2010 NFL Draft: Miami Dolphins Team Needs
Miami wasn't able to earn back-to-back playoff appearances, but where they are now, compared to where they were in 2007 is simply amazing.
Bill Parcells and Tony Sparano run a tight ship, and they're doing things the right way. However, losing veteran guys like Jason Taylor and Joey Porter could see them taking a hit in leadership and overall intensity on defense, so they need to make some adjustments.
The Dolphins' brass has finally backed Chad Henne as the starter, as well, which could mean that the team will finally actually try to surround him with elite weapons at receiver and tight end, and possibly even running back.
Ted Ginn Jr. hasn't panned out, Anthony Fasano isn't an elite tight end, and both Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams are either aging or carry injury concerns.
The Dolphins aren't far away at all from taking their division again, and depending on how Henne and the offense can progress, they might not be as far away from Super Bowl aspirations than people think.
Biggest Needs: WR, TE, RB, OL
The fact that Chad Henne has taken control and looks like the quarterback Miami thought he could be, means they suddenly can dangle Tyler Thigpen, who several teams see some potential in.
They could also start to think about moving on from the oft-injured Ronnie Brown, who has teased and killed many-a-fantasy season over the years, and forced an aging Ricky Williams to carry a full load during the stretch run in 2009.
So, clearly there is a need for some fresh legs at running back. However, until we hear some concrete information on how Miami feels about their two stud backs, there's no reason to get worried about it. After all, they both are absolute studs when healthy, and unless they go down again, Miami has no real concerns for the time being.
With that said, it's looking more and more possible that Miami will either trade for a big-name receiver, or spend a first or second-round pick on an elite receiver.
Ted Ginn Jr. has had his chance, and while he could still develop, it's looking very unlikely that he becomes a true number one receiver.
Miami has to be looking at Dez Bryant, Arrellious Benn, and Brandon LaFell (among others), as these three guys look to fulfill the need of a big, strong target that can get down the field and make some plays.
Davone Bess is more of a possession receiver (and is a free agent), while Brian Hartline and Ginn would have to battle for slot duties.
I still don't buy Parcells going against his history and drafting a receiver in the first-round, but considering they can see how badly they need an elite receiver, he may change his tune if a guy like Bryant falls in his lap.
After receiver, tight end looks to be the other area where they're "okay" at, but could really stand to improve. Anthony Fasano is a decent tight end with good blocking and red-zone skills, but it's beginning to look like he's reached his full potential, and he's more of a two tight end-set kind of guy.
The Dolphins want to get more explosive in the passing game, and grabbing a guy like Florida's Aaron Hernandez could really give them two solid tight ends who are masters of their specific skill-set.
After receiver and tight end, Miami may want to target a new back-up quarterback, add depth to their offensive line, and as stated before, add a young running back to the mix.
Dexter McCluster could be a real dark-horse in this area, as Miami loves the Wild Cat, and this guy would bring so much speed, play-making, and versatility to their offense.
Biggest Needs: OLB, DT, ILB, S
Miami has survived the past two season with fairly unknown defensive players stepping up, and lived through some growing pains with two rookie corners starting most of 2009.
They have solid depth in their secondary after good growth at corner, and are also getting some guys back that missed time to injury last year. A mild concern there could be at safety, where Miami might want to look for an upgrade.
However, their biggest concern is going to be making sure they don't have a dramatic drop-off in putting pressure on the quarterback, while they also could use another run-stuffer.
Joey Porter is almost certainly gone, while Jason Taylor also looks likely to continue his career playing elsewhere.
Look for the Dolphins' first defensive pick to be between a big defensive tackle, or an elite pass-rusher that can make things happen around the outside. In fact, they honestly could go after two outside linebackers in the first 3-4 rounds, as they have some holes to fill.
With the 12th pick, there has been a lot of talk that the Dolphins love Jason Pierre-Paul. He went to a small school and wasn't overly productive, but his athleticism and potential is off the charts.
If Miami thinks he can be an effective OLB at the next level, he could easily be their first selection.
However, he's been climbing up draft boards at a rapid pace, and a good Combine could only make him go higher. If for some reason he's not available, Miami could easily go after Sergio Kindle, one of the best outside linebackers in the draft.
Other options with the first pick are Brian Price, and maybe even Taylor Mays out of USC.
Miami isn't far from putting it all together, and could really be an elite receiver and some depth away from putting a complete offensive package on the field. The most interesting part about that is that Miami is already a solid offensive team.
For defense, they just need to get some pass-rushers and beef up their line. Considering Bill Parcells and Tony Sparano have turned a 1-15 scrub squad into a competitive team in back-to-back teams, we're going to go ahead and trust their instincts.
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