NFL Draft 2011: Miami Dolphins Should Take Wisconsin's Gabe Carimi at No. 15

Christopher HowlandCorrespondent IIIMarch 17, 2011

Despite reports from the Miami Herald stating that the Miami Dolphins will be using their 15th overall selection in the 2011 NFL Draft on a quarterback or running back, Wisconsin offensive tackle Gabe Carimi should be the logical choice at No. 15.

Odds that the two top quarterback prospects, Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert, will be available at 15 are slim to none.

Arkansas QB Ryan Mallett and Washington’s Jake Locker seem to fit the same mold Chad Henne was made from and the Dolphins aren’t looking to draft Henne 2.0 with their first draft pick.

Mark Ingram has been floated around as a viable candidate for Miami, but there are plenty of similar, proven backs that the Dolphins can target in free agency or through trades.

Gabe Carimi out of Wisconsin seems to be the most reasonable choice at this point if he slips right into the Dolphins hands at No. 15.

He is a talented guard that will be able to start immediately in the Dolphins' offensive scheme, and can eventually transition to right tackle in a few years, lining up opposite of franchise stud Jake Long.

Listed at 6’7”, 327 lbs., Carimi is a durable guard that started all 13 games for Wisconsin in 2010 on his way to winning the Outland Trophy for the nation’s best interior lineman, a consensus All-American and the Big 10 Offensive Lineman of the Year.

Not bad for a big man expected to go in the first round of the draft.

One of the biggest areas of need for the Dolphins heading into the (hopefully) 2011 season is to shore up their offensive line.

Long is as solid as they come, but he enters 2011 with a nagging shoulder injury that he played through in 2010.

Right tackle Vernon Carey, who is due over $4 million in 2011, is rehabbing from a knee injury that has taken away some of his explosiveness and mobility.

If both are healthy, they can combine to be one of the best tackle combos in the NFL, but it’s the interior of the line that raises the most questions and they can all be answered by Carimi.

Nate Garner, John Jerry and newly re-signed Richie Incognito expect to break camp as the starters, but each have failed to produce much of a line surge that will be essential for Miami’s running game.

The addition of Carimi could spell the end for either Garner or Jerry, but obviously, it’s too soon to assume that.

Carimi displays excellent size that is vital in the run game. He demonstrates a natural ability to explode after the snap and has a good, quick first step off the line of scrimmage.

He is an intelligent player that works hard at understanding the game and would be a great fit to team up with Long to tighten up the Dolphins' front five.

Before the Dolphins can even think about drafting or acquiring a new running back or quarterback, the protection needs to be there and Gabe Carimi would surely be a franchise-changing pick if selected by the Miami Dolphins at No. 15.