With the NFL Draft only being 10 days away, the question of who the Miami Dolphins will pick at #12 becomes more and more intriguing. With the aggressiveness Jeff Ireland showed in Free Agency, it gives him the flexibility to be able to go many different directions with the first round pick. The top positions of need, in no particular order, for the Dolphins would be TE, OT (LT or RT), DE, CB, and maybe S. Now the question arises, "What direction could the Dolphins go with at pick #12?" Well, I am glad you asked that, because I am here to tell you a couple different directions they could go!
With the defensive matchup nightmares TE's in the league are now are presenting to Defensive Coordinators around the NFL, it would only make sense for the Dolphins to draft the TE with the best capability to create those favorable matchups on Sundays and that TE would be Tyler Eifert from Notre Dame. At 6'6" and 251 lbs. and having a 35.5 in. VJ (vertical jump) and a 82in. wingspan, he is too big for Safeties and CB's to cover, and with a 4.68 40 yd. dash, he is too fast for LB's to cover! Even if he faces a super athletic LB during a game, there is no LB in the NFL who could out jump Tyler Eifert for ball in midair. Tyler Eifert would provide Ryan Tannehill with another explosive weapon in the pass, and with the proper coaching from TE Coach Dan Campbell, could become a proficient run blocker when needed. When paired with Dustin Keller, that makes for a lethal combination that could dominate the middle of the field for the Miami Dolphins, leaving Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline on the outside that much more room to work.
In today's NFL, the passing game is becoming feature more than it has ever been. With all the new rules that promote the passing game, Defenses have had to adjust immensely. With all this new pressure on the back end of defenses now, it is critical to have good cover CB's now. With that being said, Brent Grimes (age 30 and coming off an achilles injury) and Richard Marshall (age 28), although good CB's, are not getting any younger. This being known to the Dolphins, CB Xavier Rhodes from Florida State would be a great addition to this defense. At 6'1" 210 lbs running a 4.43 40 yd dash, Rhodes would be a explosive athlete added to this secondary that lacks playmakers that Rhodes could be. With Kevin Coyle, who was the secondary guru for the Cincinnati Bengals before he came to Miami, as Defensive Coordinator, it should bode well for Rhodes, who has the capabilities to become a shut down corner in the NFL.
With the Dolphins upgrading much of the offense in the last two off-seasons (2012 adding Ryan Tannehill and Lamar Miller and 2013 Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline (resigned) Brandon Gibson, and Dustin Keller), it would probably be a good time to upgrade the offensive line that protects Ryan Tannehill. For Ryan to be able to take advantage of all these new found weapons, he is going to need time to do it. Considering Jonathan Martin had a pretty rough year protecting the QB last year, allowing 57 QB pressures, 6 QB sacks, and ranking as the 54th out of 57 Tackles in the NFL. Although it is expected for him to improve greatly from last year, the Dolphins still need another tackle to protect the other side of Ryan. This is where drafting OT Lane Johnson from Oklahoma would be a very good pick. Lane Johnson is a very athletic Tackle (running a 4.72 40 yd dash), who was a former TE in college, who would be able to protect either side of Ryan Tannehill, probably at LT, and would be a welcomed upgrade over Nate Garner at either tackle position. The only draw back of this pick is that Lane Johnson might not fall to #12 and the Dolphins would probably have to trade up to get him. But if he falls to the Dolphins at #12, he would be a great addition to the OL of the Miami Dolphins.
There a couple other possibilities for the Dolphins at #12 if things do not work out for them. RT DJ Fluker from Alabama would be one option. He could come in and fill the RT position and provide great run blocking for Lamar Miller & Co. DE Ziggy Ansah from BYU might be an option if none of the above players are available at #12 for the Dolphins. Ziggy is extremely athletic, and with good coaching could become a Jason Pierre-Paul type pass rusher with time. But that would be a very risky pick at #12. Finally, OG Jonathan Cooper from North Carolina could be an option. Cooper is a very athletic Guard who is a very good run blocker and can get to the second level on running plays. He is also a capable pass blocker and would be an upgrade over RG Jon Jerry from last year.
GGG (Give God the Glory)
Be looking for my next article as I discuss which of the Top 3 OT's would be best for the Miami Dolphins.
Have questions or suggestions? Email me at sethAfisher07@gmail.com or tweet at me @PhinsBlogger13