Even though the NFL Draft doesn’t take place until May this year, April will once again be the month where mock draft season and draft speculation will hit its peak. With the height of free agency pretty much in the rearview mirror, we’ve gained a clearer picture of what needs clubs will have come draft time. So with a more informed vision, draft analysts around the NFL can give more accurate prediction on what the process known as an “inexact science” has in store for fans come May 8-10.
In interviews with the Finsiders, NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah and NFL Films senior producer Greg Cosell talked about which direction the Miami Dolphins might go when it comes to their picks in this year’s Annual Selection Meeting.
The obvious theme running through most mock drafts around the league for the Dolphins has been the offensive line. The Fins have been rebuilding a group that gave up 58 sacks last year. The additions of Branden Albert, Shelley Smith, and Jason Fox are a start, but the Fins still need to add some players to the O-Line.
Both analysts agreed that there’s one player in the first round that would be a perfect fit for the Dolphins at #19 overall, and that’s versatile Notre Dame offensive lineman Zack Martin. Jeremiah believes that the senior left tackle for the Fighting Irish can play any position necessary on the offensive front, and would be a great locker room fit as well.
“It’s a very valuable piece to have,” said Jeremiah. “You’re talking about someone with 52 starts at the college level, so you get a chance to get a true evaluation of him. He’s very consistent from game to game, season to season. I love the fact that he has the versatility. If you wanted to slide him inside to guard, and play guard, and he could probably play all five positions along the offensive front.”
Cosell agrees, stating that while playing left tackle in college, Martin may end up on the other side of the line when he enters the league.
“I would say that that’s probably the case,” said Cosell. “Zack Martin from Notre Dame, who played left tackle at Notre Dame, I think he can play left tackle in the NFL. But so often college left tackles start their career as right tackles. He’s certainly an option (at #19).”
But the Dolphins aren’t just limited to Martin at #19, as there are several other options that the Fins could go with along the offensive line. Those range from guys like Clemson left tackle Brandon Thomas, who’s projected more to be a guard, Virginia tackle Morgan Moses, and Tennessee tackle Ja’Wuan James.
Cosell believes that Moses or James could be a great fit at right tackle for the Dolphins, possibly as second day selections.
“I think there’s other guys that you can probably get in the second round as well if you’re definitely looking for a tackle,” said Cosell. “You have someone like Morgan Moses who’s a big, big kid and may start his career at right tackle. Even down the road you have someone who played 37 games at Tennessee at right tackle in Ja’Wuan James, and I think he’s got the perfect physical skill set to play right tackle in the NFL.”
While Moses and James look to be more right tackles, Thomas is the most likely to kick inside and play guard, and Jeremiah thinks that he can be a very effective interior offensive lineman.
“Brandon Thomas I think is going to be a really good guard, I think that’s where he’ll start out at the next level, said Jeremiah. “He played well at tackle but he’s 6’3 and change, he does have long arms, and he’s got really good balance. He’s a good solid football player. He’s strong at the point of attack, and if you slide him to guard, you’ve got a good player.”
Now while the Dolphins may focus on rebuilding an offensive line that was inconsistent last season, they’ll also try to improve several other positions on the field, which may include running back despite the recent addition of Knowshon Moreno. In today’s NFL the running back position needs to be almost three deep, as backs nowadays take a pounding from opposing defenses.
“I think they probably add to it (the group of running backs), and why not? When you look at (the Dolphins’) collection of backs, I think you see a lot of guys that are good committee type guys,” said Jeremiah. “I don’t think there’s anybody there that’s going to be the full time guy. So I think in the middle rounds a guy like Terrance West from Towson, he’s 220-plus pounds, who I think has the capability to develop into a three down back, like why not take a shot on him in the third or fourth round?”
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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.