Miami Dolphins Top Needs and Fits in the 2014 Draft
We can't go into the past, we can only look to the future, and the future in Miami lies in the draft, where they will start off with the 19th pick in the first round, then go from there.
What are the Miami Dolphins' needs, and who are the best fits for those needs? We'll look into them in this slideshow.
Now a reminder, this is NOT a mock draft. Most of the players highlighted on here will either be first or second round picks since this is about the best fits for the Dolphins' needs.
Miami might decide to find their left tackle of the future through the draft, and this is a good draft to find one.
Yet the player I'm focusing the most on is a player more likely to be a right tackle in Virginia's Morgan Moses.
Moses does have some familiarity with Miami's offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, who coached Moses while at Virginia. The familiarity might help Moses get into the offense and start from day one.
Other options for the Dolphins include North Carolina's James Hurst, who has spent his time at UNC in a zone blocking scheme (and is projected by CBSSports.com to go in Round 4), Billy Turner from North Dakota State, or if the Dolphins do plan on going after a tackle in the first round, Alabama's Cyris Kouandijo, or my dream scenario, Auburn's Greg Robinson.
At first glance, you might not think that the Miami Dolphins need a safety.
The Dolphins' secondary is fairly deep with safeties, with Jimmy Wilson, Michael Thomas and Jordan Kovacs, you would assume that if free agent Chris Clemons goes elsewhere, Miami already has his replacement.
It's not the best assumption, though, for instead it would open up a need at safety. While Wilson, Thomas and Kovacs show promise, they're unproven and a better player might be available in the draft.
USC's Dion Bailey might be that better player, and he will likely be available on day three, after the Dolphins take care of most of their more pressing needs.
Other than Bailey, Florida State's Terrence Brooks would fit on the Dolphins if he were available in the third or fourth round like he is projected to be, as would Vanderbilt's Kenny Ladler.
Miami shouldn't even think about running backs until the third or fourth round, but once they do, there are plenty of deserving backs.
Carlos Hyde of Ohio State is one of them, and he can provide something that Miami's other running backs really can't: the ability to run in between the tackles and get that one yard on third-and-one.
Another good option would be West Virginia's Charles Sims, who might just be the best overall running back in this year's draft class.
Another possible candidate for best overall running back is Auburn's Tre Mason, who currently is graded as a second-round pick on CBSSports.com. I'd avoid a running back that early, though, as Miami has much more pressing needs.
If the decision is to go later, a good choice would be Boston College's Andre Williams.
The Dolphins will be facing the loss of one or both of their defensive tackles this offseason.
On top of that, whether Paul Soliai or Randy Starks (or both) re-sign with the Dolphins, both are on the other side of 30, necessitating the need for the Dolphins to get younger at defensive tackle.
The best option for Miami would be Pitt's Aaron Donald, but he is likely a late first round pick. CBSSports.com has him as a first-rounder, while Matt Miller of Bleacher Report has him ranked as the 25th player overall on his draft board.
Miami might be better served waiting until the second or third round to pick up a defensive tackle. Some options for them in those rounds include Arizona State's Will Sutton, Notre Dame's Stephon Tuitt, South Carolina's Kelcy Quarles and Penn State's DaQuan Jones.
I'm of the belief that good guard play is more important to the Miami Dolphins' offensive success than the tackles.
Sure, the Dolphins need tackles, which we tackled earlier, but the Dolphins can go after tackles in free agency (paging either Branden Albert or Eugene Monroe), then use the draft to pick up a guard.
My first choice for guard would be Notre Dame's Zack Martin, who is actually listed as a tackle, but he played all five offensive line positions in college.
His build is more suited for guard, as is his athleticism and arm length.
Other guards the Dolphins could consider include Baylor's Cyril Richardson (projected as a second rounder by CBSSports.com), David Yankey of Stanford (a potential first-round pick), and Mississippi State's Gabe Jackson (projected to go either in the second or third round).
The Dolphins will likely look to take depth in the late rounds at the guard position. For that, the best option might be Brandon Linder from Miami or North Carolina's Russell Bodine.
If you were to ask me who to pick first in the draft, I would go with Martin, not just among guards, but overall in the draft. He fits Miami's biggest need and will also likely be the best player available.