As the 2011 NFL combine is currently under way and the NFL draft is right around the corner, what exactly should the Miami Dolphins do with their No. 15 overall selection?
The Dolphins face many needs that they could potentially answer in this year’s draft.
The need for a better offensive line to create an improved running game is something Jeff Ireland and the Dolphins need to address this year, and the draft could be the perfect place to do this.
Here are a few scenarios the Miami Dolphins could create involving their No. 15 pick in this year’s NFL draft.
This proposal has been a thought of Dolphin fans for a while now and has been met with adamant optimism, but also extreme denial that Ingram can help this team in 2011.
Ingram is the type of running back that many teams will never have the opportunity of knowing.
Ingram is a character guy, something the Dolphins should covet. He is the epitome of a great teammate that is driven and a proven workhorse. He’s a tough back that is a great pass catcher and an even better runner, all the while possessing the work ethic that is superior to any other player around the league.
Besides being the total package, Ingram is a sturdy, hard-nosed power back that uses his big body to reach the goal line and strike that pose.
If Miami were smart, Ingram would be a great selection not just because he is a great clubhouse guy, but also because he brings the intensity to the running back position that the Dolphins would lose when and if Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams depart.
As rumors swirl that the Bears will eventually cut ties with backup running back Chester Taylor, he should be on the Miami Dolphins' radar.
He would come as a cheap one-two punch teaming up with newly drafted Mark Ingram, and when given the opportunity to prove he still has game, Taylor usually steps up in the clutch.
Adding Taylor would rely solely on if the Dolphins selected Ingram with the No. 15 pick, and if both players were on the Dolphins in 2011, we would see a newer version of last year’s Ronnie and Ricky.
The best running back duos in the league have one pure speed back and one power back to get you across that goal line.
By drafting Ingram, the power back is taken care of, and assuming Ronnie Brown is no longer in Miami come opening day, the Dolphins are in need of a speedy back.
The Carolina Panthers recently placed the franchise tag on center Ryan Kalil but not on running back DeAngelo Williams. This seemingly will make him a free agent.
A free agent the Dolphins should target.
The thought of both Ingram and Williams in the backfield would make our running game one of the best in the league and would clear up any issues involving Miami’s running attack.
In order for any of this to happen, however, Miami’s O-line needs to be tweaked tremendously to offer more protection for these two hypothetical new Dolphin running backs.
As San Diego’s franchise player in 2010, Darren Sproles has likely played his last game for the Chargers.
Struggling at times last season, Sproles managed to only touch the ball 109 times, but that should in no way hinder Miami’s pursuit of the speedy Sproles.
Much like with DeAngelo Williams, Sproles teamed up with the newly drafted Ingram would create a one-two punch unmatched by any other team.
Sproles’ speed and Ingram’s toughness would play well in Miami, not to mention Sproles’ ability to play back with Nolan Carroll in the return game would give Miami even more incentive to take at look at him.
Sproles’ versatility is hard to come by, and for that the Dolphins need to take a serious look at acquiring his services.
While Ingram plus another speedy back would be a great option in Miami, their most logical plan of action regarding their No. 15 pick would be to trade down.
The 2011 draft won’t yield many superstar QBs, RBs and WRs, which many teams try to acquire in the first round, so trading down for a second-round pick or a couple lower picks would prove very beneficial for Miami.
The offensive line was a huge issue for the Dolphins in 2011, and while the idea of drafting Mark Ingram with No. 15 is nice to think about, without a solid O-line, Ingram will be spending plenty of time on the IR.
Trading down seems like the best option for the Dolphins at this point.
Trading down to the Seahawks’ No. 25 pick or the Falcons’ No. 27 pick would prove favorable for all teams involved.
By trading down, this gives the Dolphins a better shot to revamp their O-line, most notably by drafting Florida C/G Mike Pouncey.
Mike plays with similar attributes and determination as his Pro Bowl brother Maurkice, who was drafted in 2010 No. 18 overall by the Steelers.
Mel Kiper describes Mike Pouncey as “durable, smart and versatile along the interior. By far the best player at his position in this draft, he should pay immediate dividends for the [team] and be effective as both a run and pass-blocker.”
The Falcons at No. 27 would have some serious interest in Miami’s No.15 pick.
They could use No. 15 to draft a second receiver to team up with Roddy White and make Atlanta’s passing attack one of the best in the game.
A name like Julio Jones, who could still be on the board at No. 15, could be enough motivation for the Falcons to give up a second-rounder and a few more on top of that.
Either way, the Dolphins have options and leverage when talking about trading their No. 15 pick.
As April 28 inches closer, Miami has some serious thinking to do.
To draft Mark Ingram or not to draft Mark Ingram?
To trade down or not to trade down?
Those are some questions facing Dolphin executives this offseason, not to mention what to do with their own free agents and if there will even be any football in 2011.
In the end, the only thing we fans can do is sit back and watch it all play out as we give our own opinions and play GM for the day.