Miami Dolphins 2013 NFL Mock Draft: Best-Case Scenarios for All 7 Rounds
The Miami Dolphins big board remains a mystery.
Fans and analysts alike have written and reviewed mock draft after mock draft after mock draft, yet no one can say for certain which direction the 'Phins are headed.
The fact of the matter is that Jeff Ireland has done such a solid job so far this offseason that he has a ton of flexibility when it comes to the 2013 NFL draft.
Although there remain some needs on both sides of the ball, there still doesn't seem to be a clear-cut choice for their top overall selection.
Despite all of the question marks that still remain, here's a look at the best-case scenario for the Dolphins on draft day—assuming that their current picks remain as is.
Round 1, Pick 12: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
Star Lotulelei NFL Player Comparison
Let the critique begin.
There has been little to no talk about the Miami Dolphins drafting a defensive tackle, especially after Randy Starks was slapped with the franchise tag and Vaughn Martin was signed to replace Tony McDaniel.
However, the 'Phins find themselves in a tricky situation at No. 12 overall.
They still need help at cornerback and offensive tackle, but Dee Milliner and the three top tackles will undoubtedly be off the board once the 12th pick rolls around.
The team could also use some help at offensive guard, but there's a good chance that Jonathan Cooper is gone by No. 12 and Chance Warmack isn't a fit for their zone-blocking scheme.
So where does that leave you?
Taking the best player available, a player who was once considered to be the top prospect in the entire draft—Star Lotulelei.
With Paul Soliai's contract up at season's end and Starks on a one-year deal barring an extension, it'd be wise to give Lotulelei a chance to anchor the D-Line for years to come.
While it may not be the ideal choice for Jeff Ireland based on need, it's still his best option and one he certainly won't regret.
Round 2, Pick 42: Kyle Long, OL, Oregon
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Hall of Famer Howie Long and his eldest son (and Pro Bowler) Chris have both found success on the gridiron as defensive linemen.
Before month's end, the Long family will watch a third member make the jump to the NFL and hopefully live up to the family name.
Kyle Long is a versatile offensive lineman with a high ceiling, standing in at 6'6", 313 pounds while running a respectable 4.94 40-yard-dash.
His natural athleticism and ability to play both guard and tackle makes him all the more appealing to a Dolphins team hurting for help on the offensive front line.
Round 2, Pick 54: Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State
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Grimes only stands at 5'10", however, and will struggle to match up with some of today's bigger receivers in red-zone situations.
This is one of the many reasons why the 6'2", 185-pound Johnthan Banks is a perfect fit for the Miami Dolphins.
Banks is a converted safety from Mississippi State who had very little trouble locking down opponents in the SEC over the past three seasons at corner.
He was so impressive, in fact, that as a senior he received second-team All-America honors on his way to earning the Jim Thorpe Award, awarded each year to the nation's top defensive back.
His stock fell slightly due to a slow 4.61 40 time at the combine, but he redeemed himself with an unofficial 4.51-second run at his pro day and is still one of the best corners in his class.
Round 3, Pick 77: Corey Lemonier, DE, Auburn
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At last, Cameron Wake's prayers have been answered.
Corey Lemonier would come in and immediately compete with Olivier Vernon and Jared Odrick for the starting job opposite Wake.
Combine these guys with the likes of Star Lotulelei and the veteran tackles wreaking havoc up the middle and you suddenly have one of the most dangerous front lines in football.
Lemonier has an explosive first step and has proved to be extremely disruptive in the backfield.
He's the type of player who never gives up on a play, and his positive attitude and hustle alone makes him an ideal target for Joe Philbin.
Round 3, Pick 82: Travis Kelce, TE, Cincinnati
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Travis Kelce is the perfect man for the job.
At 6'5" and 255 pounds, he's a solid blocker with great size and good hands who can easily compliment the skill set of Dustin Keller.
He may not be as highly touted as Tyler Eifert, but he is a great value pick in the late third or early fourth round who can make a huge impact for the 'Phins.
Round 4, Pick 111: J. J. Wilcox, S, Georgia Southern
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Chris Clemons played very well alongside Reshad Jones last season, and it's still very possible that the team extends his one-year contract before season's end.
Nevertheless, the Dolphins will still look to the draft to add another safety to spark some competition and add some depth to the roster.
J.J. Wilcox isn't a household name, but that's mostly due to the fact that he played for Georgia Southern.
He brings good speed and size to the table and deserves the opportunity to compete with Clemons for the starting role.
Round 5, Pick 146: Mike Gillislee, RB, Florida
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With Miller in just his second season and the always-injured Daniel Thomas taking on the current backup role, the 'Phins need to add another player via the draft.
Even though the team needs depth in the backfield, it's likely they wait until the later rounds before they consider picking up a running back.
When the time does come, there is a very good chance that Florida's own Mike Gillislee finds his name being called.
Gillislee average 4.7 yards per carry last season for the Gators, eclipsing the 1,000-yard mark while scoring 10 touchdowns.
He's an excellent blocker and provides a nice combination of power and speed, making him an ideal candidate for the Dolphins at this point in the draft.
Round 5, Pick 166: Rod Sweeting, CB, Georgia Tech
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Rod Sweeting is a very intelligent football player with above-average instincts.
The 5'11" corner has shown some speed too, running a 4.42 40 time at the combine, but he needs to add some strength and size to his frame to compete with bigger, more physical NFL receivers.
For a team that is still in the process of rebuilding their secondary, Sweeting would make an excellent late-round acquisition.
Round 7, Pick 217: Dustin Hopkins, K, Florida State
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Bring on the competition.
After Dan Carpenter faltered twice in late-game situations last season, Dolphins fans have been chomping at the bit for a new leg.
Dustin Hopkins is arguably the best kicker in the 2013 NFL draft, a Florida State grad who will certainly give Carpenter a run for his money in training camp.
He is extremely accurate, missing just one PAT in four seasons, and he has the leg to consistently connect on attempts over 50 yards.
His 459 points over four years makes him the NCAA FBS all-time leading kick scorer, while his academic excellence and involvement in the community only adds to his overall appeal.
Round 7, Pick 224: Jordan Rodgers, QB, Vanderbilt
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While he may not draw as much attention as his older brother did when he left college, Jordan Rodgers is still a good, young quarterback with a solid arm and untapped potential.
He completed 60 percent of his passes last season at Vanderbilt, throwing for over 2,500 yards and 15 touchdowns with just five interceptions.
Although he's a bit on the small side for a quarterback at 6'1", 205 pounds, he is definitely worth considering with a seventh-round pick.
Round 7, Pick 250: Rodney Smith, WR, Florida State
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Florida State's Rodney Smith is the definition of a "project pick".
He's relatively smooth and runs surprisingly well for a 6'4", 225-pound wide receiver, posting a 4.51 40-yard dash at the combine.
If Smith wants to play at the next level, however, he needs to be more physical and put on some size.