so unless a team picking that late in Round 1 needs a tight end badly and Eifert is already off the board.
What I can definitely see is Ertz being available for Miami when they choose in Round 2, with a potential tough decision to make as to whether to take Ertz or attempt to fill other holes.
3. Jordan Reed, Florida (Round 3)
After looking at film of Jordan Reed and considering his career at Florida, the only name that seems to come to mind is that of Michael Egnew.
Translation: I'll pass thank you very much.
4. Dion Simms, Michigan State (Round 3-4)
Simms is a nice player and could provide blocking for the Dolphins, and if the team needs are met by Round 4, then it would be worth a shot, assuming Fasano leaves this off-season as Simms is be better suited to fill the Anthony Fasano role.
5. Gavin Escobar, San Diego State (Round 3-4)
A slow (4.84 40-yard-dash) blocking tight end? No thanks. Of course he's a top target for the Dolphins, per Jason Cole:
Edited tweet: 2 sources said San Diego State TE Gavin Escobar is a top draft target of Dolphins team trying to add receiving threats— Jason Cole (@JasonColeYahoo) March 6, 2013
I'm already anticipating the anger I (and other Dolphins fans) will feel if Miami passes on both Eifert and Ertz in Round 2, only to draft Escobar with one of their third-round picks instead of Quinton Patton, who should still on the board. Why pick Escobar so early when they can wait a day and go with the man that's number six on the draft board?
6. Joseph Fauria, UCLA (Round 5-6)
Fauria would be a better draft pick for Miami later on in the day two. He projects to have high value for any team that grabs him during day three of the draft and would fit well into Miami's offense. He'd contribute in year one, which is more than can be said about current tight end project Michael Egnew or even Gavin Escobar.
Now we'll address the position that the Dolphins are (and should) address in Round 1.
1. Dee Milliner, Alabama (Round 1)
Is it even possible that Milliner will be available for Miami at No. 12?
Most likely not, as Milliner is rated as a top-five pick on most big boards and mock drafts, and teams choosing ahead of Miami—like the Oakland Raiders, Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions and Philadelphia Eagles—all have a desperate need at the position.
Despite all of this, stranger things have happened on draft day, and top-five talents do, from time to time, slip into the teens. I doubt Milliner will be one of those picks, but if he is, then Miami has to draft him.
His 4.38 40-yard dash time is one appealing reason. The other is that he can play in any scheme.
Is Dee Milliner Darrelle Revis?
Instead of saying no, I'm going to say not yet, but does he have that much potential and should be atop Miami's big board. The unfortunate thing is I'm wasting my time writing about him because there's virtually no way he slips to Miami.
2. Desmond Trufant, Washington (Round 1-2)
Now here's the player that the Miami Dolphins will choose with the No. 12 pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, barring a trade down (and even then, I still see them picking Trufant, since he will likely be available in the 20s if Miami or the team they trade the pick to passes on him).
Trufant (who's brothers Marcus and Isaiah play for the Seattle Seahawks and New York Jets respectively) ran the 40-yard dash in 4.38 seconds at the NFL combine and at 6'0", 194 pounds fits the NFL prototype for a shutdown corner.
What makes Trufant a great fit for the Dolphins is his ability playing zone coverage, a scheme that the Dolphins employ. Along with the lightning fast speed to back it up, I feel fairly safe saying that he will be Miami's first-round pick.
3. Xavier Rhodes, Florida State (Round 1-2)
Many draft analysts have Rhodes over Trufant, but I put Trufant ahead of the Seminole star only because his style of play fits the Miami Dolphins better.
But don't rule out the possibility that Miami drafts Rhodes, assuming Rhodes makes it out of Round 1 and into Round 2.
The one knock on Rhodes in Miami's system is that he played as a press-corner at Florida State most of his time. Adjusting to a zone scheme is fairly difficult for anyone (just ask Sean Smith), especially a rookie in the NFL.
But despite this, Rhodes has the features teams want in a cornerback and could still be an appealing option for Miami.
4. Johnthan Banks, Mississippi State (Round 2)
To think, I once had Banks as a first rounder going to the 'fins.
Now it looks like he could go in Round 2 or possibly even later.
Banks started off his senior season with the Bulldogs fairly well, but as they got deeper into their SEC schedule, Banks' impact was felt less and less. Then came the workouts, where Banks was not impressive, especially with his 4.61 40-yard dash.
5. Jordan Poyer, Oregon State (Round 2-3)
Could the Dolphins wind up raiding the Pac-12 for secondary help?
Why not? If the answer is to pick up Trufant in Round 1 and then take Poyer in Round 3.
Poyer has experience, both in man and zone coverage, which a plus for him. Another plus is that out of all of the corners available, Poyer is one of the hardest hitters and is also willing to get his hands dirty fighting for 50/50 balls (he has great hands too).
The downside is that Poyer's speed is only average for a cornerback, so you're not going to see him covering a team's top receivers too often. However as a number-two cornerback going in Round 3, Miami would wind up with a solid pickup.
6. David Amerson, North Carolina State (Round 2-3)
Watching tape of David Amerson brings one player to mind: Sean Smith.
Considering the Dolphins don't even seem to be attempting to bring Smith back, why would they replace him with someone who's almost a carbon copy of him?
Much like Smith, Amerson is better used in press coverage, however the difference between the two is that Amerson could be converted to safety. Whereas with Smith, if it was possible, then the Dolphins likely would've already done so.
7. Robert Alford, Southeastern Louisiana University (Round 3)
A 4.39 40-yard dash is blazing fast, but I don't think I had to tell you that.
Robert Alford impressed by running that at the NFL Combine and impressed me with his play at the Senior Bowl back in January.
Because of both, he finds himself climbing up draft boards and could wind up being a great small-school pickup on day two of the draft.
8. Blidi Wreh-Wilson, Connecticut (Round 3-4)
Wilson's height and athleticism make him an intriguing option late in day two or early in day three of the draft. While his closing speed and his long arms makes him even more attractive, being taller makes him prone to getting knocked off balance from time to time, and his tackling abilities leave much to be desired.
9. Tyrann Mathieu, LSU (Round 3-4)
Someone is going to pick up The Honey Badger in Round 3 of the draft; you can feel it.
The question is will it be the Dolphins?
10. Marc Anthony, California (Round 5-6)
Anthony's draft stock has risen a bit since the end of the college football season due to some great workouts; however, he's still not one of the elite cornerback targets available. He does have great hands and is a hard hitter, but his speed is lacking.
1. Kenny Vaccaro, Texas (Round 1)
It almost feels like a given that the Dallas Cowboys will draft Vaccaro, and I'm pretty sure Miami won't use their No. 12 pick on a safety.
Vaccaro has a great mix of speed, size and athleticism that works great at either safety position and is not afraid to get physical with receivers.
As for stopping the run, Vaccaro can shed blocks with the best of them.
2. Jonathan Cyprien, Florida International University (Round 1-2)
Cyprien lasting into Round 2 would be a gift for the Miami Dolphins, one that can not be squandered.
Cyprien works great on safety blitzes (where Kevin Coyle and the Dolphins used Chris Clemons to great effectiveness at times), since he's been known to overpower running backs that attempt to block him.
In the passing game, Cyprien closes well on short passes and does great covering ground as a zone defender.
3. Matt Elam, Florida (Round 1-2)
Some team is going to draft Elam with Cyprien still on the board. While they will be getting a very good safety, Cyprien is be a better for the Dolphins.
Elam does have his advantages however, including his ability to cover slot receivers and disrupt the pass. However at times, he tries a bit too hard to make the big hit, rendering him non-existent when he fails to deliver.
4. Eric Reid, LSU (Round 2-3)
When the biggest knock against a safety is that he can get overaggressive, that's a good sign.
This is different from Elam's knock of trying too hard to make the big hit. When Reid goes for the hit, he makes it. He doesn't overshoot the target, which can result in big plays.
More often than not, Reid makes the big play, a trait that should continue into the NFL, where he already has the size and speed needed to succeed at the safety position.
5. Robert Lester, Alabama (Round 3)
I'd love to see Lester and Milliner reunite in Miami's defensive backfield, as the two did considerable damage at Alabama. Alas, Milliner is the pipe dream of all pipe dreams, but Lester is well within Miami's range late in Round 3.
6. T.J. McDonald, Southern California (Round 3)
Another player who excelled at USC, and another player who's lower on the draft board than many thought he would be.
McDonald has the size and length coveted in a safety (he comes in at 6'2" 219 lbs) and brings with him some hard hitting. The one knock: his limited range, which has him pegged as being too much of an "in the box" safety.
7. Bacarri Rambo, Georgia (Round 3-4)
The name alone tells me he should be drafted high.
While the strength and agility he possesses helps him fill multiple roles on defense, he can also be employed as a nickelback.
However his angles to the ball are be a bit inconsistent, and it's important to remember that he will never draw first blood.
8. Shamarko Thomas, Syracuse (Round 3-4)
Thomas is projected to be a third or fourth-round pick but could actually be available later on in the draft.
If this is the case, then why wouldn't the Dolphins add depth with a hard hitting safety with a linebacker mentality?
While not as tall as most safeties, Thomas makes up for it in his raw ability and tenaciousness on the field, and in fact, could even be switched over to linebacker if need be.
9. D.J. Swearinger, South Carolina (Round 3-4)
Swearinger, much like Thomas, is a shorter player that makes up for it in overall tenacity; however, he's not nearly as fast as Thomas.
As a captain of a talented South Carolina defense and a four-year starter with the Gamecocks, Swearinger does have great leadership ability
10. Shawn Williams, Georgia (Round 3-4)
Williams has good speed for the position and a prototypical size to go along with strong tackling abilities. Williams, like most of the safeties profiled here, has second-day talent but will likely be available on day three.
1. Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina (Round 1)
I'm fairly confident that the Dolphins will draft Trufant with the No. 12 pick, but if they don't, I could see a trade down and the drafting of Jonathan Cooper.
Dolphins fans will be upset, but be upset at this pick at your own peril. In Cooper you have the perfect guard for Miami's offensive scheme, and a force that in year one of his career can work out well as a right guard alongside whomever is playing right tackle for the 'phins while forming one of the most formidable middles of the offensive line with Mike Pouncey and Richie Incognito.
In year two Cooper could slide over to the left side to replace Incognito, and continue to be a force.
He fits this offense so well that Miami drafting Cooper would make perfect sense.
2. Chance Warmack, Alabama (Round 1)
Warmack will likely get drafted ahead of Cooper, and on just about every big board he is graded higher than Cooper.
So why is Cooper graded higher on the Dolphins big board? Once again, he fits the Dolphins' blocking scheme better than Warmack.
Warmack does have great talent and ability and will be a force on the interior offensive line in the NFL for years to come. I'd love him on the Dolphins if he can show that he can block in Miami's offensive scheme. But so far we haven't seen that, which is why he's at number two for now.
3. Larry Warford, Kentucky (Round 2)
Warford, much like Warmack, looks like he will be a great guard and a force in the interior line for years to come. It was as entertaining to watch him dominate at the line of scrimmage at the Senior Bowl as it was to watch Warmack during the BCS National Championship Game.
But once again, like Warmack, Warford doesn't quite fit Miami's approach at the line. Picking him in the second round would be a good pick up, but like Warmack, it would be an adjustment.
4. Alvin Bailey, Arkansas (Round 4)
Bailey is a huge man at 6'5" 315 lbs, but has great agility and can get into space very well, which of course is exactly what Miami needs along the offensive line.
5. Hugh Thornton, Illinois (Round 4-5)
Thornton has shown great agility and power and can tie up his man at the line of scrimmage, forcing him practically out of the play. He's also quick to get to the second level and block the interior linebacker.
However, Thornton does need work on his technique and would be better served drafted for depth at first than as someone that can be plugged in right away.
With the signing of Mike Wallace, wide receiver is less of a need for Miami, at least in terms of spending a first round pick on him.
Expect the Dolphins to look to rounds 2 or 3 for a wide receiver to compliment Wallace, Hartline and Bess.
1. Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee (Round 1)
With the most upside at the position, Patterson is likely to be the first receiver to go in the draft. He is also the receiver with the biggest chance of being a bust.
With Mike Wallace in tow, there's no need for the Dolphins to draft a receiver like Patterson in round 1. Far too many other holes for the Dolphins to address.
2. Keenan Allen, California (Round 1)
It's hard to find a consensus second-best wide receiver in this draft, mainly because of Allen's injury history. However, he would be the best fit for the Dolphins, as he fits the mold of a West Coast offense receiver.
3. Tavon Austin, West Virginia (Round 1-2)
He could go late in Round 1 or early in Round 2. He's my favorite wide receiver in the draft due to his speed and explosiveness; however, he seems better suited for the slot than on the outside, which is where Miami needs help.
4. Justin Hunter, Tennessee (Round 2)
Patterson's teammate at Tennessee is a deep threat that stretches the field vertically; however, he hasn't been as explosive since suffering an ACL tear in 2011 and is still a bit sloppy when it comes to running routes.
5. Robert Woods, Southern California (Round 2)
I have a feeling that many of USC's players are being overlooked in this year's draft, which may stem from their disappointing 2012 season.
Despite that, there are some really good potential pros on that team, and Robert Woods is one of them. An ankle injury suffered in 2011 didn't cause him to miss any time during the 2012 season; however, it will likely factor into Woods dropping into Round 2.
6. Stedman Bailey, West Virginia (Round 2-3)
Bailey's size is similar to his West Virginia teammate Tavon Austin, and his skill-set is about the same too. Bailey, however, led the NCAA in touchdowns in 2012 and a scoring machine, which is just what Miami needs.
7. Quinton Patton, Louisiana Tech (Round 3-4)
When Miami's first third-round pick comes on the clock, the Dolphins must pounce on Patton (assuming they don't choose Keenan Allen).
Patton's low-draft projection, along with his size, skill-set, speed and character (he fits the bill for a "Joe Philbin-type" guy) make him almost destined to be a Miami Dolphin. He would be a great compliment to Brian Hartline and Davone Bess (and of course Mike Wallace).
8. Ryan Swope, Texas A&M (Round 3-4)
If the Dolphins manage to sign Mike Wallace, then use their third-round picks on Patton and Ryan Swope, I will be more than happy with their receiving corps.
Swope (like Tavon Austin) provides Miami with a great slot receiver and would add some needed depth this upcoming season, and in 2014, he would provide the perfect replacement to Davone Bess, whose contract does expire after 2014.
9. Kenny Stills, Oklahoma (Round 3-4)
Landry Jones is a terrible quarterback.
Seeing his underachieving seasons in Oklahoma, followed by his cover your eyes it's a God-awful performance in the Senior Bowl, it's a wonder anyone was able to make Jones look as good as he managed to did at times.
Kenny Stills did just that with the Sooners and will likely get plenty of interest from teams in Round 3.
The Dolphins will likely be one of them.
10. Conner Vernon, Duke (Round 4-5)
If the Dolphins strike out on Swope, then the all-time ACC record holder for receptions would make a great fall back plan in Round 4.
Late Round Sleepers
Here's a list of players that it would behoove Miami to select in the late rounds. Some of them have already been highlighted in this piece, while others play positions not looked at as "needs" for the Dolphins at this time.
1. Conner Vernon—Wide Receiver, Duke (Round 4-5)
Vernon would be an excellent substitute for Ryan Swope if the Dolphins pass on Tannehill's former teammate or miss out on him completely.
2. Joseph Fauria—Tight End, UCLA (Round 5-6)
Already seemingly more NFL-ready than Michael Egnew, Fauria could thrive as a seam-threat tight end in the NFL.
3. Jordan Rodgers—Quarterback, Vanderbilt (Round 5-6)
The younger brother of Packer MVP Aaron, Jordan could provide some competition for Tannehill, while also being developed into potential trade bait down the road.
4. Marcus Lattimore—Running Back, South Carolina (Round 4-5)
How much do I trust Daniel Thomas? Not very much. The Dolphins will regret not re-signing Reggie Bush, but might regret it less if they pounce on Lattimore, who will be poised to become the late-round steal of the 2013 NFL Draft.
5. David Quessenberry—Offensive Tackle, San Jose State (Round 5)
Miami could always use more depth at the tackle position, and Quessenberry has the athletic abilities to handle the zone blocking scheme on the outside, which would give the Dolphins less to worry about if any of their linemen get hurt.
Stay tuned Friday Morning for a new Post-Mike Wallace mock draft.
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