The NFL draft has grown to enjoy unfathomable levels of media coverage over the past decade or so. Multiple outlets provide draft coverage, and there are even people whose sole jobs are to pore over, research and analyze an event that lasts three days, once a year.
Two of the most famous draft experts around are Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay. These draft gurus have been providing mock drafts and analysis for years. Say what you want about their accuracy, because frankly trying to guess just one round of the NFL draft is akin to determining the weather outlook for a week.
Kiper and McShay are trusted nonetheless. But even the most trusted had a hard time with 2013's class. Seemingly devoid of elite talent yet overflowing with very good players, this year's class has been one of the most puzzling to figure out.
The Miami Dolphins find themselves in an interesting position. Sitting at 12, most of the best players at positions of need (offensive tackle, corner) will be gone. Meanwhile, most of the next-best players seem like reaches at 12.
What's a team to do? Rumors have swirled that the Dolphins are looking to both trade up and down, neither of which might not be a bad idea.
But those moves are beyond Kiper and McShay's relative scopes. For their latest mock of Round 1, they simply chose who each team would take if they stayed put. Let's break down each analyst's selection for the Dolphins.
Mel Kiper Jr's Pick: D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
The trio of top-flight tackles is unquestionably Eric Fisher, Luke Joeckel and Lane Johnson. Assuming the Dolphins don't jump on a trade for Brandon Albert, they'll need to draft a tackle. The three best tackles are basically guaranteed to be gone before the first 10 teams are through picking.
That leaves D.J. Fluker, who despite having flown somewhat under the radar, is still undoubtedly the fourth-best tackle prospect. He's a monster of a man at right tackle, measuring up to 6'4" and 339 pounds. His beastly frame allows him to dominate in the running game and open up huge lanes.
Equipped with long arms, Fluker is great at standing up and controlling defenders. He also has great quickness for his size, meaning defensive ends have to be very fast off the snap to flummox Fluker.
It may be a safe pick, but it fills a need. Overall, I can back this selection. My only concern with Fluker is his size. Can the lumbering titan adjust to the zone-blocking scheme the Dolphins want to implement? It's a scheme that typically calls for a slightly smaller, more athletic tackle. Fluker could possibly fill that role, but it's no guarantee.
That concern aside, I like Fluker at 12. It allows Miami to fill a need with a good player without giving up any picks to move into the top 10.
Todd McShay's Pick: Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
McShay also sees the Dolphins going lineman at No. 12, although this one is a little surprising to me.
Warmack is widely considered to be the best guard in the draft, with only North Carolina's Jonathan Cooper coming close. Warmack provides a deadly combination of size, strength and speed on the offensive line.
He's 6'2" and 317 pounds, a hefty body in the interior. He has a strong initial punch and can anchor well against bull-rushers. Warmack can also pull effectively and is even fast enough to get downfield and block linebackers and corners.
The Dolphins don't seem to have an immediate need at guard, but considering Ireland's propensity for drafting linemen early on, it wouldn't come as much surprise if Miami snagged Warmack. Indeed, if he falls to 12, many would consider the Dolphins crazy for not taking him.
Much like the Fluker pick, I would be OK with this selection. While guard isn't a drastic need, Warmack would improve the line immediately and likely be an All-Pro within a couple of seasons.
However, both Kiper's and McShay's picks assume the Dolphins stay at 12. If that's the case, then sure, I'm fine with either of these picks.
But if we're taking into account the Dolphins' likelihood to move around on Thursday night, these moves suddenly don't look as good to me. Frankly, I expect the Dolphins to utilize their abundance of picks to shake up the draft order.
That being said, I'm still not sold on Miami trading up. I don't like Lane Johnson enough to justify potentially giving up a second- or third-round pick. Especially not when they could get a viable right tackle in the middle rounds with ease.
I'd like to see the Dolphins move back into the first round and either address the secondary (Desmond Trufant, Jamar Taylor) or give Notre Dame's Tyler Eifert a look to add another weapon for Ryan Tannehill. Eifert could also add permanence if Dustin Keller doesn't work out beyond 2013.
No matter how you slice it, this is shaping up to be one of the most exciting drafts for the Miami Dolphins in a long time. With so many options available, I personally can't wait until Thursday night to see what happens.