2011 NFL Mock Draft: Miami Dolphins' Draft Take

Jake CoxCorrespondent IApril 16, 2011

2011 NFL Mock Draft: Miami Dolphins' Draft Take

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    MIAMI - OCTOBER 12:  Offensive lineman Jake Long #77 of the Miami Dolphins celebrates after a touchdown by Ronnie Brown #23 against the New York Jets at Land Shark Stadium on October 12, 2009 in Miami, Florida. The Dolphins defeated the Jets 31-27.  (Phot
    Doug Benc/Getty Images

    The Miami Dolphins didn’t have a good season last year, as they really struggled to score points on the offensive side of the football.  They finished 30th in the league in scoring last year, and that can be attributed to the struggles of Chad Henne at the quarterback position.  Look for the Dolphins to draft a lot of offensive players in the draft this season.

    Chad Henne was thought to be the starting quarterback of the present and future, but he really took a step backwards in 2010.  His long-term potential is now in doubt, and it’s entirely possible that they look for another solution in this offseason. 

    Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams are a solid duo at running back, but I don’t think that either of them will be back next season.  Even if one of them returns, the Dolphins will need to find a complement either in free agency or through the draft. 

    Brandon Marshall had a solid season, but it wasn’t really the impact that the Dolphins were expecting.  His lack of production could be attributed to the struggles of Henne, but he needs to have a better season in 2011.  The Dolphins lack a real No. 2 option, but the overall depth of this unit isn’t that bad.  Anthony Fasano had a good season by his standards last year, but the depth is an issue that needs to be looked at. 

    Jake Long is one of the best young tackles in the league, and he makes an excellent tackle pairing with Vernon Carey.  John Jerry struggled a bit at guard, but he will get every opportunity to start again next season.  Richie Incognito is solid, but it remains to be seen if he plays either guard or center next season.

    The defensive line is one of the strengths of the team, with both quality starters and depth.  Kendall Langford and Phillip Merling are very solid starters at defensive end.  Randy Starks and 2010 first-round pick Jared Odrick will provide excellent depth.  Paul Sollai had a very good season at nose tackle, but the depth behind him could be an issue. 

    The outside linebackers are very impressive, with Pro Bowler Cameron Wake leading the way.  Koa Misi played well as a rookie and he gives the Dolphins another nice pass rusher.  Channing Crowder and 2010 free-agent pickup Karlos Dansby are both very solid at middle linebacker.  This position seems set for the next few seasons. 

    The cornerbacks are solid with Vontae Davis and Sean Smith as the starters.  Benny Sapp and Nolan Carroll provide depth, but the Dolphins need to find a better option for the nickel position.  Yeremiah Bell is a solid strong safety, and Reshad Jones and Chris Clemons give the Dolphins two young options at the free safety position.  The starters on this defensive unit are all very solid.

2010 Draft Recap

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    ORCHARD PARK, NY - SEPTEMBER 12: Koa Misi #55 of the Miami Dolphins celebrates his sack on Trent Edwards #5 of the Buffalo Bills  during the NFL season opener at Ralph Wilson Stadium on September 12, 2010 in Orchard Park, New York. Miami won 15-10. (Photo
    Rick Stewart/Getty Images

    1. (28) DE Jared Odrick, Penn State

    Odrick suffered a season-ending injury in the first game of the season, but he’ll have a big impact on the defense in 2011. 

    1 GP/1 GS

    2. (40) OLB Koa Misi, Utah

    He is a solid pass rusher who creates a good pairing with Cameron Wake at outside linebacker. 

    16 GP/11 GS

    3. (73) OG John Jerry, Mississippi

    Jerry struggled a bit as a starter, but he should only improve with more experience. 

    12 GP/10 GS

    4. (119) OLB A.J. Edds, Iowa

    Edds missed the entire season due to injury, but he should be a big part of the rotation in 2011. 

    0 GP/0 GS

    5. (145) CB Nolan Carroll, Maryland

    Carroll didn’t make a big impact on defense, but he did a solid job on kickoff returns. 

    13 GP/1 GS

    5. (163) S Reshad Jones, Georgia

    He showed some potential, and he could challenge Chris Clemons for the starting safety spot next season. 

    13 GP/2 GS

    7. (212) OLB Chris McCoy, Middle Tennessee

    McCoy didn’t make the roster, and he finished up the season on the Texans practice squad. 

    0 GP/0 GS

    7. (252) ILB Austin Spitler, Ohio State

    He won’t make much of an impact on defense, but he’s a solid special teams contributor. 

    12 GP/0 GS

    Summary

    This draft didn’t make a big impact in year one, but they lost two of their top four picks for basically all of the season.  The first four picks should be starters for years to come, and Jones could even steal the starting safety spot.  All in all, it was a very solid draft for the Miami Dolphins.

    Grade: B

Team Need: Running Back

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    MIAMI - AUGUST 23: Running backs Ricky Williams #34 and Ronnie Brown #23 of the Miami Dolphins chat prior to a preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs on August 23, 2008 at Dolphin Stadium in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    Both Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams are free agents this offseason, and there is actually a good chance that neither of them will be back next season.  I’d say that there is almost no way that both of these guys are brought back, so this will be a position that the Dolphins will target early on in the draft.  Brown is the more likely of the two to be back, so they will need to find a solid complement for him this offseason.

    The Dolphins should have no problem finding a good running back in the early to mid rounds, as this is a very deep running back class.

Potential Running Back Targets

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    ORLANDO, FL - JANUARY 01:  Mark Ingram #22 of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates after rushing for a touchdown during the Capitol One Bowl against the Michigan State Spartans at the Florida Citrus Bowl on January 1, 2011 in Orlando, Florida.  (Photo by M
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Round 1

    Mark Ingram

    Round 3

    Kendall Hunter, DeMarco Murray, Dion Lewis, Shane Vereen

    Round 4

    Jordan Todman, Jacquizz Rodgers, Delone Carter, Bilal Powell, Derrick Locke

    Round 5

    Roy Helu Jr. Da’Rell Scott, Taiwan Jones, Stevan Ridley

    The Dolphins will be able to find a very solid running back, despite not having a second-round pick.  If the front office decides that they don’t want to bring either Ricky Williams or Ronnie Brown back, it’s a very strong possibility that the Dolphins will take Mark Ingram in Round 1.

Team Need: Quarterback

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 12:  Chad Henne #7 of the Miami Dolphins against the New York Jets at New Meadowlands Stadium on December 12, 2010 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    Chad Henne didn’t play well at all last season, and now there are serious doubts about him as the long-term option at quarterback.  The Dolphins now must decide if they want to move forward with him as the starter, or if they want to bring in some competition.  The Dolphins could bring in a veteran to compete with him, but they may decide that they want to develop a new franchise quarterback by drafting one in Round 1.

    The Dolphins will most likely have the choice of taking a quarterback in the first round, and they may decide that either Jake Locker or Ryan Mallett could be their new franchise quarterback.

Potential Quarterback Targets

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    NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 04:  Quarterback Ryan Mallett #15 of the Arkansas Razorbacks looks to pass against the Ohio State Buckeyes during the Allstate Sugar Bowl at the Louisiana Superdome on January 4, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Matthew
    Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

    Round 1

    Cam Newton, Blaine Gabbert, Ryan Mallett, Jake Locker

    Round 3

    Ricky Stanzi

    Round 5

    Nate Enderle, Pat Devlin

    Round 6

    Scott Tolzien, Greg McElroy

    The Dolphins won’t have the chance to choose between all four of the first-round quarterbacks, but they will most likely have the chance to take one or two of them.  They could even wait until Round 3, where I think that Stanzi has the potential to develop into a starter in a year or two.

Team Need: Center

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    OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 28:  Chad Henne #7 and Joe Berger #67 of the Miami Dolphins in action against the Oakland Raiders at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on November 28, 2010 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    The Dolphins ended this season with Richie Incognito as the starting center, but he is better suited to play at the guard position.  Jon Berger isn’t starting material, and the Dolphins really need to find an upgrade for him this season.  They did re-sign Incognito, so it remains to be seen where they plan on starting him next season.

    This won’t be a high priority, but the Dolphins may actually be better suited to finding an upgrade in free agency as opposed to the draft.

Potential Center Targets

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    TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 1:  Guard Stefan Wisniewski #61 of the Penn State Nittany Lions leaves the field after play against the Florida Gators January 1, 2010 in the 25th Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Get
    Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    Round 3

    Stefan Wisniewski

    Round 4

    Alex Linnenkohl

    Round 5

    Brandon Fusco, Jake Kirkpatrick, Kris O’Dowd

    The Dolphins may look to bring in a guy like O’Dowd or Fusco to compete with Berger for the starting spot.  This is a weak center class, so the Dolphins could probably find a better upgrade in free agency.

Team Need: Tight End

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 12: Anthony Fasano #80 of the Miami Dolphins pulls in a pass against the New York Jets at New Meadowlands Stadium on December 12, 2010 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    Anthony Fasano had one of the best seasons of his career last year, and he should be around for the next few years.  However, I’m not really sold on him as the starting tight end, as the Dolphins could find a better starting option in the draft.  The Dolphins need to find a more athletic tight end who can really stretch the field.

    I think it would be a good idea for the Dolphins to take an athletic tight end later on in the draft to complement Fasano.

Potential Tight End Targets

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    MADISON, WI - SEPTEMBER 18: Lance Kendricks #84 of the Wisconsin Badgers catches a pass against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Camp Randall Stadium on September 18, 2010 in Madison, Wisconsin. Wisconsin defeated Arizona State 20-19. (Photo by Jonathan Da
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Round 3

    Lance Kendricks, D.J. Williams

    Round 4

    Luke Stocker, Virgil Green, Charles Clay

    Round 5

    Julius Thomas, Rob Housler

    Round 6

    Jordan Cameron, Lee Smith

    The best option for the Dolphins would be to draft an athletic guy like Green or Thomas in Round 4 or Round 5.  They are guys who are a little raw, but they can really stretch the field and they can be really good players in time.

Team Need: Wide Receiver

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    MIAMI - DECEMBER 19:  Receiver Brandon Marshall #19 of the Miami Dolphins reacts against the Buffalo Bills at Sun Life Stadium on December 19, 2010 in Miami, Florida. The Bills defeated the Dolphins 17-14.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    Brandon Marshall had somewhat of a down season, but he gives the Dolphins a legitimate No. 1 target for the foreseeable future.  Davone Bess is a nice option in the slot, but the Dolphins need to find a No. 2 option to pair with Marshall.  Brian Hartline showed some potential last season, but I really think that he’s better suited to being a backup rather than a starter.

    The Dolphins can find a potential No. 2 option in this draft, but not having a second-round pick could hurt their chances of finding one.

Potential Wide Receiver Targets

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    LINCOLN, NE - NOVEMBER 13: Niles Paul #24 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers finishes off a reception against the Kansas Jayhawks during their game at Memorial Stadium on November 13, 2010 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Nebraska Defeated Kansas 20-3. (Photo by Eric Franc
    Eric Francis/Getty Images

    Round 3

    Niles Paul, Greg Salas, Vincent Brown, Edmund Gates, Randall Cobb

    Round 4

    Jeremy Kerley, Austin Pettis, Cecil Shorts

    Round 5

    Ronald Johnson, Terrance Tolliver, DeAndre Brown

    As I said earlier, the Dolphins can find a potential No. 2 option in either Round 3 or Round 4.  I like the potential of guys like Paul and Salas, who I think can develop into solid No. 2 receivers in a year or so.

Other Possible Needs

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    MIAMI - DECEMBER 06:  Cornerback Vontae Davis #21 of the Miami Dolphins intercepts a pass in the end-zone in front of wide receiver Randy Moss #81 of the New England Patriots at Land Shark Stadium on December 6, 2009 in Miami, Florida. The Dolphins defeat
    Doug Benc/Getty Images

    Offensive Guard

    Richie Incognito was re-signed, but they may have him start at center, which would leave a sizable hole at the guard position.

    Cornerback

    The Dolphins may want to look for a new nickel cornerback to compete with the likes of Nolan Carroll and Benny Sapp.

    Nose Tackle

    Paul Solai had a good season last year, and he is entrenched as the starter but the Dolphins have no depth behind him.

Team Draft Strategy

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    MIAMI - 2009:  Jeff Ireland of the Miami Dolphins poses for his 2009 NFL headshot at photo day in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by NFL Photos)
    NFL Photos/Getty Images

    As you can clearly see, the biggest needs lie on the offensive side of the ball.  The defense is actually very solid, and the only defensive players that will be drafted next season will be drafted solely to provide depth for the team.  The biggest problem for the Dolphins is at the quarterback position, where they really need to find a long-term option due to the struggles of current starter Chad Henne.

    With a solid draft this season, the Dolphins have a chance to make some noise in 2011.  The defense is an all-around solid unit, so hopefully the Dolphins can find some impact offensive players that can improve the unit.  I don’t think the Dolphins will overtake the Jets or the Patriots in the division next year, but they may be able to grab a wild-card spot.