Miami Dolphins Final 2014 NFL Mock Draft Roundup
There has been plenty of speculation about which direction the team will go in the first round, with a number of differing opinions among the national analysts.
Most experts have the Dolphins addressing their biggest need in the first round by drafting an offensive lineman.
However, some picks have the team upgrading on the defensive side of the ball, while others have them bringing in an offensive weapon.
Realistically, there are at least a handful of players that could potentially become Miami Dolphins by the end of the night.
So let's take a look at each national analyst's first-round prediction for Miami and analyze how good or bad each selection would be.
Matt Miller, Bleacher Report: C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama
In Matt Miller's seven-round mock draft, he went with C.J. Mosley as the choice for the Dolphins with the No. 19 pick.
Of the selection, Miller writes:
Inside linebacker C.J. Mosley might not seem like a need pick, but he is. Mosley can play any of the three linebacker positions in a 4-3 scheme and would allow the Dolphins the flexibility to move Dannell Ellerbe if they decide he's not a great fit at the "Mike" position.
Mosley is a top-10 talent, but in a draft this deep it's difficult to place him with a team higher up the board. In Miami, his range and athleticism would allow him to flourish behind a very good defensive line. Mosley's ability to impact the game as a tackler, blitzer and coverage linebacker is exactly what the Dolphins lacked in 2013.
ESPN's Mel Kiper also agreed with the pick, sending Mosley to Miami in his most recent mock draft (subscription required).
I have been on the Mosley to Miami bandwagon for a few months now and have made the case for the Alabama linebacker joining the Dolphins on numerous occasions.
To put it simply, he is the best inside linebacker in the draft and would step in right away and be the anchor of the Miami defense.
Adding Mosley would not only give the Dolphins a major upgrade at middle linebacker, but it will also shift Dannell Ellerbe to the weak-side linebacker position and allow Philip Wheeler and Koa Misi to split time on the strong side.
With just one addition, Miami could turn what was the major weakness of its defense in 2013 into a strength next year.
Todd McShay, ESPN: Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia
Todd McShay put out his final mock draft (subscription required) and continued to show how high he is on Morgan Moses.
According to McShay:
The Dolphins should look for an opportunity to move up to get Zack Martin but if they stay here, I think Moses would make sense. I don't know that everyone is as high on Moses as I am, but it's hard to have a more glaring need at a position group than the Dolphins have at offensive line. They added some pieces in free agency, including Branden Albert, but they still have improving to do after 2013's franchise-high 58-sack campaign. Moses performed better at left tackle at Virginia than he did at right tackle, so that could make for an interesting situation with Albert slotted for the left side.
Considering where the Dolphins are picking, it seems very unlikely that they get one of the top ranked offensive linemen.
However, Moses would be a very good consolation prize, especially if the team can trade down and still grab him at a better value.
Aside from Greg Robinson, Jake Matthews and Taylor Lewan, Moses is the best pure tackle in the draft, and as I've previously argued, would be an excellent choice for Miami.
At 6'6" and 314 pounds, Moses is both strong enough to dominate the line of scrimmage and long and agile enough to shut down pass-rushers coming off the edge.
He has already shown that he can excel playing in the zone-blocking scheme that the Dolphins run and also is familiar playing for Miami offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, who was Virginia's offensive coordinator from 2010-2012.
Moses is an ideal fit for the Dolphins to bookend the offensive line opposite Branden Albert and could be counted on to protect Ryan Tannehill for the next decade.
Daniel Jeremiah, NFL.com: Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State
Shazier would be an interesting selection for Miami, as he is an explosive player that can come in and make a major impact.
The problem is that he's at his best on the outside and wouldn't be a perfect plug-and-play fit as the middle linebacker in the Dolphins' 4-3 defensive system.
With that said, Shazier is more than capable of developing and becoming a dominant player at whatever position the team decides to put him at.
He is very athletic and shows a great combination of agility, speed and raw power.
Shazier is truly the type of player that plays sideline to sideline and makes impact plays all over the field.
However, the inconsistencies in his game make him a boom-or-bust prospect, as he needs to improve in his ability to read and diagnose plays as well as do a better job of winning head-to-head battles with run-blockers.
In all likelihood, the Ohio State linebacker will be on the board for the Dolphins at No. 19.
In this case the decision may simply come down to whether or not Dennis Hickey believes that his coaches can maximize Shazier's enormous potential.
Dane Brugler, CBS: Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
Dane Brugler went with a surprising option for the Dolphins in his latest mock draft, predicting that the team will select Eric Ebron.
Brugler made his case for the North Carolina tight end:
Miami has some solid options at tight end, including Charles Clay who emerged last year as a reliable receiving threat. But no tight end on the Dolphins' roster can match the ability of Ebron and what he brings to the offense.
While there's no doubt that Ebron would be a major weapon for Ryan Tannehill and the Dolphins offense, he just doesn't appear to be a realistic possibility.
There is a long list of teams ahead of the Dolphins that have expressed interest in Ebron and it seems unlikely that he lasts all the way to the 19th pick.
However, even if he is available, it also doesn't mean the Dolphins are definitely going to draft him.
Among Miami's most pressing needs, tight end is very far down on the list thanks to Charles Clay's breakout season in 2013.
While it would never hurt to add a 6'4", 250-pound walking mismatch to your team, the Dolphins may wait until the second or third round to add an offensive weapon.
Peter King, SI.com: Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama
If I was to think of my worst-case scenario for the Dolphins in the first round, it would look an awful lot like Peter King's mock draft.
With C.J. Mosley, Ryan Shazier and Morgan Moses all still on the board, King predicted the Dolphins to instead reach on Alabama offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio.
King argues that the offensive line need is just too great for the Dolphins to pass up in the first round:
Not the tackle the Dolphins wanted, but at this point, beggars can’t be choosers. The Dolphins’ need is so big that new GM Dennis Hickey just had to do this. I expect Hickey to try to move up for Zack Martin, but I also expect he’ll find the price way too high.
Put simply, Kouandjio would be a horrible pick for the Dolphins.
For starters, he has a number of red flags, most notably the medical concerns on his surgically repaired knee that caused him to fail a number of team physicals at the scouting combine.
An even bigger problem is that Kouandjio is a terrible fit for the Dolphins' zone-blocking scheme. He is too slow to get out and set the edge and struggles to get to the second-level.
If Dennis Hickey pulls the trigger on Kouandjio in the first round, he may be looking at a very short stint as the general manager of the Dolphins.
Shaun King, Yahoo: Zack Martin, OL, Notre Dame
For Shaun King's mock draft, he went with the player that was pegged as the Dolphins' selection by most analysts months ago.
While the consensus now seems to be that Martin won't be available for the Dolphins at No. 19, King predicts that he will be on the board and sees him as a necessity for Miami:
If you want a true evaluation on your young QB, you have to protect him in the pocket. Martin plays the game well and is versatile which helps a line that has a few holes.
Martin is capable of playing four different positions on the offensive line, although he has the body type that should excel at the guard position.
He has also proved to be a tremendous leader over his time at Notre Dame and would be a welcomed addition to the Dolphins locker room.
Drafting Martin isn't a sexy pick, but it will certainly fill a major need for Miami and give the team a very solid player that can be counted on consistently every week.
Trading up for him would be a mistake, but the Dolphins can do much worse than Martin if he's still on the board when they make their selection.
My Pick: C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama
There are a number of different directions the Dolphins can choose to go in with the 19th selection in the first round.
The best-case scenario would be trading to the back end of the first round and stocking up on extra picks in the later rounds.
However, it takes two to tango, so if the Dolphins can't find another team willing to move up to No. 19, then they have no choice but to take the best player available.
Who that player will be depends on the 18 teams ahead of Miami, but after months of scouting, there isn't a better option for the Dolphins in the first round than Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley.
Mosley has all the tools needed to be a dominant middle linebacker for years to come and is skilled enough to step in on Day 1 and carry the load on defense.
There's no question that the Dolphins need to address the offensive line early on, but there is also no other player that will make the type of immediate impact that Mosley can.
As I've been saying for quite some time, providing he is still available when Miami make their pick, Mosley will surely be walking up to shake Roger Goodell's hand with a Dolphins cap on his head and an aqua jersey in his hand.