The Miami Dolphins have filled their roster with top-end talent at several positions this offseason already, but now it's time to turn the attention to the draft, where they have another chance to strike it big with 10 picks in April.
It's a good thing they have so many picks, because even with the spending spree of free agency, they still left several holes on the roster, most notably at cornerback, the offensive line and at defensive end.
If the draft pans out like Emory Hunt of FootballGameplan.com envisions it will, the Dolphins should be happy with how they address those holes.
Here's the run-down of his seven-round mock draft for the Dolphins:
1. D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
2. Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
2. Robert Alford, CB, SE Louisiana
3. John Simon, DE, Ohio State
4. Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor
5. Le'Veon Bell, RB, Michigan State
5. Dalton Freeman, C, Clemson
7. Zeke Motta, S, Notre Dame
7. Joe Vellano, DT, Maryland
7. Reid Fragel, OT, Ohio State
*Note: Hunt left one of the Dolphins' two third-round picks out of the equation by mistake. He has noted the error, but come on, do we really expect him to do the whole mock over again over one third-round pick?
Alabama offensive tackle D.J. Fluker was his first pick to the Dolphins at No. 12. The value is there—Bleacher Report's Matt Miller reported that he won't make it out of the top 20. Teams will love Fluker for his incredible size at 6'6" and 339 pounds with 37" long arms and 10.5" hands.
Draft analyst Eric Stoner indicated Fluker would be a good fit for the Dolphins' zone-blocking scheme in a recent scouting report:
Fluker exclusively played the right-tackle position for the Crimson Tide. They run a conservative, ball-control offense that likes to slow down and dictate the tempo of the game. Alabama utilizes zone-blocking principles, with the Inside Zone and Stretch plays being their two staple run plays. They also feature heavy play-action passing to get their big plays.
Fluker isn't great in pass protection and he's not quite the athlete the Dolphins might like on the offensive line, but he's an anchor on the right side and will dominate as a run-blocker.
Desmond Trufant is widely being projected toward the end of the first round, so a second-round pick for him is a steal. The Dolphins have moved away from the man-coverage corners like Sean Smith and Vontae Davis as they gear their secondary towards more zone coverage. Trufant would be a great fit for either, but his ball skills make him a serious threat with his eyes on the quarterback.
Hunt brings up a valid point about Trufant's career trajectory:
This guy has first-round talent, but when you look at him, he's a guy that has gotten better each and every year, and that lets you know as a coach that his best football is ahead of him.
B/R NFL draft lead writer Sigmund Bloom thinks Trufant has top-10 talent and that he has the quick twitch necessary to be an effective zone cornerback. That being said, he notes that putting him in zone coverage is something of a waste of his physical talents which make him outstanding in man coverage.
Robert Alford completes the double-dip at cornerback, a solid strategy for a secondary which has lost two key players in less than a calendar year.
Stoner also raved about Alford's zone skills:
A very disciplined zone player, Alford shows great route combination awareness and rarely chases receivers out of his area. He identifies receivers before they enter his area and shows a good burst to drive on the ball after it’s thrown. Good understanding of when to turn [his] hips and run when his cushion is threatened when playing deep zone coverages.
Alford was used most frequently in off-man, press-man and Cover 2 Sink, so he has the versatility to contribute regardless of the coverage the Dolphins choose to run going forward. He doesn't have ideal strength for press-man at the NFL level and even struggled at times to get good jams on bigger receivers while at Southeastern Louisiana.
John Simon's draft stock may have taken a hit at the Senior Bowl, but his tape is evidence enough of his ability to create disruption in the backfield, having logged 30.5 tackles for loss and 16 sacks over the past two seasons. He was named the 2012 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year.
Defensive end is clearly a need for the Dolphins, as Jared Odrick was drafted to play in a 3-4 defense and isn't suited to be an attacking 4-3 defensive end.
Wide receiver is not as big of a need for the Dolphins, but Terrance Williams in the fourth round would be a steal from this perspective—he's been projected by some to be taken in the first round. His skill set is similar to Mike Wallace's, although he's a bit bigger and a little slower.
The Dolphins haven't quite gotten what they'd like out of Daniel Thomas, so adding Le'Veon Bell gives them another option to pair with Lamar Miller in the backfield. Bleacher Report's Matt Miller listed Bell among the top college backs after South Carolina's Marcus Lattimore went down with an injury.
At 6'2" and 237 pounds, Bell isn't going to win a footrace, but he can pick up tough yards between the tackles and he hits the hole hard. With that being said, how much of an upgrade is he over Daniel Thomas? Well, how much of an upgrade do you expect to get in the seventh round?
Overall, I like what Hunt did with his picks for the Dolphins. If they were to have the extra third-round pick, it should have been used on a guard.
What did you think of the Dolphins' haul in this mock draft? Let us know in the comments.
Erik Frenz is also a Patriots/AFC East writer for Boston.com. Follow Erik on Twitter and "like" the AFC East blog on Facebook to keep up with all the updates. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes obtained firsthand or via team press releases.