The Super Bowl has been played, and the 2013 season has officially come to a close.
For the Miami Dolphins, the offseason began at around 4:05 p.m. ET on December 29, and already it has been an eventful one.
Now comes the quiet part of the NFL's silly season, relatively speaking, as the Dolphins have their general manager, offensive coordinator and a well-defined list of needs that they will have to address in order to have a shot at being contenders in 2014.
With that, I bring you my first Miami Dolphins mock draft of the 2014 offseason.
Where should the Dolphins look, and who should they pick? Come along and find out.
It's easy to see Miami's troubles are on offense— particularly along the offensive line.
The strategy for addressing this is clear to both the Dolphins fanbase and the writers who cover the team: sign and/or draft a tackle and guard.
With that in mind, I present to you who will be available for the Dolphins to pick at No. 19 in Round 1, and it just happens to fit who I think would be the best fit for the Dolphins at the position: Notre Dame offensive lineman Zack Martin.
Martin played all along the offensive line at Notre Dame before settling in at left tackle. Despite being a great left tackle for the Irish, his size and athleticism fit the guard position a lot more, and he is solid blocking both for the run and the pass.
Martin should be a pick that will make even the most skeptic of Dolphins fans satisfied, for Miami will be getting an offensive lineman it will be able to build around for the next 10 years with a good head on his shoulders.
I suggest going defensive tackle in Round 2 because of the uncertainty of the position for the Dolphins with both Paul Soliai and Randy Starks being free agents.
There are plenty to choose from in this round at first glance; however, the feeling I get based off some of the reporting from Bleacher Report's Matt Miller is that there will be a run on defensive tackles in the late first and early second round, which likely means my favorite, Aaron Donald out of Pittsburgh, will be taken before he can fall to the Dolphins.
Penn State's DaQuan Jones is a nice consolation prize, as he is better at stopping the run than Donald and could help the Dolphins there in the 4-3.
Jones also works for the future of the Dolphins as well—if the Dolphins falter in 2014, they will likely clean house, meaning there's a possibility that the new coaching staff and GM will want to install a 3-4 defense (which would be better for the Dolphins considering the talent on the defensive end of the ball).
Jones fits well in the 3-4 as a nose tackle, too, giving Miami versatility.
Overall, Miami would pick up in Jones a young Paul Soliai-type who can stop the run and plug up the middle, which is exactly what it would need.
The Dolphins should look to free agency to address left tackle, leaving right tackle for the draft.
Once they square away one guard slot with Zack Martin in Round 1, their best bet at finding an NFL-ready right tackle will come in Round 3.
The pick here is Billy Turner out of North Dakota State. Turner dominated at left tackle in FCS play, but at the next level, he would be better served as a right tackle, which is a major need for the Dolphins.
Turner is a mountain of a man at 6'6", 314 pounds and will be able to seal the right side of the offensive line well, allowing for Miami to thrive in the run game while giving Ryan Tannehill more time to throw.
Dolphins fans are divided as to what the team should do at running back.
A lot of you have suggested to me that the Dolphins should reach in the second—or even first—round to pick up Auburn's Tre Mason, a player I won't even seriously consider not because of his skills (which are many), but because Miami has much more pressing needs that should be addressed in the first three rounds.
Some have also suggested that Miami should leave the running backs alone, arguing that with an improved offensive line, Lamar Miller will have the chance to be something special.
I'm a bit in the middle, feeling that Miami should pick up a running back in the draft, but first should address the offensive and defensive lines.
I thought a lot about this and considered mocking Charles Sims to the Dolphins in the third round; however, based off a lot of research, I found that Billy Turner might be a viable option for the Fins in Round 3 and thought that would be the more prudent pick.
What makes that pick more prudent than Sims is the fact that in Round 4, Boston College's Andre Williams will be available. Williams can pair up better with Miller and provide the Dolphins with a running back they haven't had since Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown—a between-the-tackles power back who can pick up yards on 3rd-and-short.
Dolphins GM Dennis Hickey has a good track record at picking up running backs while in Tampa Bay, and Williams fits the mold of running backs he likes. He's the pick in Round 4.
Yes, on that video (the 2:42 mark), you saw good execution on Mike Sherman's favorite play to run on 3rd-and-short, the stretch play.
The only lineman named on that play was right guard Brandon Linder, who was praised for creating the path.
Keep in mind that Pitt's front line was great in 2014, and throughout the video, you see Linder handle it well.
Even though he's projected as a fifth-rounder, Linder is already NFL-ready and could compete for a starting job on day one. Miami already addressed one guard spot in Round 1 of this mock, and I could see it double down at guard as well. If that's the case, Linder is the best pick to make at the position on the final afternoon of the draft.
From the Congo, by way of British Columbia, Oregon linebacker Boseko Lokombo has the natural tools needed to play linebacker in the NFL.
He fits Miami's 4-3 scheme like a glove and emerged as a playmaker during his time at Oregon.
Lokombo will be available late and would be an intriguing prospect for the Dolphins to pick up. Needing competition at the linebacker position (plus the fact that you can never have enough bodies on special teams), Lokombo would fit the Dolphins well.
This is probably going to be the most controversial pick on my mock draft simply because of the belief that many fans have in Ryan Tannehill.
I believe in Ryan Tannehill, too, as does general manager Dennis Hickey, according to ESPN's James Walker. Not believing in Tannehill would likely mean reaching in Round 2 for a David Fales or Jimmy Garoppolo, and I can't see the Dolphins doing that.
What I can see them doing is finding the replacement for Pat Devlin, which is what my projected seventh-round pick, Logan Thomas, would be.
Thomas is a big and strong quarterback but at times plays a bit uneven. He's not ready to start in the NFL right away, but he does have the tools and talents to be developed.
This would be a smart pick for the Dolphins to make in the seventh round after addressing other needs in the first six rounds.