The NFL Draft is approaching quickly, and the Dolphins still have no definitive answer for who they will select with the number one overall pick. The possibility of trading the pick still remains, but with each passing day, that likelyhood dwindles just a little bit more. So if they do end up keeping the pick, the Dolphins must ask themselves: Which position is in dire need of a franchise player, and which player can fill that need?
QB—Since the retirement of Hall of Famer Dan Marino, the Dolphins have struggled to find a suitable replacement, and thus have struggled to consistently win. Having gone through 13(eeeeerie) different starting QBs over the last eight seasons, it would seem like an obvious choice for the 'Phins to draft the best QB, but given the absence of a stud QB in this years draft, Miami may defer.
Potential Pick: Matt Ryan.
With a 59.9 percent completion rate, and 56 TDs to only 37 INTs over his four year career at B.C., Ryan stands out as the only lottery QB in this years draft. Even as the best QB in the draft, Ryan seems to lack the intangibles the would make him a number-one pick. (Five percent chance of being drafted number one by Miami)
RB—When the Dolphins acquired Ricky Williams from the Saints, it seemed as if their Achilles heal, the running game, had finally found some stability. But as everyone knows, Ricky Williams and stability go together as well as oil and water.
So they added Ronnie Brown in the 2004 draft, and the ship had once again seemed to be righted. But with nagging injuries and the inability to handle a full season's worth of carries, Ronnie Brown hasn't been as good as promised. Although Brown seems to be fit for a full run next season, adding a solid rookie RB could put to rest any fears of the running game falling apart again.
Potential Pick: Darren McFadden.
Rushing for 4,590 yards and 41 TDs, and catching 46 passes for 365 yards and two TDs in three seasons work at Arkansas, McFadden has clearly separated himself from the pack to be the best RB in this years draft. McFadden also has the added element of being able to throw the ball as a hybrid QB, which makes him even more appealing. McFadden seems to be the only legitimate offensive playmaker in the draft and would be a good fit no matter what team drafts him. (Five percent chance of being drafted number one by Miami)
OL—With poor drafting and poor management of quality players in the past, the Dolphins cupboard is pretty much dry in terms of quality offensive linemen. Even with the addition of former 49er OG Justin Smiley, the 'Phins still have gaping holes at OT. After seeing Joe Thomas shine as a rookie OT and help lead the Browns back to existence, the 'Phins have hope that they can find a good, if not great, OT in this years draft.
Potential Pick: Jake Long.
Selected as an All-American and awarded Big-10 offensive lineman of the year during his last two seasons at Michigan, Jake Long brings, along with his massive stature and enormous hands, a large pedigree of proven success. Although he suffered injuries during his sophomore campaign, there is no question about his toughness and ability to last the duration of a full seasons worth of work.
Although the 2008 draft is loaded with talent at the offensive line position, Long will very likely be the best, and thus be selected within the top five picks. (25 percent chance of being drafted number one by Miami)
DT—Even with all of their offensive woes last season, one of the most telling stats as to why the 'Phins went 1-15 last season was their defense giving up 153.5ypg on the ground, good for last in the league. In order to help turn around an aging defense, the best move for the 'Phins would probably be to draft a DL, and a good DT would certainly help with that porous run defense.
Potential Pick: Glenn Dorsey.
Although known to be injury prone during his years at LSU, Dorsey has shown the ability to play through them and still have a major impact. He showcased his knack for doing this during his senior campaign by winning four major defensive awards, being named a first team All-American, and winning SEC defensive player of the year honors, all while battling a sore hamstring and back, and a sprained right knee.
He provides the size of a quality run stopper with the power of a great middle pass-rusher and will make an immediate impact on any team. (30 percent chance of being drafted number one by Miami)
DE—A position which Miami has had great stability at over the last decade with perennial pro-bowler and sure to be hall-of-famer Jason Taylor. But with recent rumors spreading about Taylor being traded, the 'Phins may be considering drafting a new, young talent to try and fill the vacant spot that would be left by Taylor. Even if Taylor isn't traded, Miami would still seriously consider drafting a talented young DE to allow JT to play a combo OLB/DE in their 3-4 defense.
Potential Pick: Chris Long.
Son of famed NFL hall-of-famer Howie Long, Chris seems to have inherited many, if not all, of his father's football and athletic abilities. During his senior year at UVA, Chris won the award for best DE in the country, was a unanimous All-American selection, and named ACC defensive player of the year. With his knack for getting to the QB, 14 sacks last season, and his ability to make big plays, two forced fumbles and one INT, Chris Long would be a perfect fit for any defense. (35 percent chance of being drafted number one by Miami)