Following the prediction that Miami will use their first round pick on Sergio Kindle, second-rounder on Arrelious Benn, and third round pick on Major Wright, it is now time to explore the possibilities that the Dolphins have when making their late round draft choices.
Miami will be hoping for an extra pick somewhere in the draft from the Justin Smiley trade, and that will likely be in the fourth round. However, as of yet there has been very little development on the subject of his trade, so one must assume that Miami could still have just one fourth round pick.
The Dolphins traded away their fifth round pick to sign Tyler Thigpen last year, but do have two extra picks in the sixth round. Kansas City traded their sixth round pick to Miami for Andy Alleman and Ikechuku Ndukwe, and Washington gave the 174th pick of the draft to Miami when they traded for Jason Taylor.
Miami also has two extra seventh round picks, courtesy of Kansas City's trading for Miami's seventh round pick in last year's draft, and a compensatory pick.
So, how will Miami approach the later rounds if they have already drafted an outside linebacker, wide receiver, and free safety?
Fourth Round - 110th Pick
Miami still needs a nose tackle, and here is where they will draft one. Unfortunately, Linval Joseph's stock is rising fast. He would be a prime candidate for Miami's selection in the fourth round, but some believe he will now be drafted as early as the second round.
With Cam Thomas and Torrell Troup also likely off the board, Miami might have to look towards a project at nose tackle. After all, Jason Ferguson is seen as a leader in Miami, and when he returns following his eight game suspension, he may well slot right back in as starting nose tackle.
Two names now stand out for Miami should the aforementioned players have already found homes: Arthur Jones from Syracuse, and Jeff Owens from Georgia.
Jones performed exceptionally in his first year, and posted 30 bench reps on his pro day despite coming off a pectoral injury. He was even listed as the second defensive tackle in the 2009 draft, but did not enter due to a knee injury, and his draft stock has fallen ever since.
He has suffered a couple of injuries, and this will prevent him from breaking into the first two rounds, though he could be selected late in the third.
He has strong hands and is good against the pass and rush, despite recording very few sacks (often due to double teams and lack of speed). Miami would also be impressed with his positive attitude and excellent leadership skills.
Jeff Owens will definitely still be on the board when Miami picks here. He possesses the same impressive leadership skills as Jones, and similarly has excellent strength, once benching an incredible 535 pounds.
However, Owens does not possess the same agility as Jones, and struggles to redirect against the run. He is an excellent tackler when he gets his hands on the ball carrier though, and is rarely evaded once he reaches his man.
Despite this, he can be inconsistent when rushing the passer, and is regarded by many to be a two-down player. These concerns will most likely mean that Arthur Jones gets the Dolphins' vote and is chosen to solve the nose tackle issue.
Jones can learn from Ferguson, and also rotate in the position with Paul Solai, giving him valuable playing time before Ferguson returns from his suspension. Miami will hope he stays clear from injuries, but if he manages this, then he could be an excellent pickup for Miami.
Fourth Round Pick - Arthur Jones, DT, Syracuse
No Fifth Round Picks
Sixth Round - 173rd, 174th, and 179th Picks
Here Miami can address their remaining needs, and will most likely consider running backs, inside linebackers, guards, and tight ends. However, with six picks in the final two rounds, they have plenty of options.
Bill Parcells is also known to be interested in Mike Williams. The wide receiver from Syracuse quit the team in the middle of last year and has been red flagged by a number of teams due to character issues. However, he was invited to visit Miami, and Parcells is a big fan of his.
With the Dolphins' ready to offload Ted Ginn, perhaps looking at another receiver would be a wise move, and Williams would offer a big reward for a very small price if Miami can keep him under control and he performs to the best of his ability.
Another area to address is running back. Ronnie Brown is reportedly on the trading block, and Ricky Williams is close to retirement. Miami must keep Brown. Trading him is absurd. Then they can focus on a backup for him.
Another player who's stock has fallen due to character concerns is LaGarrette Blount. He is perhaps most famous for punching an opposing player in the face, and being punished with a lengthy suspension. However, he has since become a father, and is desperate to shake off the image that he inherited with that punch.
Blount had an strong pro day and showcased his abilities well. He is not the fastest, posting just a 4.7 40-yard dash at the Combine, but his strength and ability to bulldoze opponents would appeal to the Dolphins' back room.
If Miami is happy to take somebody with character concerns, then LaMarcus Coker is another option. He was dismissed from college in Tennessee for failing multiple drugs test, although he is now clean.
He ran a 4.39 at the Combine, and rushed for over 1,000 yards last season to highlight his credentials. However, Coker didn't even show up for Hampton's Pro Day, and concerns about his character have resurfaced.
While Blount and Coker have both made stupid mistakes in the past, the former has tried to shake off his bad image while Coker is still showing the unreliability that some suggest will lead to him to becoming an undrafted free agent.
Miami also hopes to pick up an inside linebacker in the draft, and the sixth round offers two prospective candidates.
Pat Angerer from Iowa offers top leadership and a great work rate. Although he struggled with injuries at college, his natural ability is plain to see. Adept at dropping into coverage, he has great hands and will make interceptions. Despite being undersized at just six foot tall, he is solid in the tackle, and reads plays well.
However, Angerer needs the defensive line to tie up blockers for him to be really effective, as he often struggles to beat blockers.
Travis Goethel is another option, and Miami has already sent scouts to watch him play. He is not the quickest, but reads the game well to compensate. He also has good hands, good size at 6'3'' and 240 lbs, and is a strong tackler.
His lack of speed is the only real issue, but he will win coaches over with his blue-collar approach and durability. Expect Parcells and Sparano to be tracking Goethel closely.
Sixth Round Pick - Mike Williams, WR, Syracuse
Sixth Round Pick - LaGarrette Blount, RB, Oregon
Sixth Round Pick - Travis Goethel, ILB, Arizona State
Seventh Round - 212th, 219th, and 252nd Picks
Miami can use their final three picks to address issues at guard and tight end, with one left for the best player on the board.
At guard, Charlie Tanner is a good option. His stock has been rising following an impressive pro day, and he is capable of playing center as well. His vertical leap, broad leap, and short shuffle at the pro day were good enough to put him in the top 10 offensive lineman from the Combine.
His vertical jump was actually better than Trent Williams, while his short shuttle was the best of all linemen at the combine. Tanner started 10 of 11 games in his final year at left guard, so his versatility would benefit Miami in an area of need. Part of a very solid Texas Longhorns' offensive line, Tanner would be well worth a seventh round pick if he is on the board when Miami selects.
At tight end, there is one late round prospect who stands out.
Jeff Cumberland from Illinois ran a 4.46 in his 40-yard dash at his pro day and combined this with impressive performances in the vertical leap and bench press.
Cumberland also played wide receiver in college, and is capable of playing either there or at tight end in the NFL. However, his hands let him down, and he tends to drop catchable passes.
Despite this, his speed and size (6'4'', 249 lbs) are an attraction, and if he works on his hands he could become a big threat in any offense. Secondly, his versatility could benefit Miami at a time they are in need of some top wide receivers. Also, his size could help Miami in the running game, as he is a solid blocker too.
With a quick tight end to go to, Miami would have one more weapon through the air. A late round pick on Cumberland could pay dividends in Miami.
Finally, Miami should draft a quarterback. Obviously this is not a position of need. They have four currently on the roster. However, while Henne is the starter, questions remain over all the others on the depth chart.
Pennington is coming off another injury, and is coming to the end of his career, Pat White has not done anything to suggest he is actually an NFL-calibre quarterback, and Tyler Thigpen is a candidate for a trade to help Miami bring in more draft picks.
Also, Mike Kafka from Northwestern could become a top quarterback in the NFL, and using a seventh round pick on him could turn out to be a bargain. Coaches and scouts have been impressed by his pre-draft workouts, and Kafka showed he is a mobile quarterback with great accuracy at his pro day.
Over the last two years, he has averaged a QB rating of over 130, throwing 18 touchdowns in the process. Kafka's impressive workouts have suggested he could be successful in the NFL, and with uncertainty surrounding Miami's current crop of backups, he would offer a very promising alternative.
Seventh Round Pick - Charlie Tanner, OG, Texas
Seventh Round Pick - Jeff Cumberland, TE, Illinois
Seventh Round Pick - Mike Kafka, QB, Northwestern
1st Round Prediction: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/377227-miami-dolphins-mock-draft-1st-round-pick
2nd and 3rd Round Predictions: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/377235-miami-dolphins-mock-draft-2nd-and-3rd-round-picks
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