7 Defensive Ends the Miami Dolphins Should Consider in the 2013 NFL Draft
With the draft only four days away, starting on Thursday, April 25, it's time to really narrow our focus position by position and look at who the Dolphins could take in the draft.
They have the 12th overall pick and then two picks in the second, third and fifth rounds, as well as one pick in the fourth round. With a number of positions still able to be upgraded, the Dolphins will have different prospects targeted for the first couple of rounds as well as the middle rounds.
I already looked at seven cornerbacks the Dolphins could consider. As I did in that article, I'm attempting to spread out the prospects in order to give an idea of who they might look at depending on the spot in the draft.
The Dolphins need to add another pass-rusher to go along with Cam Wake and Olivier Vernon would be great as a rotational guy, but they really need another talented prospect there.
Here are seven players who could potentially fill that void on Miami's defensive line.
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Michael Buchanan is a curious story.
He had a breakout 2011 season, where he posted 64 tackles, 7.5 sacks, 13.5 tackles for loss and was named Second Team All-Big Ten.
After that fantastic junior season, he announced he would return for his senior campaign and was being tossed around as a potential first-round pick if he continued to bulk up and work on his technique.
During the summer, however, he was involved in an unspecified altercation that left him with a broken jaw, per Scott Powers of ESPN.com. He was forced to go on a liquid-only diet as his jaw was wired shut and he lost a significant amount of weight just weeks before the season began.
His production predictably dropped in 2012, but he still could be a great pass-rusher in the NFL. Buchanan is long, athletic and has active hands. He would be a fantastic mid-round pick for the Dolphins, depending on how far he slides.
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Cornellius "Tank" Carradine was looking like a lock first-round pick until he tore his ACL late in the 2012 season.
His draft stock tumbled, but has begun to rise again as his recovery process is going well and his name gets back on the radar.
I actually have Carradine on this list over Bjoern Werner for one major reason—value. Werner will absolutely be gone by the 42nd pick, but is a little too high for me at No. 12.
Carradine, on the other hand, has a pretty decent chance of being there at No. 42, and I think that he and Werner are actually equal as prospects.
With an impressive combination of strength and quickness, Carradine is very difficult to block. He has tree trunks for legs and really gets off the line quickly and then drives his blocker back if he doesn't beat him around the edge, which happens quite often.
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Now we get to a second Florida State defensive end also not named Bjoern Werner. Brandon Jenkins, like Carradine, has seen his stock slide way too far because of injury.
Jenkins was actually replaced by Carradine after suffering a Lisfranc injury to his foot in the first game of the 2012 season. I like Jenkins a lot as a prospect, especially since I think there's a good chance the Dolphins could get him at 82 or even 111 overall.
Although he's a bit smaller and not as strong as Carradine, Jenkins is quicker and has better pass-rushing technique. He has great flexibility around the edge and can routinely beat tackles to the outside.
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A favorite in recent mock drafts by Dolphins featured columnists (including myself) here on Bleacher Report, Corey Lemonier would indeed be an excellent fit for the Dolphins.
His stock has really been all over the place—from the end of the first to the end of the third round—although I think he could be there with either the 54th or 77th pick.
Lemonier was overshadowed by Auburn's disappointing 2012 season, although he still put together some pretty impressive tape. He has strong, long arms that he uses for rip moves to the outside and occasional swipes when cutting back to the inside.
He's powerful, quick, versatile and works hard every play. He would be able to start right away and give Miami a very dangerous pass rush in 2013 and beyond.
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After a breakout 2012 season, Damontre Moore's stock was sky high, but after a disappointing combine, his stock has taken a significant hit and is currently hovering around early-to-the-middle of the second round.
If the Dolphins found him there at 42, he would possibly be too enticing to pass up. His slow 4.95 speed in the 40-yard dash and measly 12 reps on the bench press at the combine are slightly concerning, but he improved on both of those numbers at Texas A&M's pro day.
In 2012, he switched from outside linebacker to defensive end and put up some crazy numbers with 85 tackles, 21 tackles for loss and 12.5 sacks en route to Second Team All-America honors.
He isn't overly gifted athletically, but he is quick off the line and has tremendous technique. He can really dip his hips and get around the edge, but also has great moves to come back inside as well.
Moore has textbook hand usage, possesses great balance and can really set up blockers well. He also has arguably the highest motor of any prospect in the draft, which really shows on tape as he chases down receivers and goes sideline to sideline on running plays.
His ceiling isn't that high, but he would be a great get for Miami.
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Now we get to another prospect whose stock slid after an injury.
Value is the name of the game here, since it's unlikely that Miami will be taking a defensive end with the 12th pick, and Quanterus Smith should be in strong consideration.
Smith first got on scouts' radars after a 2011 season where he only played six games in 2011 yet was named Second Team All-Sun Belt for his 11 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks.
He then proceeded to dominate the first 10 games of the 2012 season and was leading the nation with 12.5 sacks at that point when he tore his ACL. Smith is 6'5" with long arms, but still is very agile and coordinated coming off the edge.
Smith is a smart player who improved his technique dramatically from his junior year to senior year. If he can retain his pre-injury quickness, he could be a perfect fourth-round selection for Miami and the possible steal of the draft.
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Alex Okafor wouldn't be the most exciting pick in the world, but he could also end up being the perfect one for Miami. He's being valued right around the second round and would be ideal as Miami's second pick in that round.
Okafor has prototypical size and length for a 4-3 defensive end and is a talented prospect who really stepped up his game after defensive end counterpart Jackson Jeffcoat was injured midway through the season. Okafor collected 4.5 sacks in Texas' win over Oregon State in the Alamo Bowl.
He's a durable, athletic end who played in 52 games at Texas, capped by being named the 2012 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year by CBS Sports.
He isn't a quick-twitch athlete, and won't explode off the line and be a speed rusher in the NFL. He instead brings a more hard-working, powerful, run-protection capability, but will still supplement Cam Wake's pass-rushing nicely.