This is my first post on the Miami Dolphins Spotlight, and I should be contributing quite often from this point forward. With no team in St. Louis from 1987-1995, I adopted the Dolphins as my team and haven’t looked back. I’ve been through it all, including the 16-game losing streak in '07 and '08.
Nice to meet you. Lets get on to the draft—the only sure thing in the NFL right now.
Everything you hear in these next 46 days is a mere smokescreen. Having said that, I do believe that Jeff Ireland’s February proclamation that the Dolphins would try to acquire a second-rounder for the second consecutive year was legitimate. I’ll go a step further—their plan all along was to re-claim those second-rounders from the Brandon Marshall trade.
If you’re also rooting for the Dolphins to trade from No. 15 into the late first, the NFL Scouting Combine was kind for us. Julio Jones, Von Miller, Cameron Jordan, Prince Amukamara, and J. J. Watt all cemented spots in the Top-14 range with impressive workouts, which pushes value to the #15 spot for a possible trade down.
I’ll single out one player that I have falling to #15: Wisconsin DE J. J. Watt—a perfect five-technique in the 3-4 scheme. The Packers and Steelers spent extra time with Watt at Wisconsin’s Pro Day, and both have needs at DE in their 3-4 alignments.
Here is my predicted trade: the Dolphins trade the No. 15 pick to the Packers for the No. 32 pick, a second-round pick, and a fifth-round pick.
First Round — G Mike Pouncey, Florida (6-5, 303)
Pouncey replaces Stefen Wisniewski as my flavor of the week in a trade down. Re-signing Richie Incognito doesn’t necessarily solve the problem at center, but it does shift the primary offensive line need to guard. Pouncey’s size, athleticism, work ethic, and bloodlines make him a safe pick. He’ll settle in nicely at left guard beside Jake Long for the next 7-10 years.
Second Round (from Green Bay) — RB Kendall Hunter, Oklahoma State (5-7, 199)
Two words: Ray Rice. The 5-7, 199 pound Hunter has the lower body of a 225-pound power back and the vision to see holes quickly as an inside runner. When reports came out of Hunter being the best pass-protecting running back during Senior Bowl week, I was officially sold on this guy.
Third Round — LB Chris Carter, Fresno State (6-1, 248)
Think outside linebacker isn’t a need? Think again. There is zero depth behind Cameron Wake and Koa Misi at the defense's most important position. Carter is a shade smaller than Ireland and Sparano’s ideal outside linebacker, but the organization could find Carter’s pass-rush potential intriguing enough to make an exception.
Fourth Round — RB Delone Carter, Syracuse (5-9, 222)
If Ireland and Sparano have the same second-round grade on Carter that I have, he’d be a terrific value pick if he slips to the fourth round. Although he doesn’t excel in one area, Carter is a productive north-south big back with great inside running skills. A backfield of Hunter, Carter, and Lex Hilliard creates a nice competition of hungry running backs with contrasting running styles.
Fifth Round — OT Lee Ziemba, Auburn (6-6, 317)
Ziemba started 52 rock-solid games at LT for an Auburn Tigers team that won the National Championship last season. He’ll move to right tackle or inside to guard in the NFL. I see Ziemba’s career resembling that of — from the Saints—a great backup at guard and right tackle with the ability start in a pinch.
Fifth Round (from Green Bay) — WR Jeremy Kerley, TCU (5-9, 189)
Don’t let Kerley’s 4.56 40-yard dash time at the combine fool you. He plays faster than his timed speed and has great instincts as a returner. Kerley gets Davone Bess off the field on punt returns and allows Nolan Carroll to focus on cornerback.
Sixth Round — QB Greg McElroy, Alabama (6-2, 220)
If there’s a quarterback in this draft who isn’t getting enough credit, it’s McElroy. Here is a guy who had 37 touchdowns and nine interceptions in a pro-style offense at Alabama, showed great footwork and game management ability, and scored a 43 on his Wonderlic test. His arm isn’t great, but it’s fair enough to supplement his intangibles. I see McElroy climbing an NFL depth chart in the same ways Matt Flynn did.
Seventh Round — FB Henry Hynoski, Pittsburgh. 6-2, 260)
Hynoski is low-hanging fruit here in the seventh round. The Dolphins are one of the few teams in the league who still use a true fullback, and Hynoski can challenge Lousaka Polite for a roster spot.
Seventh Round (from Jacksonville) — G Zach Hurd, UConn (6-7, 316)
Another four-year starter who paved the way for Donald Brown and Jordan Todman at UConn.
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