2013 Draft: Will Miami Dolphins Pick Lane Johnson or D.J. Fluker?

Richard Santamaria@RiSantamariaCorrespondent IIApril 8, 2013

FORT WORTH, TX - DECEMBER 1: Lane Johnson #69 of the Oklahoma Sooners in action against the TCU Horned Frogs at Amon G. Carter Stadium on December 1, 2012 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Rick Yeatts/Getty Images)
R. Yeatts/Getty Images

The Miami Dolphins will draft an offensive tackle in the first round of the 2013 NFL draft. 

This is the sentiment of renown sports agent Drew Rosenhaus, who claimed "that is what I'm hearing from everyone" during the "Sunday Sports Xtra" segment of the local news on WSVN, Miami's fox affiliate. 

Rosenhaus argued that there are four tackles that would be considered.  The top four tackles in the 2013 class are Luke Joeckel, Eric Fisher, Lane Johnson and D.J. Fluker.  Joeckel and Fisher are expected to be drafted before the Dolphins' 12th selection, so Miami's decision may come down to Johnson or Fluker.

Jeff Ireland has the option of trading for an earlier pick, but it is improbable as the price will likely be a second-rounder. 

The new collective bargaining agreement has made high draft picks golden.  Miami expects its two second-round picks to be inexpensive four-year starters.  One of these bargain starters will be very difficult for Ireland to give up.

How much of a drop-off is there after Joeckel and Fisher?

Lane Johnson is a phenomenal athlete.  The 6'6", 300-pounder was a high school quarterback. 

In 2010, Johnson tried to contribute to the Oklahoma Sooners as a tight end or defensive end but found no success.  In 2011, Johnson made the move to the offensive line, and in 2012, he earned All-Big 12 second-team honors as Oklahoma's left tackle.

Johnson excelled at the combine, running the 40-yard dash in 4.72 seconds and rising 34 inches off the ground in his vertical leap.  The Oklahoma product has average power as he benched the 225-pound standard 28 times.  Ironically, Joeckel and Fisher only completed 27 repetitions each at the combine.

Again, Johnson is a remarkable athlete with limited experience as a left tackle but huge upside.

D.J. Fluker made 36 starts as a right tackle for the Alabama Crimson Tide, winning two national titles in the process.  Fluker has the size (6'5", 339) but is the weakest of the four top tackles, only completing 21 repetitions of 225 pounds at the combine.  In this sense, Fluker has some things in common with Jonathan Martin, finding success with girth, footwork and hustle.

It appears the drop-off lies after Joeckel, Fisher and Johnson, who are all projected to be left tackles.  Fluker is expected to play on the right side of the line.  Is he worth the 12th overall pick?

A decision to draft Fluker in the first round will be met with criticism, considering there are top-10 right tackle options (Eric Winston, Tyson Clabo) in free agency.

While Rosenhaus may have ulterior motives in making statements about Miami's first-round selection, Johnson would be a solid choice for the Dolphins.

Lane Johnson may end up being the best left tackle in the 2013 draft class.