“With the 12th pick of the 2013 NFL Draft, the Miami Dolphin selects…”
After making arguably the most big name moves in Free Agency, the Miami Dolphins will continue that momentum of adding exciting talent to their roster in hopes of challenging and winning the AFC East. They have positioned themselves well in this upcoming 2013 NFL Draft, owning five of the top 100 selection in addition to not having many immediate needs. Being that Jeff Ireland’s, the Dolphins’ General Manager, last year of his contract, he can ill afford to make too many mistakes in the draft. With a few good talents here and there, the Dolphins may actually challenge the annual AFC East champions, the New England Patriots.
The Expected selections:
#1 Star Lotulelei DT Utah
If by chance Star Lotulelei was passed up by the previous 11 teams, Dolphins will spare no time running to the podium to call on this Utah product. Miami has spent an exorbitant amount of money on their Defensive Tackle position by Franchise Tagging Randy Starks and signing Vaughn Martin from San Diego. However, neither is a good fit for the 4-3 defensive scheme, and many wonder why Starks was retained. Star Lotulelei is a logical fit and strengthens a Defensive Line that could not generate pass rush pressure consistently last year. Furthermore, Star can be a space eater, limiting the amount of blockers on the rest of the defensive line, thus generating more pressure. Star is a top notched run stuffer that can further strengthen the rush defense. Particularly, they are expected to face Stevan Ridley, Jet’s ground game, and CJ Spiller twice in a season.
#2 Desmond Trufant CB Washington
With the top Defensive Tackles and Offensive Tackles expected to be gone by the time the Miami Dolphins are on the clock, the next best logical choice would be to take a physical cornerback to play opposite Brent Grimes. Grimes is coming off a season ending injury, so it is hard to tell if he can come back to the same level. Desmond Trufant can develop into a shutdown corner in the mold of former Dolphins Vontae Davis with the phyiscal play of another former Dolphin Sean Smith.
The Sleeper pick:
Tyler Eifert TE Notre Dame
Recently there is a buzz that Miami Dolphins may just select arguably the best skill position player in the draft, if they are to stay in the 12th spot. Tyler Eifert is one of the most complete Tight Ends of this class, and appears to be the most polished offensive weapon the Dolphins need. Eifert has above average in-line blocking ability, but more importantly his pass catching skills add another weapon for young Quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Eifert can split out wide and play the slot, creating mismatches for nickel corners or stay in-line and dominate the Linebackers. Eifert also possess enough speed to make himself a threat in the secondary against opposing Safeties. He showed that he has the straightline speed of an average NFL Widereceiver, which makes him a terrifying giant stretching the field. In the BCS game against Alabama, Eifert lined up against Dee Milliner, who many considered to be the best cornerback in the draft, and he played well. Fans may point to the fact that Miami already has Michael Egnew, Dustin Keller, and Charles Clay. Egnew is falling out of favor; fast, while Charles Clay serves better as a H-Back and is a better blocker than pass catcher. Lastly, it only takes one big hit to Dustin Keller for him to lose all confidence and regress.
The Shocker pick:
Tavon Austin WR WVU
Although its long been an accepted reality that Miami will probably not spend a high enough pick for a Widereceiver, it is quite possible that Dolphins may still go for this dynamic weapon out of West Virginia University. Tavon Austin often gets criticised for his height and weight (5’8″, 174 lbs), but what is not spoken about enough is that he has never missed a single practice in his whole college career. Very impressive for someone his size. Even with a crowded receiving core in Miami, Tavon will still find a place because of the skill set he brings to the team. He is capable of playing any of the receiver position or even moonlight as a running back, adding a dimension that is reminiscent how Green Bay Packers uses Randle Cobb. This can be a headache for defensive coordinators to defend and prevent double cover on Mike Wallace. Having said that, I will be extremely surprised if the Dolphins uses a top 15 pick on a widereceiver.
The “Don’t Sleep on him” Pick:
Jonathan Cooper OG UNC
A very unpopular pick among Dolphin fans (in my experience) to spend a high pick on an Offensive linemen; especially a Guard. However, John Jerry is not a right fit for the zone scheme and Lance Louis still has not shown his former dominance after his injury during his stint with the Chicago Bears. Jonathan Cooper is a very talented player that should be drafted much higher than where he is projected. Guards are not a popular top pick due to how the league perceives their value. However, Cooper is both athletic and versatile to help both in the pass and run game of the Miami Dolphins. He can be a day one starter for the Dolphins in the place of Jerry, and immediately upgrade the interior of the offensive line.
The Trade up Option:
Miami Dolphins is one of the fewer teams that would benefit from trading up in the 1st round of the draft. Popular opinion has the Dolphins trading with Cleveland Browns in order to obtain Lane Johnson, if he is still available. However, the cost to trade up for a good offensive tackle, instead of a great one, makes little sense. A second trade more viable and willing trade partner would be the Oakland Raiders, where Miami can position itself to take one of the two premiere offensives tackles.
General Manager Jeff Ireland might have bought himself some more time (he is in the last year of his contract) after drawing the ire of Dolphin fans after the 2011 season. The moves he makes will tie closely whether he will be retained or not. On the other hand, second year head coach Joe Philbin is bringing a fresh new mentality to this annually disappointing franchise. His tough no-nonsense approach has really shaped up this team. Philbin has a lot of say in the personnel acquirement, as he has a clear idea what kind of players will fit his system. The draft will be of utmost importance, but don’t be surprised if the Dolphins select less popular options. Philbin doesn’t care about player’s accolade, he cares about players that work hard and will be a fit for the team; both on and off the field