2013 NFL Draft Team Needs: Miami Dolphins
The Miami Dolphins were supposed to be a doormat in 2012. They were breaking in a rookie head coach and quarterback in Joe Philbin and Ryan Tannehill, and outside of Reggie Bush looked fairly bland on offense.
Instead of stinking up south Florida, however, they actually got some solid upsets, were consistently competitive, and finished a respectable 7-9. Their steady development on both sides of the ball offered up some realistic promise for the future, and could potentially have the Dolphins back in the wild card race in 2013.
However, before Miami can start being serious about post-season play, they still have some issues to address. Let’s breakdown their biggest holes on both sides of the ball as we head toward the 2013 NFL Draft:
Offensive Needs: WR, LT, TE
I like Brian Hartline, but he’s better equipped to be a rock solid #2 receiver. He’s also a free agent and could be commanding some solid cash. That could mean he walks, which would make Miami’s receiver situation even worse than it already is. With or without Hartline, I expect the Dolphins to both make a play in free agency, as well as add some talent in the draft. Greg Jennings makes a lot of sense, while Dwayne Bowe would, as well. In the draft, it’s not crazy for the Dolphins to spend their first rounder here. Our own Keet Bailey is in love with Tennessee receiver Cordarrelle Patterson, and it’s not unrealistic to see him coming off the board at the 12th spot. Keenan Allen is another possibility, while Justin Hunter could be another option with their second round pick.
Another huge concern is left tackle, as some feel that Jake Long doesn’t fit with the Dolphins anymore, and it’s been clear that he hasn’t been playing up to the level Miami hoped when they drafted him. He’s still a very good tackle, but he’s likely to ask for much more on the open market than Miami is willing to hand over. That could force the Dolphins to take action and pluck Eric Fisher off the board (although I have him going to the Chargers one pick earlier). One way or another, Miami cannot fail to address this position if Long is on his way out.
Tight end isn’t the most glaring need on offense, but if Miami really wants to take its offense to the next level, finding a better play-maker than Anthony Fasano is crucial. Fasano can catch and block, but he’s not explosive and also isn’t the most consistent guy. Michael Egnew has great size and potential, but he didn’t do anything as a rookie and may never develop. Miami could pull the trigger on a tight end in round two if Tyler Eifert or Zach Ertz fall to them. I really don’t see that happening, however, so Miami would be smart to snag a tight end like Fred Davis, Dustin Keller or Jared Cook in the open market.
Defensive Needs: CB, DL
Miami’s defense is pretty solid as a whole, but they traded Vontae Davis away last year, Sean Smith is about to hit free agency, and they don’t have much after that. It’s time to start over at the position. I can see them bringing in a corner in free agency or bringing back Smith, but they really should add a guy who can make an impact right away in the draft. If they decide to retain Jake Long and Brian Hartline and then bring in a veteran wide receiver like Greg Jennings, they could suddenly free up the #12 overall pick to make a splash for their defense. Landing Dee Milliner would be pretty sweet if he dropped to them, but Johnthan Banks would also be a great talent acquisition, and he wouldn’t be a crazy reach. Xavier Rhodes is my favorite corner to target in round two, and he’s certainly a possibility with Miami’s second rounder.
The Dolphins could stand to improve their pass rush opposite of Cameron Wake, as well as make sure they don’t lose any spark up the middle. With Randy Starks possibly hitting free agency, addressing defensive tackle could be a wise move. Luckily the position is deep this year, and there are several space-eaters the Dolphins could consider with the 12th overall selection. Hometown guy Sharrif Floyd could make some sense in the middle if he can slide to round two, while pass-rusher Alex Okafor should also be available when Miami picks for the second time.
Miami was brutal against the run (in a good way) early in the year, but got worn down a bit as the season wore on. Even if they bring Randy Starks back, they need to keep adding to a strength and beef up that run defense. The same goes for their secondary, which was among the worst in 2012 and currently is just in shambles. They obviously have some holes on offense that need to be addressed, but I think shoring up their d-line and corner spots is key to them taking a positive step forward. If they can do that and then bring in Greg Jennings and patch up the left tackle spot, I don’t see why they can’t compete for a wild card spot in 2013.