Dolphins Mock Draft: Instant Contributors Miami Can Find in Every Round
Miami Dolphins' general manager Dennis Hickey has been very active over the past month bringing in a number of players who are expected to make big impacts in 2014.
But as the attention shifts over to the NFL draft, the Dolphins still have a few important holes left that need to be filled.
Luckily for Miami, many scouts and draft gurus, including NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock, are calling this one of the best draft classes in years.
Last month, during a conference call with reporters, via Pro Football Talk, Mayock gave a rousing endorsement for the draft class.
From my perspective, this is the deepest and best draft class I've seen in probably ten years. That’s been reinforced by most of the general managers and scouts I’ve talked to throughout the league. I had one GM tell me the other day that having a Top-20 pick this year is very similar to having a Top-10 pick last year.
The Dolphins currently sit at No. 19 in the first round and have a single pick in each of the seven rounds.
There will be plenty of good players available for Miami in each round, so it's all about bringing in the right guys who can step in from Day 1 and make an impact.
Let's take a look at the best options for the Dolphins throughout the draft looking for players who can contribute right away.
First Round, No. 19: C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama
The vast majority of NFL draft analysts are projecting the Dolphins to take Notre Dame offensive tackle Zack Martin in the first round.
From ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay (ESPN Insider, subscription required) to Sports Illustrated's Chris Burke, Don Banks and Doug Farrar, everyone has jumped on and stayed on the Martin to Miami bandwagon.
The pick makes sense on paper as the Dolphins still need help on the offensive line, and Martin can play both guard and tackle very effectively.
However, there are plenty of starting caliber offensive linemen the team can get later on, which cannot be said about a player the caliber of Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley.
Mosley is the best inside linebacker in the draft and is an incredibly instinctual player who is always around the ball.
He is extremely versatile and has proven he can excel in coverage nearly as well as he stuffs the run.
Playing in Nick Saban's defense, Mosley demonstrated great awareness and was a fantastic leader for Alabama. He is an efficient tackler and very rarely makes mistakes on the field.
At 6'2" and 234 pounds, Mosley has all the makings of a perennial Pro Bowl-caliber player in the NFL.
Drafting Mosley would provide an instant upgrade to what was Miami's weakest position on the defense in 2013.
If Mosley is still on the board at No. 19, the Dolphins would be crazy to pass on him as he's the type of player who could anchor the middle of their defense for the next decade.
Second Round, No. 50: Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia
When initially doing this mock draft, I pegged the Dolphins to grab Stanford's David Yankey in the second round to fill the vacant guard spot and Virginia's Morgan Moses in the third to play right tackle.
The problem is the likelihood of Moses falling all the way down to the third is very small.
So, instead of taking the chance and hoping Moses drops, the better option for Miami is to just take him in the second round.
Moses is a perfect fit for Miami at this point. He's the best pure tackle in this draft aside from Greg Robinson, Jake Matthews and Taylor Lewan but can be selected a round later.
At 6'6" and 314 pounds, Moses is extremely long and is also strong enough to dominate and move the line of scrimmage while also shutting down pass-rushers coming off the edge.
He is also very light on his feet and can move around very quickly with solid technique.
Drafting Moses here ensures the Dolphins get their right tackle of the future and still allows them flexibility to fill their hole at guard later on.
Third Round, No. 81: Billy Turner, OG/OT, North Dakota State
After grabbing Moses in Round 2, the Dolphins can complete their starting offensive line in the third and will have a few great options available to them.
Billy Turner, Joel Bitonio and Jack Mewhort are all capable of playing both tackle and guard at the next level, and all three would be more than capable of stepping in right away and thriving.
My choice here is Turner because he seems to shine just a tad brighter on tape than the other two—as you can see in the above video with his performance last season against Kansas State.
At 6'6" and 314 pounds, Turner is a force to be reckoned with and has both the quickness and athleticism to be a solid right tackle.
However, his incredible strength and ability as a run-blocker makes him more appealing as a guard, which of course is where the Dolphins would put him after selecting Moses.
But that flexibility could be very useful considering Branden Albert's injury history.
With the selections of Moses and Turner combined with the moves in free agency, the Dolphins will be able to turn what was the weakest part of their team in 2013 into a strength in just one offseason.
Fourth Round, No. 116: C.J. Fiedorowicz, TE, Iowa
After the season he had in 2013, you can write Charles Clay's name as the starting tight end on the depth chart in permanent ink for 2014.
However, the competition for the second tight end on the depth chart is still wide open.
This is where C.J. Fiedorowicz should come into the picture.
The first time he steps on the field, the Iowa tight end would immediately be the best pass- and run-blocker among the Miami tight ends.
He is also extremely versatile, and at 6'7" and 265 pounds, he can be a dangerous weapon on pass plays over the middle, especially in the red zone.
While he isn't as explosive as some of the other top tight ends in the draft, he has very solid hands and does a good job of using his big frame to take advantage of smaller defenders.
After solidifying their offensive line in the second and third rounds, taking Fiedorowicz in the fourth would not only be a huge boost to the running game but also a major help to quarterback Ryan Tannehill—both as a weapon and a blocker in the passing game.
Fifth Round, No. 155: L’Damian Washington, WR, Missouri
Speaking of good weapons for Tannehill, many fans are clamoring for the Dolphins to grab one of the top receivers in the draft class early on to make the offense more explosive.
For starters, the Dolphins don't have to use a top pick on a position that isn't a major need.
But at the same time, they would also be drafting a guy in Washington who has immense talent.
Standing at 6'4" and 205 pounds, Washington is a huge weapon who has the size to be a force in the red zone and over the middle of the field.
But he can also be a vertical threat as evident by his 4.46 40-yard dash time at the scouting combine.
The problem with Washington is he is still very raw.
The former Missouri Tiger is an unpolished route runner and has inconsistent hands, but he also has great measurables that should allow his big-play ability to translate to the next level if he can develop.
Either way, a player as talented as Washington is just too good to pass up at this point in the draft.
Sixth Round, No. 190: Jeremy Hill, RB, LSU
The Dolphins have already addressed their running back need after signing Knowshon Moreno to a one-year, $3 million deal, via The Miami Herald's Adam H. Beasley.
However, that doesn't mean the team should just ignore the position altogether come draft day.
After all, Moreno is signed for just one year, so it would be wise to bring in another young guy who can develop in the meantime.
Jeremy Hill is the exact type of running back the Dolphins are looking for to complement the speedy Lamar Miller.
At 6'1" and 233 pounds, the 21-year-old is a big, powerful runner who averaged a ridiculous 6.9 yards per carry in his final year at LSU. He also punched in 28 touchdowns in his two seasons proving that he can excel in short-yardage situations.
Based on talent alone, Hill should be long gone well before the sixth round, but he has had character concerns that will likely affect his draft stock in a big way.
Hill has been arrested two different times in the last few years, most recently in August of 2013 after getting into a fight outside of a bar, according to The Associated Press (h/t ESPN.com).
In fairness to Hill, he has also owned up to his past mistakes sending a letter to all 32 teams explaining his prior actions, according to NFL.com's Mike Huguenin.
A player as skilled as Hill doesn't come around often this late in drafts.
The character concerns may be enough to take Hill off the Dolphins' big board altogether, but I believe the risk of his past repeating itself is well worth the reward Hill can bring the team if he can ultimately live up to his talent.
Seventh Round, No. 234: Brock Vereen, S, Minnesota
This late in the draft, the Dolphins can go in virtually any direction with this pick.
However, at this point, I don't see anyone who could be drafted who would fit the perfect combination of value, talent and need as much as Brock Vereen does.
The younger brother of New England Patriots running back Shane Vereen, Brock is listed as a safety, but at 6'0", 199 pounds, he is also capable of playing cornerback as well.
He is a very athletic player with great speed, as evident by his 4.47 40-yard dash time at the combine.
Brock Vereen is a smart football player who has great instincts and is capable of being the future replacement of Louis Delmas or even filling in at cornerback at different points throughout the 2014 season.
He still has a lot left to be desired as a tackler, which makes him a weak link on the defense in stopping the run, but his ability to play in pass coverage and as a playmaker makes him an excellent option this late in the draft.
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