Let’s start here: The Dolphins need help on offense. At some point between the start of round one and the end of round seven of this year’s draft, I’d expect them to pick, at the very least: a quarterback, an offensive lineman (or two), and a tight end. The Fins finished 30th of 32 teams last year in scoring. Only Cleveland and Carolina scored fewer points than Miami. On the other side of the ball, the Fins’ defense was sixth best in total yards, so it makes plenty of sense for plenty of fans to think that this April’s number-one priority would be to draft an immediate impact offensive player with the 15th pick of the Draft. And they very well could.
But they might not. Jeff Ireland (along with basically every other GM) has said that when his time comes and the Fins are on the clock, that he’ll take the player that the team has rated highest on their draft board. Last year, when seven of the eight draft picks that Ireland and co. made were defensive players, it was easy to assume they went into the draft saying that they had to improve the “D.” Ireland, though, told me that wasn’t the case: “If you had told me that almost every pick of that draft was going to be defensive…I’d have said ‘no way.’”
So with that understanding, let’s move forward knowing that there is at least some chance that the Fins go with a defensive player in the first round. Who could it be? That all depends on picks 1-14, of course, but here are a couple of names to familiarize yourself with:
- Cameron Jordan, DL, Cal: A soon-to-be second generation NFL player, Jordan is a first-round talent who would probably be a pass-rushing end in Miami’s 3-4 scheme.
- Aldon Smith, DL, Missouri: Smith would probably make the Koa Misi switch from DE in college to OLB in the NFL and is another guy who is capable of putting serious pressure on the passer.
- Akeem Ayers, LB, UCLA: Another true edge rusher who could be a great complement to Cam Wake on the other side.
- Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska: A possible top-10 pick, if Amukumara is available, he would be hard to pass on (something Big XII teams never did last year).
Again, this is not a guarantee that Miami will go defense at #15. Heck, I still think they’ll try and trade the pick. Remember, too, that there may not be an offensive player that the team feels is worth the value that the 15th overall pick holds. And so, if the Dolphins take a defensive player in the first round, whether it’s one of the aforementioned guys or not, know that it’s because to them, he is the absolute best player available at that moment.
What type of defensive player would you most like to see the Fins draft in 2011?
- None. I want only offensive players! (41%)
- A pass rusher (33%)
- A safety (15%)
- A cornerback (11%)
Jesse Agler is the host of The Finsiders. Follow him on Twitter @finsjesse.
The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed by The Finsiders Blog represent those of individual writers, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions, policies or desires of the Miami Dolphins organization, front office, coaches and executives. Writers' views are formulated independently from any inside information and/or conversation with Dolphins officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.