It is safe to say the Miami Dolphins have quite a few holes to fill during the offseason. With uncertainty surrounding the NFL's collective bargaining agreement, the draft could be the only sure-fire way for teams to bolster their rosters.
Miami is in a tough spot. It holds only two picks within the first three rounds. Its second-round pick this year is in the hand of the Denver Broncos. That pick was one of the two second-round picks Miami sent to Denver in return for Brandon Marshall.
Miami will need a solid draft if it wants to take a step forward next season.
As of now, Miami holds the 15th pick in the first round. Since the NFL combine has yet to take place, it is truly unknown how high or low some players' stocks will fall.
Miami's highest priority is quarterback. There is doubt surrounding every quarterback prospect in this year's draft, but the two that seem to be getting the most praise are Cam Newton from Auburn and Blaine Gabbert from Missouri.
Sitting where Miami is in the middle of the first round, both of these quarterbacks could be gone by the time Miami has the chance to pick. If that were the case, Miami's best bet would be to trade down with another team in order to reacquire a second-round pick.
An interesting scenario would be Miami trading down with Denver, which has two picks in the second round.
Denver, holding the fourth and 15th picks in the second round, would give Miami some good value trading down. Depending on Denver's willingness to trade, Miami could get another pick along with the two in the second round.
This link will show you the value of each draft pick.
This isn't Miami's actual selection, but in this scenario, this is the pick Miami has acquired from trading down.
With Leshoure's stock rising, he may not make it to the second round. Leshoure is my highest rated running back, but Mark Ingram will still likely be picked before him.
Leshoure has seen the majority of his playing time over the past two seasons, carrying the ball 389 times for 2,431 yards and 22 touchdowns. This past season, he rushed for 1,697 yards and 17 touchdowns.
For his college career, Leshoure has averaged six yards per carry.
Standing at 6'1", 230 pounds, his combination of speed, shiftiness and power gives him extreme potential.
The knocks on Leshoure are that he stands too upright while running and that he lacks decisiveness when he initially gets the ball.
Coming out of college, Adrian Peterson was also labeled as a back that ran too high. With proper film evaluation, Leshoure will also have the ability to address his issue with vision.
Hankerson's stock has been rising ever since the college football season ended. He had a great showing during Senior Bowl practices and during the game itself.
He caught five passes for 100 yards and a touchdown during the Senior Bowl, showing quick chemistry with quarterback Christian Ponder.
Another plus for Hankerson is his size—6'1", 205 pounds. He also has good speed and big hands, which give him the ability to easily snatch passes out of the air.
This move makes sense for Miami because it will give them a guy who can come in and play right away, and it will also allow for competition between any of the receivers below Brandon Marshall.
Ponder is an interesting prospect. He grades out very well for some and poorly for others. Some see him as a born leader, while others see him as inconsistent.
Ponder has one key ingredient that a lot of quarterbacks in this draft lack, and that is intelligence. Not to knock any of the other prospects, but Ponder is one of the best at truly understanding the game, inside and out.
You may ask yourself, "Why isn't Ponder a first-round prospect if he has these key ingredients?" The easy answer would be that he never quite put all of it together in college.
Ponder was either getting on a roll just to get injured, or he was fighting his way back from an injury. He had the habit of trying to do too much, which sometimes resulted in injury.
He also has some issues with his throwing arm, which are cause for concern. If Ponder exhibits that he still has good arm strength, he will be a starter in the NFL someday. If he doesn't, he will be fighting for a roster spot no matter where he ends up.
Tim Barnes is another guy that will be able to compete for a starting role right away. Barnes is the type of player that the Dolphins love. For a center, he is a tenacious blocker.
He will have no problem matching up physically with NFL defenders, but he could have an issue with the speed and power combination of many NFL defensive tackles.
He is another guy that shows great personality, which means that he will be able to transition well into an NFL locker room. As a leader for Missouri, he took many players under his wing and helped them feel at home. As he makes his transition into the NFL, there is no doubt that he will quickly exhibit his qualities as a great leader.
If Barnes does impress, don't be surprised to see him snag the starting spot from Joe Berger, who struggled at times last season.
Casey Matthews is another interesting prospect. He would be seen by many as too small for a 3-4 scheme, but you can't help but notice his motor when he is on the field.
If you look to the past, can you remember another linebacker that Miami drafted who was considered too small and too slow to make it in the NFL? Here's a hint: He wore No. 54 during his career with Miami.
I would compare Zach Thomas to Casey Matthews. Not to say that Matthews will have the career that Thomas did; it is simply the fact that Matthews is facing similar sentiments to Thomas coming into the NFL.
Casey's brother, Clay Matthews, also makes quite an impact in the NFL, so the bloodlines are there for NFL greatness.
Both Casey and Clay have awesome hair as well.
Schuylar Oordt may have the coolest name in the draft. That isn't why he will be a steal in the later rounds of the draft though.
Coming from a small school (Northern Iowa), he has been able to fly under the radar during his collegiate career.
Though he hasn't put up huge numbers, the potential he has is through the roof. In his four years at Northern Iowa, he caught 66 passes for over 1,200 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Given Miami's past success running double tight end formations, Oordt could be very suitable in an offense with Anthony Fasano, Brandon Marshall and Davone Bess.
Dejon Gomes is exactly what the Dolphins organization looks for in a late-round player. He has proved that he can force turnovers, and he has spent the past two seasons at a big-time football school in Nebraska.
Gomes is also a senior, which shows that he has maturity. He was an Honorable Mention for the All-Big 12 team this season.
Given Yeremiah Bell's age, Miami needs to have a player in waiting in case age catches up with him. With Reshad Jones making an impact in limited playing time last season and the selection of Gomes, Miami will have a very talented, young secondary.
Gomes will also be relied on as a special teams player, which was a big problem area last year for Miami.
The author of this video apparently didn't like Texas very much (if you watch the whole thing you will see why). But if you want to skip ahead, watch at 1:02 until you see Gomes disrupt a play in the backfield, and again at the 2:58 mark to see another spectacular play by the senior strong safety.
There are many things that can be said about Bryant Browning. He started on Ohio State's offensive line for three seasons while receiving an Honorable Mention for the All-Big Ten team in 2009.
He was also a finalist for the Campbell Trophy in 2010, which, in layman's terms, is the academic Heisman.
Browning exhibits strong run blocking skills, while he is also versatile enough to play either guard or tackle.
He was one of six captains during 2010 for Ohio State.
Overall, Browning is a guy that shows great character, and he will be a great locker room presence anywhere he goes.