MIAMI DOLPHINS 2014 NFL DRAFT PREVIEW & SEVEN ROUND MOCK
By David Fernandez
The Miami Dolphins are a team in flux. With new GM Dennis Hickey taking the reins from his inept predecessor Jeff Ireland, the team will look to rebound from a disappointing season that saw them rocked by a bullying scandal and missing the playoffs for the fifth consecutive year. While owner Stephen Ross showed a bit of patience and loyalty by not cleaning house and retaining head coach Joe Philbin, another subpar season will likely signal Philbin’s exit, and maybe even QB Ryan Tannehill’s as well.
Team Needs: OT, OG, ILB, DB, RB, QB
As far as needs go, the Dolphins are starved along the offensive line. Ryan Tannehill received the David Carr treatment a year ago, getting sacked a league-high 58 times. Already this offseason has Miami actively remaking their O-Line by signing veteran tackle Branden Albert to start on the left side, as well as potential starters in OG Shelley Smith and RT Jason Fox. Miami has also spent some time and money on the defensive side of the ball, resigning CB Brent Grimes, then inking DT Earl Mitchell to replace the departed Paul Soliai. The team also brought in former Pro Bowl CB Courtland Finnegan on a one-year deal, and Miami-native S Louis Delmas to replace Chris Clemons. The other major signing for the Dolphins this offseason was landing former Denver Bronco RB Knowshon Moreno on a one-year deal.
While having a number of needs, the Dolphins are still in a decent position to reinvent the roster with the draft. It’s possible the team trades down from the #19 slot to stock-pile picks, especially if one of the heralded QBs slips down the board. Should Cleveland not take one of those QBs early, they could be a potential trade-partner for Miami as they hold the #26 pick as well. Flipping the #19 pick to Cleveland could net the Dolphins the #26 and one or two additional picks.
Miami Mock: Seven-Rounds
Most mocks show the Dolphins selecting OL Zach Martin in this spot, but I’m not sure he makes it to #19. The Steelers, Ravens, and Jets all have a similar need in this spot, and the Cardinals, picking in the #20 spot, have it as well. I can see the Dolphins taking the instinctive, athletic inside linebacker from Alabama with #19. This would allow them to move Dannell Ellerbe to OLB, where he is better suited.
I see the Dolphins addressing their OL need here by hitting up their former coach, Nick Saban, for another from his talented stock. Kouandjio has been all over the board recently, and could fall to the Dolphins here. At 6-7 322 lbs., he’s a ready-made starter on the right side. If Kouandjio is gone, don’t be surprised if the Dolphins went with a running back like Auburn’s Tre Mason or FSU’s Devonta Freeman, both of whom have met with Miami already.
Despite Charles Clay’s emergence a year ago, the Dolphins could still use another weapon for the beleaguered Ryan Tannehill to throw to. Fiedorowicz has great size at 6-6 265 lbs., and would be useful in the redzone and as a blocker. Michael Egnew, a 3rd round pick in 2012, has proven worthless to Miami, and last year’s 4th round pick, Dion Sims, looks more like a blocker than a receiving threat.
While offense might be where the bulk of the needs rest for the Dolphins, they could still stand to add bulk along the D-Line. Sutton would help replenish the loss of depth when Miami elected not to resign DT Paul Soliai. While they brought back DT Randy Starks, and brought in Earl Mitchell, the Dolphins could use another big body up front.
Henderson had a much-publicized failure at the UM Pro-Day recently. Once considered the best-overall recruit in college football, Henderson remains a prototypical NFL O-lineman at 6-7 and 331 lbs. While he couldn’t finish his pro-day at UM, Henderson has since met with the Dolphins and participated in a workout his agent described as “amazing.” Make of that what you will.
Richardson is among the draft prospects the Dolphins have elected to bring in recently, and could be a late-round flyer for the team. He possesses the size (6-1, 188 lbs.) and speed combination the Dolphins are looking for, and could stand to bolster Miami’s depth in the defensive backfield.
Scott is another of the pre-draft invitees for the Dolphins. At 6-5 and 294 lbs., Scott played both OG and OT while at Marshall, and that position flexibility is something the team values greatly. Don’t be surprised if the team decides to take a QB in this spot, with Virginia Tech QB Logan Thomas being the most likely.
Find more of David Fernandez’ writing @ www.dlfwriting.com.