Stock Up, Stock Down for Miami Dolphins Top Draft Targets
In 24 hours our long wait will come to an end as the 2014 NFL Draft will finally begin.
It's been an interesting five months of twists, turns, loop-de-loops and end-arounds this draft season, as much for the Miami Dolphins as it has been for other teams. The top targets for the Dolphins seem to change every other hour with speculation as to how they will fit.
Also seeming to change: the perception of what the Dolphins' biggest need in the draft really is.
Is it offensive line (which everyone figured would be the top priority in January), inside linebacker (the defense's version of the offensive line), or wide receiver (not a big need until you notice that the unit is comprised of Mike Wallace and a group of guys recovering from serious knee injuries)?
The biggest need isn't always taken in Round 1, and because of that, the Dolphins have different options with the 19th pick in the first round. Here's the latest draft stock report for the Miami Dolphins in Round 1.
Stock Down: The Thought of Miami Drafting a Quarterback
Over the weekend, Sun-Sentinel Dolphins beat writer Omar Kelly infamously selected Blake Bortles in a beat writer mock draft.
The pick was met with criticism from Dolphins fans for good reason: the Dolphins would be foolish to select a quarterback in Round 1 when they have so many immediate needs.
Kelly did explain that he thought he could fit such needs later; however, this doesn't make the pick any better.
I'm not a big Blake Bortles fan, he wouldn't challenge Ryan Tannehill for the starting job until at least 2015, and he is way too raw for my liking to go in Round 1; however, if Bortles is available at 19, Miami has to trade down and stockpile as many draft picks as possible.
Stock Up: C.J. Mosley
The scary part: Buffalo picks ninth in the draft, and Baltimore picks 17th.
The Dolphins might miss out on one of their main targets, but that could be said about just about any pick.
The problem here is the fact that the inside linebacker position is not very deep in this year's draft. After Mosley, the best ILB in the draft is Wisconsin's Chris Borland, a good third-round pick who will likely go in the second round.
Compare that to offensive linemen, which the Dolphins will be able to find in the second and third round.
Miami might have to instead draft a new weak-side linebacker instead and switch Koa Misi and Dannell Ellerbe if they can't find a capable inside linebacker this weekend.
Stock Up: Ryan Shazier
On second thought, I'd draft Ryan Shazier over C.J. Mosley and move Koa Misi to the middle.
Shazier's tape has always impressed me, as he's a playmaker that has a nose for the ball. I like linebackers to be one thing: disruptive. Shazier fits that mold.
The Dolphins might see this, as Shazier worked out with Miami on Monday, per Armando Salguero of The Miami Herald.
Also something to note: Shazier's father is the Dolphins team chaplain. If he's drafted by Miami, expect to hear this fact repeated throughout the draft and well into the season.
Stock Down: Taylor Lewan
There are so many teams that need an offensive lineman in this year's draft that if Michigan's Taylor Lewan falls to the Dolphins at 19, I'd consider his stock down.
In fact, one of the many teams in need of an offensive linemen are the New York Giants. The Giants typically look for clean players, which according to Jordan Raanan of NJ.com, means Lewan is out of the picture.
Raanan described this possibility by saying:
There is no pick more important than the first pick. That is when a team has the best chance of hitting on a prospect. In order to increase the odds of a successful selection even more, Reese and the Giants look for "the cleanest guy possible." They try to limit the risk as much as possible. With that, you can likely eliminate Michigan offensive tackle Taylor Lewan from consideration completely at No. 12 overall. He comes with off-the-field question marks. The players with "warts" are for the later rounds in the Giants' eyes.
There are worse teams to follow in strategy than the New York Football Giants. Despite the need for the Dolphins, if the Giants are willing to pass on Lewan, it might be a good idea for the Dolphins to do the same.
Stock Up: Zack Martin
He's the player that throughout draft season has been consistently tabbed as going to the Miami Dolphins.
He has a great skill set, and in addition to being able to play right tackle, he can move to left tackle in a few years, or move inside and play guard.
He's also not going to be on the board when the Dolphins pick.
I'm talking about Zack Martin of course, and based off of what I see, I can't see him being a Miami Dolphin.
Too many teams need offensive linemen, and because of this, I expect Martin to go somewhere between picks 12 and 17 (the Giants and Ravens).
Add in Taylor Lewan's red flags, and the question shouldn't be if the Dolphins will select Martin, but if they will have to trade up for him.
In all honesty, they shouldn't trade up for a tackle. They're better off waiting until the second or third round to address that position.
They love Martin, but I don't love him enough to trade up for him.